Hip hop style is a fashion style first popularized by the emerging hip hop culture in the early 1980s. The look is characterized by strong urban influences, often typified in baggy pants, oversized shirts, and baseball caps. Flashy jewelry, known colloquially as "bling", is another key element in hip hop style, helping create a luxurious street look often referred to as "ghetto fabulous." The style went mainstream when sportswear brands began to associate themselves with hip hop culture, and it became a trend for rap artists to start clothing lines of their own.
The late 1970s saw an emergence of rap and hip hop. During this period, fans of these musicians started copying the artists’ look. This came to a head in the 1980s, when followers of the more popular hip hop icons co-opted the musicians’ style by wearing brightly-colored tracksuits, bomber jackets, and sneakers. The early 1990s ushered in baseball caps and sports jerseys, as well as hip hop style trends for women. Female hip hop artists started wearing sports bras under oversized shirts as their own brand of femininity.
Sportswear’s influence on hip hop style grew in the mid to late 1990s, when artists started wearing aspirational sportswear brands. Designer Tommy Hilfiger was among the first to bridge the gap between classic preppy and urban style. Instead of ignoring the hip hop community like many designers did, he created baggy clothing in bright colors and courted the most popular hip hop artists. Hilfiger became a household name in hip hop style when rapper Snoop Dogg performed on live television dressed in his clothing.
At this time, jewelry culture became a prominent part of hip hop style. The word “bling” refers to ostentatious and elaborate jewelry worn by hip hop artists or installed onto their tooth caps and mobile phones. In the 1990s, the bling of choice was gold jewelry, but platinum took over in the middle of the decade. Diamonds, referred to by many hip hop culture proponents as "ice," are another popular accent in many individuals’ accessories.
Hip hop artists continue to influence hip hop style as much as they did in the 1980s. The most notable trend in the last decade is Kanye West’s revival of the shutter shades, colorful plastic sunglasses whose lenses are replaced by a “shutter” motif. Many artists, such as Eminem, 50-Cent, and P. Diddy, have also opened their own clothing labels and have been met with favorable commercial success.