You can’t dress up as a hipster for Halloween. Their attire is already so bizarre that there isn’t an exaggeration of it that looks like a costume. It would just look like you are another hipster about to read a poem about reading poems and scoff at soccer moms.

My friend Justin thinks he figured it out. Hipsters “stand” for irony. This is in itself ironic since irony is a moving target and thus not something you can really “stand” for. But that’s irony, right? It gets confusing quickly.

The non-conformist part of it is endlessly amusing. Being a non-conformist means you can’t wear the same skinny jeans and oversized glasses you saw 300 other people wearing last week. That’s called being a conformist. Ah, but there is the irony, isn’t it?

All this isn’t unique to hipsters though. Hipsters evolved from hippies who had similar problems. At least hipsters don’t try to save the environment by driving across the country in old inefficient buses to listen to “jam bands” play 30-minute “songs” which are other stoned-out hippies playing one chord until their buzz wears off.

Hey, I had patchwork pants too in college. I’m just sayin’.


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17 responses to “Hipsters”

  1. saad says:

    Chris i am in love with u.U r awesome

  2. Cinq says:

    I wont go as far as the person above me, but I sure love the irony in this article =)

  3. Rob says:

    I think the ultimate hipster costume would be a suit. Taking all of the goofyness to the utter extreme would bring you right back to something normal.

    Maybe a stupid hat so you wouldn’t have to keep telling everyone that you’re a hipster.

  4. Brian says:

    I’m not so keen on Hipsters and was never big on Hippie love. I will most likely hate the next transition as well..

  5. Tyrale says:

    Well said. For those fortunate enough not to be familiar with hipsters: http://www.latfh.com/

  6. paul says:

    you sure as heck don’t know what irony means. you’ve used it wrong in all instances and i’m sure most hipsters don’t either.

    and obviously you don’t play an instrument. if you did, you’d know that phish songs are most definitely not just one chord.

  7. Chris Coyier says:

    @paul – Let’s have it brother. Example #1: standing for something that can’t be stood for, that’s ironic. Example #2: Conforming to being a non-conformist lifestyle, that’s ironic too. If I have it wrong, please let me know.

    And I have CD binder after CD binder jam packed with Phish shows. Probably not quite 100 live shows under my belt but close. It was a fun scene. I’d credit their dabblings in bluegrass that got me into that scene. Now I’ve been playing mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass for over 10 years. I’m not a pro, but I’m not a music retard. Phish is a little better than your average jamband, but the other 99%? Garbage.

  8. Corinne says:

    Did you know hipsters have been around since the 40s?



  9. Darek says:

    No one actually enters into these ‘styles’ for a cause or what it stands for. It’s just a style of being that involved lots of dancing and mostly hot girls.

    Its not like theres a real instructional guide on what it takes to be a hipster. How does everyone know it’s supposed to be anything other than what it obviously is: making light of the random things in life, and perhaps seeing some unexpected beauty in it.

    I remember 15 years ago, people were either ‘alternative’ or ‘rap’…and it was all decided by what shoes you wore.

  10. Chris Coyier says:

    Some very good points there Darek. Putting on those stupid shorts means a lot better chance at getting the chick with the glasses to touch your weiner.

    But at the same time, all those scoffs and snickers, those add up to an ethos.

  11. smallwevs says:

    atleast in being uniquely dressed theyre progenitors of some future baudrillardian historicization: theyre the closest weve got to “period” clothes.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Hey, sorry to hijack this comment thread, but I just thought you might want to know that your site is really hard to read. I am on Firefox 3.5.3 on Windows XP and the font is all jacked up somehow. Just thought you might want to know.

  13. Chris Coyier says:

    @smallwevs – very poignant. History will definitely associate the hipster style with these years.

    @Jonathan – That’s because Windows sucks balls at rendering nice fonts.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Ah I see, you are using typekit. I’ve used sIFR and cufon before and it looked fine on Windows. But your site does look much nicer on my Mac.

  15. Tristan says:

    Ya know, there were like 12 hipsters at every show that I used to go to back in Indiana. And you’d rarely ever see them anytime else.

    But, man, ever since I moved to Portland, I cannot get away from them. There’s always at least 24 of them in front of Stumptown Coffee whenever I’ve gone to Voodoo Doughnuts. Which, ya know, is right next to the Paris theatre.

    Which makes me wonder if the hipsters are really in it for the coffee. :P

  16. Brynn says:

    Alas, I can attest. Chris, you are no music ri-tard.

  17. Darren says:

    The thing that really got me, is how surprised I was when I realized the people who dressed similar to me didn’t have the same ideals, thoughts, political stances, etc.

    What I also got really confused about, is how none of my friends self-labeled themselves as hipsters, yet, all my OTHER friends, would label other groups of my friends as hipsters, and vice versa!

    My point here is this: hipsters seldom self-identify. To that end, if you ever identify someone as a “hipster,” they might not (actually, probably dont) believe whatever it is you think they believe! Its a fashion, a fad, a blase spew of bullshit and confusion. Fashion, and assumptions based on others fashion, is never a concrete way to form an understanding of someone.

    Lastly! I would identify myself as a hipster for the sheer sake of being honest and not trying to fall into the idiotic spiral of irony that Chris describes above. I don’t think many other people do this. Maybe I’m wrong?

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