Girmai: Dressing like a hipster in just a few simple steps

By Bethie Girmai

Sometimes, even a coffee shop can inspire a life-changing experience.

As I sat in Kiva Han,… Sometimes, even a coffee shop can inspire a life-changing experience.

As I sat in Kiva Han, sipping on my vanilla soy latte out of an eco-friendly cup, I couldn’t help but notice how different the crowd was from the Starbucks or Caribou set. At both of these shops, the vibe is much more mainstream and — dare I say it — mediocre. At Kiva, on the other hand, I was surrounded by piercings in unconventional places, indecipherable tattoos and artsy types who seem to purchase flannel shirts and TOMS shoes in bulk.

Suddenly, I felt this uncontrollable need to wear a fedora, brush up on my Allen Ginsberg and start smoking herbal cigarettes.

For several years, my wardrobe of collared shirts, loafers and cardigans in neutral colors has suited me just fine. But now, my previously reliable clothing seems too commercial.

This begs the question: To be or not to be — a hipster, that is.

Sure, I’ve bought my fair share of lace tops from Urban Outfitters and several pairs of leggings from American Apparel — one of which is made out of black pleather, or plastic leather. But, I realized that if I wanted to reinvent myself as a hipster — or at least dress like one — I would have to fully commit to my cause.

Just like every other style or trend, you don’t need to go overboard to carry out the look. Instead, you should incorporate aspects that work well with your own wardrobe. To do so, you have to consider the three rules that come with every trend or fad:

1.    Unless you’re Anna Wintour or Karl Lagerfeld, you’re probably not a fashion god. You have no way of knowing how long a certain trend might be in style, so you should choose pieces that are practical and timeless.

2.    Always dress for your body. Too many fashion victims make the mistake of following a trend to the T, even when it fails to flatter their bodies and accentuate their best features. Just because it looks great on the runway doesn’t mean it will translate to your body.

3.    Don’t be afraid to take risks. Trends allow you to experiment with your personal style, and embrace aspects of it that you might have ignored otherwise. Play around with popular fashion items until you find what works best for you.

At the heart of hipster style is a bizarre hybrid between preppy and grungy.

If Kurt Cobain and a Ralph Lauren model spawned a child, that child would not only be painfully attractive and musically inclined, but it would probably grow up to be a hipster. So before you blow your paycheck on vegan cookbooks and a new nose ring, remember that a hipster’s style is all about basics and playing with proportions.

Try pairing charcoal skinny jeans with a white v-neck t-shirt, a leather motorcycle jacket and ankle boots with a decent-sized heel. If you want to make the outfit more feminine, and if you’re feeling adventurous, swap the tee for a ruffled chiffon top in white or a pastel. If you’re looking for a more casual angle, opt for a loose-fitting red flannel shirt paired with black leggings, a fitted, cropped cardigan and pointy flats. To accessorize, contrast the simplicity of the outfit by adding a chunky scarf, dangly earrings and a cross body messenger bag.

So, my aspiring hipsters, I hope I’ve inspired you to register for an art history course, buy an obscure CD or shop for vintage clothing. As for this columnist, I know I’m well overdue for a new hobby — you’ll probably find me on East Carson this weekend sporting impeccable clothes, a new tattoo and a shopping bag from the Culture Shop.