THE KEYS TO MEN'S STREETWEAR (2021)
Get into the mood of men's fashion by following these simple steps. Streetwear is not easy to master
If you like out-of-the-box looks, you'll love this guide to the best of men's streetwear.
We see many men adopting this style which offers a lot of freedom in the way they dress and express their personality. It's time for you to master streetwear too.
The term itself is tricky to define as it is used to describe a constellation of trends - luxury sportswear being one and an ongoing interest in the looks of skateboarding pioneers, punk rockers and 1980s rappers being another. There's also a thrift store archivist element to the streetwear, as the main items are ones you probably already own: an oversized jacket, a sweatshirt and bright white trainers.
Anyway, however you define it, streetwear is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, thanks to its continued infiltration into the world of high-end style. The movement has been driven by Balenciaga, Givenchy and Lanvin, who regularly incorporate elements of the street into their seasonal collections, but it's also represented by a host of newer brands such as Vetements, Off-White and Fear of God, which is another way of saying "this is what the cool kids are wearing".
With this in mind, we at STREETWEAR thought it was high time we gave you some tips on how to incorporate streetwear into your wardrobe. Here are our rules of conduct.
WEAR OVERSIZED CLOTHING
Let's start this chapter with an apology to all the readers who have spent hours in the gym sculpting a flawless V-shaped torso to look like a towering beauty in a slim-fitting henley shirt. Because streetwear is loose. Enjoy the unlimited sensation of wearing a shirt, jumper or jacket that is actually, or was designed to look, at least one size too big. As for how to fit such pieces into your outfit, we suggest combining several items in layers over a pair of knee-length shorts. One last point: shirts should have at least one, if not all, buttons undone to keep everything in place.
WEAR YOUR BRAND LOGO WITH PRIDE
In the luxury world, at least since the late 1990s, it's become a bit difficult to walk around with a logo on your chest - such ostentatious showing off, according to the consensus, is in poor taste. In streetwear, however, a logo means a little more than how much you paid for something, it's a badge of honour and an acknowledgement that you are aligned with a particular style tribe. Therefore, it's perfectly fine to wear your favourite brand's logo, whether it's on a t-shirt, cap, sweatshirt or logo bomber jacket. Just make sure you don't overdo it, i.e. stick to one (maximum of two) logos at a time. It looks a bit promiscuous and - dare we say the word unspeakable - inauthentic if you have hundreds of people vying for attention at once. An extra tip: logos that originate from places far from your current GPS location get big style points. A surf shop T-shirt from Malibu is as good in Paris as the Chinese Nike logo above that turns heads in London.
WEAR SLOGANS ON YOUR CLOTHING
Streetwear is a subcultural affair, created for and by a series of skaters, punks and anti-establishment men. That means it's never shied away from attracting attention with outlandish slogans, and neither should you. But how do you get away with a hyperbolic statement without looking like a snotty kid on the one hand, or a horribly anti-chaotic and non-legendary old man on the other? The image above has a fantastic solution to this conundrum in its combination of a grey suit (usually spotted at offices and weddings) with trainers, a cap and a pair of tee shirts covered in matching messages. On the one hand, it's boxy, on the other, it's irreverent (especially tying the jacket around the waist - something we wouldn't necessarily recommend with your latest Berluti purchase). The contrast works and exploits the irony of knowledge that is the basis of a good streetwear look.
WEAR A CAP WITH YOUR BLAZER
Baseball caps are essential to streetwear, and while they've been banned from most runways, they've slowly been making their way over the past decade onto the most hallowed parts of polished floors (Lanvin's Mr Lucas Ossendrijver was a trailblazer here - he's already been putting on high-end caps since 2007). So it seems appropriate to announce that a cap can be worn with a tailored jacket, not in a tweed-y, fustian, aristocratic way, but as a clash of idioms reminiscent of Mr Spike Lee (who is able to wear a cap with everything and take it off). Just make sure it's part of an outfit that's overall casual, including jeans, trousers and, of course, trainers - the world isn't quite ready for a cap and three-piece suit.
Although shoes tend to make and break an outfit, in streetwear they are the alpha and omega, the linchpin of everything, which means that they should not only be chosen for maximum impact, but should be maintained with terrifying passion. It is therefore a good general recommendation to choose a pair of trainers that will contrast the colours of your outfit, and thus stand out. Plain denim, for example, works well with patterns and prints. Beige chinos (of the Dickies variety) will complement a bright colour like red or green. But mostly - such is the current style climate - you'll be wearing black clothes and white trainers, as in the image above. There's something particularly appealing about this combination, which dates back to the days of hip-hop pioneers Run-DMC. However, this only works if you clean your adidas after each wear with warm water and a damp cloth, so that they retain their pristine whiteness. If you're eager to get it right, check out this week's video on how to care for your trainers.