Tag Archives: retroism

Faux-Hippie Beard or Nostalgically Ironic Stache? Exploring the Meaning Behind Hipster Facial Hair

Hipster Ironic Mustache

This hipster is clearly trying to display irony with his mustache here. Knowing full-well that carefully grooming and curling the ends of your mustache is not something that is traditionally ‘stylish’ or ‘popular’ in mainstream society, the hipster embraces the idea that the mustache itself is a joke. In reality, he likes the mustache and cultivates it in order to fit in with his friends and gain popularity through attention at parties, but when humiliated for it, the hipster’s safety mechanism is the claim that he too agrees with its ridiculousness, and meticulously cares for it every day simply for the purpose of making fun of it.

Back-to-Basics Hipster

This ‘rural’ hipster lives in a densely populated metropolis. His beard says “I support local farming, small-scale dairies, and fair-trade organic produce.” Paired with the plaid, he knows that his beard will cause others to assume that he is environmentally conscious and has experience with ranching. They will think he’s simply visiting from out of town to deliver some free-range eggs to a co-op, but after he’s captured you with his farm-boy chuckle and his dreams of community living, he’ll take you up to the 8th floor where he lives in a one bathroom apartment with a mini-fridge full of PBRs and a roommate who attends community college.

Pierced and Stached

“I minored in philosophy.” “Pakistan’s not even IN the Middle East.” “Have you even heard of Che Guevara?” “It was handmade in Austria.” “Are you going to be at that protest at the civic center tomorrow?” “Macs are expensive for a reason.” All of these are phrases that are very likely to be uttered from under the cultured mustache of this hipster. He’ll do anything to convince you that he’s intelectual, worldly, and edgy, but let him get in a few hundred eye-rolls first. He’ll go on and on about the places he’s been if you let him, but don’t try and ask for his opinions on society and the Zeitgeist of today unless you want to be stuck in a coffee shop with him for several hours. (Don’t worry though, they have soy milk).

Young Hipster

This hipster’s facial hair says “I’m too young to grow facial hair, but I’m going to drink and smoke and wear a scarf. I don’t care about my lungs or liver, but my neck better not be cold in June.” As soon as he turns 18, he’ll probably switch to American Spirit cigarettes and Pabst. He’ll also convince everyone that he needs prescription glasses. Oh, the hardships a young boy must endure on the path to becoming a hipster.

Magnum PI

This is Tom Selleck.

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Hipster Retroism and Its Inner Irony (Part 1)

This is such a gorgeously hipster video, I can’t even believe it.  I’m in hypsterics.  But let’s take a closer look at what makes this video so distinctly hipster.  Observe the bright neon colors under a faded vintage filter.  Look at all the retro overtones, including oversized glasses, high-waisted bottoms, a 50’s era automobile, and a polaroid camera.

Hipsters love 20th century media technology.  Records, polaroids, VCRs, tapes, film, typewriters, box TV sets, early telephones, anything oversized and inconvenient that will remind them of a time before they were even born.  I suppose a hipster’s memory can date back to when they were single-celled organisms, because they seem to feel nostalgia for things not even their parents were alive to remember.

Why do we hipsters do this?  Why do the styles of the last three generations have such a powerful appeal to the current hipster era?  There could be many reasons.  For example, this type of clothing and accessories can easily and cheaply be found at thrift stores.  But I think this 1900’s aesthetic goes deeper than a frugal fashion statement.  Sam Stilson has observed this tendency in the youth of the 21st century and provided some interesting insight about it in his article.

Sam, describing the style as “ironically safe”, says, “Another major drawing point to recycling old styles is that if you can’t actually pull off the look, you can always rest safely behind an ‘ironically cool’ stance.  The passage of time allows everything to be looked at objectively, including fashion.  Therefore, if you know you look stupid in a derby hat, but wear it anyway, through irony or perhaps reverse psychology, some people will think you’re cool.  Or so we’re led to believe.  It’s all pretty ridiculous, but that’s what it has come to in some pockets of modern society.  So bringing back ridiculous clothing and grooming styles (think anything from the 80s) is relatively safe if you’re doing it with a subtle wink in your eye and hanging around like-minded, ironically cool people [–also known as hipsters].”

Sam has nailed it.  This is the main reason we have embraced this style, and unsurprisingly, it revolves around irony.  However, I’ve observed an even deeper, subconcious reason that also shows us an even more powerful, underlying irony that I will explore in my next blog.

Hipsterrssssssssssssss.

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