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How to Be a Hipster

Updated on November 6, 2014
A bunch of hipsters.
A bunch of hipsters.

What is a Hipster?

The best way I can think of to describe a “hipster” is this: the lovechild of a hippie from the late 60s and a preppie from the 80s. Think Penny Lane (from Almost Famous) and Steff (from Pretty in Pink) having a child. Hipsters inherited the earth-loving, vegetarian lifestyle, fondness of drugs and penchant for bohemian fashion trends from their hippie mother and their arrogance, expensive taste, love of polos and elitism from their preppie father. The result is a modern hipster as we know them.  This is an informative article explaining what defines a hipster and how to become one. Enjoy. Or not, whatever.

Hipster fashion.
Hipster fashion.

FASHION

Fashion is oh-so important to your identity as a hipster. You absolutely cannot buy from “mainstream” stores. Many good options may be found at American Apparel, but you cannot walk into the store and shop - that would be too easy. You have to instead purchase these clothes online, and not from the American Apparel website either (that would still be too mainstream of you). Some staples include black skinny jeans, distressed denim, hounds tooth scarves, pea coats and bomber jackets, tuques, cardigans, v-necks and graphic t-shirts, old-school Vans or Converse (best if they look worn), and anything plaid. Glasses are nothing to be ashamed of, and are stylish when the frames are thick and black (think Buddy Holly). Hipsters frequently wear clothing inspired by the 70s or late 60s, as a pointer. But try to develop your own weird and quirky style. Bonus points if you shop at vintage or thrift stores.

MUSIC

Hipsters typically listen to indie rock, nu-wave, independent rap, ska, minimalist techno, nerdcore, and garage and punk rock. Take your pick. What matters most is that you listen to the most obscure bands you can find so you can brag about them and name-drop in later conversation with your hipster friends. If even your hipster friends haven’t heard the particular musical group you’ve just discovered, you are on the right track. You can rub it in their faces by saying, “You’ve probably never heard of them.”

How a hipster thinks.
How a hipster thinks.

MAINSTREAM MUSIC

If said band becomes mainstream, stop listening to them immediately, call them sell-outs, and boast that you knew them “before they were cool.” This is a very powerful phrase in your hipster arsenal - use it whenever it makes sense to do so.

Their complete apathy for their surroundings and each other is clearly apparent.
Their complete apathy for their surroundings and each other is clearly apparent.

ATTITUDE

HUMOUR: Develop a dry, sarcastic sense of humour that involves dumping on the lesser (non-hipster) people, and be at all times smug. Smile when you employ sarcasm so it is not taken as a sincere statement.

APATHY: You care about nothing. You have family and friends that you’re fond of and maybe you have a hobby or band you really like, but in the end, everything is “whatever.” Caring too much about something is uncool.

Knitting for hipsters.
Knitting for hipsters.

HOBBIES

Acceptable pastimes include: obscure hobbies, playing musical instruments (better if uncommon), writing, blogging, yoga, partying, going to shows, drinking coffee, smoking (even better if smoking cigars, or from a pipe), and ironic activities that are not traditionally age-appropriate such as knitting, crocheting, or golfing.

Pabst Blue Ribbon, drink of hipsters.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, drink of hipsters.

DRINKING AND SMOKING

Two of a hipster’s favourite things to do, but they have to be done right. Hipsters prefer, by far, Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) beer to drink (with the occasional Budweiser or Miller High Life) and Parliaments or Lucky Strikes to smoke. It’s even better if you can find expensive foreign cigarettes (like Gauloises), pipes, or cigars.

A girl with a boy's haircut.
A girl with a boy's haircut.

ANDROGYNY

If you are a girl, you want to look more like a boy, and if you are a boy, you want to look more like a girl. This means both genders wear similar clothes, and adopt hairstyles from the opposite gender. NOTE: it is not required to be androgynous; the other option is to be very feminine or masculine. For example, hipster men frequently have either long, or side-swept (still feminine) hair, or are bald. Hipster women typically have either very long (often oddly-coloured) hair, or very short hair. An “in” thing for girls to do at the moment is to crop the hair on one side of the head very short, while still keeping the rest of the hair very long. It’s quite edgy.

A smiley piercing. But you've probably never heard of it.
A smiley piercing. But you've probably never heard of it.

PIERCINGS AND TATTOOS

These show your rebellion against the man, and highlight your need to be different and attention-whoring. Some common tattoo motifs include flowers, birds, any ironic saying, and most any text. Piercings include lip, nose and septum piercings, Monroe piercings, industrials and spacers (all of which apply to both genders). Bonus points for uncommon or gutsy piercings such as smiley piercings and microdermal hip piercings.

Exhibit A of a hipster's definitive moustache fetish.
Exhibit A of a hipster's definitive moustache fetish.

MOUSTACHES

For whatever reason, hipsters love their moustaches. Guys attempt to grow them, and girls sport moustache necklaces and rings. It is common to see pictures of a hipster holding their index finger across their upper lip, with a moustache drawn in marker on the finger. They have a strong moustache fetish.

A dirty hipster.
A dirty hipster.

DUBIOUS PERSONAL HYGIENE

Aim to look like you haven’t showered in a few days. Nothing too excessive, you don’t want to be malodorous or downright greasy, but you never want to look like you’ve just stepped out of the shower. That says you’re trying too hard. Likewise, makeup should be smudged and never precise – think smoky eyes and dewy lids. Think Ke$ha, but not quite that dirty. If you’re a guy, don’t shave regularly -  a five o’clock shadow, ironic moustache (I already mentioned how much hipsters love moustaches), or if you can pull it off, a full-fledged beard, says that you don’t care in all the right ways.

A vegetarian hipster restaurant. Note the ironic titling.
A vegetarian hipster restaurant. Note the ironic titling.

DIET

Most hipsters are vegetarian or vegan, care about the environment and buy organic or whole foods, even growing some of it themselves if they really want to be better than the average vegan. If you don’t want to adopt a veggie lifestyle, it is tolerable to eat meat if you make it a point that you are doing so as an act of resistance to the whole “vegetarian” trend. In this case your ironic decision to eat meat because you’re past the trend of veganism is acceptable and ballsy.

Something you'd find on a hipster blog.
Something you'd find on a hipster blog.

BLOGGING

Have your own Tumblr or BlogSpot to write about how you’re hipper than everyone else, post pictures that reflect your interests, showcase your attempt to be a photographer of young adult life, and relish in the obscurity of your bands. Remember to reblog things ironically and always use Helvetica font. A common hipster post is a picture of a galaxy or the sky with text reading something sad and angsty.

RELIGION/BELIEFS

It’s alright to be atheist, agnostic, or completely apathetic. The key, again, is to not care too much about anything, religion included. It is also acceptable to practice Buddhism, Taoism, and other more uncommon (in North America, at least) Asian religions. Hipsters are radically open-minded and racism, prejudice and homophobia are practically non-existent among them. Interracial couples are common.

And here we see hipsters in their natural habitat.
And here we see hipsters in their natural habitat.

HABITAT

Hipsters live in the artistic districts of major cities including Wicker Park in Chicago, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. There are high concentrations of hipsters in Brooklyn especially. Really you can be a hipster in nearly any major North American city, just be sure to live in the hip, artsy part of it.

This photo is probably making an ironic statement about the stereotype of women in the kitchen.
This photo is probably making an ironic statement about the stereotype of women in the kitchen.

OCCUPATIONS

Hipsters work or want to work in music, art, or fashion. Many have liberal arts degrees and are educated. It is also acceptable to have interests in philosophy, or ironically, math or science.

OVERVIEW

Overall the most important things to keep in mind in order to be an accepted hipster are to obey their fashion laws, be as obscure in your musical tastes and other interests as you possibly can, take an interest in music, the arts, and witty banter, and retain a level of apathy and irony in all that you do. Most importantly, remember that as a hipster, you are obviously better than everyone else (those unoriginal, conformist mainstream drones), and as such you are a more attractive, intelligent and worthwhile being than most people alive today. You are a hipster.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Awesome! This page is so old, even btr. B3) 

      3 years ago

      Love it, great pointers for my hipsterdom, ltryall

    • ms_independent profile imageAUTHOR

      Celine 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Unfortunately Karolina, I suspect the hipster style is just going to become more and more "mainstream" until it's not underground or unique at all xD And thanks, glad you enjoyed the hub!

    • profile image

      Karolina80 

      5 years ago

      This was a hilarious and very accurate read...God I hate Hipsters. And they are ALL the same to the point of knowing exactly what to exect from one - hence you being able to write an article that reads like a "How to be a Hipster" handbook. Ha ha...brilliant. Hopefully this fad goes away soon.

    • profile image

      belle 

      6 years ago

      omg i think i'm a hipster :s

    • profile image

      RJ 

      6 years ago

      This is hilarious

    • JoshuaThePost profile image

      JoshuaThePost 

      6 years ago from Palace of the Brine

      Brilliant, simply brilliant.

    • ms_independent profile imageAUTHOR

      Celine 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @DougBerry Sounds like you definitely have some hipster tendencies, but then again, so do I; I've bought plenty of clothing from Goodwill myself and I actively try to do things differently from other people all the time XD

    • DougBerry profile image

      DougBerry 

      6 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Well, I put a link to this Hub from one of mine without looking at it first. I see that I made a good choice.

      That said, I do have a Hub called, "5 Bands I Like, So You Probably Hate Them," and my author pic is me wearing some stuff I picked up at a Goodwill right before a concert. But I'm reading Ayn Rand. I think she would be the anti-hipster.

      But...damn...am I a closet hipster?

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, ms_independent, I was TOTALLY-MESMERIZED with this hub. You are so deep and precise in your thought association and organization, that I am ashamed of myself. And I have been a writer for 23 years. You are an amazing person. I LOVED this hub. And I am a fan and follower. Voted UP and all the buttons my mouse could find. Very Sincerely and WITH feelings . . .Kenneth Avery, a survior of the 60's....from a rural town (sorry, but even hipster people do NOT all live in Philadelphia, and The Big Apple) in northwest Alabama, Hamilton, where we are hipsters to a point, but our town is a replica of Mayberry, the lovely hamlet where Andy and Barney worked. Don't know Andy and Barney, you say. They starred on the TV icon, Andy Griffith Show. Peace to you and much success in your writing. I would LOVE to have you follow me and give me advice on how to be an older hipster, 57, and be as good of a writer as YOU. Kenneth Avery.

    • profile image

      hello 

      7 years ago

      also, SAN FRANCISCO is totally hipster area.

      it's a clash between the silicon valley geeks and the hipsters all the time.

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