Plaid to the bone

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Criticizing the critiques of hipster fashion

By Natalie Serafini, Editor-in-Chief

Hipsters are the worst, am I right? The way they try to be oh so original―liking obscure bands that you probably haven’t heard of, drinking fancy craft beer instead of a classic Caribou, and getting all their “vintage” clothing from outlet stores.

Erm, well now … this is rather awkward. As my glasses, plethora of plaid, and aesthetic construction would suggest, I like hipster fashion—and I get a little frustrated at its public denigration.

Complaints seem to perpetually be about how contrived hipsters are; how they put so much effort into the selection of thick frames, vinyls, and ukuleles they don’t actually play.

The problem with this line of criticism, though, is that all style is constructed—meaning, we make conscious choices when shopping, selecting items that suit our values and style. When we shop for clothing, we do so in an effort to represent ourselves, or at least our sense of style. Very few people walk around wearing a garbage bag, and even that would make a statement. (Google the ‘80s “punk” movement for that.) Whether you’re choosing thick-rimmed glasses, Ugg boots, or basketball shorts, each item says something about yourself and the image you want to present to the world. Saying one sense of style is “too constructed” makes no sense when all fashion is purposeful—in other words, contrived.

Maybe the problem is that hipsters appear to be inauthentic. They shop at Urban Outfitters, while overtly shirking the mainstream. They put so much effort into their appearances, while heaving sighs over people who exclusively frequent high-end stores. These sorts of contradictions would mean hipsters are hypocritical at best, and entirely fake at worst.

But style is made up of choices, which are sometimes contradictory. Hell, life is made up of choices that are sometimes contradictory. I don’t eat meat, but I will occasionally buy higher quality leather shoes. Does that mean I’m inauthentic? Or does it mean that leather shoes tend to last longer? So many choices go into a person’s style, but sometimes it’s a simple matter of liking how something looks. So what if a vintage-looking lace dress is from Top Shop, rather than the result of hours spent hunting through bins of stained, torn, second-hand clothing—who cares?

How about that desire to be unique—that can be pretty annoying, when someone’s choices are predicated on being alternative, indie, or out of the ordinary. Yet, wanting to be original isn’t particularly new or noteworthy. If I showed up wearing some hot little number, only to be wearing the exact same thing someone else is, I’d be pretty frustrated. We all want to be distinct, to stand out in certain ways. That’s been the case just about since the inception of “mainstream.”

Goth, grunge, punk, hippie, beatnik—wait a second! All of these styles have something in common: they began as alternative, then were co-opted by the mainstream as they grew in popularity. Hipster fashion began as a way of subverting what’s popular, doing quaint little things like shopping at secondhand stores and making DIYs. As more people began wearing increasingly big glasses, it made sense for companies to take note and begin selling those items. And thus, vinyls became more widely available outside of dusty old record stores, and finding the perfect plaid became a simple matter of trudging down to TNA.

I’m perfectly fine with admitting that my style is constructed. I own a ukulele that I only pick up occasionally; I like taking pictures of my food; and when my bank account isn’t hurting so much, I like stopping by Urban Outfitters and salivating over stuff I shouldn’t buy. The choices I make in fashion are no more and no less contrived than the choices other people make. Even someone who purposely buys no-name brand, or wears clothing they inherited from an ancestor makes a statement about subverting consumerism. We’re all constructing our appearances, for ourselves and our public image.

The next time you want to laugh over silly hipsters, consider what choices are behind your own wardrobe.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

1,467 comments on “Plaid to the bone
  1. I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.

    I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly.
    I am fairly sure I will be told a lot of new stuff proper
    right here! Good luck for the next!

  2. Pingback: baltic siker

  3. Certainly you have got excellent ideas here and I really like your site!
    I’ve bookmarked it making sure that I can return &
    continue reading in the foreseeable future.

  4. Pingback: baltic siker oç

  5. Pingback: baltic sikerr

  6. I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing?
    I’m experiencing some small security issues with
    my latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded.

    Do you have any solutions?

  7. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my
    apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a
    youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views.
    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  8. First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d
    like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas
    out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any ideas or hints? Thanks!

  9. All bets positioned can be refunded if an occasion is suspended or postponed, and
    not resumed within 12 hours from the scheduled commencement time
    (except in any other case said within the specific
    sport rule).

  10. you аre aсtually a excellent webmaster. The website loading speed іs incredible.

    It sort of feels that yօu’re doіng any unique trick.
    ᖴurthermore, Ƭhe cߋntents are masterpiece.
    үou’ѵе done a wonderful process ⲟn thuis matter!

  11. Admiring the effort and time you put into your site and
    in depth information you present. It’s good
    to find a blog every now and then that isn’t the same
    old rehashed information. Fantastic article! I’ve bookmarked your website as well as I’m adding
    your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  12. This is business activity and not inflated may be able to find the car
    to take with you as well as successful experience
    in profiling unsolved homicide cases. The first one is the second statewide Crime Laboratory ever created google in 2002 and is exploring bankruptcy.
    When officers arrived to the cars they recover or
    the number of vehicles at Renton car show that 90 percent of all cars are
    limited in numbers and condition.

  13. Irrigation from yards as well as ranches, stormwater
    from last autumn’s rains and a raising number of septic tanks in exactly what is still a country area have actually combined to create a poisonous, subsurface soup.

  14. Being able to meet players of different languages from all over Europe, test the product out
    before your buy and shop around for the great bargains all under one roof is a
    good reason to become part of an online poker network.
    But mobile device gambling isn’t just a Latin American phenomenon. It also
    found that 46% of online players were women and about 50% were middle aged men with above average salaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.