When it all started, the only streetwear shirts were actually borrowed from workwear
At the very beginning of the streetwear phenomenon, the only shirts worn by hip hop fans, skaters and graffiti writers were borrowed from workwear. The flannel shirts worn by Suicidal Tendencies since their first album in 1983 become a staple in skater apparel. Streetwear was truly an underground movement where it was mostly t-shirts and fleeces, easy to screen print when you knew where to buy the right blanks to do so.
Streetwear shirts first saw the light of day with a slight surf influence
Surfers told us how short sleeve shirts defining a lifestyle should be, with their pastel tones, aggressive patterns and even neon colors. It was at the end of the 80s that brands like Vision Street Wear and Life's A Beach but most of all Stussy, start to drop their first shirts that end up in the best skate shops. That's how the sporty shirts slide into men's skate apparel. If we venture out, in music territory, rock fans, punks and skinheads found with Levi's their ideal men's shirt. Far from California, it is the rugged lumberjack look to inspire hip hop fans of the East Coast, that's why you had brands like Carhartt but also Dickies and Ben Davis to quickly become synonymous with "streetwear shirts" with their heavy flannel shirts that could endure a tough lifestyle.
When among streetwear shirts you look for one to show off stay authentic!
During the 90's streetwear image became more sophisticated, following the "I made it" type of showing off. That's why wearing long sleeve shirts such as Tommy Hilfiger's was (and it still is) showing off your wealth in a way far from traditional elegance, staying true to where you belong. Be true to who you are but a shirt or two can't miss in your wardrobe.