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Bland becomes beautiful for fashion's 'normcore' look

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Georgina Safe, Carolyn Cummins

Fashionable: Model Perrie Kapernaros wears a normcore look in a Uniqlo store. The japanese chain opens in Melbourne and Sydney.

Fashionable: Model Perrie Kapernaros wears a normcore look in a Uniqlo store. The japanese chain opens in Melbourne and Sydney. Photo: Simon Schluter

Some people are fond of making flamboyant fashion statements, but Sian Parany feels best blending in.

''There is often too much visual importance placed on what you're wearing,'' Ms Parany says.

''I don't want my clothes to be the focal point about me, so I wear outfits based around comfort and practicality.''

Low-key: Sian Paranay is a fan of the normcore trend.

Low-key: Sian Paranay is a fan of the normcore trend. Photo: Simon Schluter

Bland is beautiful in the wardrobes of women and men like Ms Parany, who are the foot-soldiers of fashion's new ''normcore'' army.

Normcore - so normal it's radical.

If you favour chinos, comfortable shoes and khaki, chances are you are so disinterested in fashion you've become its biggest moment of 2014. Normcore was first identified by New York trend forecasting company K-Hole, which defined it as choosing conformity over individuality, then the concept exploded as an internet meme after New York Magazine ran a normcore story with the headline: ''fashion for those who know they're one in 7 billion''.

Think no-name dad clothes in the manner of Steve Jobs, Jerry Seinfeld or Barack Obama.

Even the fashion pack is skipping cutting-edge trends in favour of head-to-toe normcore, with luxury labels including Celine, Chanel and Marc Jacobs embracing Birkenstocks, sneakers and Patagonia fleeces.

''This celebration of the normal seems to offer respite from buying a new 'it' shoe every week or being seen in the latest designer coat fresh from the runway,'' Elle deputy editor Damien Woolnough said.

Japanese normcore giant Uniqlo opens its first Australian store in Melbourne on Wednesday, and is renowned for quality wardrobe basics at affordable prices.

''We have a philosophy called 'life wear' … clothes that are easy for everybody to fit into their lives,'' Uniqlo Australia public relations and events manager Kate Evans said. ''People are looking for more simplicity.''

Australian fashion brands are also embracing normcore. ''A lot of the younger brands we deal with are now showing a very low-key, classic approach to dressing which usually you would only see with more of an older mindset,'' said Karen Rieschieck, who owns Melbourne boutique Alice Euphemia.

In preparation for its entry into Sydney, Uniqlo has also leased a pop-up store in Pitt Street Mall.

Plans have been lodged with the City of Sydney to redevelop space at Mid City Centre for the Uniqlo flagship store but, in the interim, the group will offer a limited range at the pop-up site until the end of the year. The label has taken the former Valley Girl site on the ground floor at Glasshouse, and are doing a fit-out for a May 1 opening.

Georgina Safe travelled to Melbourne courtesy of Uniqlo.

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