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How to Spot a Hipster

Having trouble telling the difference between a mannequin and a hipster? Not to worry – the following is a helpful guide to spotting the real poser.

There once was a time when being cool meant you were popular and well dressed. With the rise of the hipster, however, everything has changed. Coolness in the world of the hipster means being uncool. It means wearing a $50 solid pink t-shirt from American Apparel that doesn’t match your shoelaces, intentionally.

A hipster dreams of the day when his search for uncool and unpopularity leads him to the fertile crescent from which the first “uncool” originated, only to find that he is standing in line at a Starbucks.

Who doesn’t want to be a part of this rapidly growing in-crowd? I know I do…not. But seriously, if you do, it’s as easy as finding where they hang out (try any spot that rhymes with “fill-yams-burg”).

Sadly though, you can’t join the hipster masses through osmosis, association, or through mutual friends on Facebook. The reason why is the 1st sign to spotting an authentic hipster:

1. They won’t acknowledge that they are, in fact, hipster.

If being hipster is cool now, then the last thing a hipster wants to do is be a hipster. Understand? This leads me to number two:

2. They answer the question “Are you a hipster?” with another question, “What’s a hipster?”

You see, by denying that they even know what is hipster-ness, they can avoid being called a hipster, and therefore remain a hipster.

Stay with me here, I know my stuff, and there is a reason why this “How to” is so confusing…it’s also a hipster. Just kidding. The next two aren’t so enigmatic. Numbers three and four are about hipster fashion:

3. They buy the ugliest item in a clothing store, hoping to be the only one wearing it.

Once hipsters buys the same item en mass (and they do so, despite this phenomenon being explicitly anti-hipster – I think it’s because they all share one brain), it becomes fashionable and actually hip. I’m convinced that hipsters quietly celebrate when they know they’ve started a trend (think about the revival of spandex). Which brings us to the last sign:

4. They will expressly deny ownership of now-fashionable clothing or popular music by saying fashion doesn’t matter, and music taste is individual, although they all shop at H&M and listen to Coldplay.

There are more tell-tale signs of hipster affiliation, I know. I invite you to share below how it is that you spot a hipster in your own neighborhood. Don’t resist the urge to contribute (to this article or to society) – that would be hipster.

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User Comments
  1. gentry

    On August 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    damn hipsters have taken over. i can’t even find cheap beer anymore because friggin’ PBR is now $8 a can. ugh!

  2. JT

    On August 19, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Hipsters are taking over Greenpoint Brooklyn as well…poor Polish folks are being driven out.

  3. notahipster

    On September 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    “listen to Coldplay. “

  4. hipster

    On October 10, 2008 at 11:36 am

  5. lol

    On December 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I bet notahipster is a hipster, he/she already exhibits two of the signs!

  6. gino

    On February 2, 2009 at 2:50 am

    not admitting your a hipster? Doesn’t make sense, if you think you know what a hipster is , but in reality you don’t . What happens when you call someone a hipster who isn’t one, aren’t they still going to say they aren’t a hipster and that your an ignorant idiot?

  7. SavPants

    On August 3, 2009 at 11:03 am

    The funny thing is, hipsters will admit they are hipsters when they are only with other hipsters. Yesterday, I overheard (at a very hipster coffee bar) one girl (whose short hair was pushing into her eyes and snagged on her nose ring.. which I thought was cute) was talking to a boy (who was wearing hand-me-down lace-up mens dress leather shoes, probably from 1940, without socks and stunk to high hell– not cute) and she said “You should get like, a gold suburban. I mean, does it get more hipster than that?” Of course, my thought was, only if it runs on biodiesel. :)

  8. jp

    On September 10, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Im definitely a my own hipster way hahaha

  9. J

    On January 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    COLDPLAY? seriously?

  10. Sao Paulo

    On May 20, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Hipsters like to smoke usually American Spirits and they wear glasses even if they don’t need them.

  11. Zach Pelle

    On June 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I agree with that last comment more than the bulk of this article. You have to hang out with hipsters to know what you are talking about, which you clearly don’t. If you would like to make any inferences about their reasoning, shopping habits, or music tastes, I suggest you do some sort of research, or have some sort of evidence from interviews, or experiments you have done. Otherwise you should reconsider how justified you are to be so pretentious.

    Next time you may want to put a disclaimer that says, “Not for the educated”. Kudos for having a thought and writing about it though, keep sharing your opinions.

  12. cate

    On November 12, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Hahahahaha! I thought this article was extremely accurate as an outsider looking at hipsters waiting in line at the liquor store holding cases of PBR and wearing t-shirts with kittens on them and fake glasses even though their hair is covering their eyes anyway. Also, most of the people who commented just supported everything the article said! Very funny!

  13. mr.giggles

    On March 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

    giggles Allie’s a hipster

  14. Captain Un-Sensible

    On March 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I would reply, but I am way too hip for this conversation.

  15. Fivenick9

    On August 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Messenger bag, scarf, glasses, skinny jeans, ironic tshirt, single speed fixed gear bicycle, off brand or vintage shoes, stocking cap when over eighty degrees, independent coffee shop patron, pork pie hat, immaculately coiffed – looks messy hair, I could go on forever…..

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