How to Dress Like an '80s Breakdancer

Young man breakdancing, balancing on one hand, portrait

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Born in the South Bronx in the 1970s and exploding in the '80s, breakdancing, also known as breaking, had a style as distinct as its moves. An early style of hip-hop dance immortalized in such '80s movies as "Breakin'" and "Flashdance," breaking is now a respected international art form. Started on the streets, the looks worn by b-boys and b-girls reflected its cool urban roots. Step up your style in classic breaker gear with vintage '80s threads or modern retro attire.

Master Track

Bust a move in a nylon tracksuit. While old school breakers also sported cotton sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts, matching gear became an important part of '80s breaker style as crew battled crew, and designer nylon tracksuits quickly became the standard uniform for b-boys and b-girls everywhere. The loose fit of track pants and hooded jackets allowed for freedom of movement, and the nylon fabric let breakers slide and head spin on the floor. Feel free to don basic black with white stripes for a cool monochrome look or opt for a flashier flavor in bright colors, such as blue or red with white accents.

Kickin' It

Kick it old school in vintage-style athletic shoes. Although high-top basketball shoes are often associated with breakdancers, many dancers favored low-top style shoes, which are lightweight and flexible enough to allow the ankles to twist and pivot more easily. You can't go wrong in black or white sneakers in suede, leather or canvas, or go bold in a head-to-toe look with a color that matches your outfit. Eighties breakers often added custom panache to kicks with thick shoelaces in bright colors or neon hues.

Fly Gear

Wear fresh headgear and wristbands. Choose from a variety of popular period lids that have stood the test of time, including backwards baseball caps, bucket hats and newsboy caps. Headwear like bandanas, often worn under hats, are practical as well as stylish, used to aid with moves like head spins. To look street stylish, wear large wristbands or armbands, which dancers often wore for support, protection and to reduce friction.

Breakin' Bad

Break out '80s accessories with attitude. Think oversize gold chains, medallion necklaces and gold hoop earrings. Include funky eyewear, including '80s favorites like horn-rimmed glasses in practical black or bright colors and ski-style wraparound sunglasses. For an unmistakably '80s vibe, complete your ensemble by carrying a boom box with a mix tape filled with '80s hip-hip hits to complement your moonwalking, dropping and freezing.