How to Dress for Hip Hop

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Most contemporary hip hop fashion is inspired by gangster rap, which draws influence from street clothing--or a "thuggish" look. Other styles that have survived from past decades include sportswear with large logos and remnants of traditional African attire.

Dress for Hip Hop as a Man

  • Wear an oversized T-shirt. The T-shirt should be long enough to cover the entire torso. Plain white shirts are the preferred style.

  • Put on dark washed jeans. Wear the jeans baggy, low and without a belt. This style is still around from the nineties.

  • Get a fitted baseball cap. Often, these baseball caps are not of the original team colors, but come in many different color options. The sticker underneath the brim should be left on.

  • Wear a doo-rag or hair net underneath the baseball cap. Wear the rag long and tied in the back, so that the rag hangs down on your shoulder.

  • Choose between boots, basketball shoes or sneakers. Sneakers are most commonly Nike brand and come in an endless assortment of color schemes.

  • Sport some bling. Heavy platinum chains and watches, often with embedded diamonds, are worn as status symbols.

Dress for Hip Hop as a Woman

  • Feminize the hip hop styles for men. At the beginning of hip hop's fashion craze, women often wore the same style as men to portray a tough image.

  • Wear dark washed jeans tight around the hips and flared. Thigh-length jean shorts are also popular.

  • Dress in tight, very short skirts if you want to fit in at hip hop clubs. Any bottoms that emphasize hips and butt are popular.

  • Wear tank tops, halter-tops or camisoles. Like men, the most common color is plain white.

  • Choose very feminine shoes. Like a lot of women's fashion, high-heeled shows and sandals are dominant footwear styles.

  • Sport flashy jewelry. Hoop earrings and plentiful bracelets are still popular choices.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hip hop fashion came into its own in the late eighties. Traditional African clothing inspired a lot of red, green and black color schemes, as well as a lot of bright colors and designs. Dreadlocks were popular and even blousy pants in the style of MC Hammer had their time.
  • Late nineties hip hop fashion was more sportswear oriented. Tommy Hilfiger started the trend, but FUBU, Ecko Unlimited, Mecca USA, Lugz, Walker Wear, Boss Jeans and Enyce also jumped on the bandwagon. These clothes had basic American styles, but added huge logos wherever possible.

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