Street style fashion is about embracing your individuality and expressing it with your clothes. You make the rules here, so it’s an ideal fashion strategy if you are:
- Comfortable being the center of attention
This doesn’t mean your personal rendition of street style has to be avant-garde. It only means you can wear what you want confidently, even if it bucks the trends or doesn’t follow conventional gender rules.
Sounds fun, right? Read on for the essential info on street style for women plus inspiration for creating outfits that showcase your personality and creativity.
What is street style fashion?
Street style is fashion that emerges from the streets — regular people — rather than from high-end designers or fashion houses. At its core, street style is a form of self-expression, where you create their your unique looks by combining garments and accessories in unexpected ways.
The roots of street style are in youth culture, subcultures, music, art, and urban life. It’s really a like, but more a reflection of the diverse and dynamic fashion scene found in cities around the world.
Admittedly, it’s tough to define street style. The best I can do is highlight some important elements. Street style:
- Has a casual, effortless vibe
- Is personalized
- Makes use of disparate pieces, including vintage garments, designer clothes, thrift store finds, and DIY creations. The high-low combo (mixing designer goods with used or lower-priced pieces) is popular among street style enthusiasts.
- Rejects the idea of following strict fashion rules.
- Celebrates diversity
- Encourages women to prioritize their personal style over societal norms
Here’s a personal tangent. I was in high school in the 1980s when you either defined yourself as “trendy” or “anti-trendy.” I put myself in the latter group. I wore a leather dress to prom, changed my hair color every few months, and generally made a point of being edgy all the time. Some of this was basic teenage rebellion, but there was a part that was self-definition. I wanted to be different and I expressed that with my clothes.
If you can relate, street style is your jam.
Influences and origins
Street style fashion has its roots in the counterculture movements of the 20th century, such as punk, hip hop, and grunge. These subcultures rejected mainstream fashion and created styles that reflected their values and beliefs.
Over time, street style became more mainstream and started to influence high fashion designers who incorporated elements of streetwear into their collections. Today, street style is a global phenomenon that is constantly evolving and adapting to new trends and influences.
How to: Street style outfits
A core concept in street style is combining unlikely pieces in an outfit. So, rather than opting for the tried-and-true, jeans-and-sweater combo, pop that sweater on over a metallic skirt and add a masculine blazer.
That’s just one IG-inspired example. Below are some tips to help you create your own fun fashion combos.
- Start with a statement piece: Choose one standout piece, such as a bold printed jacket or a pair of statement shoes, and build your outfit around it.
- Mix high and low: As noted, the high-low combination is welcome. Mixing high-end items with more affordable pieces adds depth and creates an interesting contrast.
- Play with textures: Experiment with different fabrics and textures to add visual interest to your outfit. Mix leather with denim, or pair a silk blouse with a chunky knit.
- Layering is key: Layering is practical for changing weather conditions and adds dimension to your outfit. Layer a t-shirt under a blazer or add a sweater over a dress.
- Don’t forget the accessories: Accessories can make or break a street style outfit. Opt for statement sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, or a chunky necklace to complete your look.
- Get over body issues, social norms, etc.: No matter what your shape or gender or preferences are, you can wear a crop top or oversized cargo pants or a blazer that’s technically made for men. Wear what feels right, not what someone else thinks you should wear.
- Leather jacket: A classic leather jacket is a staple in any street style wardrobe. Choose the cut that works best for your shape: moto, belted-waist, etc.
- Oversized shirts: Oversized shirts (t-shirts and button downs) are versatile and can be styled in different ways. Wear them as dresses with a belt or layer them over jeans.
- Denim jeans: A good pair of jeans is essential for street style outfits. Distressed or ripped jeans are on point, as are high-waisted, oversized jeans.
- Sneakers: Comfortable and stylish sneakers are a must-have for street style fashion. Choose a pair that reflects your personal style and complements your outfits.
- Statement accessories: Bold accessories like chunky necklaces, oversized sunglasses, and statement belts can elevate your street style outfits and make them stand out.
- Personalized pieces: Stretch your creativity by customizing your clothes. Some ideas include updating an old pair of jeans by giving them a fringed hem, adding embroidery to a denim jacket, converting a thrift store dress into a skirt, or designing your own graphic t-shirts (see t-shirt design online by VistaCreate).
Mixing and matching
A key aspect of street style fashion is mixing and matching different pieces to create unique and unexpected looks. Here are some tips to help you master this skill:
- Play with contrasting styles: Mix feminine and masculine pieces, such as pairing a flowy dress with combat boots or a tailored blazer with ripped jeans.
- Experiment with different proportions: Combine oversized pieces with more fitted items to create a balanced and interesting silhouette.
- Pay attention to color coordination: Mix different colors and prints in a way that complements each other. Don’t be afraid to mix bold and vibrant hues.
- Personalize your look with accessories: Add your personal touch by accessorizing your outfit with statement jewelry, scarves, hats, or bags. Accessories can transform a simple outfit into a standout street style look.
- Have fun and be creative: Street style is all about embracing your own unique style and expressing yourself through your outfits. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new combinations.
Street style outfits from IG
Here’s a look at chic street style outfits for women in action, straight from the feeds.
1. Patterned dress and trench
2. Small top, oversized bottom
3. Layers and layers
4. Graphic t and midi
If you need more inspiration, see my lists of streetwear blogs and streetwear brands.