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What are the Different Types of Hipster Clothing?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 21, 2024
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The term hipster is a moving target, and as fashion once worn by hipsters becomes mainstream, it can no longer be considered hipster clothing. Hipsters are a social group, not a fashion style, but hipster clothing often relates to the interests of the social group. In general, hipsters enjoy wearing styles that they perceive as authentic or that they believe serve as a commentary on contemporary fashion.

Since hipsters often idealize an emaciated body type, it is common for clothes that are very tight or very loose to be considered hipster clothing. For men, tight pants and close-fitting shirts are common. Women may wear tight clothes, particularly on their lower body, but shirts are often more variable. Loose shirts and large jackets are common hipster clothes for women.

Hipsters are known to co-opt the styles of other groups to serve the purpose of irony. They may, for example, wear vintage sequined jackets that might look appropriate on an older woman by contemporary standards. What constitutes hipster clothing depends partially on who is wearing the clothing, because all of a hipster's wardrobe might be considered hipster clothing even if it is obviously related to another fashion movement.

Usually, hipsters attempt to exude effortlessness, and their clothes often look as though they are comfortable to wear. They may not match, or they may look wrinkled or otherwise ill cared for. Often, clothing items are purchased in a pre-worn state, which helps make them look more authentic.

Accessories are a large feature of hipster clothing. Large glasses, in particular, are often worn even by people with no need for prescription lenses. Jewelry is often worn by members of both genders and may bear unusual motifs, such as cupcakes or mustaches. Functional accessories, such as bike locks, knives, and art supplies, are usually worn in such a way as to broadcast an association with these objects.

Since the hipster culture is always changing, it can be difficult to pin down precisely what clothing can be considered hipster clothing. One technique that can be helpful is to go to the places where hipsters hang out, including record stores and coffee shops, and observe current hipsters in action. Usually, all the hipsters will be wearing clothing that is strikingly similar in terms of pattern or fit. Alternatively, an observer can always go to a hipster clothes store and observe the shopping patterns of hipsters in action. It is important to understand that there is a high risk that as soon as hipster clothing has been purchased, trends will move forward to exclude the clothing that has just been purchased.

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Discussion Comments
By matthewc23 — On Apr 22, 2012

I have noticed that there is a huge boom in clothing websites that sell hipster or urban clothing.

For having some of the stances they do, they certainly are willing to spend a lot of money on being "unique." My parents and I were cleaning out their attic just a couple of months ago and came upon a bunch of old boxes of their clothes. They were originally going to donate them to a thrift store or something, but I knew that they were probably worth a lot of money at a vintage clothing place.

I looked up similar shirts on what I would call a couple of hipster clothing websites and found they they were selling things for more than they were worth brand new. Luckily, they live in a town with a lot of college students, so it wasn't hard finding a shop. They were interested in the clothes, and my parents ended up getting a few hundred dollars out of all the boxes.

By stl156 — On Apr 22, 2012

@jcraig - You're right that hipster fashion really does define what people will be wearing over the next several years.

The thing that always got me about their supposedly trendy clothes is that they all end up looking alike while trying to look different. Just the fact that a "hipster" can be spotted in the crowd or walking down the street means that they obviously have some identifying characteristic that groups them with the other hipsters. This is very ironic considering the real point of the social movement is not to be like everyone else.

It also makes me laugh at the idea that they support environmental concerns and other movements when their actions a lot of times directly contradict their supposed viewpoints.

By jcraig — On Apr 21, 2012

@Emilski - If you think about it, though, the hipsters are always at the forefront of fashion - albeit in a more extreme sense.

Just over the last four or five years I have noticed it happening. Hipsters started out wearing the tight pants like you mentioned, and then a lot more people started wearing tight pants. Fortunately, it didn't last too long and not everyone did it, but even the jeans you found at clothing stores during that time were slim cuts and a little tighter than they were in the past.

One of the most recent things that I've noticed is the V-neck tee shirts. The hipsters started wearing very low-cut shirts, and it eventually caught on with the mainstream. Again, most people aren't wearing super low-cut shirts, but it's impossible to walk around and look at clothing without seeing V-necks everywhere.

By Emilski — On Apr 20, 2012

I've never quite understood the allure of hipster fashion. Like the article says, the clothes are nearly always ill-fitting and uncomfortable. The trend I really hate is the tight pants look. I don't think there are any positives to it. I've talked to people who wear clothing like that, and they admit that the pants are nearly impossible to get on and off and are extremely uncomfortable. That is not to mention the discomfort is causes people who actually have to look at them wearing the jeans.

I can understand the need to want to feel different, but I would never go around wearing clothes like that just so that I could fit into some type of social group that wanted to be unique.

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