THE HYDIAN PERSPECTIVE: How to be a hipster

Going to University is a chance to re-invent yourself; you can finally shake off the stigmas of adolescent awkwardness and become the beautiful swan you were always meant to be. While many students adopt a new identity because they have experienced a great maturation between graduation day and the beginning of frosh, this metamorphosis is more frequently facilitated by the fact that they are now miles away from the people who knew them during their brace-faced “my little ponies” phase.

The choosing of a new identity niche presents a dilemma that is less “to be or not to be” than it is “who to be.” Traditional choices have included sports star, cheerleader, genius or young entrepreneur. For many, however, these choices are boring, mainstream and conformist. The ME generation favours avant-garde and edgy: We want to be unique without having to suffer the stigma of solitude.

Thus, the hipster was born. In this identity, hyper-aware, meta-whatever, po-mo sensibilities are all wrapped up in a pretty, artfully distressed, hyper-vintage package.

Following are the simple criteria that will allow one to transform from conformist suburbanite to edgy hipster. After this easy-to-follow transformational process you will gain a form of respect based on notoriety leading to a flock of artsy friends following your every beck and call. You will finally be able to muse to yourself on long nights in dimly lit converted lofts that you are, in fact, so hip it hurts.

Junkie Chic

When picking a style icon ask yourself: are they or were they a junkie? Sources of inspiration should be Pat Benetar, Edie Segwick and Pete Doherty. Haven’t heard of them? Then aim for Hilary Duff, post-chunkster phase, or Panic at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie. As a rule of thumb, if they have never chased the dragon, they are not hipster. Remember: nothing is hotter than the pre-rehab look.

Girls? Boys?

Switch gender associations. If you are a boy, opt for eyeliner, lip gloss and hair long enough to flop in front of your brooding, smoldering eyes. Girls: go androgynous or go home. Flatten that chest and throw away your make-up (unless it is black eyeliner which is, of course, de-rigeur for both sexes) and aim for an unflattering haircut (think Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs).


To be appreciated as a true hipster you must have a working knowledge of the Ahrts. No, not painting or music as you have previously heard of them, but anything obscure and, with a bit of luck, displeasing. Questions to ask yourself: does this bore / annoy me? As for music, aim for obscurity. Not only should the band be unsigned and have played only a handful of shows, but they should be singing in a foreign language. Extra points if the language is made up (see Sigur Ros).

Finally, a list of Hipster Dos and Dont’s

– DON’T shower. Clean is for capitalists (a.k.a. the enemy). Toss that bar of soap out and revel in the aroma of your pheromones au naturel.

– DON’T smile. How are you supposed to radiate angst, disillusionment and the “save-me” vibe that is key to your hipster identity with a giant grin on your face? Turn that smile upside down.

– DO shun brightness. Lights are for happy people (unless they are black lights). You hate happy people. Find a dark corner and don’t be afraid to kick out any emo kids you may find lurking there, because, let’s face it, hipster kicks emo’s ass any day. n

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