The way African-American men dress has always been highly-criticized. Baggy jeans have been chastised by everyone from celebrities to politicians. Tight pants have been made fun of publicly by rappers who regrettably have questioned the wearer’s sexuality on account of the fit of their slacks.

The New York Times reported on a style blog called Street Etiquette founded by Mount Vernon, NY natives, Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi that pushes the boundaries of black male style. Established in 2008, it has become one of the top go-to sites for Mens Fashion.

Gumbs is determined to prove that when it comes to fashion, black men are not a monolith. “There’s more than one cool now for black people,” he says. While vintage hip hop ushered in an era where men rarely strayed from baggy jeans, Air Jordans, jerseys and white tees, now black men feel more empowered to take risks with their style.

Street Etiquette celebrates that kind of fearlessness. The bloggers’ sense of cultural pride is evident in their choice of fabric as well as their appreciation for great tailoring and vibrant accessories. Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi are providing a safe place online where men can explore what it means to be black, creative and stylish.

Our men need the freedom to be able to express themselves through Fashion without being isolated, criticized or condemned. Street Etiquette is a valiant step in the right direction.

Do you think black male style is evolving? If so, what’s causing this change? What do you think of Street Etiquette?

-Krystal Holmes

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  • Mariposaverde

    I think these guys look super sexy with the fitting clothes (finally!!) I was getting worried hahah. I could never let a man into my home, let alone meet the fam with baggy clothing that has unfortunately been the signature look of black men and hip-hop. I love the Ghanaian inspired prints and bracelets and such…over all these guys are fit and look very intellectual and conscious <3 LOVE

  • LemonNLime

    Well this creativity hasn’t hit Ohio from what I’ve seen yet but I wish it would! Those guys look seriously sexy! I’m gonna have to take a trip to NYC!

  • This is a good piece. I’ve picked up on this as well.

    I do see some things going on in the background that may not be liked by some. In Philadelphia there are many hipsters.

    Basically men and women who look like the people in the photo. This is a minority crowd and what I’ve noticed are that the men tend to be more eclectic than the women. What I mean by that is that you will see many of these men at mixed crowd events.

    Being honest, I have no clue where the women go. They can be found at mostly black hipster events and there are the occasional hipster BW who are equally eclectic in the groups they hang out with but compared to the men those numbers are small.

    I bring this point up to ask this, what else are these men moving away from? Are they moving outside the “NINJA BOX?” Seemingly so, but what does that mean and what is the significance of that?

    Other groups tend to be more accepting of black men with these style types. These men get shunned by both other black men and women who subscribe to Hip Hip culture forcing them to move into venues where there is a much greater diversity – especially in cities like Philadelphia.

  • Nadiajh

    I’ve always hated the baggy, sports wear as out wear look on our guys. Glad it’s fading away. May its death be swift