When dressing “normal” is the height of trend, calling someone “basic” is the trendiest put down.
“Basic” rolls beautifully off the tongue. It’s a word we’ve all used with gleeful indifference: “So basic,” you think as you scroll through your Instagram feed; “He’s basic,” you offer to your best friend’s about her latest fuccboi. The handy insult derives power from the fact that if you can identify someone or something as basic, then you yourself probably aren’t. It’s also casually inoffensive. You don’t have to stoop to calling someone tacky or gauche or anything truly mean — being basic is so evidently nonthreatening that it doesn’t even warrant the effort.
Basic-ness is, and has always been, about coolness (more accurately, the lack thereof). It isn’t about race or class or misogyny, as overthinkers who unnecessarily intellectualise the term might otherwise convince you. When we use it, all we’re saying is: “The stuff you like is lame and we don’t like you.” It’s mostly aimed at those who pride themselves on possessions or preferences they consider to be special or aspirational, but are in fact commonplace or obvious. Yeezys. Supreme. “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada/Basic bitches wear that s*** so I don’t even bother,” raps Kreayshawn in her hit song Gucci Gucci. Nothing communicates tedious thirst like a $2,000 distressed hoodie or the latest box logo, and thinking that expensive items makes you better or more fashionable than others is so basic, it’s fundamental.
Even when the outfit is almost invisible in its ordinariness (f*** normcore), basics will somehow put it together in a way that screams: “Please approve of me, I promise I’m cool!” It’s no wonder all their jeans have gaping holes at the knees, given the amount of times they’ve gone down for Likes. At least fashion faux pas like Crocs or cargo pants demonstrate personality (you need one to wear something so hideous) or a no-f***s attitude; that bomber draped over milquetoast shoulders, on the other hand, is about as charismatic as mineral water, one that’s not even contaminated with plastic particles for a sense of danger. Face it, basics only started wearing “normal clothing” in #OOTDs when normcore became trendy, believing that being on-trend makes them cool (same for every other trend). But in the Internet and social media era, literally anyone can be on-trend if they want to.
Being basic is not a sin; it simply means you have no style or sense of fashion. And that’s okay. Why worry your beautiful mind over something as nebulous as “taste” or “personality”. If you like basic s***, double down on it. Wear that overpriced box logo or ugly sneaker and blindly follow the next trend into the abyss — it’s not like you have the imagination to do anything else. Going on and on about how you’re basic but you don’t care and you’re going to own it is not going to change the fact that you’re basic, so just shut up already. Dress however you want, because we’re still going to cringe at seeing you all dress the exact same f***ing way.