Streetwear has been around for years, but it’s only recently come into its own as an identifiable style. Due to its high visibility and unique subculture, it’s earned plenty of attention, both positive and negative. It’s important to learn the do’s and don’ts of streetwear if you want to avoid making serious fashion faux pas when dressing in this cool clothing category. Read on to discover how to dress like the coolest streetwear people without looking like an imitation or breaking any fashion rules in the process!
What makes a good pair of sneakers
Shoe technology has come a long way in recent years, but a good pair of sneakers still needs to do two things well: fit comfortably and look great. High-end sneakers will often be designed for performance, but when it comes to getting fit, design trumps function every time. So what makes for a great-looking sneaker? It depends on how you’re going to wear them. Are they performance sneakers meant for running or weightlifting? Are they a casual shoe meant to be worn out with jeans or other street clothes? But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some general rules that apply regardless of your preferred style. Fortunately, we compiled all those tips into one comprehensive list: The Dos and Don’ts of Streetwear. Do’s first:
1) Your sneakers should always fit like your favorite pair of dress shoes.
2) Your high tops should not extend beyond your toes.
3) Straps are okay, especially if you need extra support, but make sure they don’t cut off circulation or pinch too tightly at any point around your foot—this is especially important with lightweight canvas designs.
4) A lot of modern casual shoes (including low top tennis shoes/basketball kicks) have an asymmetrical lacing system where one side is laced tighter than another to give you a more secure fit; be sure both sides feel comfortable before pulling them too tight.
Know your labels
Every guy knows about brands like Supreme, Diamond Supply Co., and BAPE, but those labels represent only a sliver of streetwear. Every day new brands emerge, meaning you’ll have to stay on top of trends if you want to stay in style. It’s also worth noting that not all streetwear is meant for everyday wear—be sure to take comfort into account before making any purchases (no one wants to be sweaty). Before buying anything, do your research. Pay attention to what other people are wearing so you can get an idea of who makes quality pieces and who doesn’t. Look up product reviews online or ask other guys in your neighborhood what they think—most importantly, don’t be afraid to try things out yourself! Experiencing how something looks or feels on your body will help inform future choices; it won’t do much good if you know a brand is trustworthy when its garments just don’t work with your body type or personal style. Knowing what goes together makes shopping much easier; because more often than not, a cheap shirt from Topman will never look as good as something from A Bathing Ape even if both are coveted by streetwear snobs.
Finding unique pieces
If you love streetwear, look for shops in major cities that specialize in it. Think: Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris. They’ll have a much wider selection than your local mall’s H&M or Abercrombie & Fitch store—and if you live near any of these places, it’s a great excuse to travel! If you want to track down some exclusive items by known designers, try signing up for an insider list (many designers release them before their official releases).
Accessories are key
When you’re on a budget, it might be tempting to save money by avoiding accessories. But in reality, accessories are what set street style apart from looking like you’re wearing a uniform. Play with color and prints (you can get away with louder options as long as they’re still well put together), keep your jewelry minimal but interesting (bracelets, necklaces or layered pieces add character). And pick up those sunglasses! Even if they aren’t aviators or oversized Wayfarers, sunglasses can help make an outfit look finished. Plus, we all know that having some protection for our eyes is never a bad thing—bonus points if you find something with UV protection!
3 mistakes you should avoid when wearing streetwear
1. Trying to wear what everyone else is wearing.
2. Buying streetwear you can’t afford or that doesn’t fit your body type.
3. Wearing clothing that you wouldn’t wear with anything else (aka stacking). If it doesn’t look good with other things in your closet, don’t buy it! The single most important piece of advice is to own fewer items, but those items should be well-made, versatile, and fit you well.