Are you all about keeping up with current fashion trends, but prefer to make them your own? Is making a style statement without sacrificing comfort the name of your game? Are you the sneakerhead of your friend group? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then men’s street style has your name written all over it. Read on to learn more about this city-minded look that’s effortlessly cool.
What is Street Style?
Before we hit you with the ins and outs of street style for men, you’re probably wondering—what is street style? In simplest terms, it’s casual yet fashionable clothing you wear, well, on the streets. You wear this style for going out and conquering your day—and looking fire while doing it. More specifically, streetwear is born from and inspired by city life and youth culture. It’s all about trends and fashion from real people—their interests or subcultures. Think skate, surf, hip-hop, K-pop or sports culture rather than those dictated by the fashion runways or studios. Before we dive into ways to get fitted in men’s street fashion, let’s look back on where it all began.
The Origins of Street Style
Men’s street style has been around since the dawn of time. But as a movement, streetwear comes from Post-World War II youth culture. Trendsetting teens rebelled against clothes from traditional designers. Instead, they developed their own style influenced by underground music, films and their own lives. Groups like punks and hippies emerged and took center stage. They created their unique style away from what was popular, and in turn, created a demand for this vibe.
In the 80s and 90s, this unconventional spirit paved the way to the streetwear we know today. The influences emerged from skateboarding, hip-hop, metal, rap, grunge and surf subcultures. Thanks for sticking around for our history lesson. Now, it’s time to think about what street style means in the 21st century.
2021 Street Style
Since streetwear is defined by its moment, the meaning changes based on the year’s mood and hottest trends. Men’s street style in 2021 predominantly comes from hip-hop and sports influences with the overall vibe being laid-back, cool and casual. Think hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. Sounds pretty comfy, right?
But before you confuse it with the loungewear trend, remember: street style is meant to be seen. Men’s street fashion is all about being eye-catching. It includes clothing that gives you big main-character energy. Get in on the shacket fad—opt for a bright overshirt layered with a T-shirt. Or, try an all-black outfit that others can’t help but admire because it’s just so sleek.
Feel ready to dip your toes into the world of men’s street style? Here are 4 major street style trends for you to try on for size.
Men’s Streetwear: Athletic Details
A mainstay for contemporary men’s street style is athletic wear. You can’t go wrong by adding pieces like hoodies, the jogger set trend and sweats to your closet. Go for a head-to-toe athletic vibe with a matching sweat set and kicks in the same color. Or, elevate your sporty look with neutral shorts and shoes and a statement hoodie in a fashionable neon shade. Balance how bright you’re shining with a baseball cap from your favorite team or a pair of uniquely-rimmed shades.
You can also embrace men’s street style by throwing in just one or two of your athletic favorites. Take a walk downtown in joggers partnered with a statement-striped tee—layer on a structured peacoat for added style points. Lean into the comfort of a well-worn sweatshirt and complement it with skinny jeans. Just one athleticwear-inspired element can give your men’s streetwear some serious relaxed vibes. You might have noticed one piece of athletic gear we haven’t mentioned yet—sneakers. That’s because we thought it needed its own section, just like it might need its own area in your closet.
Men’s Streetwear: Sneakers
Talking about men’s street style without mentioning sneakers would be like talking about basketball without mentioning Jordan. Unthinkable. Needless to say, sneakers and footwear at large are the GOAT of the street fashion game. Use them as the statement-makers or the finishing touch to your outfit. Add pattern to a shorts-and-T-shirt combo with a speckled pair of lightweight knit sneakers. Give your look some weight with chunky dad-sneakers in this summer’s trending shades of pink. You can even pay homage to the punk scenes of old with black leather sneakers or a pair of kicks with metallic details.
So, what about those moments when you don’t wear bold sneakers with your street style look? Okay, we know we said it was unthinkable, but it turns out you can have some basketball conversations without bringing up Jordan. Maybe you want the rest of your outfit to do the talking. Opt for a more muted, slim pair of trainers. Whichever shoe you choose, lace them up and step into our next trend: the patterns and colors of men’s streetwear.
Men’s Streetwear: Contemporary Patterns and Colors
Men’s street style is all about the trends of the moment and the influences that make them. A big way that comes through is with patterns and colors. Fashion in the last few years has borrowed from utilitarian or military-inspired styles. The same is true in street fashion. Play with this trend by adding a camo button-down or a cargo jacket to your look. Mix muted olive greens, slate blacks and tawny tans into your palette.
Neutrals aren’t your thing? Embrace pastels and neon hues for summer. Or, find a middle ground with striped or floral pieces with elements of both. Street style also loves a good graphic T-shirt. Whether it’s graffiti art, a brand logo or an image from your favorite pop culture icons, they’re all street-wear approved.
Style expert tip: Street style embraces experimentation, so don’t be afraid to mix patterns and put together colors you don’t always see together. Who says you can’t wear a floral shirt and camo jeans? Why can’t you wear black and brown together? The only fashion voice that matters in streetwear is yours.
Men’s Street Style Trend: You
So you’re ready to take on men’s street style. You’ve accepted new prints and colors into your life. You’ve changed your permanent address to the inside of a hoodie. You’re already planning where to install your own sneaker wall. What’s missing? Your touch. Remember, street wear is first and foremost fashion for the people by the people. What makes this style so fresh is the individuality and authenticity you bring to it.
Maybe instead of layering a utility jacket over a new T-shirt, you’d rather layer it over that old band tee in the back of your dresser. Not the band you pretend is your favorite band, your actual favorite band. Or perhaps you’re the guy with a creative side. Embrace your inner Dapper Dan and use your sewing kit and art supplies to alter a garment to a custom piece. Does feeling cool and effortless for you mean elegance? Pop a luxe, textured blazer over your T-shirt and jeans look. Grab your favorite button-down and wear it with woven joggers. The choices are unlimited.
Take these street wear tips as a jumping-off point to find what makes you ready to walk down the street with swagger. Are you inspired by the endless possibilities of street fashion? Ask a stylist for some smooth street wear pieces in your next Fix.