6 Hip-Hop Dance Outfits That Celebrate Music and Movement
The expert-approved look that combines style and comfort.
The year 2023 marks the 50-year anniversary of hip-hop, the dance style that's transformed generations and is responsible for the current state of music, movement and style. Throughout the last five decades, hip-hop style has evolved, defined by many renowned and beloved artists. But, for those who dance hip-hop, the right outfit is about more than just the latest trend.
"It started in African-American communities with rapping, graffiti, breaking and deejaying, so these themes are woven into the foundations of what is brought to dance", said Traci Copeland, a Nike Training Club (NTC) Master Trainer and movement director who danced both street jazz and hip-hop professionally. "But it's also how you add your own style and form of expression within that. It's more than just dancing".
For both newbies and seasoned dancers, it's essential to nail the right hip-hop dance outfit—one that is comfortable and allows you to express yourself, too. You want an outfit that's relaxed, loose and comfortable—but still looks fresh.
"I either like a short crop top with baggy tracksuit bottoms or windbreaker trousers. Or, I wear an oversized tee with baggy trousers or shorts if it's summertime", Copeland said.
(Related: 5 Ways to Style a Nike Crop Top)
Since hip-hop isn't just a means of expression but a form of exercise all on its own, Copeland suggested bringing multiple tops to a hip-hop dance class because—odds are—you'll sweat through them. Shoes are equally important—for hip-hop dance you need a pair that is more than just functional, it should be an essential part of your look, too. Sneaker culture is prolific within the larger hip-hop community and any street-dance or hip-hop outfit will need a slick pair of sneakers.
"It's my hope that anyone who wants to be a part of the culture, whether it's through dance or any other platform, is approaching with curiosity and humility", Copeland said. "You can't separate the spirit of hip-hop dance (what you might wear) from the genesis of hip-hop culture".
When you're dancing hip-hop, what you choose to wear is not just about movement, it's how all aspects—from the moves, to the music, to what you wear—come together to celebrate hip-hop as a whole.
Ahead, find six hip-hop dance outfits to help embrace movement and celebrate hip-hop culture all at once.
6 Hip-Hop Dance Outfits by Nike
1.In the Flow
A short crop top with baggy trousers is a go-to combination for Copeland, who explained that looser pieces are usually preferred by hip-hop dancers.
"Your body needs space and room to breathe and move", she said. Playing with proportions will ultimately make your look stand out.
2.Pop of Colour
Don't be afraid to lean into bold colours when pulling together a hip-hop dance outfit. "Hip-hop dance and most other types of street styles are about adding your personal flavour to the dance routine", Copeland said. "Otherwise it's boring".
In that same way, translate your personal touch into your outfit, too.
3.Touch of Toughness
The ability to move comfortably is the first priority when it comes to picking dance outfits for hip-hop but don't write off your personal style. Layering a military-inspired gilet over your look is a cool way to play with texture and silhouette without messing with your ability to flow.
Whether you're taking classes or dancing professionally, street-dance and hip-hop outfits need to absorb some sweat. Layering pieces such as a V-neck sweatshirt or a zip-up hoodie that you can pull on and off is key to keeping your vibes up and energy high.
5.All About the Footwork
"Shoes are everything", Copeland said, about pulling together a hip-hop dance outfit. "Especially if you are doing a routine that requires a lot of footwork. Your foot needs to be able to move but with dance, you also have to add your style. So the style and function need to align perfectly".
An iconic sneaker like the Air Force 1—whether you choose a classic white version or a colourful variation—will enable you to move in style.
(Related: How To Do a Plié, According to Experts)
6.Dance for All Ages
For younger generations, kick-start their love of hip-hop with dance outfits that fit their aesthetic and teach them about the history and significance of the art.
"It's not just dance or music, it's a combination of art, style and ultimately a philosophy of living", Copeland said. "Hip-hop culture and dance is meant to be shared".
Words by Aemilia Madden