Typically, today’s hipsters don’t even realize the style debt they owe to their elders. I’m just going to say it: Generation Yers benefit from the tireless thrift store trolling of Gen Xers, as well as the home-centered trends of the past twenty years. When I was a kid, we had four channels on t.v., yes, four, and that was only if the rabbit ear-antenna was working. Now, we have an entire cable channel dedicated to homes and gardens, not to mention weekend long marathons of pawnshop junking and storage locker lotteries.
On the surface, a dude with a waxed mustache and a collection of vintage table fans may not have much to say about thread counts, but he knows a vintage Pendleton blanket when he sees one, and he knows that if he sees it for $15 at Goodwill, he better grab it. Because in addition to the Walmarts of the world, there is ebay, and let’s don’t forget Craigslist, so in the eventuality that Hipster Dude comes up short on cash, he can always attempt a 100% return on his $15 blanket.
So, say what you will about ‘youth culture,’ the kids are young, clearly, and they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of what’s fun and hip. They’ve also cultivated tastes, and they’ve done it on a budget. At this late date in cultural history, they have way more options than previous generations in terms of feathering their hipster nests. Even if they don’t live in hipster hotbeds like Austin, Portland, or Brooklyn, today’s unencumbered ‘kids’ are not limited to their parents’ attics or the generic big box stores that pepper Suburbia, U.S.A. Here’s some of what the Kids are up to:
Oh, the mustachioed…everything: mustaches on the coffee mugs, the shower curtains, the throw pillows, the magnets, the iPhone covers, the giftwrap. The waxed ‘stache is everywhere.
“Put a Bird on It!” Oh, Portlandia, we love you and your self-referential humor. The hipster enjoys birds—silhouettes of sparrows, toucans on vintage juice glasses made by cereal companies in the 1970’s, parrots on vintage Villeroy and Boch dishes, and owls, lots, and lots, and lots of owls.
Cowhide rugs: Are you living with an unfortunate handed down couch? Put it on a cowhide! Instant style. The same goes for taxidermy. Got a set of antlers? Style them on a stack of books from graduate school. Viola! Instant visual interest. Taxidermy warning: depending on how vegan/PETA oriented your posse is, you might want to go easy on it. There is a thin line between ‘hip pad’ and creepy people who keep dead animals in their apartment.
Turntable and vinyl, preferably authentically vintage: The inventory matters. The food pyramid of hipster tunes goes something like this: Indie Rock, jazz, various iterations of punk, Americana, old school R and B, The Beatles, The Stones, and The Who. And for that matter, really iconic albums must be framed and hung on the wall to be seen rather than heard.
If they can’t snag these items at Goodwill or other thrift stores, there is always the tertiary option of ebay or Craigslist. Failing these, the Hipster Plan B, Urban Outfitters, is an option at the mall or online. And since you can’t buy an Orla Kiely dish soap at Urban O., there is the hipster haven, particularly in college towns, Target, which, with its seasonal partnerships with various designers and brands, is favorable to a monolith like, say IKEA, or Bed, Bath and Beyond.