When you think of 80s hip hop, you probably think of artists like Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy. But along with the music, hip hop culture also brought us some unforgettable fashion trends that are still relevant today. From oversized gold chains to Adidas tracksuits, here’s a look at the fashion trends that defined hip hop in the 80s.
In the 80s, hip hop artists embraced oversized clothing as a way to distinguish themselves from the mainstream. Baggy shirts, pants, and jackets were all the rage, often worn multiple sizes too big. This style was not only practical and comfortable but also made a statement. It symbolized a rejection of the mainstream fashion industry and a embrace of individuality within the hip hop community.
One of the most iconic examples of oversized clothing in hip hop was the leather jacket worn by LL Cool J. In his 1985 video for “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” LL sports a huge leather jacket with a hoodie underneath, instantly elevating the look to legendary status.
Gold chains became a staple in hip hop fashion in the 80s, thanks in part to the influence of artist like Mr.T. Wearing a massive gold chain was seen as a sign of wealth and success, and some hip hop artist would layer multiple chains to show off their status.
One of the most famous examples of gold chains in hip hop was Run-DMC’s adoption of Adidas tracksuits and matching gold chains. This simple but iconic look has since become synonymous with the genre, and the tracksuit is still a popular choice for those looking to honour its hip hop heritage.
Speaking of Adidas tracksuits, they also made a big impact in hip hop fashion during the 80s. Often worn with a fresh pair of Adidas sneakers, the tracksuit became a symbol of street style, and it wasn’t uncommon to see groups of friends rocking matching tracksuits and chains.
One of the most influential figures in the tracksuit trend was RUN-DMC’s Jam Master Jay. He would often rock a red Adidas tracksuit while on stage, cementing the brand’s place in hip hop history. This look was so popular that even the Beastie Boys, who were known for their punk-inspired style, adopted it in their “Fight for Your Right” music video.
In the early 80s, the bucket hat became a signature accessory in hip hop fashion. These hats, made famous by artists like LL Cool J, were usually paired with an oversized leather jacket and gold chains.
The bucket hat had been around for a while, but it was hip hop that made it trendy. Its popularity continued into the late 80s and early 90s, with artists like Biggie and Tupac making the style their own.
The bomber jacket was another fashion trend that was popularized by hip hop artists in the 80s. These jackets, which were originally designed for pilots in the Second World War, were given a new life as a stylish streetwear staple.
Bomber jackets were often adorned with patches, embroidery, and bright colours, making them stand out in a crowd. In hip hop, these jackets were often worn with faded denim or tracksuit pants, creating an effortlessly cool look.
The fashion trends of hip hop in the 80s were a reflection of a generation that was unafraid to be bold, loud, and unique. The oversized clothing, gold chains, Adidas tracksuits, bucket hats, and bomber jackets all played a part in creating a new aesthetic that is still admired and copied today.
From LL Cool J’s leather jacket to Run-DMC’s tracksuits, these trends have become iconic symbols of hip hop and an eternal source of inspiration for fashion enthusiasts worldwide. So why not take a cue from the legends and add some 80s hip hop fashion to your wardrobe?
Just make sure you get the sizing right – there is a fine line between “oversized” and “sloppy”!