Outfit guide: hip hop & RnB brunch

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If you’ve pencilled attendance at a hip hop bottomless brunch in London into your social calendar, you will have a lot of preparation to do and decisions to make. Not least among those questions will be how you can dress in a manner befitting the unmistakable hip-hop culture and sensibility.

After all, what comes to your mind when you think of hip hop? Of course, you will presumably be put in mind of many of your favourite artists of the genre, ranging from Run-D.M.C. and Queen Latifah to LL Cool J and Aaliyah. And casting your memory back to those trailblazing cuts and iconic videos, you might already be conjuring up ideas for your own hip-hop brunch aesthetic.

But what can hip hop also be described as? If you ask us, the disaffection and alienation of frustrated youth, but also a multibillion-dollar cultural juggernaut that has been exploited, intercepted, and reformulated in all manner of ways that far transcend the stereotypes.

What are we getting at? Well, what we’re suggesting is that hip hop has routinely been a world of awkward juxtapositions and curious contradictions, made to seem natural – and that might have certain implications for your hip-hop style.

Is there a single ‘brunch style’? 

Lest you be feeling a little overwhelmed at the minute, let’s cycle back to the beginning. Most of us probably instinctively understand at this point what “brunch” is – the Collins English Dictionary describing it as “a meal that is eaten in the late morning” that is “a combination of breakfast and lunch” – and this very refusal of brunch to be just one thing is perhaps reflected in the fact that there really is no definitive “brunch style”.

Basically, what we’re saying is that you should feel free to experiment. With brunch being a typically casual affair and an opportunity to catch up with friends, you might relish the opportunity to toy about with various combinations of the formal with the informal, the glamorous with the playful, the understated with the bling.

Are you prepared for a plunge into the past? 

From the baggy tees, athletic warm-up pants and Timberlands to the sheepskin coats, designer jewellery, sneakers and caps, there might be more than a few items already in the dark recesses of your wardrobe that evoke some of the best of ‘90s-onwards hip-hop style. And now could be the time to repurpose them.

While much of the ‘early running’ in historical hip-hop fashion was done in the menswear department, the apparel associated with the genre has never stopped evolving and flowering.

This was certainly evident in the transitions seen across hip hop womenswear, which began largely mirroring broader contemporary womenswear – enhanced by the likes of bamboo earrings, straight hair weaves and braids, and midriff tops – and continued through to the provocative looks favoured by such key figures as Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim.

In formulating your own hip hop brunch outfits, then, you can expect to do a lot of delving into the past of a truly transcendental movement, while also applying just a touch of your own sensibility in a nod to the endurance of hip-hop culture into the 2020s.

Whether your idea of befitting and classic hip-hop fashion is double denim, Adidas trainers, bandanas, or elements that are very different, when you immerse yourself sufficiently in all the contradictions inherent to this multifaceted subculture, we reckon you won’t go far wrong with your chosen hip-hop brunch style.