How to be a hipster: the official guide on straying from the norm


A hipster poses pretentiously in front of a three-way mirror. Her vintage clothing and oversized glasses are typical hipster attire, as are the Doc Martens that are vestiges of the ’80s.

Charmaine Ye, Staff Writer

Want to be a hipster?  According to, a website heavily relied on by teenagers, the definition of a hipster is someone “who is ‘in the know,’ ahead of the norm, and not too mainstream.” In other words, the term “hipster” cannot clearly be defined because categorizing someone as one would make the word too ordinary.

“The thing about hipsters is you can’t want to be one or try to be one, you just are one,” said senior Margaret Pepe.

So, unless you can disregard the opinion of your peers, an act that seems impossible for high school students, you will find it nearly impossible to defy mainstream culture.

Fortunately, I have been studying these so called “hipsters” in school and have deduced a few key points to help you become a hipster, learn to recognize them, point them out to tourists, or completely avoid them.

First and foremost, hipsters have a defined appearance that is hard to miss.  They can be found wearing big, black-rimmed glasses, even if they don’t need them, and shopping at thrift stores for vintage-style clothing.  A “hip” shoe collection is generally composed of worn-out old sneakers or boots, namely your parents’ Doc Marten’s.

Urban Outfitters might seem like the perfect place to obtain a hipster-esque wardrobe, but Pepe disagrees.

“No, hipsters do not shop at Urban Outfitters,” said Pepe.  “Think that through.  Everyone shops there.  It is far too mainstream for them.”

However, the store does offer some hip accessories, such as portable cameras that can be used to take blurry pictures that are supposedly “artsy.”

Speaking of photos, a popular hipster activity is taking pictures with Instagram and “hashtagging” everything in the photo with #Instahipster.  They are also interested in blogging, typically on Tumblr, while listening to vinyls on a modern record player as they type.

“On Tumblr, you have to be a true 90’s kid and post photos of stuff from the 90’s,” said senior Emily Lipstein.  “Also, people post music from unheard of bands or music from other countries.”

Ironically, hipsters do get most of their ideas by recycling mainstream culture and making it mainstream again.

“Sometimes people who try to be hipster and be ‘different’ end up coming off as kind of elitist,” said senior Makenzie Drukker.

If you are a student who constantly has ear buds plugged in, you can become a part of the hipster-craze by adding some indie rock music to your playlist.  Indie rock usually consists of bands with odd names that either have a deep hidden meaning or one that was just randomly made up.  Furthermore, if you would like to get more in touch with the hipster vibe, listening to old records is encouraged.

Since hipsters tend to be judgmental, it is not surprising that many of us feel a strong aversion to hipster culture.  If you are trying to minimize your interactions with hipsters, be sure to avoid places like Lower East Side record stores, bohemian coffee shops, small bookstores, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Despite any hard feelings toward hipsters, we should all acknowledge the fact that they can be very interesting to watch.  Perhaps, if you have some time to spare one Saturday afternoon, you can take the subway down to Williamsburg and watch the hipsters run rampant through the streets.  Be sure to bring a foreign friend, your dad’s film Pentax camera from the late 80’s, a pair of oversized glasses, and a festive hat so you can fit in with the natives.