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What Is "Hipster" Fashion?

Peggy Wang and Amy Odell hash it out over IM. "It used to be that people would feel insulted if they were called a hipster... but now I'M insulted that someone doesn't think I know what a hipster is."

Amy: Peggy, commenters on your hipster trends post think we don't know what a hipster is! Haha.

Peggy: Yeah that hurts my sensibilities!

It's funny that it used to be that people would feel insulted if they were called a hipster... but now I'M insulted that someone doesn't think I know what a hipster is. It's like implying we're not hip enough to know.

Amy: The stuff that used to be underground that defines hipsters is no longer underground, speaking strictly in fashion terms.

Well, “fashion.”

Peggy: As underground stuff keeps coming to the forefront, hipsters have to move on to the next thing, and if you don't, I guess you're just a total mainstream loser.

Amy: What is hipster now? I feel like the population’s stylistic direction has become confused. Like American Apparel, Zara, Forever 21 made it all mass.

Peggy: Yes! And Topshop — being able to order from Topshop in the U.S.

Amy: Rihanna — who you so aptly called out in that post about tired fashion trends on Instagram — is doing the hipster thing of five years ago NOW.

The Alice Dellal partially shaven hair style, the denim panty shorts, the dirty tanks — all the shit she wore at Coachella basically.

Rihanna at Coachella.
Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Rihanna at Coachella.

Peggy: Yeah, she totally dresses like a hipster.

Amy: And I think she's just popularizing what was hipster so five years ago!

Peggy: She dresses like she shops at

Amy: but if you look at her last "dressing phase" or whatever you want to call it.

It wasn't like this.

(And yes she totally looks like

The funny thing is, it really took a long-ass time for that to go mass.

Peggy: Totally

Amy: Like that shit isn't in style. The new fashion trends are like hippie nonsense and girly ladylike things. Or simple, clean-looking things. But it’s definitely grown-up in a way.

Peggy: I was going to say that I used to have a really hard time finding crop tops — I was totally into them.

Not like the really breasty ones — basically just a top to wear with something high-waisted that I didn't have to tuck in.

Amy: And now it's hard to wear high-waisted stuff without looking like a toolbag.

Peggy: Times have changed.

Amy: So what is hipster now? Like the true hipsters, who aren't just TRYING to be hipsters. That's the difference.

What do they wear?

Maybe they're moving more with real fashion trends and less with Rihanna.

Peggy: I'm questioning myself though...

Because the hipster trends I listed — maybe they're not hipster anymore, because it's not HARD to find any of that stuff. (That's why it's "tired" hence the title.)

Amy: Right.

Well, it's the old hipster look.

Ye olde hipster studded denim panties.

Ye olde hipster Jeffrey Campbell hideousness.

Ye olde hipster excessive crosses.

New hipster is probably like, oxford shoes, more ladylike stuff.


Peggy: I think the miniskirt is totally done.

Amy: I love midi and maxi skirts and long skirts with side slits. And midi dresses.

Peggy: It almost seems weird, the idea of wearing a miniskirt.

Amy: I just don't feel that comfortable in them, personally. Midi and maxi skirts seem so fresh to me.

Peggy: Yeah, I agree.

Amy: And like, fun loose pants.

Not like, tight-ass faded floral denim.

Peggy: Do you think some of these hipster trends get more skin-showing as they move into the mainstream?

Amy: Ooh yes, good point. I think so.

I remember when that was the thing on the runways.

Every fashion show had some model wearing a high waisted diaper thing, basically.

I was SO GLAD when that died. And like bras as tops.

Underwear as outerwear. That was a flash in the pan.

Peggy: I do think that hipsters will go towards finding new things that are harder to find.

I remember being in Japan and finding this cat-print blouse and I was like, whoa, this is amazing.

Now they sell stuff like that at every Zara.

Amy: But like, Zara isn't selling studded shorts.

Peggy: No, but once Topshop, Zara, Forever 21 — any of those stores get a hold of a trend, it becomes less exciting.

Amy: This is true.

Peggy: Even vintage used to be exciting because you could walk down the street and know no one has what you have.

But all vintage has gotten pretty boring.

Now that every decade has been exhausted.

Amy: Yeah, plus, it's not vintage.

It's like, second-hand hipster crap.

Peggy: Does Rihanna ever talk about her style choices?

Like, do you think she consciously is like, "Well, I feel really nostalgic about the '90s."

Amy: Well lately she's been going on about how she doesn't give a fuck.

But anyway, she's too young to be nostalgic for the '90s!

Peggy: She never was one to dress classy, which I thought was sort of cool.

She always wore sort of like, too-tight clothing and weird bustiers or whatever

Amy: Yeah, her outfits are compelling.

Peggy: Right! But this new "I dont give a fuck" look is really un-compelling.

Amy: Yeah.

Is there anyone who sort of embodies the new hipster look instead of ye olde hipster look?

Peggy: There's GRIMES... I was just looking at her style tumblr yesterday

This is like a fan tumblr this is her tumblr.

I feel like she's either turning into, or someone's making her into, the new MIA or something.

Anyway, do you think it always has to be about a decade to co-opt?

There was a funny post on Hipster Runoff about Chloe Sevigny's hair, and how maybe she was advanced because she had moved on from co-opting the early '90s.

Amy: Haha.

Peggy: And had moved onto the mid-'90s in the form of having Caroline in the City hair

Amy: There's also Alexa Chung...

Peggy: It's hard for me to tell if people still care about what Chloe Sevigny and Alexa Chung are wearing, because they felt really of-the-moment like two years ago.

And it's just hard to maintain that.

Amy: Fashion people do. Not that they always have unique perspectives on things, really.

Peggy: Like I would say that I enjoy looking at photos of Grimes more than Alexa these days. She's like, indie-rooted. So that's why it's a big deal/weird for her to be a fashion icon?

There was also the Lana Del Rey phenomenon

Amy: Yeah, I was going to mention her.

(Is it a WAS already?)

Peggy: Haha, yeah let's say WAS.

Amy: Yeah I agree. Anyway, she was like...

Jesus dresses?

Peggy: Yeah but also denim. Low-rise jeans…

Amy: I don't feel like there's anything cool about her style, honestly

It was whatever to me.

I was more interested in her plastic surgery.

Have we decided what is hipster yet?

Peggy: Oh yeah let's go back to that.

Amy: I think it's girly-ish dresses with oxfords.

Work shirts.

Not using an umbrella.

Peggy: Haha umbrellas aren't hipster???

Are glasses still hipster?

Amy: The last time I was in the hipster enclave of Williamsburg it was raining and no one was using umbrellas.


Rihanna's not wearing glasses, so probably.

Peggy: I really have no idea what real hipsters are wearing.

Amy: Ugh, me neither.

Amy: Well we call those trends from your posts hipster because they're totally hipster-inspired. It's just that all the hipsters are moving on since their style was co-opted by the masses.

So I don't think it's incorrect to call it hipster.

Peggy: I'm just going to keep unabashedly using the word because it is the only word that describes what I'm talking about.

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