Hip hop wear is a strange and complicated fashion trend. On one hand, it’s considered unflattering, while on the other hand, brands like Yeezy and Supreme have become billion-dollar behemoths in the fashion industry. Streetwear and hip hop clothing have become somewhat synonymous.
Streetwear originated about 50 years ago from the surf culture in California, but it wasn’t until the nineties when it became so widespread thanks to hip hop’s chart dominance, when graphic T-shirts, baggy jeans and oversized mens hip hop jackets became ubiquitous. 30 years later, the generation that took streetwear to the fashion forefront is in the middle and later stages of life, and most of us still feel more comfortable wearing hoodies than suits.
This also has to do with the more relaxed dress codes. Fewer and fewer people are looking for tailored suits and more people prefer wearing business casual instead. Those who wore suits now wear jeans and jackets, while those who wore jeans are looking at tracksuits if their workplace allows it. Luckily, streetwear has also evolved, so whether you’re looking to refine your style or adjust it, here are a few ways to do it without looking like you try too hard.
Fabric Quality Matters
Up until recently, streetwear clothing consisted of pieces that are worn while skating, which is why most of it was made from heavy cotton and denim in loose fits. However, modern streetwear has a reach far beyond the skate park, and designers have spent quite a lot of time reworking many of the staple pieces, including cargo pants, hoodies, trainers, etc. into clothing that you don’t want to hit the concrete with. Furthermore, streetwear has become more about details, so if you want to incorporate some style into your wardrobe, a subtle way to do it is with a pair of high-end sweatpants or mens hip hop jackets.
Avoid the Hypebeast Train
Nowadays, all the young people jump on the next hype train as soon as they see it coming. Recognition has become currency, so you need to have all the brands that other people want, whether it’s the newest Jordan collab, freshest Yeezys, Supreme, etc. As time passes, the price of these garments rises significantly. This is due to people buying limited pieces in bulk and then selling them at a much higher price for profit. Don’t be one of those people paying crazy dollars to get an item just because it has a logo from a hyped-up brand. Instead, stick to garments you like and work for you.
Start Building Your Wardrobe From the Bottom Up
In most cases, the shoes are what make the entire outfit, and sneakers are the centrepiece of it all. Although this makes it simple to get an idea of which way you want your other pieces to go, hypebeasts have made some sneakers very expensive when you’re buying at the resale price. Off-white Jordans and Yeezys are notorious for this, and they can cost thousands of dollars. That being said, get sneakers that fly under the hypebeasts’ radar, yet are still made using durable and quality materials.
Wear Loose Instead of Baggy
When you’re a teenager, you don’t care too much, so you can wear oversized clothes as much as you’d like. However, if you’re an adult, loose fits won’t be as forgiving. Streetwear is considered a lifestyle, and it appeals to people from all walks of life. Although a more relaxed fit will be more comfortable to wear, make sure you don’t look like a walking tent. Oversized bomber jackets look cool on teenage boys, but a cropped jacket that balances out the looseness of your other pieces is better suited for adults.
Keep it Simple
Getting a look off the shelf is the fastest way to look like you try too hard. Streetwear is about mix and matching pieces from the same or different styles and brands. You don’t want to look too flashy, especially if you want to dress this way for work. Wearing the latest pieces from head to toe is a look reserved for rich suburban kids and Instagram influencers. But this doesn’t mean you can’t wear statement or branded pieces. You should try to incorporate one or two statement pieces with something that also shows your creative side. Fashion hoodies or jackets work well with chinos than trousers. If you start looking like a walking advertisement for a brand, take things back a bit. You can dress in layers to get the most out of your wardrobe. This is not only practical, but it can be very stylish as well, especially if you’re trying to pull off a hip hop look. However, don’t wear more than three layers, unless you want to look like one of the rappers in a nineties rap video.