What is a hipster?

sexy hipster boys

What is a hipster?

Everyone seems to want to know who/what/where is a hipster. There’s a trend to declare that there is no real definition for what a hipster is, though the word is used loosely by just about every publication imaginable.

What is a hipster? You’d be surprised. It could very well be YOU.

A hipster is an individual—one that usually fits within a certain subculture. Which subculture? It doesn’t matter. Because the definition for hipster is so very vague

In its most simplest terms, a hipster is an individual who wants to know things. Whether it’s knowing of a band before anyone else, or knowing about the conflict in Syria, the history of taxidermy or obscure words in 20th century Americana. A hipster is someone that’s eager to learn, to see—and yes—even to do. Being a hipster means you’re part of a subculture. As a demographic, hipsters try to set themselves apart from culture as a whole, while simultaneously remaining within the culture. This is nothing extraordinary for a subculture, and yet there’s a certain stigma applied to the “hipster” label.

The term, Hipster, has become used rather frequently to identify anyone that doesn’t appear mainstream. So hipsters stand out from the crowd. (Even if they fit into their stereotypical niche of standing out from the crowd.) Personally, “hipster” is just about the only label I’ve ever felt comfortable with. It’s a subculture so vague it can cover all manners of sins, styles and vices.

What does a hipster look like?

Hipsters wear skinny jeans and cargo pants, t-shirts and tank tops, trucker hats and no-hats. They drink wine, beer, gin & tonics, old fashioneds and Arnold Palmers. Many hipsters refuse to be recognized by that label or any label. And yet they’ll wear branded clothes. And yet many won’t. Are you starting to realize a trend here? Hipsters do one thing, and other hipsters do another.

Stereotypically (and really, what is any personified definition but a stereotype?), hipsters look like this:

Want to dress like a hipster? You probably already do. Anyone can be a hipster. Hipsters wear just about any brand you can imagine. Though really you’d generally associate Salvation Army, OxFam, Humana and other thrift & vintage shops as the shopping destination of choice for hipsters. Hipster fashion could include any type of label/brand from Urban Outfitters to something truly trendy and original—an indie designer perhaps.

Kreuzberg, Berlin - hipsters

photo via illgetyoumypretty.net

Interested in traveling like a hipster? Check out my hipster city guides for destinations all over the world!

A travel manifesto for hipsters


We travel to see, to learn, to do and to think.

We travel to experience new things, find familiarity abroad and connect all the strange dots that make this world so unique yet so familiar. We travel to push our boundaries so we can learn what we want out of life, where we want to be and what we want to do. We travel to learn.


We travel both far and near.

We travel to desolate islands and big cities, to far-flung places and to our grandparents’ houses. We travel to tourist hotspots and to undiscovered travel destinations. Home is where we make it.


We travel with an open-mind.

We travel with enthusiasm and eagerness to discover the world we live in, this world of ours and of our neighbors. We travel with few preconceptions, with a desire to get lost and to maybe find ourselves during the process.

We travel to meet new people—other travelers and locals alike—those that can introduce us to new ideas, new things, new adventures. We travel with respect, compassion and understanding for others.

Like this? Share it with your friends!

15 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Hmm interesting… so anyone is a hipster?

  2. Actually, I think a hipster is someone who knows just enough about a subject to act like they know it, but, in actuality they don’t know as much as they think.

    Another type of hipster may know the subject well, but, instead of enlightening others in a positive way, they use the knowledge to make themselves appear superior.

    I think the first hipsters can be found in Plato’s “Apology of Socrates.” They followed Socrates, listened to him speak, went around the city claiming to understand it while trying to appear wise. In reality, their poor understanding did nothing but hurt the reputation of Socrates.

  3. yeah I’m kind of fascinated about hipsterdom too. To me, I feel that being a hipster is more like a way of life or a feeling about the world around you rather than just a certain way to dress or behave. Even though certain things are mainstream, I think that a hipster can still approve it and want to share their love for why they like it (for example, anti-drug use is mainstream, but I believe that not using drugs is a more productive use of time. Instead of getting wasted, use your time with hobbies or things you like. Indulge in the experience and share the love)

  4. Hipster is just a 60′s style!! History repeats itsself and you act like you are starting a new style…

  5. eh…. if you were a hipster you would never be calling yourself one… just saying.

    I think you just think “hipsters” are cool and are desperate to fit in, which makes you the opposite of a hipster.

  6. Also das find ich jetzt nicht so gut, weil ich es einfach jetzt halt nicht so gut finde.

    Sowas mag ich einfach nicht und das ist voll dumm und so, ne, weil einfach das nicht gut ist und weil das meine Meinung ist und so und weil ich das halt nicht so gut finde

  7. I like your “equal opportunity” take on hipsters – anyone can be a hipster!

    • No no i dont agree with se you
      you are rong and not so gud so i will be be not apprechated about you and youre se thinks sath you doing all alöng

      Plesae, i dont know wat to du in sucht a situation (:((((:)()(:)(:)()(:)::)(:)()

      D;D;DDDD;;D;D;D;;D;D;D;;D;D youre ok PRO

  8. Controversial definition, indeed!

    This is a very complimentary look at “hipsters”, which is problematic – because usually the word is only applied *to* people *by* others who disapprove of them. I prefer the term “try-hard”, as it’s far more self-explanatory – people who dress, and act, “too cool for school” (as defined by others). In London, we even more straightforwardly call them “dickheads”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVmmYMwFj1I

    To get into the nitty-gritty, the top two images aren’t hipster (even though I recognise the Hipster Olympiad!), but the bottom one: most definitely. The stereotypical “hipster look” (skinny jeans, checked shirts, vintage tees) is now so mainstream, that now only the most self-conscious accessories – tiny beanie hat, bum bag, twirly moustache – denote genuine hipsters.

    I totally appreciate the attempt to reclaim the h-word. After all, Hipsters used to be fucking cool http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_(1940s_subculture) , and it’s a real sign of our post-irony, self-referential times that just being into awesome stuff is a sin. But I think you’re being to vague… and……..nice? If we start calling anyone open-minded a hipster, then what word can we apply to epic, next-level douchebags like this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FSeyQk1TBYA/T9au6GndpII/AAAAAAAAEpQ/thlfdIAKwoI/s1600/hipster.jpg


  9. Seriously, those two girls look quite normal to me, the guys I buy the’re hipsters. BTW that manifesto does not define a hipster, I know because I’m not one and I also love traveling and relating to other cultures.

  10. This seems more like a definition of a kerouac hipster than anything else.

    • The beatniks were always a big inspiration for me, so not surprising to hear that! And even if hipsters today are a little different, it’s still the same roots…

  11. A hipster is not someone keen to know things at all. You could replace the word hipster with ‘person’ in this article for all the statements about how hipsters like to travel to learn and explore… Don’t we all?

    I don’t ascribe to any label, and if I did the only one that would fit me is ‘free spirit’. The word hipster, to me, literally means nothing more than square rim glasses, coffee shop philosophs and a love of dressing ‘differently’. Wanting to travel, learn and see the world does not make you a hipster. And being a hipster does not make you well travelled, willing to learn or different. It makes you someone who follows trends.

    • Exactly what I was thinking! I think true “hipsters” are people who are “free spirits” like you said, not people who act a certain way because it’s against mainstream things.

  12. Ok, I’m in, I wanna be an hipster.

4 total pingbacks on this post

© 2014 Travels of Adam All Rights Reserved | Contact | G+ | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

Created by Adam Groffman