Urban wear used to carry a very negative connotation in the minds of fashionistas, writers, and editors who felt as though the tried and tested fashion ethos was at risk of being lost to empty values of consumerism in which labels were more important than quality, and the politics of rebellion would win out against the individuality through associations of disenfranchisement of today’s disaffected youth. These are in lot the same individuals who felt that the grunge look or bohemian chic was the end of the world. True fashion is not about breaking all of the rules, just for the sake of doing so, but learning about how the rules relate to the way in which you see yourself in this world, and how you are going to use them to your own advantage. This article is for that individual who still likes the idea of “urban” fashion, but isn’t into the loud stuff and the blinding bright colors.
These days’ consumers of the old hip-hop look have a very mature and sophisticated understanding of how fashion works, and how clothing should fit. Designers for companies as diversified as Rocawear and Sean John are creating men’s lines that actually take into account how pants should hang from the waist and hit right above the shoe to maintain a clean look. Many companies offer tailored clothing and traditional dress shirts that offer something for anyone looking to make a fashion statement.
Stand out from the crowd and find new ways to assert yourself through taking the best of denim wear and mixing it with cheap and chic labels and traditional sportswear to create a new look.
• There is a bit of confusion as to whether denim actually started in France, or in the U.S. for use on the gold mines out in California. Either way, French designers continue to offer interesting looks that those in the know can use to create something new and different from the norm. There’s more to it than Lacoste, Christian Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton; try out some clothes from Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin, or even Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, designers that are a bit harder to find, though we’re sure you’ll fall in love with them once you see their collections.
• How about jeans that don’t actually have anything on them, just great jeans with a comfortable fit that are quality pieces you can wear anywhere? Try out monochromatic colors, such as white, black or grey.
• Graphic tees; rather than wear t-shirts with pictures of skulls, or appliques of the same item in various colors on a white or black background, try out t-shirts with complex graphic designs that are a bit out of the norm. Lightweight t-shirts are only different when the actual designs on them are set apart from what all of the other designers are making.
• Try out something other than jeans and khakis; cotton trousers create a look that is both understated and unique.
• Contradiction still applies in urban wear. A t-shirt that has been destroyed beyond all recognition paired with a nice, clean, dark rinse jean and some Birkenstocks might get positive attention.
No one is suggesting that you go back to wearing your old Guess or Girbuad, unless you absolutely want to. A friend of mine buys old Calvin Klein Jeans t-shirts whenever he finds them, because he still thinks its fun to wear old stuff that screams “conspicuous consumer” with today’s trends. He needs to get with the times though; he still wears old sweaters with a picture of the Polo bear in the wintertime.
- Chris Kendalls