By Jack Barnes
It’s a fact that the word “hip-hop” does not just mean music or dance, but something more encompassing. Hip-hop isn’t just about the music, but the dance, the culture, as well as the attitude. And that is what makes it unique compared to other dance styles.
You’d never see people walking the streets or going to school in other dancewear like leotards or tutus, but you see people rocking hip-hop dance clothes virtually every day.
This is an indication that hip-hop as a culture, has been able to penetrate society and has been embraced by the majority. A lot of people see hip-hop wear as loose, baggy clothes and flashy accessories but it’s so much more. Hip-hop fashion keeps up and evolves with current fashion while giving a nod to its rich history.
This article goes into this history of hip-hop clothing and informs you on what your dance outfit might look like based on what is in vogue.
Hip-Hop Dance Clothing: A Brief History
Hip-hop dance started as a street dance when it was becoming famous and that made people just put on their normal daily wear for the dance.
You saw people with oversized pants, jerseys and sneakers as their main costumes in those days. But this changed with time when hip-hop became more popular as different big brands around the world started latching on. They started developing some special outfits for hip-hop dance, which they called hip-hop clothing.
During this period, tracksuits and jackets were also common as clothing for dance. Also, most of the early dancers were African-American and so their culture reflected the style of clothes common in that period. The use of accessories was also a common practice among women. They put on heavy earrings, long chains and metallic chain belts. And this practice was not only common among women, but also among men.
Moving forward through the years, the outfits began to change. People started coming up with clothes not as baggy as the old ones and the heavy use of accessories was relaxed. Items like metallic chain belts were replaced with bandannas, caps, and tattoos.
Wearing baseball caps was also common in that era and there was not much difference between what men and women wore, as most of the outfits were unisex. This was unique to hip-hop.
The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancewear
Some of the dance accessories commonly worn at present, were actually similar to what dancers put on in that era. What was seen then was people wearing loose and baggy clothing, oversized shirts or t-shirts and nice dance shoes. These served a functional purpose too and could handle all the stunts that were in the hip-hop dance style.
But today, as the style evolved, women are no longer wearing clothes similar to the men of hip-hop and the unisex line is slowly being prized apart with more feminine dance wear and dresses. Of course, many women still prefer pants for hip-hop dancing, but they’re more often the fitted ones today. Some prefer wearing skirts with leggings and boots. You can literally mix and match.
Sensual dressing has also become something more common in music videos of this dance form, where women put on shorts, tank tops or tube tops, thereby exposing more of their body.
A common aspect of hip-hop dancewear for men and women is the choice of shoes. Most dancers prefer sneakers with a split sole as these shoes are generally flexible and provide them with a good grip on the ground, while performing the different stunts.
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