Every subculture has subtle cues that signal to other insiders that you’re part of the in-crowd. Part of that cultural code is how you dress. If you know you know as they say.
For example, an iconic shoe for breakdancers is the Puma Suede. B-boys and B-Girls swear by this shoe and during competitions and meetups, many people would wear it. Once I was at a mall in Toronto and I spotted someone wearing Puma Suedes. I approached him and asked if he breakdanced, and he replied yes. We ended up having a lengthy conversation about our favorite crews, dancers, and songs.
Another example is the Canadian engineering iron ring. The story behind the iron ring originates from a bridge collapse in Quebec that killed many people. Using the iron from the collapsed bridge, iron rings were made and given to graduating Canadian engineering students as a reminder of their responsibility to the public. The ring is subtle but I had a few people notice it, all of them were also Canadian engineers.
Whether it’s breakdancing or Canadian engineering students, every subculture has its own distinct style of clothing, and for one to be part of that subculture, you must dress the part.