Street Style Evolution: How Decades Have Shaped Urban Fashion

Street Style Evolution: How Decades Have Shaped Urban Fashion

Walking the streets of any large city, you can catch a glimpse of each decade dressed in its unique fashion. From bejeweled flapper dresses to cargo capris and mini skirts, street style never ceases to be ever-evolving. Fashion makes an interesting study, as it acts as a cultural reflection of the times. Now let’s take a look at how decades have shaped this urban fashion.

1. Graphical History of Street Style

Street Style History is quite a deep and complex topic. When you think about exploring it, it is best to begin with examining the visual elements. Take a look at the costumes, trends, and styles of dress from different eras that have evolved over time.

Tracing the fashion moments of street style involves considering cultural influences and multiple sources such as music, film, television, high fashion, and more. Here are a few key points to get you started:

  • The Blitz Kids of the 70s and 80s, who took fashion from established trends and flipped them to make their own style of dress.
  • The punk movement of the 70s and the DIY ethic that helped establish the punk aesthetic.
  • The Hip-Hop and rap culture that started out in the US in the 1980s and spread around the world.
  • The mod revival with its focus on nostalgic modernity.

Each of these cultural influences gave birth to a new and distinct brand of street style. With the onslaught of the digital era during the late 90s and early 2000s, fashion communities, blogs, and social media networks such as Instagram, have also become major players in the street style arena. This has enabled people to connect to each other and spread their personal style all around the globe.

All the same, foundational principles of fashion remain true: silhouettes, color palettes, textures, fabrics,and construction remain important elements of any look. It is fascinating to look at a collective timeline of street styles from its origins to its present state, and see how they have evolved, adapted, and intersected.

2. Breaking Down the Decades of Change

It’s easy to overlook how much our world has changed in the past few decades. Yet when we look around us, it’s clear that our world today is drastically different than it was 10 or even 20 years ago. What has caused all these massive shifts in culture, economy and communication? To answer this question, let’s take a look at some of the biggest changes over the past few decades:

  • Social media: Before the early 2000s, staying in touch with people we knew from far away was limited to the occasional letter or phone call. Now, we have multiple platforms through which we can stay updated with friends and family from around the world. Millions of people are now connected online in ways impossible before.
  • Technology: Technology has become an integral part of our lives, from smartphones and laptops to self-driving cars and internet-connected appliances. Advances in technology have made our lives much more efficient and productive – and this trend continues to this day.
  • Culture: Our culture has changed drastically, too. We see people celebrating different holidays, following different religions, and exploring different voices and customs than those of the past. Technology has also played a role here, contributing to the growth of different cultures and perspectives and helping us understand our friends from other countries.
  • Commerce: The nature of commerce over the last few decades has shifted drastically as well. Technology has enabled us to now conduct business on a global scale, and even sell products to people across oceans. Social media’s deep reach has also drastically changed the way businesses interact with customers, allowing for faster feedback and greater customer engagement.

Looking at all these shifts in culture, economy and communication over the past few decades, one thing is clear: Our world is constantly changing, and will only continue to do so in the future. For us as citizens of this world, it’s our responsibility to stay aware of these changes and understand their implications for us and future generations.

3. Urban Streetwear in the 21st Century

Urban streetwear has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s. While it has always been popular with skateboarders, surfers, and street artists, it has grown into a full-fledged fashion movement. Here are three of the 21st century’s major trends driving the streetwear movement.

Athleisure – This trend fuses sporty fashion with streetwear, creating oversized jackets and trousers in bright, eye-catching colors, often paired with fitted T-shirts or a hoodie. The emphasis is on being comfortable, stylish, and cool — the perfect combination for the modern urban dweller.

Logomania – This trend is all about high-end brand collaboration and bold logos. While always present in streetwear fashion, the past few years have seen a surge in the number of huge brands like Supreme, Adidas, and Gucci stamping their logos all over hoodies, backpacks, and accessory items.

Retro Classics – With the resurgence of retro-inspired fashion, it shouldn’t be a surprise that vintage symbols of street style have also come back into style. Tracksuits, high-waist jeans, and band T-shirts are back, often paired with bright patterns on caps and sweaters. Throwback logos, bold graphic prints, and jersey-sets are just a few of the retro classics making a comeback.

Urban streetwear has come to occupy a much higher place in the fashion hierarchy since the turn of the century, mixing elements of high fashion with the comfort and style of streetwear. These three trends have propelled it to great heights, creating a unique and distinctive look that’s sure to be around for a long time yet.

  • 1920s. With the rise of automobiles, fashion changes effected by World War One, and the influx of the Jazz Age, the 1920s were a time of dramatic change. Street Style was an interesting mixture of formal wear, including flapper fashion, and more rough-and-tumble streetwear adopted from African American communities. Headscarves, hats, and trousers were all popular in this era.
  • 1950s. With the world recovering from World War Two, fashion in the 1950s started to reflect a spirit of newness. People embraced new trends like pony-tails, full skirts, and sunglasses as a way to represent a new sense of self. Street Style had a sense of sophistication, with dark denim jeans, collared shirts, and loafers for men and dresses, day-gloves, and hats for ladies.
  • 1980s. The 1980s were a time of excess and the street style of the time was no different. Bright colors, neon tops, and big hair dominated the streets. The rebellious attitude of this time also gave rise to iconic items like boots, bomber jackets, and leather pants. Even though there were the occasional iconic looks, everyday street style typically included denim jeans, shirts, and Converse shoes.
  • Today. Today’s street style takes inspirations from the past but remains its own unique form of expression. Popular items include joggers, leggings, and sneakers, as well as hats and sunglasses. There is also a move towards sustainability, with upcycled clothes and second-hand items becoming more popular.

Street Style has always been a reflection of the times. From the iconic looks of decades past to the modern trends of today, it is clear that fashion trends come and go but Street Style is a timeless form of self-expression. Through the ages, it has remained a constant source of creativity, allowing individuals to express themselves in unique and individualistic ways.

Fashion is a constantly changing art form. It allows people to express themselves in unique and diverse ways. Street style has especially been a catalyst for individuality, innovation, and expression. From parkas to puffer jackets, from baggy jeans to tracksuits, street fashion has transcended decades and shaped urban fashion into what it is today. Embrace your style with the confidence it deserves.


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