Difference between Streetwear and Formal Wear

Many people will say it is impossible to look smart in street wear and that you cannot look cool in formal wear.  This is not entirely true,  while both types of clothing are vastly different the cross over is beginning to happen. Jeans with a jacket is not uncommon; some celebs do it very well even at very formal functions.

However, there is a difference and one that should be understood and here I will try and explain.

Street Smart

Rooted in skateboarding and street culture Street Wear is casual, comfortable and in a way hard wearing. It is often referred to as casual wear but doesn’t quite get to the smart but casual look that is sometimes needed. It is believed to have first appeared in California but it is fair to say that fashion today starts just about anywhere.

This popular form of clothing among teenagers is seen being worn by men of all generations. It is casual, fun, practical and above all comfortable. Popular items when it comes to street wear include the essential jeans (these days distressed is the way to go and never call them torn), t-shirts (there are cool and not cool designs so check what you are wearing), caps and of course Takkies  (Sneakers for those who are not up to speed with South African terms).

A lot of street wear and street culture is about brands and big bold statements are commonplace. Countries around the globe are seeing street fashion evolve with hints of local culture creating something unique.

Fashionably Formal

Formal wear, on the other hand, is about as far away from street wear as you can get. In a funny way, formal wear could have easily gone out of fashion and disappeared but it has some staying power and is still around.

There are really two levels of formal wear. When the word formal is used on an invitation it often means the full tuxedo for the man and the ball gown for the lady, it will often state “black tie”.  The other form of formal is a little lighter and leaves room to be more stylish and trendy perfect for work or church or that all important job interview.

A good way to describe formal wear is “smart clothes”.  Formal wear has a certain level of tidiness to it. Creases and collars are essential and in many cases a tie. Colours are downplayed with the tie and sometimes the shirt making the statement. This form of clothing is smart and any man should hold himself in a manner that befits what he is wearing. It looks smart, it should ooze confidence and whether it is a Gucci, tailormade or off the rack suit is should make no difference.

The differences between both types of clothing are considerable. However, with both street wear and formal wear you can and will always look the part. The circumstances and surroundings may change but with both you will fit in, or stand out in the right way, no matter what.


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