Hip-Hop Culture in Fashion From New York to L.A.

Music and art based communities express a unique style that emulates their philosophy, lifestyle and culture – there are plenty of people who consider the United States, more specifically – New York City to be the starting grounds for hip hop as a popular music genre and as a predominant culture extending beyond it’s dance and music oriented roots.

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You don’t have to be a fan of hip hop to appreciate, incorporate and get down with it’s attire – below are key pieces of clothing and accessories from areas of the US where hip hop remains thriving and stems from a culture rooted in style, free expression, dance and of course, music – hip hop to be exact.

East Coast Style : New York City

From freestyle lyricists and recording artists to break dancers and graffiti artists, New York City hip hop fashion takes on a look seeped in comfort, prestige and an homage to the city they reside in.

Clothing
– Large T-shirts that’s length extends below the waistline commonly with a short sleeve, white tee undershirt that is a little longer that the t-shirt on top so it can be see poking out from underneath. The t-shirt colors are usually neutral and / or solid colors like black, white, gray or red and sometimes have a logo representing the brand, the city or the borough / section they are from or reside in
-Full on athletic track suits (windbreaker material)

Hip Hop legends sporting track suits, bucket hats and adidas sneakers

– Sweatpants with cargo pockets
– Military camouflage print (shorts, pants, tops, jackets)
– Black bomber jackets
– Loose fitted jeans and / or sweatpants with boxers peeking up from the top of them
– Faux fur and / or fur trim hoods on winter coats and fully covered vests
– Skin tight, short dresses (skirt length varies but most commonly high thigh and rarely below the knee or just above the knee)
– Long soccer (shin guard) socks, worn just below the knee and over pants and / or jeans

Accessories
– Fitted baseball caps (typically sports teams and sometimes with the sticker still on the rim of the lid) worn with the rim facing front or with the rim angled slightly to one side.

Most artists also don gold grillz. Opt for the silver teeth by Custom Gold Grillz for a low cost alternative to gold.

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Big Daddy Kane – double finger, brass knuckle rings, long weave chains and a fitted baseball cap

 

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Queen Latifah rockin an afro mohawk hair-do and dangling bulky earrings

– Gold or silver hoop earrings and bulky earrings
– Bold hairstyles
– Necklaces with the person’s name or a word spelt out in cursive lettering
– Military dog tags
– Bucket hats
– Wide brim hats
– Chunky gold necklace chains
– Joint double finger rings – they look similar to brass knuckles but with different pendants and designs on top
– Bangle Bracelets
– Classic black Ray Ban wayfarer sunglasses
– Jean jackets with hoodie sweatshirts (mostly zip-up) underneath with the hood out

Sneakers / Shoes
– White Nike Air Force 1
– Classic Adidas
– Classic Timberland Work Boots

Southern Style: Atlanta

Hip Hop southern style is gritty and exaggerated- hallmarked in the rough and rugged with a touch of flair and a cool vibe, especially because it gets HOT in the south.

Clothing
– White tank top undershirts worn without any top shirt
-Sports team jerseys
– White tee undershirts with a top shirt (usually in a neutral or solid color like blue, black or red) except the top shirt is worn with only one arm in the sleeve so it hangs over their chest and off to one side with mostly the white tee under shirt visible
– Baggy cargo shorts sometimes with boxers noticeably poking out from the top
– Loose fitting sleeveless t-shirts
– Bare skin (topless) with a solid color t-shirt or white tank top undershirt draped onto and over one shoulder

Hip Hop artist Nelly sporting a sleeveless sports jersey with a backwards fitted baseball cap and diamond studded earrings

Accessories
– Military dog tags
– Fitted baseball caps worn backwards, front facing or completely sideways sometimes with a solid color do-rag peeking out front underneath
– Gold teeth or “grills” – they are similar to dentures but they are worn over the teeth and are usually made out of gold, silver or platinum sometimes accented with words or encrusted with jewels
– Diamond studded earrings
– Basketball sweatbands
– Toothpicks (one hanging out the mouth while chewing on it)

West Coast Style: Los Angeles

West Coast hip hop style is a mashup of styles from the east coast, the south, the south pacific and a medley of other music generations – but a few things are for sure – promotion for whatever it may be whether that is your favorite team, your favorite sport / hobby, a logo / brand, a gang affiliation or to show off your best assets – when assembled together into one outfit, you can sense west coast hip hop influence in the mix.

Clothing
– Long sleeve flannel shirts with a white tee undershirt – the top button is the only one that is buttoned so the white tee underneath is almost entirely visible
– Dark denim jackets with matching dark denim jeans
– Long white socks – about three quarters above the ankle – mid calf usually worn with shorts that hang below the knee so only a small sliver of leg is showing between the socks and the shorts
– Crop tops
– Flannel t-shirts tied around the waist – ties in front
– T-shirts with brands and logos on them in a variety of different colors typically very vibrant and bright – noticeable colors
– Harem pants usually worn with the bottoms scrunched up a bit to show a little bit of ankle
– Bomber jackets – in solid and bright metallic colors or in colorful patterns and uniquely designed prints
– Leather jackets, shirts and pants
– Cardigans
– Short shorts paired with long soccer (shin guard) socks

Accessories
– Bandanas – tied loosely around the neck (like a cowboy) or around the skull like a headband with the ties facing front or folded into a triangle and then repeatedly folded to form a spear-like shape to make a headband with the ties facing the back towards the nape of the neck
– Beanie Hats
– Fitted baseball caps – worn facing frontwards or backwards (sometimes with bandanas worn underneath them so you can see the bandana peeking out from underneath)
– Long chain necklaces with pendants
-Aviator sunglasses

Shoes / Sneakers
– Hi top sneakers in all different colors and styles
– Sneaker style hi tops with a small wedge heel on them

Just like interior and architectural design, style in fashion changes, evolves and adapts because of trends, culture, community, environment and political and social influences. In whichever way you choose to do it – EXPRESS YOURSELF!