The techwear aesthetic draws on influences from three types of highly functional clothing: sportswear, military uniforms, and outdoor apparel. Let’s talk about it.
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What is techwear aesthetic?
Technical wear aesthetic, or techwear for short, is a fashion style that combines functionality with style. It’s quite popular in Asia, especially in South Korea and Japan.
The main idea of techwear is to create highly functional outfits, incorporating many technical items such as pockets, lockers, clasps and straps, as well as other useful accessories.
It also uses special materials, useful design, and properties inspired by military equipment that ensures breathability, freedom of movement, water resistance, and comfort.
The pieces are painted mostly in black, silver, or military-inspired colorways, taking inspiration from the niche cyberpunk style (think Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell).
However, traditional techwear clothing combinations also allowed for a single neon pop of color as an homage to the hustle and bustle of futuristic city’s metropolises.
Techwear doesn’t have a well-defined philosophy.
However, many techwear fans have an interest in topics such as cyberpunk media, futurism, climate change and resilience, ecology, AI, transhumanism, and the surveillance state.
If you’re familiar with the game Watch Dogs (a game in a simulated living city controlled by one operating system), then you’ve got an idea of what the techwear aesthetic actually is.
How to achieve the techwear aesthetic
Before we move on, I’d like to say that the techwear aesthetic looks best if you commit and go all in. Don’t implement different elements of other styles into the techwear look.
Also, I think going all-black works best for this particular fashion style.
The best thing about the techwear aesthetic is that you can mix and match apparel and accessories that fit your personal style. However, each outfit consists of five elements.
Here’s how to style the techwear aesthetic.
Lightweight top for layering
First, you’ll need a top that is lightweight and not too warm, as you’ll be layering on it. I recommend that you opt for something with long sleeves for additional comfort.
Much of techwear aesthetic’s color palette is black, although other dark colors work too. The best choice is to wear a black long-sleeve tee, which will become the foundation of your outfit.
Outer layer (softshell jacket or hardshell coat)
You’ll also need an outer layer to go on top of the lightweight top. This could be anything but two of the most common choices for techwear are softshell jackets and hardshell coats.
To be more precise, wear something with waterproof technologies like Cordura or Gore-Tex, as techwear comes from the fabrics and innovations of industrial, scientific, and military apparel.
Technical windbreakers and anoraks also look great, especially if you lean into the black colors. And the best part is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get these pieces.
Pants with plenty of pockets
Once you’ve got the top covered, it’s time to move down below. Techwear pieces are often baggy and have features such as straps, clasps, locks, and multiple large pockets.
Wear a pair of black baggy pants with more pockets than you could ever imagine. From pockets that are tiny enough to hold coins to huge ones that can hold magazines – the more the better.
Go for pants with high-function features like hidden vents, specialized pockets, and taped seams. The keywords here are “functional” and “futuristic” after all.
Don’t sacrifice functionality and utility when going for the techwear aesthetic, as the idea is to “run around the bustling city with relative ease” so to speak.
It would also be useful if pants were fastened with Velcro or zips.
Backpack or messenger bag
The fourth thing that you definitely need is carrying options such as a backpack or a messenger bag, just in case you didn’t have enough space to store things.
Choose backpacks and sling bags that are built for the high-mobility urban lifestyle. These should be easily adjustable and should be worn quite snugly to your body.
The goal is not for doing parkour or dodging the police by racing up the stairs, but for keeping it practical, like protecting your laptop and camera when it rains in the city.
Last but not least, choose futuristic sneakers that ooze high fashion. Think cyberpunk – there’s no limit to what you can wear although it’s best to go for shoes with a monochromatic palette.
There’s no specific brand that I would recommend. You don’t have to wear something expensive, as there are plenty of affordable sneakers that embody urban techwear.
Although black is the most common sneaker color for urban techwear aesthetic, don’t be afraid to also experiment with other colors like yellow and white.