The fashion world is ever-changing, and one of the newest aesthetics to emerge is known as techwear. Although most of the latest aesthetics rely on the styles and pieces of the past, the techwear aesthetic looks to the future. Find out what makes up this unique apparel style and how it functions with lifestyle choices for tech-forward individuals.
Breaking Down the Techwear Aesthetic
The techwear aesthetic steps over what’s familiar, showcasing style elements that are unique and out of the box. Every piece of aesthetic technical wear serves a useful function and draws influence from futuristic styling. If you’ve seen movies like “Ghost in the Shell” or “Blade Runner,” the styles might look familiar to you. Those who adopt this style aesthetic eschew bright colors in favor of matte, dark pieces. Instead of a bold anorak, you might don a muted black rain shell, worn with a pair of stretchy cargo pants. Most technical wear pieces are black or grey in color, made for movement, and easy to slip on and off.
This aesthetic is influenced by the grey man aesthetic, which focuses on blending into the crowd. In the intelligence and security community, employees often learn how to blend in and be as inconspicuous as possible. These individuals wear ordinary clothing, often in muted shades of grey, and drive ordinary vehicles. The concept of the grey man aesthetic or theory allows someone to conceal their abilities, blending in on the outside. William Gibson, a well-known cyberpunk author and fashion influencer, described his notion of the aesthetic, emphasizing that apparel choices should serve a function while ensuring the wearer doesn’t stand out in the crowd.
When designing an outfit that incorporates this aesthetic, it’s consider how to avoid looking boring. Dressing all in black is pretty one-dimensional, but incorporating variations in textures and shades can elevate your look. Getting the fit and cuts of your apparel right can also make a difference in how you present yourself every day. Look for the subtle details when choosing pieces to add to your wardrobe. Hidden zippers, plackets that keep the buttons out of sight, and extra pockets can all take a piece from drab to fab.
Technical Elements of Techwear Apparel
The main purpose behind the aesthetic is to make life easier, regardless of what you’re doing on a particular day. Water-resistant fabrics keep you dry, while cargo pants provide extra storage space to carry what you need.
Another key technical aspect of the style aesthetic is staying comfortable at all times. Most modern clothing pieces are cut based on standard patterns, with slight variations of fits and options available from various retailers. But the designers behind this style of apparel take a different approach, focusing on the movement of the human body. Instead of creating standard pieces based on standard sizes and shapes, these designers incorporate articulated joints for improved range of motion.
Some manufacturers have gone so far as to show people performing martial arts while wearing their technical wear pieces. These videos demonstrate the true ability of the wearer to move when dressed in this style. Since the apparel includes darting at various points, the person wearing it can move as freely as they desire without the fabric pulling or fraying at different points.
Since the aesthetic is all about function, it makes sense that storage capacity plays a role. Some styles include pants with tiny pockets that can’t carry much of anything. This is certainly not the case with technical wear, which is all about how much you can hold at any given time. In today’s world, you probably have a lot to carry. Everyday essentials include your mobile device, keys, headphones, and wallet, while extra items might include a water bottle, a power bank, and a laptop.
Today’s pieces bridge the gap between style and function, providing more space to stash your gear. You can utilize zippered pockets in the pants and jackets, add modular attachments, and even don a multi-compartment backpack or sling bag to carry everything you need for the day’s activities.
Additional Technical Aspects
Along with these functional elements, the pieces that fit into this fashion aesthetic are often made from materials that provide additional functionality. Breathability is a must, especially when you live somewhere with high temperatures on a regular basis. The last thing you want to worry about is getting sweaty and feeling sticky beneath your outfit. Breathable materials allow heat and sweat to escape, ensuring that the person wearing them feels dry and comfortable.
Some synthetic materials used to construct technical wear apparel may also have odor resistant capabilities, improved elasticity, and even be scratch resistant. In some cases, a piece might be so reflective that it looks brilliant in the right light. These enhanced properties help the followers of this particular fashion aesthetic to stand out when they want to, while blending in on dark nights.
You may also notice that the style incorporates elements like locks, straps, and clasps, which contribute to the functional aspect of the apparel pieces. Keeping your stuff locked up and protected ensures that no one can steal the valuable items you carry in your pockets or on your back.
Techwear Basic Pieces
If you’re interested in jumping into the aesthetic, the good news is that you can experiment and see what works for you. Since the style is minimalist in nature and includes versatile pieces, you can try out different options and slip them into your current wardrobe.
The aesthetic starts with outerwear. You need a functional and stylish jacket to pull off this look, and it should be durable, waterproof, and designed with movement in mind. When shopping for outerwear pieces, look for options that include zippers in highly functional areas and are made with moisture-resistant fabrics. Beneath that, you can either wear a T-shirt or a hooded sweatshirt, depending on the weather.
A sweatshirt can also serve as a mid-layer, keeping you warm when it’s cold outside. Look for high-tech fleece in black, grey, or navy. Some of the available hoodies feature built-in masks to cover the wearer’s face.
This aesthetic may look like it has some crossover with the athleisure aesthetic, but the key difference is the functionality of the apparel. When choosing pants, steer clear of options designed for exercise and focus on pants with high-function features. Examples include taped seams, hidden vents, and extra pockets for added storage. These technical details are what differentiates this particular aesthetic from other style movements.
When choosing a top, look for a lightweight graphic tee that you can wear under your technical wear jacket and hoodie. A fashionable top might draw inspiration from big city streets or the art scene. No matter what, make sure it’s functional and dark in color.
The wrong footwear can totally ruin the vibe, so make sure to choose kicks that complement the aesthetic. Tech-forward sneakers are typically made from the latest materials, such as neoprene or Flyknit, and show off tech features. A leather sneaker might include a zipper to get it on and off as quickly as possible.
You might also choose boots or high-top sneakers to complete your look. Many followers of the techwear aesthetic wear boots, although they’re different from the work boots you might see with other styles. Instead of looking bulky or heavy, boots that fit into this fashion look often incorporate cutting-edge materials used to construct modern tennis shoes. A pair of boots might have a shield made from Flyknit to keep the wearer’s feet dry.
A backpack or sling-style bag is a must-have for any techwear enthusiast. The purpose of this style of bag is versatility, as you can fill it with the gear you need while on the go. Living a mobile urban lifestyle involves keeping your stuff within easy reach while protecting it from the harsh climate conditions.
This style aesthetic is futuristic and minimalistic. When you want to blend into the crowd, choosing dark and monochromatic colors can help you achieve that goal. Incorporating pieces that perform a function, like holding your gear or preventing you from getting wet if you’re caught in a rainstorm, helps you to showcase your forward-facing style.