I never knowed how clothes could change a body before. Why, before, he looked like the orneriest old rip that ever was; but now, when he’d take off his new white beaver and make a bow and do a smile, he looked that grand and good and pious that you’d say he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe was old Leviticus himself.“–Mark Twain

Whenever I tell people that I’m passionate about clothes, I can’t help but feel a little ashamed. Clothes seem like such a frivolous topic (ask my mother)…but clothing and style affect people’s perceptions. A person may not know you, but they judge and treat you based on what (and at times who) you’re wearing.

Hip hop dance class is no exception!

I regularly take ridiculously FUN hip-hop dance classes at Broadway Dance Center. My fav classes are with Bev B, who teaches choreography to everything from Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely” to Justin Timberlake’s “My Love .”

I usually wear the same thing: olive green cargo pants, wife beater, pumas. One day I decided last minute to take a class after work. I didn’t have my ‘hip hop’ clothes, just my ‘day at the gym’ clothes: Nike sports top, Nike capris, gross gray sneakers…basically I looked like a big old herb.
Perhaps it was my perception, but I swear when I ran into class, a few people turned around, looked me up and down, and chuckled. For the rest of the class, people were stepping in front of me like…’this chick can’t dance…what’s she doing here??’

Apparently if you want to be taken seriously you have to dress the part.

For dance class, girls don’t always ‘dress up’ per se, but essential parts of the outfit are sweats and a cute top. Hairstyles vary, but the slicker the better…and jewelry is sometimes preferred. Check it out:

She was cute. She couldn’t speak a lick of English, but had on a shirt that said “Listen to Bob Marley.” You might not be able to see it, but she also had diamond drop earrings on…and her side ponytail completes the look.

These girls exemplify ‘hip hop class’ dressing: Fatigue shorts, slick hair, cute tops, and sweats, yes, but sweats with flair. Homegirl on the far right’s sweats are rolled up, and are acccessorized with a chain.

Boys sometimes get a bit more creative:

His style is impeccable and really creative. Fatigue shorts seem to be a hip hop class ‘must.’

He had the requisite sweats on, but wore his baseball hat for the whole class…and topped everything off with a chain (tucked in for complicated moves).

Now off to find some fatigue shorts…


PS Interested in Hip Hop Dance in NYC? Broadway Dance Center (221 West 57th Street) is the spot. Last time I was there Darrin Henson popped in my class looking for dancers (I guess I wasn’t picked…), and Britney Spears has also been known to take Bev B’s classes (pre Fed-Ex and two babies of course). Classes are expensive ($18 and climbing), but worth it. Visit their website here.


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