The BoHipster is a portmanteau of Bohemian and Hipster, combined for their shared history in counter-culture. The Bohemian movement originated in the late 19th century amongst artists and writers who lived unconventionally and romanticised the notion of poverty to be carefree and unshackled. Borrowing style cues from gypsy immigrants such as floral prints and rumpled designs, the way of dress became more evocative and flamboyant and eventually culminated into “boho-chic”.
In 1960s Greenwich Village, NYC, the ‘beatniks’ first took on this mantle of indie artistry, allowing the Bohemian ideals to progress into the flower power movement, made so iconic by hippies and inventive musicians like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Mamas and the Papas. They emphasised love and rejected “the Man” and the trappings of convention, opting instead for free-spirited communal living, being around Nature, and expressing their ideals through their expertise in art and music.
As modern-day Bohemians, the hipsters have taken over the counter-culture cause, rejecting the mainstream as ignorant and championing marginalised art forms like graffiti, body art, hairstyling, and indie music. More recently, the Hipster movement among men has evolved into an ironic mix of tech-savvy and a “woodsmen” attitude to facial hair, echoing Bohemian ideals of returning to Nature and independent expression while keeping a facet of intellectuality. The concepts of “poverty” and “intellect” are also expressed in the hipster’s interest and knowledge about thrift store fashion and “authentic” vintage items.
A BoHIPSTER’S PROFILE
The BoHipster is anti-establishment, not in an aggressive metal rocker kind of way, but in a more self-expressive, arty fashion. He is usually a fan of indie rock and music from the free love eras of the 60s and 70s. He prides himself in knowing live music bars in town, hippie references, the latest activist cause, and the difference between raw and regular denim. He most likely sports some form of facial hair and tattoos, and goes to a hip salon for his hairdo without coming across as a metrosexual.
In the hazy sixties, hipsters embraced extremely bright colours associated with psychedelic drug use, flare-collared silk shirts and tight but bell-bottomed pants. Flash-forward to the present, the hipsters have somewhat urbanised and masculinised the look, emphasising a fitted but rugged look. Most recognisably “hipster” these days is the woodsman/caveman beard and unkempt hair, paired with patterned close-fit shirts and raw selvedge jeans. On the more edgy end there is the urban salon look, where the effortless cool sport messy shag haircuts, and sometimes androgynous hairstyles with asymmetric side-swept bangs.
In line with the Bohemian preference for Nature, prints from cultures known for their connection with Nature are favoured, such as Japanese-style painting of flowers and animals, Mexican sugar skull, Persian paisley, Scottish plaids, and ancient Aztec painting. Some of these find their way as tattoos onto the body too – artistic tattoos being another telltale sign of a hipster.
WHO IS IT FOR?
If you’re a genuine fan of indie music and love supporting new bands in live bars, and don’t mind the facial hair, this is one archetype to look into. The style can seem very carefree and effortless, but it does take some planning to achieve an authentic look. Since it can be a highly personal style, it may be difficult at first to create your own hipster outfit. Then again, you wouldn’t go wrong with a beard, slick-back hair, washed relaxed-fit denim jacket over a plaid shirt, tight black jeans, and scuffed up high-top sneakers. It’s a look that can be achieved inexpensively – not surprising when poverty’s one of the archetype’s inspirations!
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Play with textures. Go for rugged materials, such as raw denim, tightly woven cotton, and corded weaves. Be daring about patterns, but keep them on the shirt. They can be geometric prints, or repeat patterning of bird icons. Caution though – don’t be tempted to go too far into the “keeping it natural” adage of hippiedom. Slippers with washed-out jeans torn at the knees are never, ever, okay.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Saint Laurent
- Burberry Prorsum
- Gilded Age
- Fred Perry
- Urban Outfitters
- Check out your neighbourhood vintage thrift store!