As an antidote to some of the most pervasive recent fashion trends, street style is the choice for the individual that wants to express themselves through their clothing without having to follow any specific trend or fashion.
Even if there are a few reoccurring features of street style, these are typically more about the goal behind an outfit than they are about any particular design or brand.
One of the key components of street style is that it expresses something about the wearer, whether that’s their current mood or their favourite colour. Although some fans of street style fashion favour the flamboyant, there is also plenty of scope for understated elegance and classic couture as well.
Post-World War II, when rationing was no longer limiting people to a minimalist approach to clothing and fashion, people were able to express themselves through their choice of clothing. The utilitarian look had prevailed for too long, and people wanted to stand out from the crowd by wearing clothes that reflected their personalities.
The Rise Of Subcultures
The relative decadence of the mid-20th century is credited as having been responsible for the birth of the ‘teenager’ as a group that has an increasing influence on fashion and culture. Young people were enjoying their freedom and creating a world in which they could be anything from a teddy boy in a sharp suit to punk in artfully ripped jeans and tattered t-shirts.
While some people found themselves strongly aligned with a particular group that they embrace fully, others found that their sense of style led them in a direction that didn’t sit within any of the most visible sub-cultures. Non-conformism became fashionable, and it became much more acceptable to wear bright colors, bold prints, and eye-catching designs.
Although these became associated with street style, the emphasis has always been very much on expressing one’s individual sense of what looks good.
In this sense, street style has always incorporated a range of budgets, from those accessorizing designer suits to those adapting clothes they already have or buying second-hand statement pieces to team with a basic wardrobe to create eye-catching outfits that don’t break the bank.
Popular culture has been strongly influenced by the proliferation of street style and one of the key ways in which this has been demonstrated is the rise of the fashion magazine. For the first time in a few decades, men were included in a fashion trend and James Bond emerged as a style icon for men who wanted to emulate his high-status look.
Sporting Street Style
One of the ways in which street style has embraced a wide variety of different influences is the adoption of sports clothing into street fashion. As sporting stars became household names, their choice of leisurewear was often the focus of media coverage, encouraging fans to recreate their looks.
The popularity of sports brands as streetwear initiated a crossover into the music industry, with big-name performers launching their own clothing brands. Rappers and R and B singers gravitated towards their own footwear lines, producing sneakers that competed with some of the major existing brands such as Puma and Nike.
Street style also borrowed heavily from the fashions associated with skateboarding, again primarily through footwear. The thick soles that helped skaters to grip their boards also appealed to the fashion conscious who wore them to indicate their membership of a tribe that was considered an edgy subculture that crossed over into the mainstream.
Street style has now been incorporated into all aspects of fashion to the extent that some of the major fashion houses worldwide have given a nod to the trend in their most upmarket couture lines.
Urban trends have been reflected in designs coming out of Milanese and Parisian fashion brands, while in Japan, the entire fashion industry has been heavily influenced by the style choices of their younger generation, particularly teenage girls.