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The “Hipster” Stigma

1 Oct

All right dolls, this week we have something we would like to discuss with you all, labels. And we are not talking about clothing labels! We know here on the blog we talk about lovers of rockabilly, vintage, and pin-up as a way to identify those people who are interested in what we love and how we live our life. Our blog, in many ways, attempts to help people who are new to the scene identify what it is they love and find others in the community who are interested in the same style of clothing that we are.

All of that said, recently when I have gone and worked outside of the JBR circle I have been called a “hipster.” As the resident blogger, I spend most of the time at JBR HQ, but sometimes I work with young adults in the pursuit of their education. Because I live a vintage life, I wear all my dresses out and don’t just wear them to special events. I feel that is what really makes us different. Retro is life.

Over the last three or four weeks I have had my pupils tell me “I love your sense of  fashion, you are a really cool hipster.” I laughed the first time I was told this. I really didn’t know what a “hipster” was. I have heard the term, and I am I not that far removed to not have an idea about what a hipster was, but I wanted an exact definition to get a better idea if I really am in fact a “hipster.” What I decided to do was go to ubrandictionary.com and find out what the new label meant, and this is what I learned “Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter […] are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses.”

With this new label I mentally went through a checklist of how I dress. I wear black Ray Ban glasses (check from list), I was wearing my Heartbreaker Monique Blue Gazebo dress the day I was first told I was a hipster (check from list), a pair of ballet flats, my hair was pulled back, and my make up consisted of thick black eyeliner. I know I hit two points out of the three in the list.

The thing was, I kept fixating on this new label. It is not that I live my life through other’s definition, but it seemed that being a lover of vintage felt different than being a hipster. I mean, I am creative, I like witty conversation and art, but what really made me different from these hipster kids?

What I did next was this, because I also work with students, I sat out on campus and tried to identify this grouping of people. What I noticed what this: while there are definitely people like myself who wear vintage design clothing, these people who are called hipster are a riff on vintage lovers. Yes, they wear clothing not of this time, but they seem to focus more on mixing eras. 80’s sweaters with 50’s oxfords, 2000’s length shorts and skirts. It feels more like a hodge-podge of fashion versus a cohesive look. Many of them wearing glasses didn’t have lenses in, I most definitely have to wear my glasses for purpose than style.

Now, I am not in any way bashing those who identify themselves as a hipster, but I just wanted to figure out if I was one without knowing it. I think that in many ways we cross paths, but I can’t say that I am a full blown hipster.  I think that being someone who lives, loves, and wears vintage/retro/rockabilly is truly different than a hipster. Not only do I work for a clothing company that sells everything I love to wear, much of how I live my life is vintage inspired. I am currently planning my wedding and I am trying to make sure that as much of it as possible has a 1950’s feel to it. My fiance wants to wear a hat and I am toying with the idea of a tea length gown. Much of how I style my home is vintage inspired. I have decorations that were passed down from my grandmother, figurines and dishes that just aren’t made today. I truly feel that while I wear vintage inspired clothing, my love of vintage doesn’t stop there, it carries over into all I do.

Now, what I really want to know is what all of you think. Have you been called a hipster? Does the label even bother you? Or should we all just be happy knowing that vintage will live on in some sense for all eternity? For me, I am much happier telling people I live for vintage versus being a hipster, but that is just one woman’s point of view.

Tell us your experiences, the JBR Dolls are dying to see if we are the only ones!


Your Vintage Revolution Team at JBR Clothing