Hipsters Through The Ages – From Social Outcasts To Mainstream Style-Setters

Andrea
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We’re all familiar with today’s hipster. You’ve probably seen them hanging out at the local neighborhood coffee shop “local” being the operative word, since we all know they wouldn’t be caught dead in a corporate establishment like Starbucks. If they’re not filling up on espresso, then you’ll probably find them at their favorite underground watering hole, listening to their favorite indie band and sipping on a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR).

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How do you spot one of these so-called hipsters? Just keep an eye out for painted-on jeans (with a few stains for “edgy” effect), a vintage graphic tee with some ironic saying pasted on it and complete the look with a pair of Converse sneakers. Oh and don’t forget the necessary, yet so unnecessary, non-prescription thick-rimmed eyeglasses.

Tell a genuine modern day hipster that he or she is a hipster and theyll undoubtedly deny it.This is unlike the original hipsters of the 1950s. These men and women owned the word hip and were proud to be grouped in this contrarian category. The word was originally used in the Forties and Fifties to describe all of the modern jazz enthusiasts of the era. The original hipsters (think iconic actor James Dean) were effortlessly cool and fashionable and known for their openness to other cultures, music and art.

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James Dean epitomized effortless hipster style of the 50s.Photo: Typepad.com

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John Lennon’s music and style was a major influence for many 60s hipsters. Photo: WordPress.com

The Jazz hipster eventually evolved into the artistic movement commonly referred to as the Beat Generation. Anyone who has read Jack Kerouacs On the Road knows exactly what type of hipster were talking about. This group of anti-conformist poets and writers were part of the New Yorks rebellion against anything represented by mainstream culture and values. Like all things good, the Sixties Beat Generation soon spread across America. Ironically, these non-conforming hipsters could easily be identified by their rather uniform look, which usually included a goatee, John Lennon-style glasses, and a black turtleneck, all topped off with a jaunty beret.

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Janis Joplin’s round tinted glasses is a hipster trend still alive and well today. Photo: Photobucket.com

The free-loving hippies of the Seventies soon replaced the jazz and Beat generations of hipsters. Hippies represented all of the same ideals as the generations before them: anti-conformity, liberal thinking, underground music, art and counterculture. Characteristic of all hipster movements, hippie style and vintage fashions soon made its way to the masses (and is probably one of the longest-running trends ever, ahem, Mary-Kate Olsen). Example #1 from this era: hippie chick Janis Joplin.

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HipsterKurt Cobain originated the grunge look made popular in the late Eighties and Nineties. Photo: WordPress.com

It seems that if one thing’s constant, it’s that every decade had a rebel in the pack. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain would probably cringe to be aligned with hipsters of today, but back in the Eighties, his flannel shirts and a general unkempt look was exactly of the same mindset. Spawned by Seattle scenester, the grunge look embodied a stick it to the man attitude that prevailed for most of the decade. The grunge era tried hard to reject all things deemed popular, but nevertheless they still managed to influence fashion in a major way. In fact, modern day hipsters owe the ever-popular plaid shirt to the likes of Cobain.

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Hip Hop artists like Kid Cudi and Pharrell Williams are bringing the hipster trend to mainstream media. Photo: INF Events

And just where are hipsters going today? It seems they’re going (gasp!) mainstream. Cases in point: American Apparel and Urban Outfitters the ultimate hipster wannabe hotspots. But lets face it, true hipsters will always remain faithful to their local vintage tee-carrying thrift stores (we’re talking Salvation Army outlets, not overpriced “carefully curated” vintage boutiques). These 20-something-year-olds were most likely liberal arts majors who now work (or are broke) as musicians, artists, and writers. Indie films and music are their genre of choice (i.e., Coachella goers) and they will always go for any form of expression that lives outside of the mainstream.

Check out some more of our favorite hipsters below…

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Bob Dylan, rocking a pair of skinny jeans and dark shades, exemplifies hipster cool. Photo: Esquire.com

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Juno star Ellen Page dons a scarf and a plaid shirt — two huge staples of the modern day hipster look. Photo: INF Events

91368 1272553330 Hipsters Through The Ages   From Social Outcasts To Mainstream Style SettersJared Leto and his band, 30 Seconds To Mars, show off their emo-hipster style at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards. Photo: INF Events

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Actress Michelle Williams can often be seen showing off her hipster style on the streets of hipster hot spot, Brooklyn. Photo: Photobucket.com

Any hipsters we missed? Let us know in comments!

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