Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk: How to be a Hipster

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In nearly every decade for the past hundred years, there seems to arise a new countercultural group. Whether it’s the greasers of the 50s, the hippies of the 60s, or even the goths of the 80s and 90s, there’s always a group that prides itself on doing the opposite of the status quo. In the mid to late 2000s, a new group arose: the hipster. If you want to know how to be a hipster, there are some essential things you need to know.

What is a Hipster?

There’s a lot of confusion regarding what it means to be a hipster, and since the movement has been around for over 10 years now, it has evolved to mean many different things. At the beginning, in its simplest form, being a hipster meant forming your tastes and habits around things that weren’t widely liked or recognized. Rather than listening to the popular music of the era, hipsters opted for smaller, lesser-known artists. Hipster dress typically involved standing out by wearing outlandish, vibrant outfits. As far as attitude, hipsters were known to be heavily ironic, unique, and somewhat vain.

Today, being a hipster can mean a lot of things. The foundation for being a hipster, however, is to be an individual. This usually means having a distinct taste in music, fashion, and hobbies. If you want to know how to be a hipster, you’ll need to learn how to develop a unique taste for all things in life. When you do, not only will you be seen as a hipster, but you just might have a new lease on life that helps you see things a little bit differently. If that sounds like something you’d like, read on.

How to Be a Hipster With Your Clothes

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To play the part, you need to look the part. That’s why we start with the clothes. In the early days, hipsters were typically seen wearing bright, skin-tight clothing that attracted a lot of attention. Other hipster trademarks were grown-out mustaches, messy hair, and thick-framed glasses, whether or not they had an actual prescription.

But like many trends over the past decade, these hipster identifiers have evolved and changed. The hipster wardrobe has expanded beyond just those items and has even broken into several categories. Before we look at some of those individual categories, it’s important to understand one main thing: hipsters usually dress in ways that stand out. That doesn’t always mean that they are wearing something goofy or outlandish, but hipster outfits are usually assembled to turn some heads. Once you choose the style of dress that’s right for you, try to pick clothes that will make you stand out from the crowd.

The Vintage Hipster

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Many hipsters want to dress in ways that are inexpensive but are still stylish and uncommon. The best option for this mindset is to start visiting thrift stores and build your wardrobe out of clothes from generations past. This means buying a lot of flannel, distressed denim, and graphic tees (the older the better). Part of the mentality behind this type of dress is a dislike for the mainstream consumerism that most people have in mind when they shop.

Rather than purchasing new clothes that require more and more products to be made, many vintage hipsters enjoy buying pre-owned items as they are more sustainable, and better for the environment: something many hipsters feel strongly about.

An example of an outfit like this could be a pair of ripped jeans, an old graphic tee with the logo of a sports team that the wearer doesn’t even care about, and an unbuttoned flannel. An outfit like this comes across as effortless but very cool in a vintage way. Hipsters typically aren’t big fans of sports, but wearing the vintage merchandise of a sports team they don’t follow adds a level of irony and carelessness that hipsters are known for.

Head to your local thrift store and see what’s available. But remember, you’re not looking for things that are on-trend; you’re looking for vintage pieces that you think will stand out. You’ll earn bonus points for items you can find that are from the 90s or earlier; the more vintage an outfit is, the better!

The Fashion-Forward Hipster

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Not all hipsters are as concerned about sustainability or going against consumerism as vintage hipsters are. In fact, a large subset of hipsters pride themselves on not only being on top of the current trends, but ahead of them. This requires buying a lot of new clothes and spending rather large amounts of money, which is something you should take into consideration when choosing your hipster style of dress.

Fashion-forward hipsters tend to enjoy having several pairs of the latest styles of sneakers as well as shirts and pants from popular brands. This style of dress often crosses over with the “streetwear” style, and many of its subcategories. To give yourself an idea of how this style is achieved, do a Google search on streetwear and take a look at some of the images. Pulling this style off well can be difficult and expensive; but when done well will really turn some heads.

The Eclectic Hipster

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Perhaps you want to stand out but you’re not confident in your ability to find good pieces at the thrift store, and you don’t want to spend the money to be more fashion-forward. A good option for you might just be the eclectic hipster. Rather than coordinating good-looking outfits like the vintage or fashion-forward hipsters, being eclectic simply means wearing something to stand out, whether it looks good or not.

Sometimes this means things like clothes that are way too big for you, fur coats even when it’s hot, or old-timey top hats or other headwear you don’t see often. This style of dress is less about looking good, and all about standing out. There are fewer rules to this style of dress as well; all it takes is assembling an outfit that makes you look like you don’t belong!

How to Be a Hipster With Your Music

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One of the most important things to any hipster worth their salt is their taste in music. Music occupies an important role in many people’s lives, but for most hipsters, music is the very air they breathe. When the term “hipster” was first being used, their trademark for musical taste was only listening to things that most people hadn’t heard of. The various music tastes of hipsters today are a little bit more complicated than that, but that attitude still exists. If you want to learn how to be a hipster, you need to listen to more than just whatever songs come on the radio.

Finding Music

If you don’t know where to start, one of the best resources for hipster music over the past decade has been Pitchfork Media. A good place to start would be visiting their website and looking up some of the bands and artists that they write about. Listen to at least a few of the artists’ songs before your make up your mind, and keep track of the artists you like.

Remember, you don’t have to like all of the bands that websites and blogs like Pitchfork write about; stick with the artists that really stand out to you, and who make music you actually enjoy. If you have the patience, try listening to an artist’s entire album from beginning to end, as this is most hipsters’ preferred way of listening to music. When you find some artists that you really like, look up other artists related to them like bands that they have toured with, and see what else sticks out to you.


Another great way to find new music and interact with other hipsters is by going to a lot of shows and concerts. Going to shows is one of the most common pastimes among hipsters and is a great way to make new friends. Make sure to check out all of the opening bands and see if any of them appeal to you. Remember, one of the most hipster things you can do is to discover a band before they “get big”. Usually the first band to play at a show is much smaller and not as many people know about them. Watch their set and buy some of their merchandise or albums if you enjoy their music.

How to Be a Hipster With Your Lifestyle

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You know how to be a hipster with the clothes you wear and the music you listen to. Now it’s time to round out your hipster persona with the lifestyle. Mostly, this consists of your hobbies and the things you enjoy. If you are looking to pick up some new interests that will gain you some hipster cred, there are several hobbies and interests that are tried and true in hipster culture.


For example, nearly all hipsters really love drinking coffee. However, they much prefer going to smaller, independent coffee shops where they’ll order black coffee with no cream and no sugar. Drinking black coffee is a bit of an acquired taste, so even if you don’t like it at first, keep drinking it; you may find that you come around to really liking it.


Hipsters also like to be sustainable with their transportation, and often use bicycles as their primary means of getting around. “Fixed-gear” bicycles are a classic choice among hipsters, and while they’re not quite as functional as many other bikes, they are great for exercise, and are a lot of fun.


Another thing hipsters love is photography. If you don’t have a camera, start by taking more pictures on your phone and sharing them on social media. The artsier the photos you take, the better!


Ultimately, being a hipster doesn’t mean changing everything about who you are; it means expressing yourself without being afraid of sticking out. You don’t have to listen to any certain bands, dress a certain way, or do one certain hobby. Just focus on finding the things that make you feel the most fulfilled and confident: and don’t be afraid to stand out.

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