“God created black people and black people created style.”— George C. Wolfe
Throughout history, African-Americans have been known to be the most creative people in the fashion world. Since the days of slavery, black people were known to dress it up and make it real. In the days of oppression, slaves were known to put on their “Sunday’s Best” which were outfits reserved for church. On any given Sunday, you can see an African-American woman adorned in jewels and fine fabrics gracing the church with her style and elegance. If you saw her on those special Sundays, you will see her with a large hat on embellished in jewels and intricate details. Want to see a real runway show? Watch the congregation during offering time.
Clothing has been used by black people to send messages such as, “I may not have it but I bet I make it look like I do.” Now, don’t get me wrong, the black man is not too far behind in the fashion department. Have you ever noticed that one uncle that shuts down the function in his three piece, freshly pressed navy blue pinstriped suit with a fresh pair of Stacy Adams matching the suit and hat? Style at its best.
For years, black people have graced the fashion scene with phenomenal pieces that took the fashion world by storm. Clothing in the African-American community is almost like non-vocal communication. You can see someone’s attire and know exactly how they’re feeling. We, as African-Americans, have separated fashion to having our own style. That style goes back to the way our ancestors dressed. Now don’t get me wrong when I say ancestors. When referencing ancestors, I’m speaking of those great aunts and uncles that you love to see coming to the cookout dressed from head to toe.
Black men have definitely taken the key of fashion. No other culture can say that their men have taste like a black man. Walk into the closet of a black man over the age of 50 and you are sure to see 15 to 20 suits with a pair of Gators to match each suit. Not only will you see matching suits and shoes but you are sure to see hats to go with those shoes.
For many years, the barbershop has been the mecca of style for the black man. If that cut isn’t tight and crisp, your outfit is bound to be off. Not only is the barbershop a fashion connoisseur but any Historically Black College or University is the place where you can see the latest fashion trends. Though each fashion trend is not credited to the culture, we all know where they came from. The “urban” trend is just “black style.” Our style has dominated the masses for years. While our grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles may never be on the cover of the world’s top fashion magazine, they will always be supermodels in our eyes.
Our people have dressed to the nines over the years making it even that much harder to keep up with our style. No matter the budget, economic status or occupation, we as black folks will step out to the nearest function looking as if we’re fresh off the cover of Essence magazine.