Hip Hop Street Style: 90s Fashion Staples Revisited

Hip Hop Street Style: 90s Fashion Staples Revisited

Master the Art of Hip-Hop Street Style

In fashion, few styles, like hip-hop street style, possess raw energy and an unapologetic attitude. It’s a vibrant fusion of music, culture, and self-expression that has revolutionized how we dress and move. Are you ready to step into a world where individuality takes center stage, where boldness and creativity reign supreme? Welcome to hip-hop street style, where every outfit becomes a statement, and every street corner is a runway.

In this guide, we will journey through the foundations and evolution of hip-hop street style. From its humble origins in the Bronx to its global influence today, we’ll delve into the iconic elements that define this fashion movement. Get ready to explore the art of mixing high-end luxury brands with urban streetwear staples, creating a unique tapestry of colors, patterns, and textures that mirror the rhythm of the streets.

But it’s not just about the clothes—the attitude, the swagger, and the confidence radiating from within. We’ll unlock the secrets of accessorizing like a hip-hop superstar, from the iconic chains to the signature headgear that completes the look. And let’s not forget the power of sneakers, those coveted kicks that add that extra bounce to your step and serve as the foundation of hip-hop street style.

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the game, this guide will inspire you to push the boundaries of fashion and embrace your unique style with audacity. So, gentlemen, prepare to immerse yourself in a world where creativity knows no limits and self-expression is celebrated. Prepare to turn heads, make a statement, and walk the streets with unparalleled swag. Join us as we unravel the art of hip-hop street style, one rhyme, one beat, and one outfit at a time.

Key Takeaways

  • 90s hip hop street style was heavily influenced by artists who incorporated traditional African culture into their fashion choices.
  • Streetwear brands like FILA, Adidas, and Nike played a major role in shaping 90s hip hop fashion by collaborating with influential rappers and celebrities.
  • Key elements of 90s hip hop fashion included oversized clothing and denim jackets, bucket hats and snapback caps, Timberland boots and sneakers, and accessories such as gold chains and bamboo earrings.
  • Iconic brands like FUBU, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, and PUMA were instrumental in shaping the 90s hip hop era by creating timeless classics that still resonate with men’s wardrobes today.

The Evolution Of Hip Hop Style In The 90s

Hip hop fashion in the 90s was heavily influenced by artists like Afrika Bambaata, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Brand Nubians, who incorporated traditional African culture into their fashion choices.

Influential Artists And Their Fashion Choices

The 90s hip-hop scene gave rise to numerous influential artists who impacted fashion trends, shaping the street style that defined the era. Here are some of the key artists and their signature fashion choices:

  • Afrika Bambaata: Known for his eclectic and futuristic outfits, Bambaata often donned oversized sunglasses, leather jackets, and African-inspired accessories.
  • A Tribe Called Quest: This influential hip-hop group popularized wearing bright colors and patterns, often sporting Native Tongues-inspired garments like dashikis and African medallions.
  • De La Soul: With their casual attire consisting of baseball caps, baggy jeans, and graphic tees, De La Soul embodied a relaxed yet stylish approach to hip-hop fashion.
  • Brand Nubians: Representing a more traditional take on African-American style, these artists were known for wearing fitted snapbacks, leather bomber jackets, blousy pants, afros, and dreadlocks.

These artists helped shape the street-style male 90s hip-hop fashion scene with their unique styles and bold choices in clothing. Aspiring fashion enthusiasts can look up to these icons as they revisit the golden era of the 90s hip-hop street style.

How Streetwear Brands Became A Part Of The Culture

In the 90s, hip hop fashion became a powerful symbol of self-expression and identity for many young men. During this decade, streetwear brands started to play a major role in shaping the culture.

As record labels shifted their focus towards selling fantasies involving drugs, sex, and money, big-name brands like FILA, Adidas, and Nike were drawn into the narrative. They collaborated with influential rappers and celebrities to create trendy gear that reflected the aspirations of their target audience – young men seeking an edgy urban style.

This growing relationship between streetwear brands and hip hop culture created new opportunities for both parties to thrive. Fashion-savvy entrepreneurs capitalized on this trend by launching homegrown clothing lines like FUBU (For Us By Us), which catered specifically to urban youth who had an affinity for 90s-style streetwear pieces such as oversized denim jackets or snapback caps.

Key Elements Of 90s Hip Hop Fashion

Oversized clothing, denim jackets, bucket hats, snapback caps, Timberland boots, and sneakers define 90s hip-hop fashion.

Oversized Clothing And Denim Jackets

Oversized clothing and denim jackets were the ultimate representation of the 90s hip hop street style. Embraced by men seeking comfort and a casual look, these fashion staples allowed them to make a statement while maintaining an effortless vibe.

Influential West Coast artists like Tupac and Eazy-E brought this trend into the limelight.

The popularity of oversized clothing wasn’t just limited to outerwear and t-shirts. Biggie Smalls became synonymous with his iconic oversized Coogi sweaters, adding vibrant colors to complement his larger-than-life persona.

Denim took on many forms during this period: from distressed jeans worn by fashion icons like Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, and Will Smith in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to jean shorts paired with Timberland boots or classic sneakers such as Chuck Taylors.

Bucket Hats And Snapback Caps

Bucket hats and snapback caps were two iconic accessories that became synonymous with 90s hip hop fashion. Snapbacks featured a slightly curved brim and an adjustable back, while bucket hats had a wide brim with a downward slope.

Kangol was the brand that dominated this style, and rappers like LL Cool J helped to popularize it.

Both bucket hats and snapback caps were often worn with oversized t-shirts or denim jackets for an effortless yet stylish look. They also provided practical protection against the sun while remaining comfortably casual.

Timberland Boots And Sneakers

Timberland boots and sneakers were a crucial component of 90s hip hop fashion, worn by some of the genre’s most iconic artists like Tupac, Nas, and Kanye. The rugged design and durability of Timberland boots made them an obvious choice for performers who needed footwear that could withstand the rigors of touring and performing.

Sneakers also played a significant role in 90s hip hop fashion, with brands like Nike and Adidas dominating the market. Artists would often mix high-end designer clothing with classic sneaker designs to create a unique look that was both stylish and comfortable.

Sneakers became synonymous with streetwear and basketball culture, leading many rappers to sport exclusive colorways on stage or in music videos.

Accessories Like Gold Chains And Bamboo Earrings

Gold chains and bamboo earrings were popular accessories among male hip hop enthusiasts in the 90s. These accessories became recognizable staples of the hip hop fashion scene, and it wasn’t uncommon to see rappers sporting chunky gold rope chains or large bamboo hoop earrings.

One reason for their popularity was their association with wealth and success.

Many iconic figures in hip hop sported these accessories, including LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, and Salt-N-Pepa, to name but a few. In addition to gold chains and bamboo earrings being purely stylish items in 90s hip hop culture, they embodied something deeper than aesthetics- they represented cultural heritage from African tribes known for wearing large pieces of metallic jewelry as a mark of social status.

Iconic Brands In 90s Hip Hop Fashion

FUBU, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, and PUMA were among the iconic brands that played a significant role in shaping 90s hip hop fashion.


FUBU, an acronym for “For Us By Us,” was created in 1992 by Daymond John and his three friends. The brand became synonymous with the hip hop fashion of the 90s, offering clothing that embraced urban wear styles like baggy denim jeans, overalls, and varsity jackets.

FUBU was among the most prominent brands that shaped the 90s hip-hop era alongside Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and PUMA. Interestingly enough, FUBU’s popularity grew to include audiences outside the rap industry thanks to innovative marketing strategies such as its iconic commercials featuring young people wearing their latest clothing line while dancing around them.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger was one of the instrumental brands that helped shape hip hop fashion in the 90s. The brand’s sportswear, particularly its red, white, and blue jackets, became a staple in the wardrobe of many hip hop artists like Nas, Jay Z, and Biggie.

Hilfiger’s clothing line showcased key elements of hip hop style, such as oversized clothing, cargo pants, and sagging pants.

Hilfiger’s sportswear became synonymous with American patriotism because of its color scheme, which reflected the colors of the American flag. This resonated with hip hop artists who used clothing as a form of expression to reflect their identity and culture.


Adidas became a key brand in shaping the 90s hip hop fashion narrative. Run DMC’s affinity for Adidas gear, especially their iconic tracksuits and sneakers, popularized the brand within the hip hop community.

The Adidas superstars or shell-toes were a staple footwear choice, often paired with velour or polyester tracksuits to create a comfortable yet stylish look. Gold rope chains and Jesus piece pendant necklaces were frequently worn with Adidas gear to symbolize status and wealth.


PUMA was one of the influential brands that played a significant role in shaping 90s hip hop fashion. The brand featured prominently in the golden era of hip hop, which saw artists and fans embrace oversized clothing, bucket hats, snapback caps, sneakers, and Timberland boots.

Hip hop fashion continued to evolve beyond the 90s but still influenced designers’ designs today. Retro styles are now returning to streetwear fashion, with celebrities embracing classic looks from iconic brands like PUMA.

Incorporating 90s hip hop style into your wardrobe can be achieved by pairing staple pieces like oversized denim jackets or overalls with modern sneakers such as PUMA’s latest offerings.

90s Hip Hop Fashion Icons

Some of the most influential icons in 90s hip hop fashion include:

  • Tupac Shakur: Known for his signature bandanas tied around his head, Tupac also popularized the thug lifestyle with oversized jerseys, saggy pants, and Timberland boots.
  • LL Cool J: A pioneer of the bucket hat trend, LL Cool J also frequently rocked Kangol hats and leather jackets.
  • Run DMC: This legendary group embodied 90s streetwear fashion with iconic Adidas tracksuits and shell-toe sneakers.
  • Notorious B.I.G.: Biggie’s fashion choices were as larger-than-life as his persona, featuring colorful Coogi sweaters and Versace sunglasses.
  • Wu-Tang Clan: The group’s members embraced martial arts-inspired fashion with kung fu-style jackets and traditional Chinese hats.

That’s our list of 90s hip hop fashion icons! These artists influenced music and left an indelible mark on streetwear fashion. From Tupac’s bandanas to Biggie’s Coogi sweaters, their unique styles inspire today’s retro streetwear culture.

Old School Sneakers: A Staple In 90s Hip Hop Fashion

Wearing the right sneakers was necessary to achieve that classic 90s hip hop look.

Nike Air Force 1

These shoes became popular in New York during the late 80s and early 90s, with rappers like Nelly giving them even more exposure in later years.

Nike Air Force 1  sneakers

Reebok Classic Leather

With their simple and timeless design, these sneakers quickly became a favorite among hip hop fans and artists.

Reebok Classic Leather

Adidas Superstar

Run DMC’s iconic “My Adidas” song helped make these sneakers one of the most recognizable brands in hip hop culture.

Adidas Superstar Sneakers

PUMA Suede Classic

These shoes first debuted in the late 60s but saw renewed popularity during the golden era of hip-hop.

PUMA Suede Classic sneakers

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

Although not as commonly seen on rappers, these classic high-top sneakers were still an important part of early hip-hop fashion.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

FILA Grant Hill II

This sneaker was especially popular among east coast rappers during the mid to late 90s.

FILA Grant Hill II Sneakers

Old-school sneakers were often worn with baggy jeans or tracksuits, completing that quintessential streetwear look. It wasn’t just about looking good; many artists had personal connections to specific sneaker brands or styles. For example, Tupac Shakur famously wore Timberland boots because they reminded him of his childhood in Baltimore and Oakland.

Even today, old school sneakers remain popular with collectors and fashion enthusiasts. Many companies have revisited their classic designs over the years while others introduce new silhouettes that pay homage to the golden era of hip hop.

Reviving 90s Hip Hop Fashion Today

Retro styles in streetwear and celebrities embracing classic 90s looks have contributed to the revival of 90s hip hop fashion today.

Retro Styles In Streetwear Fashion

Retro styles have come back in streetwear fashion, and it’s no different for 90s hip hop style. Brands like FUBU and Tommy Hilfiger have relaunched their vintage collections with updated designs that honor the era’s street style roots.

Oversized clothing, bucket hats, snapback caps, and Timberland boots are being embraced once again by men who want to vibe with classic 90s hip hop fashion. Celebrities like Kanye West and A$AP Rocky are also known for their retro-inspired wardrobes that pay homage to the golden age of rap music.

To rock retro 90s street style today, consider wearing oversized denim jackets or puff jackets paired with joggers or saggy jeans.

Celebrities Embracing Classic 90s Looks

Celebrities are currently embracing classic 90s looks associated with reviving 90s hip hop fashion today. Here are some examples:

  1. Will Smith was spotted wearing a bright yellow hoodie and baggy jeans, reminiscent of his Fresh Prince days.
  2. During a performance, Drake wore a Tommy Hilfiger jacket, paying homage to the brand’s impact on 90s hip hop culture.
  3. A$AP Rocky is known for his love of 90s streetwear, often seen in oversized denim jackets, snapback hats, and Timberland boots.
  4. Pharrell Williams has rocked bucket hats numerous times, returning the popular headwear from the 90s.
  5. Kendrick Lamar has been seen wearing FUBU apparel, showcasing one of the defining brands of 90s hip hop fashion.
  6. Big Sean often wears oversized clothing and accessories like gold chains and bamboo earrings, channeling the iconic style of female rappers in the 90s.
  7. Jay Z still rocks Timberland boots as a staple in his wardrobe, influencing future generations.

These celebrities show that 90s hip hop fashion is still relevant today and can be incorporated into modern-day wardrobes for men who want to pay homage to the golden era of hip hop culture.

How To Incorporate 90s Hip Hop Style Into Your Wardrobe

If you’re looking to add a touch of 90s hip hop style to your wardrobe, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Oversized Clothing: Look for baggy jeans, oversized t-shirts or hoodies, and jackets with exaggerated silhouettes.
  2. Denim Jackets: A classic 90s item that can be worn with almost anything and is perfect for layering.
  3. Snapback Caps: Find a snapback cap with your favorite sports team or band logo. Wear it backward or forwards, depending on the occasion.
  4. Timberland Boots: Choose a pair of sturdy boots in brown or black leather, which work well with baggy denim jeans and oversized tops.
  5. Sneakers: Look for white sneakers from Adidas, Nike, or Puma in bright colors like red, green, or blue to add a pop of color to your outfit.
  6. Accessories: Add bling to your outfit with large gold chains, hoop earrings, bamboo earrings, or even a bucket hat.
  7. Branded Clothing: Invest in branded clothing from Tommy Hilfiger and FUBU; these brands were synonymous with hip hop fashion during the 90s and will give your wardrobe an authentic throwback feel.
  8. Retro Styles: Mix modern streetwear styles with retro styles to create a unique look that stands out.

By following these tips when incorporating 90s hip hop style into your wardrobe, you’ll balance practicality and style perfectly while paying homage to one of the most iconic eras in streetwear history.


In conclusion, hip hop street style in the 90s was a golden era that continues to inspire fashion trends today. From oversized clothing and denim jackets to bucket hats and snapback caps, the fashion staples of this period still resonate with men’s wardrobes today.

Brands like FUBU, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, and PUMA created iconic pieces that are timeless classics in streetwear culture. With retro styles making a comeback and celebrities embracing classic 90s looks on social media platforms such as Instagram, it’s never been easier to incorporate 90s hip hop style into your wardrobe.


What key 90s fashion staples are still popular in hip-hop street style today?

Some of the most iconic 90s fashion staples that remain prevalent in hip-hop street style include baggy pants, oversized jackets and hoodies, graphic tees, bucket hats, and chunky sneakers.

How can I incorporate these 90s fashion trends into my wardrobe without looking outdated?

To incorporate these classic 90s trends into your wardrobe while keeping your look modern and fresh, pair them with more contemporary pieces like fitted tops or accessories such as statement jewelry or sleek sunglasses. Experimenting with different textures, colors, and prints can also help bring a unique perspective to your style.

Are any specific brands associated with hip-hop street style from the 90s?

Some of the most recognizable brands associated with hip-hop street style during this time include Tommy Hilfiger, FUBU, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, and various sportswear companies such as Nike and Adidas, who created signature lines for prominent rappers.

Can women also rock the baggy clothing trend in hip hop streetwear?

Many female artists, such as Missy Elliot, helped popularize this trend through their own performances & music videos. This gender-neutral type of clothing is about expression, so anyone can wear it if they feel confident. Various unisex options today cater to different body types while offering comfortable, loose-fitting garments ideal for movement/sports activities associated with Hip Hop culture.

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