Streetwear and streetwear culture are in constant flux. Unlike couture, formal wear, or any other style that invites easy definition, streetwear is abstract and traces its roots to several disparate sources, all of which are continually developing themselves.
That’s why it can be tough to pin down, and tough to get into. All the same, it’s taking over the fashion world one red carpet event at a time. And if you want to keep your style up to par, you’re going to need to know the basics.
That’s why we’ve put together this primer, explaining what streetwear is, where it comes from, and the basic pieces you’ll need to build the foundation of a streetwear wardrobe
What Is Streetwear Culture?
It was probably inevitable that streetwear would take over the world one day. The writing has been on the wall ever since James Dean made a plain white tee into a statement.
And at its core, that James Dean-attitude is a good way to conceptualize what streetwear culture is all about. It’s rebellious, non-conformist, and often eccentric. It draws inspiration from actual street styles you’ll see in dozens of subcultures from across the world.
From the myriad Japanese street fashions to west coast skate culture and everything in between, streetwear is everything bold, cool, and underground.
So that’s the spirit of the streetwear culture. But what pieces actually make up the wardrobe?
The following are a few key selections that will let you build up a good foundation:
Joggers are an excellent starting point because of their versatility. Depending on your aesthetic, or the specific occasion, you can often find a use for them in your day-to-day style.
For example, joggers and a printed tee are a good bread-and-butter combo, but they can be paired with a blazer or oxford just as well.
Hoodies are another basic, and everyone should keep a handful in their closet.
As with many fashion choices, branding is a factor. While the cost of Supreme or an equivalent brand might seem off-putting, they make up for it in quality construction and recognition.
The default top is the basic tee shirt. This is true in the lion’s share of men’s fashion.
Making a basic choice into a streetwear statement comes down to the choice of graphics. This is an area where you can really let your personal style shine by picking out a motif that speaks to you on some level and making it a signature.
Bring It All Together and Making It Your Own
At the end of the day, streetwear culture is about making a personal statement. It grew out of the avant-garde and the underground, and as such, it lives or dies on its ability to make the mass market into the unique.
That’s why this primer mostly focuses on the basics, your bread and butter selections. Once you’ve got those locked down, the real fun begins as its time to find your own unique flourishes to make the style your own. No one can do it for you, you have to find your own voice for yourself.
But if you need a few raw ideas to get you on the right track, then be sure to keep up with all the latest on style from FactoryTwoFour.