Hip hop fashion is a popular culture phenomenon that evolved out of the hip hop music scene. Hip hop fashion is typically inspired by and/or based on style trends in ghettos, especially among African American and Latino youth. Baggy clothes are also worn for comfort and practicality as well as stylistic reasons. As hip hop culture is continuously growing and changing, it is difficult to define hip-hop fashion because there are no set styles.
Although at its inception, the early image of hip hop fashion revolved around stereotypical images associated with African American and Latino style (i.e., Timberland boots, baggy clothes), today’s hip hop fashion transcends racial and cultural boundaries. For example, a 2005 issue of Seventeen magazine featured Mary-Kate Olsen wearing a “hip hop” outfit that included a white tank top, high waisted bottoms, a chunky silver necklace and a silver headband.
Hip Hop and Jewelry
The real hip hop jewelry style is not limited to simply gold, silver, and precious stones such as diamonds. Hip hop jewelry can be made with any material that contains color or texture. From the 1980s until the present time, people of all different cultures have adopted the hip hop jewelry style by wearing their hair in various ways along with this type of clothing.
Bling bling is one of the most common styles of hip hop jewelry. The term “bling” was used in 1996 by Uptown Records artist “Heavy D” to describe how good he looked with his new jewelry, which included large diamond necklaces, watches, and bracelets. Rapper Notorious B.I.G. popularized the term further by using it in his 1997 song, “Mo Money Mo Problems.” After Notorious B.I.G.’s death, many rap artists redefined bling in their own terms and fashion images, mainly because they were continually involved in court cases over the rights to use this trademarked term. Many of these artists claimed that they were the real “bling blowers,” and then some rap artists began using their own jewelry to convey this image.
One must consider style when purchasing hip hop fashion accessories, such as earrings and necklaces so individuals get a true hip hop look. For example, wearing hoops is not considered hip-hop fashion, wearing “bling” is.
Common Hip Hop Fashion Styles
There are several styles of hip hop fashion. Some styles may be adopted by the mainstream culture, such as wearing your pants below your waist for ease when playing sports or displaying half of a belt buckle or exposed boxer shorts underneath low-slung jeans.
Over-the-top style is one that has reached its peak and can’t be worn anymore, but you can see it in people in your city.
Styles that are progressively becoming more popular include wearing t-shirts with logos, brand names, and/or images depicting the style of music the person listens to or their favorite sports team. Some wear baggy jeans with suspenders or belts that drape over clothing (but not necessarily in the way that they should be worn).
It is important to note that today’s mainstream hip hop fashion has transcended racial and cultural boundaries. The hip hop jewelry style (bling) is not limited to simply gold, silver, and precious stones. Hip hop fashion can be made with any material that contains color or texture. People of all cultures have adopted the hip hop fashion style by wearing their hair in various ways along with this type of clothing.
Interestingly, there are some people who do not follow any hip hop fashion trends but still want to be stylish. On the other hand, an individual may model themselves as being a real “hip-hopper” or “gangster” by wearing real hip hop fashion jewelry, real name brand clothing, or expensive shoes.
A Brief History
Hip hop started on the west coast and slowly became mainstream and made its way across the country and to other parts of the world (Europe). MC Hammer was one of the first rappers who gained a lot of mainstream attention from white people. He was followed by NWA and then Tupac. Even though the culture was developed on the west coast, it made its way to New York and sparked a big hip hop scene there during the late 80s.
There were two main styles of dress: one style featured colorful clothes and fitted caps while another style challenged this by dressing in all black clothes and wearing black fitted caps. This style wasn’t popular with everyone but was mainly adopted by people in the underground scene. The culture of hip-hop shows no signs of slowing down, especially in its fashion. The clothing styles are constantly evolving so it is always possible to find new clothes that fit your personality.
Hip hop fashion is not only limited to clothing. It includes real hip-hop jewelry and real name brand clothing, expensive shoes, innovative styles of hair, and real bling in the form of real gold chains. Some of these styles are no longer popular, but some are still in style.
One of the most important aspects of hip hop fashion is to be original and get your own style. There are different ways to get an urban look, not just through clothes but also by wearing jewels that fit your personal style. This will ensure you have a unique look that not only captures the attention of your peers but also the people in your city.