An essential guide for streetwear newcomers
In fashion, streetwear is an enigma. It’s a vague category that isn’t as clearly defined as couture, athletic wear, or formal wear. It’s an abstract concept that everyone thinks they understand, but when asked to truly define, they’d struggle to find the words. But this isn’t a negative for streetwear. In fact, it actually works to the category’s advantage. Because the definition is ever-changing, so are its offerings. There are no rules. It’s a category that’s never stagnant or boring. It’s perhaps the most exciting sect of the fashion world. It’s home to disrupters who’ve upended the classic fashion business model. It’s also home to conglomerates who are hoping to capitalize on buzz and sell it to the masses. For a fashion category that a lot of people don’t fully understand, there’s a lot of activity.
So what is streetwear? If you trust in Wikipedia, streetwear “is a distinctive style of street fashion. Rooted in Californian surf and skate culture, it has grown to encompass elements of hip hop fashion, Japanese fashion, and modern haute couture fashion.” The definition is still a bit ambiguous. But when you look at what’s currently happening in streetwear, it’s clear that it’s casual and contemporary. It’s a mix of high and low: mixed media cotton shirts with metallic panels and jeans with motorcycle detail. Streetwear is about dressing down with style. It requires just as much style, if not more, as any other category. It’s a movement that, despite its alleged Cali roots, is heavily steeped in and influenced by hip hop. It’s chock full of youthful energy and edge. It’s daring and calls for a unique fashion fan that can make anything look good.
It’s a rare style that allows Kanye West to walk the VMAs white carpet in a t-shirt, jeans, and duck boots and make every best dressed list. It elevates the basics to A-list status. It’s the future of fashion. An undying trend defined by its constant evolution and refusal to die. And if you want any shot at keeping your wardrobe up to par, then streetwear needs to be your new best friend.
Why You Need A Streetwear Wardrobe
You can’t avoid it, for starters. Every department store, boutique, and mass market brand have bitten the streetwear bug. Even if you think you’re bucking the trend by going to Macy’s, odds are you’re running your hands over tons of streetwear pieces without even knowing it. Streetwear is engrained in men’s fashion and it’s the single most popular movement happening in all the industry.
You need a streetwear wardrobe because your life calls for it. Our lives are blending in all sorts of new ways. The new class of tech CEOs, businessmen, and artists are forgoing traditional workplaces for shared spaces like WeWork. Work culture is no longer about rocking a power suit to a boardroom. Instead, you’re on a video conference on your laptop. You’ve got beer on tap for your lunch hour. You’re working side by side with people from completely different industries. You’re living in an age where your hustle is more important than the designer of your blazer. Streetwear is a side of fashion that perfectly represents this lifestyle. Like you and modern work culture, it’s pushing against norms and rejecting everything that was the status quo.
Additionally, a streetwear wardrobe is versatile. It gets you from point A to point B with ease. You can be the most stylish person on the 11 a.m. conference call. Then you can head to spin class without even changing. Your wardrobe works just as well at an impromptu coffee shop business meeting as it does at happy hour. Unlike suiting, streetwear ebbs and flows with you through your day with little need for adjustment. With your changing lifestyle, you need clothes that will take the journey with you.
Streetwear once had a pretty nasty reputation as lazy style. It was fashion that was too casual. Critics pegged athleisure as the death of men’s fashion. They saw as it as little more than men showing up to meetings in sweatpants. But that’s a foolish way to look at it. Streetwear is so much more. And with a few key pieces in your arsenal, you’ll understand why.
Essential Tips Before You Buy
In a sense, you need to throw out everything you know about fashion. You’re not shopping for a pair of khakis and a woven dress shirt. You’re not shopping to fit in; you’re looking to stand out.
Streetwear is mostly a loose game when it comes to fit. No skintight tees or pants that fit you like a glove. Yes, there will be certain pieces that are cut slim. That’s fine. But the movement is more about layering, comfort, and style through design. It’s more about a bold print choice, a prominent graphic, or the combination of multiple pieces. It’s not about wearing something so tight that every vein in your bicep or every quad muscle shows through. That’s not what streetwear is about. It’s time to loosen up.
For so long, logos were the bane of modern fashion’s existence. Wearing a huge logo splashed across your back or your torso was a tacky no-no. But this isn’t the 2000s anymore. Men’s fashion is over its snobbery and is proudly embracing the logo-heavy glory of the 90s. Wear your logos big and wear them proud.
Statements are great, too. It’s not just logos that are making a comeback. Statement tees are ruling the streets. But we’re not talking about those cheesy, sexual innuendo tees from Abercrombie & Fitch’s heyday. While there’s nothing wrong with a little double entendre, these shirts are more in touch with today’s culture. The best ones feature everything from social awareness proclamations to statements of cool.
If you’re a streetwear newbie, you don’t have to go full on Yeezy from head to toe. It’s perfectly acceptable to work in a piece or two in a subtle way. Substitute some joggers for your favorite slacks. Or replace your oxfords with some low-top sneakers. While it’s true that you might be trend chasing just a little bit by getting involved with streetwear, you can still do it in your own way. Be authentic.
What To Buy
If you’re just getting started in the streetwear fashion realm, this part is the most fun. You’re armed with some streetwear history, reasons to embark on the journey, and even some essential tips for how to wear it. Now, you need to shop for the clothes.
When you’re building a great house, you have to start with a strong foundation. Joggers are that foundation. They’re a great piece to own because they have a stylistic versatility that’s unrivaled by most other pieces. Depending on your aesthetic, there’s likely a place for them in your looks. Guys have worn them with everything from blazers and oxfords to tees and trainers.
Know that there’s a difference between joggers and sweatpants. Joggers are typically tapered at the leg opening and capped off with a ribbed cuff. They’re a bit slimmer than sweatpants and made from a cotton blend that includes spandex or nylon. They’re simultaneously comfortable and functional. Throw them on for a workout or an evening stroll. Wear them with everything.
Our Printed Twill Jogger Pants find the perfect balance between style and comfort. With an elastic, drawstring waist, you can adjust the fit for every part of your day. And with two zipper closure hand pockets on the front and two back welt pockets, you don’t have to worry about losing functionality. There’s room for your wallet, keys, handkerchief, and anything else you need to bring along.
There really isn’t anything more street than a good hoodie. It has long been the essence of streetwear. Equally as essential as the jogger, hoodies come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. From a go-to pullover for 8 a.m. class to a casual style alternative to keeping warm in winter, hoodies are necessary.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a desired fit. The original fit was defined by tight cuffs, an extra big hood, and a short body. Depending on where you’ve shopped in the past, you may or may not have encountered this fit. It has a more athletic look and feel-a stark alternative to the oversized, baggy look that’s common on college campuses across America.
We’ve taken the classic hoodie and flipped it upside down. We offer a multiple of colors and designs in both short and long-sleeve styles with pullover and zipper options. Our Marled Colorblock Zip Hoodie Jacket gives you the warmth and flexibility of outerwear while still providing a streetwear edge. The zipper closure chest pocket on the front is an innovative design touch that’s one of a kind. And unlike the cotton varieties you’ll find on the market, this one is 100% polyester. This means your hoodie will easily stand up against shrinking, wear and tear, and wrinkles.
Prior to streetwear’s resurgence, men were categorized as style robots that favored basics over anything remotely adventurous. It was easier to sell guys 3-packs of Fruit of the Loom crewneck t-shirts than a floral graphic tee. But times have changed. Streetwear isn’t about minimalism or subtlety. The bolder, the better. Graphic tees are the one piece of your outfit where you can experiment. You can pull a look together or you can break it apart. Whatever you decide to do, do it in a big way.
We offer a wide range of beautifully designed tees that will turn heads on the street and add a dash of adrenaline to any look. The Bull Splatter Longline Crewneck T-shirt offers a bold metallic outline of a bull set against a speckled background. The Ripped Fishtail Longline T-shirt offers more of a classic edition of bold with the storied camouflage print. The Floral Striped Longline Crewneck T-shirt covers your torso in a large brightly colored floral design interspersed with jagged white stripes.
Graphic tees are a great way to avoid falling into a routine or creating a boring look. Express your personality and create a daring narrative with these tees.
Though joggers run the show in streetwear, denim is still a major player. Especially dark indigo denim. Like black, dark indigo matches just about everything. It’s hard to take a wrong turn unless you deck yourself out in the Canadian tuxedo.
We offer a range of dark blue denim vests and jackets like the Hooded Denim Vest Jacket. You can wear them buttoned as a key outfit element or layer them over your graphic tee. These vests work great whether they’re a supporting player or the star of the show.
The same goes for jeans. Styles like our Essential Denim Straight-Leg Fit Jean and Frayed Slim Fit Denim Biker Ribbed Jeans can add a touch of classic cool to any look but in a modern way. And as mentioned earlier, don’t fret when you don’t see a skinny fit for sale. While skinny isn’t exactly dying off, it’s not the core fit in streetwear. The silhouette here is fuller and flowing; the aesthetic is rugged. It’s less refined. Skinny denim doesn’t communicate edge; it’s the streetwear equivalent of dress slacks.
Building a streetwear wardrobe is wildly fun because it’s a journey into new territory. For guys who’ve abided by outdated men’s fashion rules and spent their lives shopping in conventional stores, streetwear offers an opportunity to break apart from the mold. Like the rest of fashion, there’s a dress code here; there are some guidelines. But they’re more about self-expression. Your staple pieces aren’t boring chameleon pieces that go with anything. Each part of your streetwear wardrobe has a distinct personality and purpose.
You aren’t simply following a trend. You’re building a lifestyle. You’re joining a community. You’re reinventing yourself by throwing out everything you thought you knew about fashion. And while that can be scary, it’s a journey that’s necessary; it’s also one that’s a lot of fun.