Hop on the ‘pursuit’ of Kid Cudi’s style

By Jake Reed

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(Photo courtesy of Sellahremy/Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo courtesy of Sellahremy/Wikimedia Commons)

During his time in the spotlight, Kid Cudi has made headlines both for his music and for his controversial personal life (most recently, he only found out about his feature on Kanye West’s latest album on Twitter after its release). Aside from that, the rapper (real name Scott Mescudi) has made waves as a fashion icon, stunning with his look at the first weekend of the Coachella Music Festival that revived the male crop top and inspired a flurry of copycats under the Tumblr hashtag “croptopmovement2k14.”

The “Day ‘N’ Nite” rapper’s fashion has evolved over time – in the six years since his debut single’s release, he’s tried his hand at a rock band and become a father – but some of his wardrobe essentials have never changed. One of the most memorable is, to be fair, an essential for most of the hipster rap pack: a reliable red flannel. You should find plenty to choose from at your local thrift store, but if you have a few dollars to throw around, check out American Eagle’s AE Workwear Plaid Button Down Shirt for $49.95.

Dark denim jeans are another wardrobe staple that Cudi rocks on and off the stage. Although he sings about his Balmain jeans on his last album, the Slim-Straight Raw Denim jeans at frankandoak.com are a bit more reasonably priced at $68. Of course, Levi’s 510 Skinny Jeans in the Rigid Dragon color option, just $47 at jcpenney.com, should do the trick as well.

Whether on stage or on the red carpet, the rapper has never shied away from accessorizing. Let’s start with headwear. A Neff beanie ($17.95 on zumiez.com) is a quick way to replicate his baggy cap from the “Pursuit of Happiness” video, while you can pick up his favorite Cleveland Indians New Era baseball cap for $34.99 at lids.com.

When it comes to jewelry, the best advice is to layer on rings and necklaces – but keep in mind that Cudi seems to shoot for an almost-exclusively gold look. Roz’s Place at 6 Bridge St. in Northampton has a great selection of rings and necklaces around $20 and under.

One of Cudi’s most versatile style items is the graphic T-shirt. He’s said himself that he tries to find vintage tees in thrift racks (and I’ve heard that the Salvation Army in Turners Falls has taken less of a hit from college hipsters than the one in Hadley) but you can also find trendy graphic shirts at Urban Outfitters or even Target. Pair it with a blazer to score his look from 2013’s “King Wizard” video or a leather jacket to grab his style from 2012’s Rock the Bells music festival.

Of course, one doesn’t become a style icon without some controversy-stirring looks – “The blogs tell it, Cudi’s lame/Wearing a kilt, he must be gay,” he raps on 2010’s “Don’t Play this Song.” If you’re ready to take a fashion risk, the kilt is one viable option. Cudi pulled off the plaid number by toning down the rest of his wardrobe: he wore all-black everything with the exception of a red Jordan logo on his Nike sneakers, red shoelaces and a red “C” on his Indians cap, all of which matched the kilt’s splash of crimson.

Last but not least, you can stand out this summer with your own Cudi-inspired crop top. The star set Twitter ablaze earlier this month when he took to the Coachella stage in a red crewneck sweater with the sleeves missing and the bottom cut a few inches above its original hem. If you’ve been holding on to that old sweater that you love but that has never quite fit right, now’s the time to take the scissors to it and get the crop top look before it lines the walls of your nearest American Apparel. Plus, it’ll give you more motivation to get that six-pack before summer arrives.

On and off the stage, Kid Cudi has achieved a look synonymous with his rapper-turned-rock star persona. From lonely stoner to indie rocker, there’s a Cudi look that works for everyone.

Jake Reed can be reached at [email protected]