Graffiti and Gold Chains: The Bold Statements of 80s Hip Hop Fashion for Women in the USA

80s hip hop fashion women

Welcome to a journey back in time when the streets of New York City USA were pulsating with the beats of a cultural revolution and women were rewriting fashion rules. It’s the 1980s, and we’re about to dive deep into the bold world of 80s hip hop fashion women in the USA. This was an era marked by self-expression, defiance, and a unique blend of street style that became a global phenomenon.

Two elements that stand out as the icons of this epoch are graffiti and gold chains. These weren’t just accessories; they were bold statements, symbols of a movement. Graffiti told stories, challenged norms, and expressed creativity, while gold chains spoke of aspiration and style. Together, they painted the canvas of 80s hip hop fashion, leaving an indelible mark on the world of clothing, accessories, and self-expression. Let’s step into the time machine and unravel the intriguing history of this iconic fashion era.

Historical Context

To truly appreciate the fashion of the 80s hip hop scene, we need to understand the rich historical tapestry in which it was woven.

Emergence and Evolution of Hip Hop Culture

The 1980s was the dawn of hip hop’s global ascendancy. It emerged from the boroughs of New York City USA, a fusion of diverse cultural influences. This cultural movement encompassed music, dance, art, and of course, fashion. Rappers, DJs, B-boys, and graffiti artists became the pioneers of a revolution that was happening on the streets. Hip hop was more than just a genre; it was a lifestyle.

Social and Cultural Influences

To understand why graffiti and gold chains became such central elements in 80s hip hop fashion women in the USA, we need to consider the cultural and social milieu of the time. The 1980s was a period of urban unrest, political change, and the forging of a new American identity. It was an era of protest, and hip hop was the megaphone. The art of the time reflected the struggles, aspirations, and identities of the marginalised.

III. Graffiti in 80s Hip Hop Fashion Women

Graffiti as a Prominent Element

Graffiti art was not just confined to the walls of subway stations. It found its way onto clothing, accessories, and footwear, creating an artistic expression that went wherever the hip hop community did. The streets were their canvas, and graffiti became a way of making a statement, quite literally.

The bold, colourful, and sometimes politically charged artwork wasn’t just for self-expression; it was a form of communication. Graffiti told the stories of urban life, challenged norms, and transcended racial and social boundaries. In fashion, it allowed individuals to wear their beliefs and express their individuality.

Graffiti in Clothing, Accessories, and Footwear

Graffiti wasn’t just limited to one aspect of fashion. It adorned everything – from jackets to jeans, sneakers to snapbacks. Streetwear became a platform for artists to showcase their talents and for wearers to communicate their identities. Graffiti-printed clothing and accessories became a way for women to challenge traditional femininity and embrace the edgier side of fashion. In the 80s hip hop scene, more was more, and graffiti was the language of the streets.

Iconic 80s Hip Hop FashionWomen

Influential Female Figures

The world of 80s hip hop fashion women was not only dominated by men. Women played an equally crucial role in shaping this bold and iconic era. Let’s meet some of these remarkable figures who made an indelible mark on hip hop fashion.

1. Salt-N-Pepa

This female rap duo, consisting of Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton, not only conquered the charts but also the fashion scene. Their style was a perfect reflection of their music – bold, fearless, and trailblazing. Leather jackets, oversized gold chains, and graffiti prints were staples in their wardrobe.

2. Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah, known for her powerful lyrics and empowering messages, was a style icon of the 80s hip hop fashion women era. She effortlessly blended street fashion with a regal presence. Her collection of gold chains, often worn with oversized and bold clothing, became a signature look that inspired many.

3. Roxanne Shanté

A pioneering female rapper, Roxanne Shanté was a force to be reckoned with in the hip hop scene. Her fashion sense was a mix of urban chic and rebellious attitude. She rocked gold chains, oversized hoop earrings, and graffiti-inspired outfits.

Contributions to the Graffiti and Gold Chains Trend

These influential women not only wore graffiti and gold chains; they used fashion as a platform for self-expression, empowerment, and change.

  • Salt-N-Pepa used graffiti prints on their clothing to convey messages about female empowerment and body positivity. Their bold, graffiti-inspired outfits challenged stereotypes and encouraged women to embrace their individuality.
  • Queen Latifah was a trendsetter in her own right, using her style to send a strong message of self-empowerment and confidence to women everywhere. Her love for gold chains wasn’t just a fashion statement; it was a symbol of her success and independence.
  • Roxanne Shanté brought a touch of rebellion and authenticity to her fashion. Her graffiti-inspired clothing and gold chains were a reflection of her unapologetic personality, breaking stereotypes and making a strong statement that women in hip hop weren’t just following trends; they were setting them.

DIY Fashion: Creating Your Own Hip Hop Style

Now that we’ve explored the rich history and influential figures of 80s hip hop fashion for women, it’s time to bring this iconic style into your own wardrobe. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start; we’ve got you covered.

Tips for Incorporating 80s Hip Hop Fashion Women

1. Bold Accessories

Start with bold accessories like chunky gold chains, hoop earrings, and oversized sunglasses. These pieces are timeless and can instantly add a hip hop edge to any outfit.

2. Graffiti Prints

Embrace graffiti-inspired clothing and sneakers. Look for tops, dresses, or even leggings with vibrant graffiti patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix and match!

3. Baggy is Beautiful

The 80s were all about oversized clothing. Opt for baggy jeans, hoodies, and jackets. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s a nod to the iconic baggy style of the era.

4. Sneaker Game

Invest in a pair of classic high-top sneakers. They were a staple in 80s hip hop fashion and continue to be a symbol of this era’s style.

5. DIY Attitude

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Personalise your clothing with graffiti art or patches. Customization is at the heart of hip hop fashion.


In the colourful tapestry of fashion history, the 80s hip hop fashion women era stands out as a vibrant and audacious chapter, and within this narrative, the influence of graffiti and the allure of gold chains remain evergreen. In this exploration of “Graffiti and Gold Chains: The Bold Statements of 80s Hip Hop Fashion for Women,” we’ve journeyed through a time when the streets were alive with self-expression, defiance, and a unique blend of street style. We’ve uncovered the historical context that birthed this revolution, delved into the role of graffiti as a means of expression on fabric, and met the iconic women who dared to defy convention, becoming trailblazers and trendsetters.

As we conclude this adventure through fashion history, it’s essential to remember that the spirit of the 80s hip hop era continues to resonate today. Graffiti and gold chains are more than just fashion elements; they are symbols of empowerment, individuality, and the boldness to stand out from the crowd. So, whether you’re embracing these iconic styles or experimenting with DIY graffiti-inspired projects, let your fashion be a canvas to express your unique story. Just as the streets of 80s New York City were alive with creativity and change, let your wardrobe be a reflection of your own vibrant journey, unapologetically bold, and forever in style.