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What Is Urban Clothing?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 21, 2024
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Urban clothing is a style of clothing associated with urban cultures, particularly urban youth who are involved with hip-hop and rap music. In different areas, urban clothing may take different forms, and different countries do not always share the same types of clothing. Generally, younger people in urban areas who are not yet required to dress professionally are the driving force behind changes in urban styles. When determining what styles might be considered generically urban, it is a good idea to look at the youth of multiple large cities in order to determine what features they share.

Most people associate urban clothing with the music of inner city areas, which typically takes the form of hip-hop or rap. More specifically, any popular music form in a large city's urban population will impact the styles of clothing native to that area. In the United States of America, urban apparel is sometimes associated with African American trends, but in other countries this is certainly not the case. Music is the medium through which stylistic changes to fashion travel, and urban music is almost always influenced by hip-hop, so there is a reliable relationship there.

Some common items in urban clothing include hoodies, sneakers, and t-shirts with popular designs or slogans. Most of the time, urban apparel is not formal, but there are fancier aspects of this type of clothing involving large jewelry and accessories. Hats of many styles are popular and in many cases are designed to coordinate with specific outfits. Pants for men are typically looser than pants for women, but the precise cut of urban style pants has changed dramatically over time. Shoes for women are also highly variable, including sneakers, heels, and numerous other styles.

Colors of urban style clothing often reflect personal tastes, but are in many cases very bright or black. Many people wish to wear clothing that reflects the urban landscape in which they live, so depictions of street art are very popular. Clothes made by designers who are valued by the urban culture in question are also popular, but which designer is in at any given moment changes rapidly.

In many ways, urban clothing is all about attitude. A person who believes he or she is urban due to his or her interests, upbringing, or friendships will always claim that the style he or she is wearing is a genuine type of urban apparel. Some people are more capable than others of making large-scale changes to trends in an area, but within small urban groups the exact manifestation of this style can change based on the opinions of a single leader. Like other styles of clothing, the deeper someone looks into the nuances of the style, the more types there will appear to be.

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