Step back in time a few years to discover the origins of the hipster look, and when vintage styles became mainstream and cool again.
The start of hipsters
Although some people have worn vintage styles for years, the hipster movement only took off a few years ago. Original hipsters were originally dressed somewhat in Gothic styles, and other forms dark clothing that was against the mainstream. Much of the original hipster styles were more similar to emo clothing than the vintage and nerdy styles that many hipsters wear today. It was only after emo and Gothic styles started to become mainstream that hipsters had to look elsewhere to look different than the rest of society.
The melding of vintage and hipster
When everyone started wearing the emo clothing styles for everyday, hipsters had to move on to other styles to stand out. This is when many online bloggers and independent-loving individuals turned to vintage clothing styles for inspiration. People who previously only wore vintage styles because they loved them, now had to compete with the hipsters who wore the styles ironically and in ways that looked more nerdy than classic. Big glasses, skinny jeans, and oxford shoes became the hallmark of hipster and vintage style alike. The main difference between true vintage lovers and hipsters was whether the girls wore pants or dresses.
Vintage becomes mainstream
Like any other fringe trend, people get used to seeing certain styles and want to wear them for their own. The start of TV shows set in past decades also helped stir the desire for mainstream vintage-inspired fashion. Now it is not unusual to see vintage styles on celebrities, hipsters, schoolgirls, and your grandmother in the same place. This melding of decades brings new variety and interest to trendy fashions of the day.
Vintage lovers embrace the new trends
People who have always loved vintage styles are embracing the current vintage trend as well as hipsters. The problem with real vintage clothing is that it is often delicate and made in sizes that are different than today’s body types. When clothing makers create modern sized clothing in vintage styles, more people can embrace the trend and wear the fashions of the past without worrying about fit or the condition of the fabric itself.
Hipsters wear vintage differently
The current mainstream vintage look incorporates one or two vintage trends into modern outfits, such as by placing a Peter Pan collar on a work blouse, or by giving a peplum shape to a casual top. Most people do not wear complete vintage from head to toe to avoid looking like they come from a costume party. A hipster will take several vintage trends and wear them with other hallmark hipster styles, including large glasses, funky hats, clunky shoes, and socks with dress shoes that looks more like an exaggerated version of someone from a past decade than any modern styles. Someone who really loves vintage fashion may take inspiration from vintage clothing and vintage hairstyles. They will look less nerdy than the typical hipster, but more like they belong in a past decade.
Although hipsters and vintage lovers do look similar, and some of the things that they like collide, they are two distinct entities. While hipsters explore the fashions of the past along with unusual movies, music, and old-fashioned technology, vintage lovers simply wear vintage because they love it. Hipsters can be vintage-lovers, but not all hipsters are the same as vintage-lovers. The difference is subtle, and often confusing, but with a little practice it is easy to tell the difference.
Liz Conaty is a part time fashion writer and full time enthusiast. Lover of all things vintage, and vintage retro, Liz wonders if she is beginning to cross the line into Hipsterville.