Just a Girl

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Tara Jarmon Cardigan; No Doubt concert Tee; J. Crew skirt; Nine West Tights; Anthropologie Shoes; Vintage Scarf

Today's outfit was an homage to all of Gwen Stefani's styles combined into one outfit, I suppose -from the 90s grunge scene to her harajuku obsession. Was one of those "throw on whatever you see first and go from there" kind of outfits, the ones that just continue to grow and grow, and they are usually my favorite outfits.

And apparently, or at least according to the uneducated kids at my school, this was a total "hipster" outfit.

Now the term "hipster" has been a hot commodity lately, and I don't know how everyone started using it all of a sudden, but many of the kids at my school find the whole concept of a "hipster" rather amusing, but I do feel as if they misunderstand the concept a bit. (Or a lot)

I will be the first one to admit that I am most definitely not a hipster. Hannah Montana is one of my fashion idols and just because I choose to wear blue lace tights instead of Uggs like the rest of the student population, I wouldn't consider myself to be hip. I've heard the word a lot lately and more often than not it is being used incorrectly, so I decided it was time to get to the bottom of the meaning of the word and why we insist on using it and just really what is a hipster?

According to Urban Dictionary, a "hipster" is defined as:

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women ... that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter... Although "hipsterism" is really a state of mind,it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Such styles ... are usually too "edgy" for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The "effortless cool" urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent's trust funds.
Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional "rules" of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty..

 In a nutshell, hipsters are those who are against the cultural mainstream, usually thought of as cutting edge and very hip. They know the cool songs before they hit the radio, they know the movies before they get nominated for Oscars, etc.

And of course, know that hipsters are NOT those who simply wear flannel shirts and thick-rimmed glasses.

But of course, mention the "H" word and people immediately conjure up some scrawny twenty-something guy wearing a purple plaid flannel and converse. I think that if people must resort to using labels to define people they must at least use those labels somewhat accurately and not just point out the most blatant stereotypes of a certain subculture.

For example, I would consider myself to be "preppy" not because of my clothing, per say -I mean, if we are using stereotypes to define labels, I most certainly do not wear Lacoste polos or tennis skirts or pastel argyle sweaters- but rather because of my personality as an optimistic, cheery person with dreams of marrying a prince and living in Paris. I believe that this same method of sticking labels onto people must also be applied to "hipster" because seriously, if we need to narrow people down to one word, shouldn't we at least try and make that term meaningful?

Basically what I'm trying to say is that there is more to being a "hipster" than the fashion side of it. Actually, if you look at it merely on the  basis of fashion, you are actually getting a very distorted view of what hipsters really are. The majority of people who claim that they embody the "hipster" style listen to just as much Katy Perry and Usher as the rest of us, and plenty of legit hipsters wear normal clothes.

Furthermore, it is difficult to stereotype someone based solely on their musical, artistic, and cinematic preferences. I mean, even I could be considered "hipster" if someone blindly scrolled through my iPod and saw all the artists that they didn't know (I do pride myself in the fact that I've had Florence and the Machine on my playlists since 2007) but I won't be so ignorant as to label myself something I know I am not.

Another question I have is why do people outside of the hipster culture seem to use the term so negatively, as if it were a bad thing to be a hipster. The irony is that it is usually the "LAX bros" and Forever 21- wearing masses who use the word so negatively. Is it just because they are different? I don't get it. But what bothers me more than the negative connotation is the way the word is thrown around so inaccurately. Many of my peers seem to believe the term is derived from the term "hippie"
 and while there are some "hipsters" who could perhaps be seen as modern day hippies I believe they are two completely genres of attitudes. Hippies are about peace and are generally considered a historical culture popular throughout the late 60s and early 70s, whereas the hipster genre is an ongoing term. It is more of an umbrella term and while I do understand where people get the whole "pretentious" thing from I really do not get why everyone is hating on/fascinated by the hipster culture.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the hipster culture is that it changes over time. You cannot stay ahead of the cultural curve forever, and of course the masses will always eventually catch up with whatever phenomenons you've already been obsessed with for years (see Vampire Weekend, street art, thick-framed glasses, etc.). Once the rest of the world catches up, you must be forced to move on to an entirely new cultural finding, and the cycle of forward-thinking continues on forever.

With all that being said, it is time for us to stop assuming that all hipsters shop at Urban Outfitters and listen to obscure experimental indie-rap or whatever the hottest unknown music genre is, and understand the true meaning of a term we seem to be wayyyyy overusing as of late.

People who are truly "hipster" are first and foremost ahead of the cultural curve. If you want to call someone a hipster or any other sort of label, you need to know what it means.

*And all this over a pair of blue lace tights. They can't be too obscure. A nine-year-old complimented me on them.

**While we're out it, check out these cool sites that totally mock the hipster stereotype. Because let's face it, we must make fun of the hilarious labels we instill on others every once in a while:

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