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Dec 16, 2015

Adventures in Normcore: The Color-blocked Corduroy Shirt



I'm guessing that most of you are familiar with the term "normcore" which, when applied to fashion, basically means ordinary, boring style.  (You can read more about normcore here.)

Is there any better exemplar of normcore than that 90's staple, the (usually oversized) men's color-blocked corduroy shirt?  It seems like all the mainstream American men's apparel makers offered one: GAP, J. Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and so on.  My sense is that today they're most often worn ironically, by a generation who were still wearing their Carters when these shirts were popular.

Here are some examples I found online:









Yuck.

Why am I even considering making one of these?

Well, the good folks over at Organic Cotton Plus reached out to me recently, asking if I'd like to whip up something using their fabric and blog about it, and I decided the time had come to experiment with corduroy.  Now I must be honest: my original intention was to make color-blocked pants, which seemed much hipper.  But the corduroy I ordered ended up being too thin for pants: a very, very narrow wale.  But it was perfect for a winter shirt, especially given the mild winter we've been enjoying here on the East coast.

Here are the colors I chose:



My inspiration is the shirt below, the best-looking color-blocked corduroy shirt I could find.  Of course I can't wear those colors but I actually think this looks nice, if a little...normcore. 



Here's how things are looking so far.  I know the palette screams We don't know the sex yet, but what can you do?



Still, I'm cautiously optimistic; I hope to finish this shirt before the weekend and show you the results ASAP.

Readers, I ask you: is your style secretly normcore when nobody's looking?  I promise not to tell.

Have a great day, everybody!

26 comments:

  1. Try a little color-blocking *within* a pattern piece, instead of relying on the shirt sections for the color spaces. That could help set it apart from the mainstream versions. Not as patchworky as the final image (which is a stunning garment), but maybe a few 1-inch stripes or similar in an otherwise solid area? What a fun project you have ahead of you.

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  2. I'm sure your creation will be fabulous! (as always!!!) and, yes, I feel pretty normcore stylish most of the time!

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  3. It's not actually color blocking, but I've made work shirts very much like this when I take every scrap of lightweight denim and chambray in the stash or remnant box and pull together enough for a few shirts with a bit of novelty cotton for cuffs, yokes and collars. There is something to be said about normcore, no one looks at you twice and for some of us being as unobtrusive as possible allows us to get the job done.

    Theresa in Tucson

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    1. I don't know if it's the name, but I share both the name and the sentiment about being unobtrusive.

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  4. Love the last model! Carrying color blocking to a whole new level!
    I try not to look so normcore but looking a little wacky does not put my clients at ease...that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Good luck with the rest of the shirt!

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  5. I snorted my wine on the "We don't know the sex" line. I love a corduroy shirt! Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

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  6. "No."
    No white sneakers here. : ) But anyway...I'm not so sure that this normcore thing is real.

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  7. I love the one in autumn colors, but the one in your summer type colors is every bit as beautiful. And we all know your skills will make a lovely shirt. Corduroy is one of my favorite fabrics but cannot find any decent corduroy recently. All I find is cruddy. Let us know how this one comes out of the wash.

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  8. Of the examples you've shown, the Hilfiger is my favorite. (Yes, I'm norm to the core. I confess.) Is/Are pocket(s) de rigueur, hitting the viewer over the head with the blocking? Perhaps that could be left off or done differently for a more modern look.

    Corduroy is a favorite of mine, especially pants.

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  9. I'm so glad to see something actually made in normcore. Most of the time, it's just described, and it sounds good, but haven't seen someone as an actual proponent of normcore. I guess that's sort of against the principles of it anyway.

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  10. I like using corduroy for 1950's style dresses. It is warm, washable an it hold its shape well. And it comes in lots of nice colours.

    I'm not so sure about the colour-blocked shirt you are making... I have a bit of a patchwork-allergy (probably from being a teenager in the 90's) and this is getting dangerously close to that. On the other hand: He who dares, wins and if anyone can make a good version of this and pull it off, I think it is you.
    Interestingly, although I remember the 1990's I have never seen shirts like this. It may have been normcore in the US, I don't think the trend made it to the Netherlands.

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  11. Didn't n'sync wear these in one of their photo shoots?
    Anyway, this is well made. It's not going to be to everyone's tastes to actually wear, but I think as something made just to see if you could make it, I like it.

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  12. Normally I wouldn't dream of wearing a color-blocked shirt.....but your luscious color combination makes it a winner in my book!

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  13. I have a thing for corduroy, and making sorta weird stuff out of it. My personal fave was a cowboy shirt I call my ridicu-shirt. It is so comfy, and will last forever, apparently. http://mimisasyouwish.blogspot.com/2011/12/scott-pilgrim-shirt-also-known-as.html

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  14. I love wearing baby wale or pin wale corduory. The colors you chose are going to look great. Can't wait to see you model it.

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  15. My 58 year old husband wants me to teach him how to sew. I'm going to send him your blog!

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    1. LOL! Mine purchased a drum set and never has seen a lesson. Get that sewing machine out! NOW!

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    2. LOL!! You have my deepest sympathies!

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  16. Those colors scream "Must obey Panetone."

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    1. Oh yes. There is a whole world of mediaWTF screaming over Pantone's choices (I just question the whole process and ignore it) and here you are, so on point.
      MPB, so on trend for today!

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    2. Do those look like "rose quartz" and "limpet shell" to you? I call them pink and blue!

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  17. The shirt is no doubt executed with your usual aplomb. The color combo makes me think of a costume from an 80's sitcom and not in a good way.

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  18. Thought I was up on fashion terminology, but, um, never heard of the term "normcore." How can I be so out of it? I'd only wear a shirt like that to paint an unheated room.

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  19. I think these shirts look fun. Sometimes you have to throw something different into your wardrobe line-up just to throw everyone off for the day. :)

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  20. I am proud to support the middle of the bell curve.
    If it wasn't for us middlers, there'd be no avant garde.

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  21. I actually think the last pic you posted looks pretty current. I can totally see people around here wearing it. (Heck, I would, if it were in black and gray, maybe with a couple shots of red.)

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