He probably not alone in asking that question.
There are two answers from what I know. The easy answer and not-so-easy (but way more meaningful) answer.
I give you the easy answer first: go to a bboy jam, observe what everybody is wearing. Take a picture or ask around if you have to.
Okay, this won do. Maybe you have to *actually* go to a jam and see for yourself.
The not-so-easy answer is something that requires tedious research and some experience and knowledge into the culture itself.
And it may not be just another list that you can easily compile in 5 minutes (though you could do that).
How people wear the stuff they wore.
Why they wore their clothes or apparel that way.
And even who wore what?/h2>
These sub-questions add way more value when we attempt to understand bboy fashion.
Why did bboys wear Dickies, and with pockets sticking out of their pants?
Or even, how do some bboys keep their caps on without dropping them?
If those are the questions youe wondering about, then read on.
Isplitting up the topic of fashion as a series. And Idoing this head-to-toe – literally?(Okay I did this toe-to-head since I started with sneakers first.)
So here my version of The Ultimate Headgear Guide for Bboys.
And what will you learn from knowing what, how, and why of wearing headgear?
When you can PULL OFF the look with your headgear, you?/h2>
Look fresh at a jam or even when youe hanging out with friends (imagine getting all the right kind of attention and looks from people around you)?Plus, you can look more photo-worthy just by changing the way you dress
Feel more confident about yourself – because you know that it a look that suits you. AND you can still do your moves in the right kind of attire (imagine doing better headspins in a cap or beanie that doesn fall off!)
Stand out as the individual that you are (because clothes make a man?Or in this case a bboy/bgirl). How? By choosing the right colours, material, and even size?To express who you are through how others look at you
- Can show how loud and proud you are about where youe from – you show that you represent your crew or team if youe wearing a nice headwear with your crew name on it!
- Have a convenient way to hide bald spots from training moves that can be intense on the head and scalp. After all, as our dance evolves, the moves can demand more from the body.
Without further ado, let get down to our list. Here a table of contents to make your browsing quick and easy.
Beanie | Cap (6-panel) | Cap (5-panel) | Flatcap | Fedora
Bucket Hat | Helmet | Bandana | Do-rag | T-shirt
#1: Beanie/Spin Cap
The beanie is considered one of the staple headgear for many bboys. And it typically seen in two versions – one has a nylon or vinyl mesh on it, the other does not. Armory seems to be one of the biggest brands when it come to spin caps. But you can also find the non-spin cap versions elsewhere (with brands like Vans).
FYI, the mesh-like material has its own history. It definitely worth a read.
Kid David rocking the beanie in his signature pose.
- Spin-cap (mesh version) is convenient for you to do headmoves (especially headspins)
- Less restrictive for breaking in general (compared to caps)
- Can slip off if the floor material has more grip than your usual practice floor.
- Can also slip off if it not tight (especially from wear and tear)
- If youe in a tropical country: traps heat more easily, and the beanie probably stinks faster than other headgear
Take note that the seam (or line of the beanie) goes from ear to ear, not from front to back of your head.
Also, the beanie covers not just your hair, but your ears as well. Why?
When you don cover your ears?/p>
You might end up looking like Santa little helper or a garden gnome (try looking into the mirror if you don believe me).
Typically, bboys now tend to fold up their beanies as depicted above. However, for the non-mesh version, you can wear it without folding it up.
This leaves some of the beanie hanging at the back and top of your head, and it creates a different feel or effect in how you look and dance.
Pro-tip: Before folding the beanie up, you can tighten the beanie. The concept is similar to using a belt around your waist, but wee using a shoelace here
Tie the shoelace around your folding or dividing point, making it as tight as possible (without cutting off blood flow and feeling giddy). Only fold up the beanie at this point.
For your conveniece, Ie put up a step-by-step visual guide on How to Fasten Your Beanie with a Shoelace:
#2: Cap – 6 panel (fitted)
This is probably the epitome of bboy and street fashion head gear. You probably seeBiggest and Baddest caps more often than not at bboy jams.
As a matter of fact, the 6-panel (or similarly shaped 5-panel) cap is pervasive. You see it on the streets anywhere in the world!
Anytime someone wears a 6-panel cap tilted and backward, we automatically assume that person is influenced by street fashion.
And it stemmed all the way from our hip hop culture.
With so many variants of the caps in the world today.
But Istarting off with the 6-panel version since we see this most commonly (think: NY baseball caps).
Here two common distinctions among the cap variants that you should know:
Flat bill versus Curved bill AND
Fitted versus Snapback
One particular brand of caps that bboys still rock today is the Cobra cap. The image below is technically 5-panel but Iputting here because of its shape (more on that in the next headgear).
While it retains the shape easily?The foam material makes it less stiff to break with (especially with powers and freezes that involve putting the head on the ground).
Ynot from Rock Steady Crew wearing a New Era 6-panel cap.
- Versatile, with too many variants to count
- Cobra foam caps are a practical choice for breaking
- You can look good with the visor facing either backward or forward
- Snapbacks make a good fit when you tighten the cap
- You probably have no idea what looks best on you, so experimenting is needed here
- Fitted caps may fall off easily
- You have to remove the top button to easily do more headmoves
It seems 渟treet?to wear your cap backward. In fact, one could say it synonymous with hip hop fashion.
But it my personal take that hip hop fashion still has the element of expressing your own individuality through every element of how you look. So don take it as gospel that you must wear your cap in a particular way.
On a practical note?Did you know you can remove the button on top of your cap? The stiff little object (not your weiner) that gets in the way of doing headspins or sometimes freezes?/p>
Yeah, there tutorials out there on how to remove the cap button so check it out!
#3: Cap – 5 panel (typical box version)
While similar to the 6-panel cap, Ie created a separate category for this version of the cap because it gives off a different look. The way the 5 panels are sewn makes the cap look 渂oxier? Plus, there no button at the top to remove.
The brand Supreme is known for their version of the 5-panel, so you may have seen the picture on the left before:
Tyler the Creator seems to always have a Supreme cap wherever he goes.
- No button on top (hurray!)
- Boxier look, may fit the average human head shape more than the rounded 6-panel
- As with the 6-panel, the bill can also get in the way of ground powers and freezes
- You may want to remove the metal rings at the side when doing certain ground powers like windmills and halos?They may come off and you might end up getting cuts.
Pretty much the same as the 6-panel. Wear it backward or forward, just be sure to make it tight enough that it doesn fall off during cyphers and battles!
Special mention: Even though it not technically a 5-panel cap, the military cap (or jockey cap) serves a similar purpose. There no button to remove at the top, and the material tends to be even in terms of hardness (unlike 6-panels which can be hard in front and soft behind). Thus, it can be less distracting in breaking.
The flatcap, while not limited to, has made its appearance in the hip hop scene and sometimes at bboy jams. They tend to come in tweed, leather, or even cotton. If youe looking to wear a flatcap, you can take a look at Brixton and Kangol for a start.
And the material does play a part in the kind of look youe trying to portray. For instance, the tweed flatcap tends to give off a working class Irishman/Englishman appearance.
Not the fresh prince but a prince nonetheless.
After all, the cap did come all the way from Ireland and Great Britain. And the male immigrant workers brought along the flatcap with them into the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Along the way, it got trickled into the hip hop fashion (which of course originated in the USA too).
Poe One from Style Elements and Mighty Zulu Kings.
- Less commonly worn, so it might stand out more
- Could give off a different street vibe, depending on how you wear it
- May slip off easily, especially if it isn a snapback/adjustable version
- May also slip off due to the layers that go in between the outer and inner surface of a flatcap
Okay – unless youe Samuel L. Jackson, you probably won pull off wearing a flatcap backwards. Most of the bboys Ie seen wearing the flatcap wear it the typical way (see Poe One above), if not they slant, tilt, angle it.
Even though it is rarely seen in (specifically) the bboy scene?The fedora hat did make its way into the hip hop fashion decades ago. One group that really popularized the hat was Run DMC.
There are still some bboys who wear it at jams and even compete with it. The problem is?/h2>
Fedoras just won be really practical unless a) you don do head moves and b) you find a tight fit that doesn cut off the blood flow to your head.
Yeah, the other Kings of Rock in their iconic attire.
- You will probably stand out since no one else really wears one
- If you pull off the look, you might even resemble Michael Corleone
- High chance that the hat will drop out when breaking?unless you get a tight-fitting one
- Can do head moves with this irregularly-shaped hat
- If you don pull off the look, you look like the neckbeard fedora guy
Well, in addition to making sure the hat doesn fall off during breaking?/h2>
Ijust gonna drop a gem from Frank Sinatra here (the man really took the fedora and made it look classy as hell):
淐ock your hat – angles are attitude.?/h2>
#6: Bucket Hat
LL Cool J almost single-handedly made the red Kangol bucket hat popular. Especially when he kept wearing it over the years in his albums and pictures.
But that just one version of the hat itself. A typical bucket hat has a flat top (think of the ones that Stussy is popular for). And it recently gained momentum in popularity in the 2010s.
As a headwear for breaking, it may be an OK choice for head move. The crown doesn have any weird protrusions or distracting parts of the cap that obstruct you from doing halos, windmills, headspins, ground freezes etc.
The brim (the area providing shade) does a good job of covering your eyes. You know how they say people fear the unknown? The less people see your face, the less they know what youe thinking. And you appear more intimidating.
So if you like to make it difficult for your battle opponent to read your intentions?/h2>
The bucket hat may be your choice of headgear.
- Compatible for ground moves (once again, assuming it fits your head)
- Covers half your face for mystery
- Provides all-round shade
- Easy to keep in your bag if youe not wearing it
- Nothing really grips it well, so it can still fall off
- You could end up looking like a fisherman still
If your bucket hat has eyelets (for ventilation), it should be at the sides not the forehead/back of head. But that said, it doesn really matter which way is front or back – that makes it easy to just put on.
#7: Headspin helmet
You have seen this all-too-familiar helmet that looks like it was made for long distance cyclists?One that was worn by Aichi, Laser, Boom?The kings of headspins.
And why they wear such a funny looking helmet is precisely because the helmet gives them less friction and grip against the ground. It gives them the obvious ability to spin more (hence the name, duh).
So, despite looking like a mountain climbing enthusiast who lost his harness in a room full of street dancers?Some bboys just choose to wear the headspin helmet.
Why? Well, theye all geared up (literally) for the one move theye trained so hard for.
- Infinite headspins! That if you can do the move with the right technique.
- Hair loss minimized (ain that every bboy dream?)
- You probably will still hear sniggers from the crowd (but fuck it, it the move that counts)
- Also, get ready if your battle opponents can already predict and reply your move
Il be honest, not much can be or needs to be said here. You risk looking silly for more rounds. It a fair trade off.
This is one of the most versatile headgear you could possess?On top of being a handy first-aid cloth (it can minimize blood loss).
Not counting Jack Sparrow?One of the most prominent figures to rock the bandana was Tupac Shakur. His way of tying the bandana was unique. His knot was tied at the front instead of the back (where it typically was).
And that goes to show, you can tie a bandana in various ways to signal different things.
Cover the bottom half of your face, and you look like a mugger.
Leave it hanging around your neck instead?Voila, youe John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.
Cover your hair, and you look like a Harley biker or Hulk Hogan (fuck yeah!).
Sometimes, people stick a bandana that half-hanging from their back pocket. What does that mean?
There a variety of interpretations here.
You could be either indicating youe from a gang (think: Bloods, Crips etc.).
OR, youe from the LGBT community (they have a handkerchief code for different fetishes. Uhh, I read it up okay). So be wary where and when you hang your bandana.
Tupac in his iconic tied-up bandana.
- It does help a little with head moves (windmills, halos) if tightened and tied as a headband
- And it also helps absorb the sweat from the head
- You can even wear another headgear over the bandana, just for extra security or fashion
– It thin, so don expect much protection if youe looking for some
Believe me, there a ton of ways to tie the bandana. Instead, Igoing to share with you one simple way you can tie the bandana below.
Tutorial: Jack Sparrow method (this guy imitation is actually decent)
#9: Do-rag (or Doo-rag/Durag)
So youe seen 50 Cent, Eminem, Guru and a whole lot of other hip hop rappers sport the do-rag. It typically made of nylon (easy to spin on!), and it easily washable.
You ought to know that the do-rag prevents most of the sweat from reaching an outer layer (e.g. a motorbike helmet, or a cap). So it can be used to prevent stench, especially if you sweat frequent, often, and with a smell.
Guess who back with a brand new rag.
- Good for keeping a lot of hair in one place (i.e. no bouncing around)
- Advantageous for those who do a lot of head moves (spins, glides, icy ice?
- Doesn come off easily since it can be tightened
- Sweat containment
– You probably wanna watch out if your skull shape looks good on the do-rag
This is quite straightforward – Ie mostly seen bboys wear the do-rag as it is. Of course you can try placing another hat or cap over the do-rag.
Once in a while, you catch a bboy in a cypher with a T-shirt worn not as a T-shirt?/p>
But as a makeshift do-rag or bandana.
There no official statement made on the history of the T-shirt do-rag. But what more important to note is that the T-shirt is good to absorb sweat from your head. It made of 100% cotton (usually) after all.
Of course this T-shirt do-rag doesn help a single bit in head freezes or powers. In fact, it gonna just come off as a result of friction.
Still, you can wear this at your practice sessions while training for other stuff.
Probably the only picture online of Jay Z with a T-shirt over his head.
– Absorbs a hell lot of sweat from the head
– You won be doing any ground power or freezes with this thing on
How bboys rock this headgear:
While wee not found any bboy or hip hop star wearing the T-shirt do-rag, here a tutorial on how you can fold it.
[Back to Content Page]
So What Should Fashion Be For Us Bboys and Bgirls?
At the end of the day, it a matter of how you feel toward what you wear. Fashion isn dichotomously about what you wear to impress, or to express.
At one level, you wear what you feel looks and feels good on you. And looking from a more social angle, we still seek validation of how we look from other people around us.
How do I mean? Here a sample inner monologue I have sometimes:
Does it look good on you? Yes? Then keep it. Not sure? Or not too confident? Try something else. Get your (trusted) friends?feedback.
As long as wee honest about why we do what we do, our motivations should matter more than we think. At least more so than other influencing factors.
Lastly, here a simple guideline (not so much a rule) to follow:
DRESS FRESH WHENEVER YOU CAN.
What I mean by fresh?
We switched things around. Typical ways of wearing things were questioned, reinvented even. We made the cheap shit look good. We used shoelace as belts. We tied fat laces on shoes to stand out. We made caps look cool. Shirts for shade.