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So you wanna be a hipster

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When the word “hipster” originated in the 1940s to describe people who enjoyed jazz music, nobody expected that in a few short decades the term would be used to identify one of the most influential subcultures of the millennial generation. Hipsters are now generally recognized by their aim to live “unconventional” lifestyles by following “non-mainstream” trends. Here are some tips that will help you to become one of these trendy trend-followers … or at least understand them better.

▪ Drink coffee: Coffee mugs are perpetually attached to the hands of hipsters. If you are just starting off in this subculture, you can stick with Starbucks coffee, but as you become more and more integrated, you will need to begin frequenting locally-owned coffee shops. If you want to be extra hipster, give tea a try!

▪ Amass a knowledge of alternative rock and indie music: Start by listening to the new local alternative station, Alt 107.3. Once you find a few bands that you really like, utilize the radio function on Spotify to find more artists that fit your newly-refined music taste. Other sources of great alternative rock music are the online-mixtape site 8tracks and the music news site Pitchfork.

▪ Start a Tumblr: This blogging site is a sacred place for hipsters. With myriad artistic pictures, countless indie music suggestions, and a limitless number of social issues to get fired up about, there is no better place for them.

▪ Wear t-shirts with words or pictures that no one understands: Find t-shirts with fairly obscure indie band names or abstract art on them. Whenever someone asks you to explain what your shirt means, simply reply, “It’s hard to explain.”

▪ Wear boat shoes or Converse: Although hipsters wear a variety of shoes, these two seem to be the most dominant.

▪ Use the phrase “I listened to them before it was cool”: This is a must for every hipster. Start out by using the phrase ironically — this will give others the impression that you are actually as trendy as you want to be — and eventually, once you begin to delve deeper into the realm of indie music, you will be able to use this phrase with absolute sincerity.

▪ Always mention really obscure bands that no one but you has heard of before: This will make those around you feel as if they are slacking, and you will instantly gain credibility as a hipster.

▪ Take photos of everything: A key aspect of hipsters is that they love to take photos. The increasing popularity of Instagram has spawned thousands of young wannabe photographers, all of whom are willing to go to extensive lengths to get the perfect picture to shape into a square and post on the internet.

▪  Constantly say that your life will not be complete until you go to Coachella: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival, which takes place in Indio, California, has obscure indie bands, “good vibes,” and flower crowns. As you can probably tell, hipsters are attracted to Coachella like moths to a flame.

▪ Buy vinyl: Everything sounds better on vinyl. This is the hipster motto. Even though most of them were not even alive when vinyl records were commonly used, they love to act like they were.

▪ Watch 80s movies: Being able to quote classic 80s movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will earn you many hipster brownie points.

▪ Talk about how everything is better organic: Do organic foods cost more? Sure. Are they worth the extra money? Eh. But hipsters certainly seem to think so. Your local Whole Foods store is the ideal place to find a hipster in his or her natural habitat.

▪ Do not refer to yourself as a hipster: The irony of the hipster movement is that instead of being trailblazers, most hipsters nowadays are trend followers. In order to distance yourself from the negative, conformist stigma surrounding the title of “hipster,” you must go to extensive lengths to deny your relation to it.

The Wichita Eagle’s TeenTalk board is made up of teens who write columns and features for the Eagle. Reach the writers c/o aharris@wichitaeagle.com

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