Cue the indie folk music. Do you ever find yourself knowing about things before they become “cool”? Do you have more flannel in your closet than anything else? Do you only drink craft beer, black coffee, bourbon or tea? I don’t know how to tell you this… you’re a hipster. Even scarier, you’re a hipster in college. Have you ever wondered how can you be in college and maintain that calculated indifference you work so hard on? Look no further. We’ve scoured the nation, searching dimly lit coffeehouses, hole in the wall pubs and alternative music festivals to serve you up a hot plate of tips from real, live hipsters. Allow the chow-down to commence.
1. Dress accordingly
If you’re going to act the part, you better dress the part. Hipsters have pretty diverse looks, so pick whichever fits you best. Are you a bearded lumberjack hipster? Grab a beanie, some red flannel and thick-soled boots. Are you the dainty pixie girl hipster? Get a short haircut and toss on a tunic, long skirt and some flats. Towson University junior Erica Ford said, “Because there are so many different hipster types, I’d say there’s no one hipster look. Usually though, I try to channel my inner Zooey Deschanel when I’m feeling really alternative. That means bangs, lots of eyeliner and usually a nice sun dress.”
2. Acquire the mountain man diet
If a hipster drinks a locally-brewed lager and tells no one, did it really happen? Pull out your phone and Instagram your latest #LocalCraftBeer, so everyone knows that you are a mountain man—a mountain man with refined taste, that is. “When you pick your poison, it has to be either whiskey, bourbon, some kind of Jack Daniels or Jim Bean if you’re low on funds,” said UMUC senior Stephen Czecha. And what college hipster isn’t low on funds? But don’t fret: It’s part of your image, man. Stick to those lower-shelf liquors so you can save your wallet for those weekly trips to your #LocalCoOp. Be sure to upload a picture to “The Gram” and use every hashtag imaginable. #Organic, #Vegan, #SupportSmallBusinesses, #Carrot.
3. Keep your music underground. Heck, learn to play it yourself
“I’m only into their older albums. You know, before they got popular.” Now that everyone’s listening to them, it’s time to find a new under-the-radar artist. The best way to find interesting music is to hunt the dusty corners of the internet—and keep it in that corner. “I would advise that you don’t openly share your music around, but just with other people that’ll keep the music hidden,” said University of Maryland sophomore Julia Dolenish. It’s like a secret hipster society! If you’re still worried your music might get big, learn to play your own tunes. Virginia Dalloway, junior at the University of Maryland, says a great way to up your hipster rep is to take on a quirky instrument. “Playing something small like a ukulele, a melodica, or a mandolin is fun because you can easily stick it in your bag, pull it out during a party, and everyone thinks it’s cool,” Dalloway said. And you’ll make friends. “The more obscure the instrument, the more friends.”
4. Grab your camera and go on an adventure
You might want to slap a filter on that one. The hipster lifestyle is all about appreciating the finer things in life, so upgrading your photography skills is a must. “[Hipsters] always have a film camera or polaroid camera, and see the art in everything,” said Ornelle Chimi, freshman at the University of Maryland. And if you want to share your pics, there’s a site for that. “On Instagram, most hipsters get a vsco.com to share their photos.” Once you have at least five photo apps on lock, it’s time for an adventure that will give all your followers serious FOMO. If there are any trails or mountains nearby, that’s a good starting place. Remember: The more eccentric the place, the more likes you’ll get on your Instagram pic. Abandoned houses anyone?
5. Start reading more
Transform yourself into a well-read sophisticate and fellow hipsters will be Thoreau-ly impressed with you. There’s a whole wide world of books out there—the first step is choosing one worth sticking your nose into. Don’t bother with anything too pop culture-y, though. You wouldn’t be caught dead reading “The Hunger Games” now that it’s a Hollywood sell-out. Costal Carolina freshman Taylor Gresham gives her tips for finding books so underground they’re practically unpublished. “Normally I’ll Google topics I’m interested in, and then narrow in. Maybe go to Google Books and then click the last O. Once I follow that rabbit hole, I usually find something good.” Your other option is to stick to the classics. Plato and Jack Kerouac go great with a cup of Earl Grey, am I right?
6. Update your vocab
No self-respecting hipster would dare speak without at least one pretentious word snuck into every sentence. Open an early 1900’s Merriam Webster and you too can maintain a superior vocabulary. “The way I communicate has been sculpted simply by reading. When I read for pleasure, I don’t necessarily go for the books with pages and pages of imagery or some complex story,” said University of Florida senior Brittany Williams. “I read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk, the dude who wrote Fight Club, and Charles Bukowski because his poetry is hysterical. Both very blunt, very vulgar, and very interesting men who know there are 101 ways to get to the same point.” You’d better crack open those books if you want to keep up with the best.
7. Care about the environment
Okay— truthfully this should apply to hipsters and non-hipsters. If you learned anything from Leo’s Oscars acceptance speech, it’s that we should care about the environment. Start by monitoring what you throw away, recycling and then look into the products you use. “I can maintain my super-chic hipster aesthetic by using biodegradable and organic products, and also care about my planet. Boom. Take that global warming,” said University of Miami junior Kasa Samm. Remember the #LocalCoOp you went to for #2? That’s a great place to get natural and organic foods that are great for composting. Now I doubt you do much composting in a college dorm room, but you can definitely find some on-campus groups that’ll take that trash off your hands and propel you into hipster glory.
8. Become a film critic
In the hipster crowd you’ll be surrounded by film buffs, or cinephiles, as they like to call themselves. If you want to join the conversation, prepare yourself for an overwhelming array of must-sees. University of Florida senior Caitlin Dempsey knows that having a friend in the film department can go a long way. “I get most of my inspiration for films from one of my best friends who is studying documentary film at Florida State University. The documentaries I would say receive much attention from the hipster crowd would be those that challenge traditional ways of thinking. Specifically: Hot Girls Wanted, After Tiller, How to Die in Oregon and Dear Zachary.” P.S. If you’re looking for some lesser-known films to watch before they get cool, Netflix features an independent films section that gets updated pretty regularly.
9. Suddenly become interested in politics
For many college-aged hipsters, this is the first presidential election they can legally vote in. They’re all suddenly experts on everything from economic policies to human rights and they make one thing certain: They know more than you do. If your recent hashtags on Instagram and Twitter are #Bernie2016, #DownWithBigMoney or #BreakUpTheOnePercent, it’s safe to say you’re a hipster. “Yes I’m a college student. Yes I’m voting for Bernie. Sorry not sorry,” said University of Maryland junior Marwin Cabotaje. An old guy who wears wire rimmed glasses, speaks in a New York accent and wants to end corporate greed? This guy has hipster love written all over him.
10. Take up a “useless” major
Did you pick up philosophy because you think it’s super relevant in today’s society? Probably not. You just thought it sounded cool. Lucky for you, nobody will be able to tell the difference. They’ll just assume you’re another hipster with a “useless” major. Sophomore Paola Fustern at the University of Maryland said, “I’m an English major and of course people are going to say it won’t take me anywhere. But I don’t give a f—k. I’m doubling.” If you think you’re the next S. E. Hinton or Aristotle, I suggest you declare a major change, like, ASAP.