Urban fashions for men have a vast history rooted in hip-hop culture. Over the decades, it has represented the lifestyles particular to respective eras, progressing through the 1980s, into the '90s and well beyond. Each generation has offered new style and depth to the development of urban fashion, marking its importance in the mainstream and amongst youth and adults alike.
Urban Fashion Through the Years
Perhaps one of the most appealing facets of urban fashion is just how far reaching it is. The style that was born during the 1980s grew through the hip-hop music scene, taking inspiration from icons such as Run DMC and Christopher "Kid" Reid of Kid 'n' Play. It was defined during this period by very specific elements, like bold gold jewelry, vivid tracksuits, leather bomber jackets and Adidas shelltoe sneakers, to name just a few.
In the early 1990s, urban clothing continued to reflect the style of famous artists of the day, with camouflage, hoodies, baggy jeans, puffy sneakers and, as always, plenty of bold color playing a major role in the popularity of the look. And today, urban clothing enjoys such unprecedented importance in the fashion world that even high-end labels like Louis Vuitton and Fendi have gotten in on the act.
It helps that more and more designers are reinterpreting the old classics and making them fresh, which allows the urban style to appeal to a completely new generation. Artwork is as much an inspiration as old school hip-hop was at the beginning of the urban movement, with sharp, brash graphics dominating much of the clothing and lending it a unique, heavily favored vibe, especially among teenagers and twenty-somethings. Even more likely to capture the attention of those less inclined to follow fashion is the involvement of big names, such as Sean Combs, whose Sean Jean line was awarded by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as the Men's Designer of the Year in 2004.
It's interesting to note that urban fashion today even embraces the preppy culture, which means more variety for those looking to expand their wardrobes. Everything from argyle sweater vests (paired with baggy pants, natch) to crisp button-down shirts fits right in perfectly.
Just as you might shop for a few key work or casual wear items, your urban fashion collection should include at least a few staple items. These are the simple basics - those you can pull out and wear in just about any casual environment, along with a few dressier options for a more polished effect should the occasion call for it.
- Neutral hoodies in shades like gray, navy, brown and black
- Jeans with a slightly baggy fit and a relatively straight leg, in colors ranging from standard blue to gray
- Graphic T-shirts with complex, unexpected prints instead of simple logos
- Pants made of everything from velour to cotton, boasts details like extreme bagginess, cargo pockets or slightly longer legs
- Track jackets in every shade of the rainbow, paired with neutral pants or matching bottoms
- Heavy coats in camouflage, puffer styles or leather
Shopping Urban Fashions for Men
Step into any shopping mall and you're bound to find an outstanding selection of urban fashions for men. Fine department stores and niche boutiques carry everything from Lacoste hoodies and Sean Jean shorts to Artful Dodger jeans and Phat Farm coats. If you're interested in doing some preliminary browsing before you buy or just want to get a taste of what's available, peruse some of the online boutiques devoted exclusively to urban fashion.
- Dr. Jay's is the place to be if you're looking for absolutely everything related to urban fashion. Catering to men, women and children, the company carries clothing for men of all sizes. There's even a big and tall section, where items are categorized by label, size and color. If you're in New York or New Jersey, you can pay a visit to a Dr. Jay's store, try the clothes on for size and get a feel for what suits you best.
- Man Alive: If you're looking to fill your wardrobe with the basics (and a few accessories to match), you'll find a well-edited selection here, including items from Rocawear, Girbaud and Coogi.