Unless you’re living under a rock, you need to have a solid streetwear wardrobe. Streetwear is the cornerstone of everyday style. This isn’t to say it’s easy to master, though. While a pair of jeans, a tee and some sneakers can certainly be considered streetwear, not just any jeans, tee and sneakers could. For an outfit to be considered truly streetwear, it has to embody elements of the streets from which it comes.
Well, this is harder to define. Streetwear is generally credited with being founded in Cali skate and surf culture, but these days, the ubiquitous trend can reflect any fashion that is inspired from any ‘streets’ (i.e. subculture) with a strong story and vibe. We’re talking hip-hop culture, Japanese street culture, and then also, more haute-couture. Think of it as urban ease meets high fashion. It looks simple enough to put together a solid streetwear ensemble — and it is once you get the hang of it — but getting the hang of it can take some time. That’s where this article will help.
Here’s how to build a strong streetwear wardrobe.
First thing you need is a quality pair of blue jeans — and dark blue jeans are best. These shades are more easy to dress up or down. While distressed or faded jeans are by no means out when it comes to streetwear, we’re talking about building a foundation here, and you need consistency for that. Opt for a pair of jeans that boasts a fairly uniform wash and a fitted, slim cut. Go for classic and clean lines. You can embrace a more wayward vibe later. We’re all about the basics, right now.
Here’s where streetstyle and athleisure meet: the sweats. Sweat or lounge pants can make the transition off the couch and onto the street when paired with more structured foundations of streetwear, like a bomber jacket or army-inspired coat. (Add that to the list, by the way!) When donning your sweats, however, keep in mind that they need to be pristine: no spaghetti stains or Dorito dust. Streetwear is deliberate style, not fly-by-night, throw on what you can find fashion.
T-shirts with text and graphics are a cornerstone of streetwear. Which you’ll choose will depend on what you want to express. You can simply opt for a designer t-shirt that features the designer’s name, or you can be inspired by goth or punk or eco culture and pick up more esoteric (but super cool) look. The similarity that all these options share is they are set on the stage of the classic, incomprombrible tee — and that can go with anything.
Another basic streetwear top you’ll want? The hoodie! As with the sweats, steer clear of anything that’s frumpy or unkempt. Opt for a hoodie that is more fitted. Zip up or pullover —- doesn’t matter, but you want something that looks casual, and put together.
We’ve already mentioned them: you’re going to need some sweet sneakers. Remember, streetwear was founded in surf and skate style, so pick up a cool pair of skate shoes, or even some Sketchers or Chucks. You can also toss on your favourite tennis, b-ball or running shoes. Even boat shoes can make the cut, when paired with the other key elements of street style.
Of course, there are more subtleties to rocking streetwear, but these are your founding pieces, and they’re where all solid streetwear style begins. Get them, and then start building more from there once you’ve mastered the basics.