Hip hop clothing is a popular fashion trend inspired by the rap music of the late seventies, and it's popularity continues to grow. Whether you want to emulate your favorite rap stars or just appreciate this style of dress, there are certain steps you'll want to take to make sure you authentically look the part.
Where to Buy
Looking for hip hop wear? Check out these websites:
- Rocawear: Founded by hip hop artist and rapper Jay Z, here you'll find plenty of current fashions for both boys and girls.
- Dr Jays: Cutting edge style that is eye catching and daring is par for the course at this online shopping site.
- Nice Kicks: As you can probably tell from it's name, Nice Kicks offers the very best in basketball and sport items.
- Karma Loop: While Karma Loop can be a pit pricey, the bright colors and fashionable styles listed here makes visiting the site worthwhile.
How to Wear
No need for stress when expressing your hip hop style. First, keep in mind where the trend was born (the poorest sections of New York: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan's Greenwich Village). Second, the music is born out of a sense of feeling disenfranchised and alienated. The following chart contains a few key pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe and how to wear them.
|Key Piece||Wear Like This|
|Sneakers||Anything goes here, but the bright white classic sneaker looks most authentic. Boys can pair them with baggy jeans and a baggy shirt. Girls, wear them with cute denim skirts in the summer and baggy, gym-inspired sweats in the winter.|
|Sunglasses||Flashy and cutting edge is the key here, and if it's a brand name pair, so much the better.|
|Big Gold Earrings||Girls, the trend here is bigger is always better. The earrings can be thick or thin. To really accentuate the earrings, pull long hair into a high, tight ponytail (a la Beyonce). If your hair is short, no problem, the length of your neck will naturally accentuate the size of the earrings.|
|The Bling||Don't worry; you won't have to blow a lot of cash to pull this trend off. This is a very ethnic look that looks fabulous. Wear three or four necklaces of varying length (they should have pendants, or even better, your name spelled out in gold) with three or four bracelets. Keep the earrings small, or the look will be too overwhelming. If you want to wear the big earrings, take at least one thing off.|
|A Word on Matching||Tread carefully with this one. Matching from head to toe requires a big personality, so if you don't like being the center of attention, steer clear of this one.|
|Hair||You're free to do what you like. Grow it out in a fro, get corn-rows like Allen Iverson, or wear it long and sleek. All hair types, textures, and styles work with the hip hop style.|
History of Hip Hop Clothing
It is impossible to talk about hip hop clothing without tracing it back to its roots; namely hip hop music. Born in 1975 in New York's Bronx, hip hop music began when Jamaican immigrants began living on the Bronx's Westside. Many became disc-jockeys (DJ's) who literally, with two turntables and a microphone, gave birth to the phenomena we now call hip hop.
As the first rap groups began creating music, they also created hip hop fashion. In the eighties, it was the white sneakers, the big gold earrings and the fade out hair style for men. Most of these trends are still with us today. In the nineties, the trend leaned towards bright, almost neon-colored pieces (as showcased by the group TLC), paired with baggy clothes. Inspired by the prison culture and perhaps one the most famous, or infamous, fashion trends is the baggy pants worn sans belt. In prison, new inmates have their belts taken away from them, and since prison clothing rarely fits properly, young men were reduced to hiking their pants up with their hands in the prison yard.
Each segment of the country puts its own unique stamp on the hip hop culture. New Yorkers prefers hooded sweat shirts and Timberland boots, while the West Coasters likes big flannel shirts and Converse sneakers. The South brought in gold teeth fashion.
Don't Try Too Hard
Remember when wearing hip hop fashions that the key is not to look like you're trying to hard. As Snoop Doggy Dog so aptly put it, "laid back is the way to go." If you feel nervous about embracing the trend, try one key piece to start you off, and see how you feel. If you like it, gradually add more pieces to your wardrobe, and you'll be looking ghetto fabulous in no time.