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15 Streetwear Terms Explained

When it comes to shopping, particularly online shopping sometimes it can be a bit difficult understanding exactly what a product description means, especially when you’re new to the whole experience. From reading; a hang-tag on a tee, eBay listings, web shop descriptions to even social media advertisements often there can be some new terms that you’re unfamiliar with, and let’s face it the last thing anyone wants when it comes to online shopping is a disappointment when an item you were not expecting shows up on your doorstep. We aim to assist you in some of the terms that are popping up in 2015 in our article – 10 Streetwear terms explained:

15. Streetwear

First off, although it may seem self explanatory but what exactly is streetwear? Streetwear or street fashion is particularly hard to define mainly because it’s ever evolving. The best description would be to say that it’s casual clothing, usually t-shirts, jeans, sneakers and jerseys. This is obviously quite a broad definition, however with the lines of what exactly streetwear is been blurred over the years with an ever growing list of brands adopting the term it is quite hard to pinpoint any other characteristics besides it just been casual wear.

Streetwear is a term that a lot of people credit to the clothing that was coming out of Southern-California in the late 70s/early 80s that was themed around cultures like surfing, skateboarding and to a certain extent hip-hop. Among the pioneers of the term was Shawn Stussy. Streetwear today draws elements from the same cultures however also draws from; music, street art, pop-culture and sports (particularly baseball and basketball).

14. Longline

tall-cut-off-teeLongline is a relatively new term in fashion. It describes clothing garments that are longer in length than what would be considered a regular cut or length. The term applies to both men and women’s clothing and is particularly popular amongst taller people because of the extra length in the clothing to accommodate for their taller builds. Synonymous with terms like “tall clothing”, “tall tees” and “longer length clothing” the phrase longline appears to have been originally used as a term to describe longer length dresses for taller women however has found it’s way in to streetwear, usually to describe longer length t-shirts or hoodies.

13. Swag

“I own swag” – Lil B

Ask 10 different hipsters on the street what the term “swag” means and you’re like to get 10 different answers. To explain what we believe the term means first we have to take a look at the words origins. Remember when in the 90’s all the kids were saying things were “da bomb” to describe how cool things were, simply because all their favourite rappers were saying it? Well the term “swag” comes from hip-hop as well, it is the shortened version of the word “swagger” which basically meant style, not just what you wore, but rather how you wore it. Many rappers today have adopted the term swag, and it can often get quite confusing as the word is used as a noun, adjective and a verb alike. To have swag, basically means to have style and to have ‘swag for days’ means you’re incredibly stylish. The definition of swag however is becoming increasingly subjective and blurred, especially given rappers like Lil B use the term at the end of sentences instead of a period or full-stop.


12. Steeze

Steeze or steez basically means the same thing as swag. The term originates from DJ Premier of hip-hop group Gang Starr in the track ‘You Know My Steez’ it essentially means ‘style with ease’ hence the term steeze. It has evolved in to words like steezy, which is often used to describe the style in which the likes of rappers, skateboarders, snowboarders and even sports players go about their tasks. To perform a skateboard trick in a more laidback style or is generally described as steezy. To have your own particular style such as wearing tall tees will often be referred to in snowboarding circles as tall tee steeze.

11. Deadstock

Deadstock is a term thrown around a lot these days, particularly when purchasing from ebay or buy, sell, swap groups online. Traditionally  deadstock means that the item for sale is no longer available at a given store making it more exclusive or it can fetch a hire price. However like many terms it has since evolved. Today deadstock, particularly in so called ‘sneakerhead’ or shoe-lover groups, the term is used to refer to shoes or clothing that has never been worn, often from seasons passed. The term has evolved in to essentially the same meaning you would expect NWT (new with tags) or NIB (new in box) to mean. Deadstock is essentially interchangeable with the term mint condition to describe an article of clothing that has never been worn and is still as new. Checkout the video below of sneaker head DJ AM describing exactly what deadstock means to him.

10. Black on black

The term black-on-black has origins dating as far back as the 1960’s race riots and was used to describe interactions between black people, notably crime. In terms of streetwear, black-on-black is used to describe a particular style of clothing that consists of layering black garments such as black jeans with a black t-shirt and black cap. As well as this it can also be used to describe singular items of clothing that feature black screen-printing or embellishments on a black garment, such as our black-on-black snapback that we sell here.

9. Throwback

Throwback Denver Nuggets jersey.

The term throwback is generally synonymous with retro, a word used to describe styles that imitate or are derivative of past trends or styles. You will often see the term used in modern culture with “throwback Thursday” where people will post vintage pictures of themselves as children or songs from years past. In terms of street fashion “throwback” is a term that is used regularly in basketball circles to describe retro jerseys or apparel for a particular team, so when it comes to streetwear – throwback is basically anything that has a retro or vintage vibe about it. One of the more popular throwbacks right now is the whole “90’s throwback” which is imitating styles of clothing from the 1990s.


8. Oversize

Oversize or oversized is a term used both in men and women’s street fashion. It describes as the name suggests items of clothing that are not ‘true to size’ but rather a bigger, baggier fit. Some examples of clothing articles that are often referred to as oversized are sports jerseys, particularly those of NFL or NHL which are traditionally made bigger to accommodate for padding/protection however when you wear them without that padding you achieve more of a baggier, oversized look which is often associated with street fashion.

7. Slim fit

When it comes to fashion, slim fit traditionally is clothing that was skin tight or tailored with little room for putting on any weight. However when it comes to streetwear slim fit doesn’t refer to that pair of spray-on, skin tight jeans that you own but generally to a style of cut of t-shirt or top layer. Slim fit t-shirts are basically just a regular t-shirt that is slightly slimmer in the width of the garment. Traditional cuts of t-shirts, particularly American sizing can often be quite wide around the chest and not necessarily suit someone of a more athletic, slimmer build.

6. What is a Drop Tail Tee?

Our droptail zipper tee

Droptail or drop-tail is a relatively new term to streetwear fashion, even if the style it describes is far from new. Droptail tees are t-shirts where the back section is longer than the front to create more of a tail effect. The style originates as far back as when people were wearing tailcoats, a type of dress jacket where the front of the skirt is cut away, just leaving the back section often referred to as “tails”. This type of jacket was traditionally worn to make it easier to ride horses, however evolved in to more of a formal gown to wear over the years. Droptail clothing is todays equivalent of a more formal style of casual clothing where the back is longer to add a bit of style particularly when layering. You can check out some of our own droptail gear here.

In the early 2000s, a major change occurred in urban fashion. Throughout the 1990s, urban fashion has prided itself on uniqueness and expression – and people wore some pretty crazy things. Neon shirts and colored jeans were not uncommon on the streets of the world’s biggest cities – and some of the most famous hip hop stars created elaborate wardrobes that were all about glitz and accessories. Late in the 2000s, things took a sharp reversal, and now the hottest urban trend is simplicity – the plain white t-shirt and variants on it.

Where Can I Buy a Drop Tail Tee?

We have a range of droptail tees and droptail hoodies for you to check out in our online store. You can check a couple of them out below.



5. What about a Scallop Tee then?

White t-shirts actually had a practical origin in the ghettos of the United States. In cities like Baltimore, gang members wore white t-shirts to make themselves indistinguishable from all the other young males on the street – and many gangs would even pass extra large white t-shirts out as a type of “uniform” to ensure homogeneity among their people. The white t-shirt was a symbol of identity and working class fashion – and it was quickly picked up by hip hop artists and the fashion labels that make the “world” of urban fashion spread throughout the globe.

Stripe Long Sleeve Tall Tee
Our Striped Long Sleeve Tall Tee featuring Scallop finish. You can shop this design over on our store page.

One of the biggest problems that plagued the white tee from a fashion standpoint was it’s sheer size. While long t-shirts afford the wearer with greater comfort and mobility, baggy t-shirts look unkempt and too casual for anything but lounging around the house. The scallop tee (also known as a curved hem tee) was created as a response to this problem – a shirt that kept the extra-long tail of the white tee, but added a form-fitting torso and arms that were actually proportional to the wearer. However where it gets it’s name and the main characteristic of the style is the scoop aka scallop style hemline. Where a regular t-shirt has a straight hemline this cut differs creating a more stylish finish to the whole 90s oversized street look.

Think of a scallop t-shirt as a elongated t-shirt mixed with a european style button down shirt, however rather than tucking it in like you would do a shirt the curved hem hangs free completing a nice high-end street style silhouette.

Scallop hemmed tees were designed to be worn. No pretentious “primping” for a night out, no worrying about whether or not an outfit is going to come together… just 100% utilitarian good looks at a great price. Of course, they can also be worked into a layering look as well. Unlike baggy t-shirts that are uncomfortable when worn under anything, a scallop tee fits close to the body so you can put it under everything from a jersey to a sweatshirt, and the curved hems of the tee comes out the bottom of your top layer to add another colour and layer to your style.

4. Under T-Shirt (Layering)Layering

Fashion like many things tends to repeat itself over the years. At the moment we’re seeing a big resurgence in 90s street style looks. With this territory comes the whole layering look. We’re not just talking about when it’s really cold and you decide to put on 3 different cardigans and a scarf to keep warm… Rather layering to create a longer silhouette and contrast different layers that you’re rocking. In the 90s this was popular with a long sleeve tee worn as the under t-shirt whilst you would wear a contrasting tee over the top. You may remember this been popular with older Hang-Ten and Piping Hot (jeez now we’re showing our age). Fast forward to 2016 and layering is having that elongated under t-shirt to give you the longer silhouette and then wearing another regular/slightly less long tee on top. This works especially well with contrasting colours such as a white top underneath and black over the top or even our striped tall tee as the base layer and a throwback rock’n’roll tour tee on top.

3. Side Splitside split tee

Similar to that of a drop-tail design, a side split tee is defined by it’s hemline. Rather than the age old hem at the bottom of a top side-split breaks the t-shirt up at the joining seam of the front and back to create what is more of a tunic style. Depending how long the split runs up the garment it can give you a whole bunch of different looks. Most NBA jerseys will feature this style of design that you’re probably familiar with however in 2016 it has been getting a lot more pronounced as pairing different types of hemmed tees can create a stylish streetwear look with minimum effort.

2. Hype or Hype Beast

You’ll be no doubt familiar with the term “hype” and have probably been hearing it an awful lot recently in regards to the basketball draft and so called over-hyped players. Well when it comes to streetwear fashion it’s not too different. Ever woken up early on a Sunday morning only to see a huge queue of people lining up to get the latest Adidas sneakers? This is what we call hype in the fashion world. The common misconception is of course that a hype means good. Don’t get us wrong there are certainly plenty of great drops (particularly sneakers) that have been coming out over the last couple of years but there have also been the usual fair share of “all-hype” releases that are swooped up by f**kboys and hype-beasts that are suckered in my age old marketing tricks.

1. What is a Dad Hat?


MrRobot-Dad-Hat-Christian-SlaterOur final item on the agenda before you should be relatively up to date on lingo in the urban wear world is “dad hats” and just what the f**k that means? We could simply refer to the tattered curved brim style of hat that Kanye West is getting around in but instead we’re going to reference Christian Slater’s character in the recent series Mr Robot who in our opinion epotimises the whole dad hat look. The trending dad hat thing is again an ode to 90s fashion, in particular, the whole distressed curved brim style. Generally they will feature small embroidered insignia on the front and often even a leather strap at the back and are meant to look weathered ala the kind of hat that your dad would wear. How is this stylish you ask? Maybe someone in the comments section can help out, but we’re all for vintage looks (and wine) 🙂

One thought on “15 Streetwear Terms Explained

  1. Brian Nagele says:

    So weird. I was just searching for information about this stuff and you popped up. You must be doing something right. Thanks by the way, this really answered some questions I was wondering about.

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