10 Signs you’re a true Hipster.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 18, 2013
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Update: Just when you thought craft beer couldn’t get any more hipster…


hipster buddhist

(Click above for Hipster Buddhist)

“…the term ‘hipster’ originated in the 1940s, and was used to describe jazz afficionados, characterized by their “dress, slang, use of cannabis and other drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humor, self-imposed poverty and relaxed sexual codes.” (en.wikipedia.org)

Rides bicycle

In Defense of Hipsterism.

Update: a rebuttal.

Hipsters aren’t all good-looking stylish superior trustafarian talented lazy party-addled self-doubting snobby multi-sexual artistes. Just the ones you read about, and Alex.

The media has a thing out for hipsters. And, frankly, hipsters have been asking for it.

But we got a problem here. We got a problem of definition: everybody who seems like a hipster denies being a hipster, which koan-ally is a sure sign of being a hipster.

I’m not talking about such hipsters. I’m not talking about style. I’m talking about function. I’m not talking about surface. I’m talking about inside, out.

hipster hate

I’m talking about the Original Hipster (what could be more hipster)?

The media doesn’t like Today’s Hipster. Everybody loves to hate today’s hipsters: they’re too-cool-for-school, they’re jerkfaces, they’re memes, they’re insecure wannabe sheeple wearing skinny jeans bought from department stores using mommy’s Amex.

But true hipsters? They’re artists, they’re entrepreneurs. They can’t be classified, goddamnit: they’re oddballs. They care about our environment (thus the old tee shirts and tote bags and buying less and direct-trade coffee, and enjoying it for-here)…which has never been cool, except for 2004-2005. True hipsters care more about quality of life and how they spend their dollars than being rich or getting things or shopping. The whole thing about trustafarianism? It’s so much harder to be truly yourself, weird and beautiful in your own way…so if you’re born in the wilting shadow of Rich and yet manage to be yourself, I applaud your hipsterism.

So remember: the original definition of hipster predates even Jack Kerouac’s angel-headed hipsters of the late ’50s, and goes back to the early days of wild, free, crazy, fully-feeling jazz.

dharma bums cover kerouacThe original hipsters were anything but cool: they were hot, vulnerable, passionate, wild…they went all-in on life…they let it blow (as Kerouac said) all the way.

The original hipsters studied Thoreau and Zen and the Bhagavad Gita and practiced yoga atop a shed atop a mountain atop Big Sur and cried and sang and drank too much and did all manner of things, because it’s impossible to catalog the activities of a group defined only by what it searches for, not what it has found. by its warm individuality, not its cold conformity.

~ @waylonlewis (on Instagram, man)

hipster american

hipster tea party

10 Signs you’re a Hipster. In a Good Way.

1. You prefer to (always) bicycle or walk or bus instead of driving your own 3,000 ton black-blood fueled chariot for your 100 to 200 pound body.

2. You read labels. Your eyes dilate when you see an organic certification, and narrow when you see “all natural!”

3. You don’t count calories. You count how many days a week you work out. And by working out, you mean “climbing” or “yoga” or “mountain biking” or “road biking” or “hiking”* or “kayaking” or “snowshoeing” or “skiing” or “snowboarding” or something human-powered, generally. You don’t like plugging in your bicycle and walking in the same place in sweatified, toxic, un-cocooned air.

4. You like formal, romantic, old school dates…but you arrange them by text. And, just as often, a date goes under the guise of “hanging out” or “doing something” like bowling, music, party (VIP party is a bonus), or the aforementioned *hiking (dogs = bonus points).

cool not smoking young hipster

5. You drink coffee. You drink more coffee. You drink more coffee. You drink tea. You drink pu-erh. You don’t drink mate anymore. You don’t drink kombucha anymore. You don’t drink bubble tea. You do drink smoothies, and instagram them.

6. You instagram everything, because it’s the quickest way to water your social media streams while preserving your life for your future children while still having a life (because instagram enables you to auto-populate your tumblr, hipster jesusPinterest, Facebook, Twitter. You don’t have Pinterest).

7. You wish you could shop at Urban Outfitters but you don’t (everything’s made in China, see #2, and the place is GOP-owned by a Santorum donor)…except for that one time when…you went to walk your dog around the place because they’re dog-friendly and the men/women who work there are hot/style-inspirations and you don’t have an office, you work in a café so hashtag UO is a good place to get warm while you’re on your cracked iPhone and…you found a khaki hat that’s made in the USA. Instead, you shop vintage at Buffalo Exchange, or the true hipster valhallas: thrift shops.

8. You don’t want to get married because you love being single and you’re okay with loneliness but you want to get married when you have children.

yoga american apparel hipster fashion ecofashion eco made in usa9. You rescue dogs and cats and are vegan or vegetarian and you will not buy things you love because they’re not ethically-sourced and you definitely vote and you supported Obama way back in 2006 when no one supported Obama anymore (before he had a great enemy like Mitt and everyone came around) and you consider the farmers’ market with sun and local food and grounded farmers with beautifully worn hands like living mahoghany to be the the best place ever and you live downtown and live on your (mac, duh) laptop because you want to make millions of dollars for good and you have a big moustache or if you’re a girl long-cut straight bangs and put make up on the edges of your eyes like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra or you wear bright, bright, bright colors or you eschew tattoos ’cause they’re so mainstream now and besides they aren’t vegan or you do other things I can’t think of because I’m not enough of a hipster, though I’m one of few hipster wannabes. Everyone else is too busy denying they’re a hipster.

10. You deny being a hipster.

Your denial of being a true hipster involves saying “even though I…” many times.



Want to be a true, if self-hating hipster? Read this. Know who she she is.

hipster boyhipster sherman cigarette cigarettesheaddress hipsterfixie bike accessory bottle opener beer hipsterHipster Puphipster eco boynytimes hipster farmerdenver hipster suck my ballz fixie bike funny videoPicture 2026hipster real genuine authenticjazz kerouac beat hipsterhipsterrunoff

Here’s an 11th sign: you’re a member of…


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


86 Responses to “10 Signs you’re a true Hipster.”

  1. Stephbell says:

    Why is there no conversation here and so much glorification here of massive cultural appropriation from Native Americans??

  2. alex myles says:

    Proud moment 🙂 not that I care so much for the hipster label, but usually in the small town where I live I don't match even one item on anyone's list about anything!! – haha So, I have the rescue dog (an extremely cute one that I rescued myself!), I always exchange high calorie food for exercise out with nature (never in an indoor establishment!!), I just love smoothies, cycle wherever I can (even though I get looked at as though there must be something wrong with me or that I just can't afford a car – I care not!) I LOVE everything about Urban Outfitters, if only it wan't Urban Outfitters but a shabby old outbuilding somewhere similar to a place called Snoopers in Brighton in England, where I used to live – Bliss…(hours spent drifting in and out of the awkward isles gazing at each unique and crazy item) I adore old school dates – free dates that don't cost a penny are the best. My iphone has a crack because I refuse to pay again to have the very easily breakable screen repaired – for the hundredth time! And lots and lots more 🙂 Oh yes, never getting married, always staying single- that is until my prince arrives bareback on his white wild horse and then marriage will be the most awesome thing on the planet.. and sorry for the rambling – just the simplest things can bring me the greatest joy 🙂 ! <3

  3. jack black says:

    calm down

  4. Ellen says:

    Every single one applies to me oh my god…

  5. Ellen says:

    Except for coffee. I'm a huge tea fanatic, but I never drink coffee.

  6. I have a vegan tattoo, so there.

  7. elephantjournal says:

    I'm with you, friend. I'm not sure I care about who's what, and what's what. But I do care about the roots and think the culture, overall, as I have defined it above, is doing some things worth caring about.

  8. elephantjournal says:

    oh, whoops

  9. elephantjournal says:

    Some of my best friends are gay hipsters.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Don't be. You're far from alone.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Do you find wearing kimonos disrespectful? I agree with you, but it's an interesting question. Are we no longer allowed to wear clothes from any culture but our own?

  12. elephantjournal says:

    Labels can be important, and you're rude. So, you're a jerk. That's a label that helps us identify something. But, yes, I agree–labels are ultimately silly–you are not a jerk, you're just a jerk to people you don't know on the internet, sometimes. 😉

  13. elephantjournal says:

    We're reader-created–feel free to submit. http://www.elephantjournal.com/submit and we'll be honored to feature your article. If you'd bothered to search before commenting, however, you'd see I'd written one on the issue years ago.

  14. Erin says:

    I was never cool, and I doubt I will ever be. At least this is what I tell my son. Thoughts that ramble through my mind-

    *This comment host just erased everything I typed- guess I'm supposed to pare it down.
    *I never understood the whole "ironically" thing. Why would you want to live an ironic life?
    *I prefer living fully. Still working on it.
    *It's hard to tell the difference between your own dreams and the collection of feelings inspired by someone who is truly rocking it at what they are doing. Eventually, if we're lucky, we become our own crucible. I'm definitely still in self-cleaning mode, looking forward to when the door unlocks.
    *Would a "true hipster" care about this list? One thought is there had to be enough ego to define a movement and exclude others, the other is that we find it nearly impossible to think without definition. My overuse of analogy is proof.
    *The wearing of ceremonial garb- At first I had a WTF moment. First because the ceremonial kit was so cheesy, an obvious grab of spiritual consumerism, second because the gals wearing this stuff just exuded an air of "I have absolutely no connection to this…. FEATHERS!."
    *I am not even remotely close to being a hipster. Confused, maybe, but nothing with such clarity as hipsterism. Denying it doesn't make me one either. Life is too short to concentrate on that.
    * "What people think of me is none of my business. This is so freeing if you really get it.
    * It wasn't horribly clear that these pics were douche hipsters. Though I am sleep addled, I think this might make me a dingbat.

    On a side note, thank you for writing something that kept the weight of the world off my mind long enough to get tired and want to sleep. That is a sweet gift I know you didn't know you were giving me when you wrote it 2 years ago.

  15. Justin says:

    Yea, but what’s up with the wack head dress pictures? It looks like your appropriating that, when it’s one of the most offensive and uncool trends alive today. Are these pictures satire? Either your blurring the lines or you forgot to make that clear. I like your message but that pic really itches the nervs. Surely in such a critique you could have noted that trend as the most tasteless hipster-wannabe trends that need to die. Or do you actually think it’s cool?

  16. Mikayla says:

    9/10. Wow. But I’m still not a hipster. Lawl.

  17. axchehasbah says:

    I’m american indian

  18. Kate says:

    Kerouac's generation was the beat generation. They did not, in any way, resemble hipsters. Sorry, it's true.

  19. katy says:

    You had me all the way until the photos of white girls in native american headdresses. That's just racist, and I don't like that. At all.

  20. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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  22. Ashie says:

    Yea I agree -.-
    It bothers me greatly

  23. Snuggles says:

    But if you love everything in UO because everything is made in China and you own an iPhone wouldn't that be EXTREMELY hypocritical? or should I say "hipstercritical"

  24. James says:

    Basically a hipster is an anti Alpha male jock or corporate type. Anyone that's blue collar, in the military or white collar especially those that work on Wall St is not a hipster. If you're a nerd most llikly you can become a hipster. Though not all nerds are hipsters.

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    The same thing can be said of the charms that hang on chains, or pendants on necklaces.
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  26. Isaac says:

    Great definition lol
    Funny and true.

  27. Olivia says:

    I feel like all of these pictures that go with it though are very un-hipster, especially with the EDM culture references like dumb white people who wear native american headresses to festivals. True hipsters don’t advocate cultural appropriation of a persecuted people for their own vapid parties. Also, I’m a hypocrite because I do shop at urban outfitters when I need nicer looking clothes than the ones I find at Goodwill, which is also hypocritical because they are the real corporate since they hide behind an ethical sounding name. Not a hipster though! 😀

  28. NO HIPPIES NO HIPSTERS NO FUCKING YUPPIES! Being that I am mixed race Native American Ojibway/Anishinaabe, I find privileged white people wearing headdresses extremely offensive! MY CULTURE IS NOT A TREND! The fact that Native American women experience the highest rates of sexual violence out of any group of women and the fact that white people continue to appropriate our culture shows their racism and ignorance. It doesn't honor me and I come from a line of hereditary Chiefs in my lineage. Honor my culture by respecting me, my tribe, family, deep and rich ancestry.

    Read the article I linked below.

    Go ahead and continue sexualizing American Indian and First Nations Women — http://fucknofetishization.tumblr.com/post/916975

  29. Charlotte says:

    I got 8/10 am I a hipster? I do not think I'm a hipster! but am I in denial?

  30. Rox says:

    A hipster is a true one,if you even bothered to read “On The Road” or delve into the culture that founded your hipster ways is a hippie they were the hippies of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s 70’s and then 2000’s we seemed to skip the 80’s as it was more of a money driven decade, thankfully or you brats wouldn’t have trust funds to live on. We the people do not dislike your generation because you’re “hipsters” we dislike the fact, you do not do anything original and in the process put every other generation down, by ironically wearing our clothes from styles we made, to our music which we broke barriers and or built upon while giving the credit where credit is due to our predecessors. We dislike the uppity know it all attitude when most of you haven’t had to go through one hard thing in your life, such as work. The world is more messed up now then when I was younger and yet these same kids who care about this earth and its inhabitants aren’t marching or protesting they’re just sitting back saying how they’d run things but not actually making any change! My generation was the first to grow up with no war, yours was the first grow up with terrorism, and yet as we all know the youth is what exacts change in america the 60’s- 70’s are a great example of this, you have a chance to really make a change and you do not contribute. This is why we dislike hipsters.
    You want to be a real hipster instead of just dressing like one with a shitty attitude, then on top of your rescue dogs , btw all my animals have always been rescues form my first malamute at 7 directly form a shelter about to be killed, i didn’t know that until later, so you’re not the first to even do this but that’s fine, please keep it up, so on top of rescuing dogs and cats all your idea i might add a new fad.. smh how about protesting gathering in numbers and telling our country we don’t want GMO’s or Donald Trump or more importantly Drug use , the drug abuse not pot Heroin is killing your generation so fast that this article may become unnecessary. Yet no one from your robotripping, bathsalt smoking generation seems to care. .
    So while you drink your coffee and think of a new app to put our children into an even more binary coma, and you update your twitter hashtag & instagram photo of that latte you’re sippin’ maybe you can think a little more outside the box and help our whole world instead of just the tiny part you live in, or less about just you which contrary to belief the word doesn’t revolve around. And DO something!!! anything that is uniquely yours.. or build on and push forward from what we all left waiting for you. Then you can be real hipsters. Some may not understand you or your way of life, but at least your impact would be felt like the real”Hipsters” who came before you. The Make love not war, peace loving but fighting for Hippies..

  31. Roxanne says:

    “…the term ‘hipster’ originated in the 1940s, and was used to describe jazz afficionados, characterized by their “dress, slang, use of cannabis and other drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humor, self-imposed poverty and relaxed sexual codes.” (en.wikipedia.org)

  32. Melina says:

    Oh no, I better go work on my coolness. I only qualify because of the environmentalist mindset. Otherwise, I failed in this hipster quiz. 🙁

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  34. Kris says:

    I hope you find it refreshing to know that I’m a 20-something that feels the same way; the attitude of the armchair activist bothers me, causing me to leave social circles. But know that there are individuals and groups who fight for change. There are people who see injustice and work to resolve it. Sometimes these people are academics, sometimes they’re blue collar factory workers, sometimes they’re artists and seasonal workers and (dare I say) hipsters. They fight for inclusion, they are mindful of pronouns, they protest pipelines, they practice yoga and loving kindness, they drive a prius. Myself, and my friends, we are all hipsters–we will take the name for we appreciate it’s historical-cultural background of jazz and the beats–but like every other group in the world you ought not a whole group on some, or even the majority. I can say this, sitting behind a screen, acting as that armchair activist, but I would hope we could sit and have a conversation about it if that were possible; unfortunately, life now is too immediate, too fast, and we’re all connected much quicker, and on a much more shallow level. I hope you get to find some of us, the youth who want change, the youth in the spirit–not just the style–of the 60s.

  35. cindy says:

    Then you are exactly just as Rox says: one of the people who sit around bemoaning the state of things for the sake of sounding hipsterish yet not actually doing anything about it!. Whats worse, your excuse- that the world moves too quickly these days to bother trying- with your statement: “unfortunately, life now is too immediate, too fast, and we’re all connected much quicker, and on a much more shallow level.” The thing is, this can actually be used to your advantage in advancing a cause and organising real action much more easily and quickly, yet instead you use it as an excuse to not even try and instead, leave it up to ‘the others out there’ such as the academics and blue collar workers you hope are doing it for you….

  36. Mary Peck says:

    What goes around comes around…as a person who has done most of the things on this list, albeit thirty years or more ago, I suppose I'm a hipster? lol Just makes me laugh…let me tell you, no one thinks you're cool if you're over fifty and have multiple tattoos, even if they are thirty years old and you got them done before it was cool. No one cares if you've read "On the Road", because we all read it back then and while some of us thought it was amazing, there were those of us, like myself, who while thinking it was amazing also thought…seriously? I'm staying home! I don't dislike the younger generation, I have four grown children and love the crap out of them and think they're the shit, of course. But they will have their own experience, as we have ours, and "On the Road" is a book we can all learn from, no matter when. It's eternal. For goodness sakes. Give those young folks some love. We all need it.