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. edie says:

    Apparently I don't qualify but I do drink coffee and smoothies. Got married and had 4 cats no kids. I don't instagram, yet. Did the Vegan thing for a few months then Mike was told no soy. I forget the other qualifications…my friends told me I have some strong nerd qualities but I don't own those, not as a nerd anyway.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Don't like soy? Don't think you qualify? You're in.

  3. DaveTelf says:

    Gee. I qualify more than I knew. Still plenty to aspire towards. Task 1A = own a bicycle.

  4. Jenny says:

    Most cars weigh 1 to 1.5 tons, or 3000 lbs. Just a typo, but I can't help it when my inner copyeditor flares up like that.
    ~ Jenny

  5. Bellsd says:

    One example of ya’ll just trying too hard. Sorry, epic fail.

  6. Stevie boy says:

    Um, Jenny? That isn’t a typo.

  7. elephantjournal says:


  8. elephantjournal says:

    S Lei HI-larious!

    Ana M 8 out of 10 but no hipster here, ha!

    Carolyn A sheez…just adopted a stray kitty too….while drinking a pot of coffee in my urban outfitters….

    LB Yep not a hipster lol ;P

    Guess I am a true hipster, who knew?!

    ‎Dario: 10 señales de que si eres Hipster de los 50s (hipsters buenos)

    Brooke: This is awesome.

  9. veganfaery says:

    wow, I score about 8 out of 10 on that list, so I guess I should just accept it already 🙂

  10. Coral says:

    i don't think a real hipster would wear a head dress. that's offensive.

  11. Ash says:

    cultural appropriation as fashion is not "hipster" or "edgy", it's sick and degrading. The images used in this article are beyond offensive. If being a hipster in a "good" way entails wearing sacred symbols as accesories while sucking on an American Spirit and talking about how free and sensitive one is, count me out. Just awful.

  12. DiB says:

    Well said! That was my first thought too, and you articulated it better than I could have.

  13. Molly says:

    Yes! I was shocked to see the images in this article. Not only do they contribute to cultural appropriation by turning cultures into a commodity, the images also perpetuate the over sexualization of American Indian and First Nations women. I agree with Ash, this is beyond offensive. And it's not something I would expect from Elephant Journal.

  14. I liked this article. It's one of those pieces where I find myself in a battleground of my own emotion… loathsome when I am flattered or inflated by something I shouldn't be, smiling in all the wrong places.

    Ash has a point about the 'cultural appropriation as fashion' problem. Coral was pointing to it, too.

    Myself I just well… am not particularly overjoyed by the idolization of anything. I feel like all of us waxing lyrical on the idea of what 'hipster' is or means or who the heck qualifies is a messy affair. We're just creating an incredible shrinking mould of a social category for the media and big business to target and bolster.

    Fine, there's some good things, too. I said I like the article. I'm glad Yoga is a household word now. But there comes a point where you have to admit that it's all too cloudy. We're doing things not because we were initiated or called to them, but because our social milieu told us to.

    Grossly over-exaggerated yes, but allegorically this is what I'm getting at:

    Here's a magazine photograph of a bikini-clad and slim, physically fit girl in a yoga posture. Let's say Warrior 1.
    In her mouth is a slender pipe filled with organic tobacco.
    Her right hand holds a glass filled with a beautiful green juice. The other is extended skyward in a gesture of righteous offering.
    Ceremonial feathers fan out from the crown of her up-turned head.
    There's a bolded caption somewhere that reads, "Respect."

    Right? There are a lot of things we could say are positive and largely negative about this for a mainstream publication. It screams: do Yoga! But does it respect Yoga? Not that I can tell. Juicing greens is great for you! But should you be drinking it to look like a model? Reverence through animistic ritual means is a beautiful way to connect with spirit. But is buying a pre-packaged ritual kit from a commercial clothing store really the means to an offering?

    In its way I think the article is trying to point out all these things. The writer is trying to tell us what 'hipster' truly was before we started labeling it. For that I can't fault it.

    It's the damn word 'hipster'. Let's just stop using it and start stimulating more discussion around where all these new pop culture symbols actually originate. Educate!

  15. elephantjournal says:

    I've covered that personally, my anonymous friend: raising awareness on your important point. Did you check elephant before judging? No. That's prejudging, or, ironically, prejudice for short. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/no-its-coo

    The images do not depict "real hipsters." They're images commonly associated with hipsterism, which has many side effects, including cultural appropriation and complaining about First World Problems, and judging too quickly (again, prejudice, for short) via online, anonymous comments.

  16. elephantjournal says:

    Images are not offensive. They depict things. Our support of cultural appropriation would be offensive, and we don't support it, why would I? The images were mean to make fun of hipsterism, if anything.

    I've covered this question personally: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/no-its-coo… …raising awareness. Have you, anonymous accuser?

  17. Chantelle says:

    Fantastically written , well done. It was the most enjoyable ten minutes of my day! Thanks Waylon!

  18. maxie says:

    "no no, it's cool, I was doing it ironically".

  19. agiddything says:

    Way — I feel like you're seriously skewed towards the hippie hipster in this. Boulder goggles. They happen.

  20. Ash says:

    I think I was one of the “anonymous” accusers referred to in elephantjournal’s reply, so I have several things I would like to point out.

    1. I absolutely understand that images themselves are not offensive (I’m actually a photojournalist), but the headline and the ensuing article was advertised as a list of how to know if you are a hipster in a “good” way. The article was clearly satire and well written satire I might add. The issue I take is with the accompanying photos which are clearly a demonstration of the negative aspects of hipster culture.

    2. I was under the impression (after reading your article about your website staying away from “candy” or fluff pieces) that it is an open forum to discuss tough topics like this openly and with thoughtful feedback. Imagine my surprise when the author of the article personally called me out because he felt I was “accusing” him of something. I was merely pointing out a subject in the article that was disturbing. Intelligent debate ensued from other commentators but not from the author himself. Asking me if I have personally address these things in my life as he has in his seems very childish and the opposite of open dialogue.

    3. Your website allows me to leave a name and an email, I cannot see how I could be less anonymous unless I posted my SS #

    4. This subject is important and talking about it intelligently without mud-slinging is what I come to the site to do.

  21. Ash says:

    Please see my response a little further down on this thread. The strangest issue with this is the negative connotation you seem (correct me if I am wrong) to be attaching to the anonymous aspect of replying to these articles. I don't know how else to expose my anonymity . I left a name and an email, is there some other identifying characteristic you would like me to leave? I don't have a twitter or wordpress account. I guess you are asking me to sign up on your website, which I greatly enjoy, but I am hesitant for reasons outlined in my reply to your response. I will repost them here:

    I think I was one of the "anonymous" accusers referred to in elephantjournal's reply, so I have several things I would like to point out.

    1. I absolutely understand that images themselves are not offensive (I'm actually a photojournalist), but the headline and the ensuing article was advertised as a list of how to know if you are a hipster in a "good" way. The article was clearly satire and well written satire I might add. The issue I take is with the accompanying photos which are clearly a demonstration of the negative aspects of hipster culture.

    2. I was under the impression (after reading your article about your website staying away from "candy" or fluff pieces) that it is an open forum to discuss tough topics like this openly and with thoughtful feedback. Imagine my surprise when the author of the article personally called me out because he felt I was "accusing" him of something. I was merely pointing out a subject in the article that was disturbing. Intelligent debate ensued from other commentators but not from the author himself. Asking me if I have personally address these things in my life as he has in his seems very childish and the opposite of open dialogue.

    3. Your website allows me to leave a name and an email, I cannot see how I could be less anonymous unless I posted my SS #

    4. This subject is important and talking about it intelligently without mud-slinging is what I come to the site to do.

    This website has a vast wealth of knowledge and opinions about the world in which we live. I under stand that each person comes to this space with their own ideas/prejudices. I just think that maybe discussing the way we feel about these topics instead of comparing who has or has not done more to examine these issues, would be more beneficial to us all.

  22. kmacku says:

    Hey Ash! Please allow me to ask for clarification: do you find the images themselves offensive, or the fact that they were used in an elephant journal article offensive? I fear Waylon may have read too far into it and assumed you were attacking the use of the images as opposed to the images themselves. I also accept that that *may* have been your beef in the first place too; if that's the case, well, erh…I think there's some things hipsters do that can lend themselves towards being offensive. That's how the pictures of them came about. I'll respectfully disagree in saying they're *not* hipster but are offensive. I find them both representative of some hipsters and offensive.

    I also find some art offensive, but I do not blame the gallery for holding that piece specifically, unless the gallery is fully saturated with art I consider offensive…then I simply don't patronize that gallery, or I try really (really) hard to wrap my head around my feelings towards said art and why I find it so. I'm not saying you have to do that here; this is just a single article, talking about hipsters, some of whom may be offensive, and have had pictures taken of them.

    Waylon is used to coming under attack for some of the things he posts. It's very easy to hear trumpets and prepare like it's an air raid. Hope that helps, and thanks for your comments!

  23. Ash says:

    good question kmacku! I don't find the article offensive because I even posted that I found it humorous and understood it's purpose. I find the whole idea of taking culturally sacred symbols and using them as an accessory for a lifestyle without any context or honor to its original purpose and people to be offensive. The thorn in my side was saying 10 signs that you're the "good" kind of hipster juxtaposed to these images was confusing. Mostly I was making my own comment on my reaction and feeling towards the images themselves. I understand when writing and maintaining a forum like this, you come across those who wish to attack the author personally, which was not my intention. My other complaint is that I was immediately called out for my "supposed" lack of knowledge and activism on this topic. It seemed like a very personal and unnecessary response. I appreciate you're attempt to reach out and have an open dialogue about this subject and also your willingness to see it from both sides.

  24. Real hipsters don't give a rat's ass people call them hipsters. They certainly don't agonize over something as preposterous as neo-hispterism versus roots hipsterism. 😉

  25. Bear says:

    As a guy who usually has snide, derisive comments to make about hipsters…..cool article.

    But, 3000 tons would be be 6,000,000 pounds.

    I think he meant to type 3000 lbs not tons.

  26. Bruce says:

    Not shopping at Urban Outfitters because they sell goods made in China? I'm all for that. But living on your mac? Macs are made in China (duh). Assembled by 14 year old girls who are sometimes chained to workstations and sometimes not but in any case are lucky to make 25 cents an hour. All this while Steve Jobs (when he was alive) and all the other Apple bigwigs were quietly becoming zillionaires. I'm not saying that Apple is the most immoral corporation in history, but it certainly rates. So if using macs and iPhones is hipsterish then I am happy to count myself among the non-hipsters. Bruce

  27. […] fact that there’s no punchline, no twist, there’s nothing unique or new added to the cliché. Yeah, we’ve got the Ah of recognition, but without the Aha, it just becomes a So […]

  28. Maria says:

    I like the article but wanted to bring up the notion of the elitism that comes from even things like "ethically sourcing your purchases" When young people are working in an urban community context such as say, workforce development, youth programming or even art their is a context of cultural sensitivity – or understanding where people are and meeting them there. This is much different than embodying the belief that everything you do is ideal and that anyone who hasnt embraced organic or bicycling , local music scenes or thrift shops is inferior. The battle in my Pittsburgh neighborhood with hipsterism still lives deeply in classism and becomes evident in monetary resource availability amongst hipsters to buy building – that working class blacks and white couldnt buy – and dropping in resources of interest to only them. The gap continues to widen as more elitist-minded young people drive developers to them in order to cater to those hipster needs. Hipsterism is still negative because it represents an attitude of "im too cool to care" and many of us work hard to not be that person.

  29. elephantjournal says:

    Great points. I would however say that many of hipsterism's roots lie in lower and middle class values—saving money by buying old tee shirts at thrift, bicycling, buying bulk, and respecting the fair labor of others…nothing's elitist about that. This article was, in a fun way, trying to differentiate between the ridiculous hipsterism that is style-based and that which is ethos-inspired.

    True elitism is "more for less"—consuming the earth's resources without care for how those who made them were treated, or paid. That perpetuates poverty and the rape of our beautiful earth.

  30. elephantjournal says:

    Right–amen. But again "the mindful life" is all about choices. If there's an alternative, choose the best of two. It's not about perfection, which, sadly, doesn't exist. Computers and air travel are far from perfect…but, right now, there aren't great practical alternatives. When given a choice–for-here or a to-go cup, bicycling or walking or bussing versus driving, local farmers' market food or organic bulk versus conventional fast food…then we can make the best choice we're able to enjoy.

  31. elephantjournal says:


    My skew is closer to the Gary Snyder/Jazz/Allen Ginsberg/Kerouac/Hunke roots than the Urban Outfitters Trustafarian wearing-a-knit-hat-in-the-summertime skew. I'm not particularly able to be cool or hip, so all I have left is trying to live a genuine life that's of benefit to others. It's more fun, anyways. 😉

  32. […] Waylon Lewis’s short article 10 Signs You’re a True Hipster, he attempts to rehabilitate the term hipster from its popular, negative […]

  33. Julia says:

    I'm a hipster. I had to admit when I realized I understood all the jokes on Hipster Puppies. Werner Herzog? Check. Animal Collective? Yessiree. I totally judge fixies though. We invented gears for a reason – watch me plow up this hill lamo.

  34. Hipsterius says:

    El hipster de monterrey mexico usa playeras del triangulo invertido www(.)invertedtriangl3.com

  35. […] a related note, elephantjournal has a funny, satirical article about how to tell whether you’re a hipster or not. Apparently, denying it is a telltale sign! […]

  36. […] 10 Signs you’re a true Hipster. […]

  37. Charlie says:

    The line "angelheaded hipsters" was written by Ginsberg in his poem "Howl." Not by Kerouac.
    Yeah, I'm hipster.

  38. Justin says:

    Not sure who did the collage for this article. Guess you assume there are no gay hipsters.

  39. Mikki says:

    hmmm… so I'm not a hipster. Phew. I was beginning to get very worried – but when I saw the single, eschew tattoos (love em, and had a couple for a long, long time), I had to google pu erh! I don't have an i phone (it is NOT going to infect me) I use the phone I have for *gasp talking and texting – no photos and no bloody instagram & hashtags egh! Plus I'm very married -and love it and them and I'm over 40! That rules me out *skip, skip, skip
    Mind you I really dislike 'categorizing' people by their lifestyles. (which is the nice word for judging)

  40. DLK says:

    I hate those people. Sorry.

  41. Heather McCaw says:

    Social consciousness used to be identified as "hippie" not that long ago, while appropriating a pastiche of cultural identifiers used to be labeled part of the "alternative" lifestyle. Working out and doing yoga was something else… it's interesting how all of it has been subsumed under the "hipster" term and in general we have far fewer categories for everything as our whole culture becomes homogenized and decamped to two extremes – either gun-toting, Nascar-loving conservatives or urban, organic-food eating, vegan liberals. Thankfully, we still have nerds and geeks! I will always be a geek more than a hipster because I enjoy things "effusively" more than I enjoy them "ironically." Which is more in line with yoga, I wonder? But I reserve the right to be whatever I want whenever I want! I love this very wonky video about hipsterism from the PBS Idea Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3xe-Wxio1o

  42. Why put a label on anything?

    Just limits you

    Be good be giving be kind and mindful, but most of all be conscious of every thing you do

    That is Hipster!

  43. otisbright says:

    some of this fits me, am i a hipster? i haven't cared in a long time. if you care about attaching labels to yourself or others what sort of path are you on? no judgements here from me. i've just out grown that type of being

  44. Kali says:

    But please…. let's not wear native american headdresses anymore eh? It's really reeeaallly disrespectful and inappropriate and not in line with anything else that one might stand for as a 'hipster' or non-hipster for that matter. Go ahead and leave it at home on your way to the next social gathering. Pretttttty please <3

  45. -shake my head- says:

    This is the most pathetic thing I've ever read. The one "true" sign of a hipster that made me mad the most was the last one; all hipsters want to be recognized that they are a hipster. Most of them sadly go out and buy these Native American hats and take these bizarre photos of cans on the ground and post it on Facebook just so someone could point out how hipster they really are. These people are searching for originality but, ironically fail because they all try to be the same. At my college, I see this first hand. Students walk around with cameras around their neck and don't know the difference between ISO and aperture. I find it sad. If you like riding bikes, riding bikes, and drinking coffee; you're not hipster, you're human! Labels are a waist of time and effort.

  46. Nancy girl says:

    5 out of 10. I don’t drink coffee, married with a kid, drive a hybrid, but don’t shop. Was a vegan / vegetarian. For decades and now eat paleo and feel better even though my yoga teachers would probably disapprove, but eat all organic and grow our own. But really I am too much of a dork to really be a hipster. Plus I am sure I am too old now…