Street fashion is professed by those who pay little attention to what is dictated at fashion weeks and who make their own rules with a signature style. They dress to impress themselves. Their wardrobes consist of hand-me-downs, vintage pieces and quirky add-ons found at the flea market. There are many styles of street fashion, so let’s take a look at a few of the better known ones – and maybe even help you find yours!
If you are someone who is mistaken for being dark and depressive but you are actually mellow and mysterious, the Goth spectrum will probably appeal to you. Goth is a form of street style that consists of dark colours and lots of clichéd black. An extension of Goth subculture, this style finds its influence in Goth music and art forms. Some prefer to be traditional with their dress by using Victorian and Elizabethan sensibilities, while others tend to experiment with pop-culture notes.
How to pull pull it off: Try layers in black and grey tone-on-tone and accessories with stark silver chains and trinkets. The key to this style is to keep things morbid and mysterious. In India, designers like Kallol Datta and Arjun Saluja have pieces that fit the brief. Acquin Pais, an Indian fashion model, pulls off the Goth look pretty well.
If you are a free thinker and are known for your free -spirited appeal, to the world you’re a Bohemian. This look is easy on the eyes and grabs its influences from hippie/flower power culture. Flowing peasant skirts, flower-pins and feathers are some trademark options in this genre. Men opt for loose tees, and loose cotton drop-crotch pajamas (hippie pants). Bob Marley, Janice Joplin and Florence & The Machine have been influences over the Bohemian style.
How to pull pull it off: Look for gypsy skirts or turn your mom’s chiffon sarees into a multi layered skirt. Boys can opt for loose pajama pants and flowing floral shirts. If you are adventurous, loose ganjis and bell-bots are an old-school option too. Designers like Malini Ramani often do an entire collection that embodies the Boho-look.
This street style is for you if you love old-school charm and vintage pins and accessories. Try opening your grandparents’ wardrobe and find cardigans, sweaters, glasses, broaches and badges… the list goes on. The key to this style is keeping everything proper and preppy. Well-ironed and neatly put together, this look can often branch out into librarian chic. It also can be the perfect look to meet the parents.
How to pull pull it off: Any high-street store can supply you with the clothes, but look through your grandparents’ boxes to get those interesting old-school knick-knacks.
Some like to claim authority or maybe just look the part. There is a certain aura and appeal in uniforms. So it’s no surprise that the borrowed ideas from military uniforms work well in street fashion. Camouflage prints, military-green cargos and bomber jackets add that sense of authority. Even if you wore your normal jeans and t-shirt but strapped on a pair of military boots, the look would be instantly military-chic.
How to pull pull it off: A lot of designers seem to take notes from military uniforms, so look out for labels like Bodice and brands like Gas and Zara that often have military-inspired looks. (Psst! Little Shilpa did a show that was so military chic!)
You mean business and don’t want to stick out like a sore-thumb. For those who have a day job and love to dress up impeccably, you can go classic. Classic shirt, tie and ironed trousers for boys while girls can draw looks from Coco Chanel, Jackie O and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The classic look is perfect for work and easy to dress down for play.
How to pull pull it off: For women, Drashta in Mumbai does some pieces that are feminine and run along the classic tailoring style. Men can choose from designers like Troy Costa and Rajesh Pratap Singh (my favourite).
You are eclectic and couldn’t care less about world’s idea of you. You wear clothes as you please and make it work. Try the hobo chic look that makes a statement without wanting to make one, derived from the unintended style of the vagabond. Grunge is the other side of the spectrum but in a slightly toned down way. Grunge wear was made popular by Kurt Kobain in his jail-stripe t-shirts, ripped jeans and careless hair.
How to pull pull it off: Now designers don’t make these clothes, but a few names do style their shows to fit this look. Try looking for second-hand clothing in flea markets and street stalls like on Hill Road (Mumbai) and Sarojini Nagar (Delhi). Torn tees worn over another contrasting tee is one way to do it. Layer on layers in a mismatched and conflicting fashion worn with torn jeans could be another.
If you are a culture vulture, why not introduce it in your dress sense? In a world of so many cultures there is much on offer in costumes and accessories amongst other things. Ethno-chic is a sense of style where East meets West and North meets South.
How to pull pull it off: A denim jacket teamed with tribal kaftan, or a t-shirt worn with an embroidered Gujarati waist-coat. It’s all in that potent touch of traditional dressing.
Fashion is a huge industry and changes ever-so quickly. It’s a fun to keep up with and often considered art one can wear. On the other hand, street-styles come from a more organic space and evolved from human expressions and experiences. It cannot be bought. But fashion magazines and designers are always influenced by street style and offer collections that celebrate it – Jean Paul Gaultier, Galliano and Westwood are a few on the international markets. Even in India, Little Shilpa, Kallol Dutta, Malini Ramani and Sabyasachi often bedazzle audiences with their interpretation of street-wear.
Apart from looking great and making statements, the best part of street style is that it can be pocket-friendly. Stay tuned for a crash course in street shopping.