Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hipster hate or self-hating hipster?

I was having a conversation with a guy from work last week about how much fun it is to pay out on hipsters. Of course, discussing how you are much, much cooler than the members of an entire sub-culture always makes you feel pretty good about yourself. But when we had to explain to someone else what exactly a hipster was, my friend actually confessed, "You know, as much as I pay out on them, if someone didn't know me, they would probably think I was hipster".

Brave confession.For I, too, have feared for a while now that, not only could I be mistaken for a hipster - but perhaps I am actually a hipster but am totally unaware of it! Like a homophobic high school bully who pounds on effeminate boys because he really wants to, well, pound effeminate boys.

As an article on how to pick up a hipster girl in GQ put it: "How to spot a "Hipster Girl"? Ask her. If she denies it, chances are she is one."

This does not bring me much joy. Particularly given that I have a number of the other markings of the modern Hipster Girl. Check it:

1. Black-rim glasses

I actually bought these before they became uber-trendy with the hipsters (which is probably what any old hipster would tell you). I thought they were like the ones that the guys in Weezer wore or maybe like Dr Who's (David Tennant obvs). They were also the biggest frames I could get lenses for - I am really very, very blind so it is actually better for me to get smaller frames. Which is like being punished for actually needing glasses while all of the other arseholes who have the teeniest of astigmatism - or no prescription at all! - get to wear all of the really cool, massive frames. 

Actually, one thing that makes my glasses a little less hipster is the fact that I do actually need to wear glasses to see whereas hipsters usually don't even have lenses in theirs at all. 

2. Wayfarers

While we are on glasses, I may as well fess up to the fact that I own - and frequently wear - a pair of Rayban Wayfarers. And they are white. 

Once a guy (who I assumed was a hipster based on his stupidly skinny black jeans, ironic tie with t-shirt combination and vans) pointed at me while I was wearing them and said to his (also probably hipster) friend, "Hey that chick has your glasses dude. Except, like, hers are real." Which I think was meant to be an insult. Or something. Anyway, it made me feel like a complete and utter mainstreamer. Which is something that I hate. 

But wait - oh yes! - it is also something that hipsters hate! Much like when I was a goth, it seems that the Hipster is yet another sub-culture that refuses to conform with social norms - by essentially conforming to another set of norms that marks you as a member of that particular sub-culture. God, it is hard to just be, like, just misunderstood or whatever.

3. Living in a gentrified suburb

It isn't quite Williamsburg, but I do live in a converted factory in a suburb that used to be filled with council homes and is now filled with organic coffee bars, antique shops, farmers' markets and has many places to lock up your "fixie" (or bicycle for normal people). 


Occasionally, a drunk old man will expose himself in front of you while you are waiting for the bus but that is what makes it so gritty and real. If you can't handle it, you aren't meant to live here, Princess. 

And pretty soon he won't be able to afford to live around here anyway. 

4. I like awesome music

Actually, this one really miffs me off. Aside from denying that they like anything mainstream and claiming to love bands that are "like, pretty obscure, so you probably haven't head of them - and you probably never will", hipsters also like a lot of bands that I really, really like. I am sure I liked them first but, again, that is so something that a hipster would say. 

The Smiths is one. You are probably thinking, duh, as if you wouldn't like The Smiths. But hipsters really, really like them. I mean, seriously, they pretty stole their entire look from Morrissey. 


Hipsters are also quite fond of The Pixies, The Ramones, Nirvana, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth or anything else that looks cool on a t-shirt (but if too many people like them then I think they will cease to be cool. Or something). Also they like to like music if they think it is cool in an ironic way - like, say, Justin Timberlake or Kylie. But mostly, hipsters are into music haven't heard of because you are too mainstream. 

And I like all this stuff - but not for the same reasons. I like it because, well, it is fricking awesome. And you can like it too - in fact you totally should!

They also claim to like lots of awesome books that I like too. But I read most of them during my pseudo-intellectual phase so I can't be too judgemental really.

5. Old-school tattoos - especially of swallows

Look, this is permanent so I refuse to question my love for my tattoo just because it may also be a much-loved tat of hipsters. I love it. It means something to me. I hate hipsters.

6. Denying that I am a hipster

Which is, like, such a hipster thing to do. I am my own person. I don't identify with any one sub-culture. I am just, like, different. And misunderstood by the mainstream. And, like, I don't even care what you think anyway.

*Sigh* There are so many other reasons too - I mean, I own two vintage, manual cameras for God's sake! And I do honestly think that film prints are better than digital. I am clearly beyond help.

Actually, the only thing that I think might distinguish me from real hipsters is the fact that I can laugh at the fact that I could actually be a hipster. 

Another entry on defined a hipster as "someone who, if you have the misfortune to talk to, you will realize has the concepts of "wittiness" and "stupidity" confused." 

And I really hope that doesn't apply to me. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sometimes my husband is right

For a man who professes to have no interest in fashion (and certainly most of his wardrobe supports this), my husband has a lot of opinions about what women should wear. Or, more accurately, what they shouldn't wear. (And, if we are being totally precise, what I shouldn't spend money on.)

This is annoying.

And while I would really just like to tell him where to stick his opinions, I have an overwhelming desire to make him think I look nice. I would have thought that unconditional love means that he would think I was pretty no matter what I was wearing but he has assured me on many occasions that this is, in fact, not correct.

While I often like to brag about how I have improved his clothes, hair and taste in music, I have to admit that his strong views on what I wear have made a difference to my wardrobe. I don't wear jeans anywhere near as much as I did before we started dating. And I rarely, if ever, where shorts outside of the gym. As shorts are gross apparently.

But this isn't all bad. For there have been trends that have come and gone over the course of our 11 year marriage that, had I not been married, I think I probably would have dabbled in. And thanks to my husband making gagging noises when I tried them on or making a stinky face at photos of some hot model wearing something that is super-trendy that he doesn't get, I can admit, in retrospect, that I have managed to avoid some pretty tragic looks. Here are a few from the last couple of years:

1. Harem pants


These became fasionable again a few years ago - and variations of them still kind of are.

They are basically pants that are baggy at the top, low at the crotch (sometimes reallly low - like down around your ankles low) and tight around the calves/ankles. They pretty much look like you have taken a dump in a pair of very stretchy tracksuit pants.

The other amazing thing about these pants is that they are not always designed primarily with comfort in mind. You could buy sequinned ones for evening wear or even leather ones if you wanted to try something a bit more edgy.

Looking good, RiRi!

Harem pants were first in fashion in the 80s but then they were called "Hammer Pants" after the man who brought them to the world's attention, MC Hammer. 


I was too young to wear them in the 80s though. And I am perhaps the most grateful to my husband for ensuring that I missed this trend the second time around as well. I don't think my husband is alone in hating these pants either - they are definite man-repellers. I would like to think that I would have avoided them even without his guidance, but thankfully I didn't have to find out.

2. High-waisted jeans


Jeans are supposed to be relaxed, comfortable and timeless. But that goes against everything that fashion stands for. So, the fashion industry keeps finding ways to make staying at the cutting edge of denim extremely difficult - if not dangerous.

It took us girls years to come to grips with how to wear those low-rise, super-skinny jeans. But then, just as we were all starting to get the hang of it (wearing longer shirts to hide the evil muffin-top and buying underwear that was equally low-rise so we didn't look like we were impersonating Marky-Mark), along came the high-rise jeans.

They sounded great in theory - instead of showing butt-cleavage or having our bellies hanging over the top, these new jeans would cover it all up and hold it all in! And seeing gorgeous skinny models wearing them in the magazines and on catwalks made it look oh so easy.

But, like most fashion, in reality they only look good on really skinny, really tall women. Check out Victoria's Secrets model, Alessandra Ambrosio and singer/kind of actor Jessica Simpson below for the proof:


Am I right?

Given that he doesn't like jeans on girls that much anyway, my husband was definitely not a fan of these. And when he pointed out that they made normally quite stylish and slight girls look a bit chunkers, I knew this was one battle that just wasn't worth fighting. Even his beloved Keira Knightly looked a bit weird in them (but by no means fat):

3. The Onesie
Now and then I will be perusing a rack of clothes and pull something out that has the potential to be super-cute dress only to discover that it is not a dress at all - it is in fact a onesie (also called a romper or a playsuit). I myself have a general rule that tops attached to pants equals all kinds of wrong (especially if they are a denim, Australian flag onesie - as shown here). But when it is a cute little summery number, I sometimes think that maybe this rule could be broken.

But my husband thinks they are just weird. He is confused by the fact that they kind of look like a dress but aren't actually a dress - they are shorts. Kind of. And he hates shorts. So he is definitely not keen on these.

Certainly there are many examples of rompers that are just plain wrong. This evening lace onesie that Leighton Meester wore on the red carpet (that also look like harem pants) is a perfect example.

Yikes! But for every fugly one, there seems to be a totally cute one out there to make me think I could maybe like them.


And there are those that just, well, confuse me. Is this cute? Is it a pair of jammies being worn outside the house? Where should you wear it? And why do I kind of want to wear it?


I dunno. But given my husband thinks they are just ugly no matter what, I don't think I will bother. Which is probably for the best.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I have been off at a health retreat for the last week. It was the real deal - no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no refined carbs, no fats - the works. We were up at 6 every morning to do Tai Chi in the fresh country and, if we weren't in the spa (mmmmm spa!) we spent the rest of our day sweating it out, doing yoga or meditating.

All of that is probably enough to make most people give it a miss but none of that really fazed me - in fact I was quite looking forward to it. The thing that did trouble me though was the fact that I wouldn't be wearing make-up for the whole week. (It isn't that make-up was banned or anything - but I thought it would just look too ridiculous to wear make-up around a health retreat.) 

The thing is, I have been wearing make-up every single day for a really long time. I started when I was about 12 I think - after I cut all my hair off in an attempt to look like Jane from Melrose Place and ended up looking like a fat, pre-pubescent boy. I don't really have particularly girly features and my school uniform was pretty much unisex so the only thing I could think of to make it clear that I was in fact in possession of two x chromosomes was to start wearing make-up. It was subtle and "natural" looking (I think - at least it that is how I hoped it looked) but it made me feel a bit more feminine.

But even when my hair grew back, I kept wearing the make-up every day. I thought it made me look prettier which meant that, if I stopped wearing it, I would be uglier. 

And I have been wearing it every day ever since pretty much for the same reason. 

Sure, I would love to be able to just wash me face, shake my hair out and look naturally stunning every day but I just don't think that was ever an option for me. When I do this, my skin looks colourless and dull (except for my nose which always seems shiny), I have grey under my eyes and my eyelids are all puffy (actually, my whole face looks puffy), there are little red marks and freckles here and there - it just isn't nice. 

(Ok - it is possible, I guess, that I don't really look this bad but this is how I see myself and it is hard to believe anyone who tells me any differently - I mean, they aren't going to tell me that I look totally hideous and ought to put make-up on stat so that they can look directly at me again, now are they? Well, not unless they are my husband they won't...)

So each and every morning, I spend at least 15 minutes carefully fixing my face with foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blusher, mascara etc in a hope to make me look at least a little bit pretty. Some days, I will spend a painful amount of time trying to look like I haven't put any make-up on at all. Others, I put on some heavy eyeliner or maybe some bright lipstick. Regardless, except for when I am sleeping, exercising or sick, I am wearing something on my face.

Spending 5 days without make-up was therefore a little daunting for me. It wasn't like there was anyone there that I particularly wanted to impress. I just feel so plain - almost invisible - without it. Like people would treat me differently if they only ever saw me bare-faced. 

Everyone knows women get judged on their looks, as unfair as that is. So, I mean, what will happen if I fail to put my best face forward every day? To be honest, probably nothing at all, but I am never really willing to find out for certain. And while I survived the 5 days without it in the confines of the retreat, it didn't change my outlook or anything. As soon as I got back home to the city, I quickly applied some foundation and eyeliner so I could leave the house again. And it felt goooooood. I felt like me again! 

But it isn't like I am the only girl in the world that relies on a bit of slap to make herself look a little more decent. The paparazzi just adore catching usually ridiculously good-looking celebrities looking a bit average - almost human - without make-up on. And I love looking at them, just to make me feel like I am not so alone. 

Because, see, even these cuties look a bit dull without it:

Agyness Deyn

Anna Paquin

Carey Mulligan

Keira Knightley 
(actually, it is more the fact that her mouth is open that is making her look average here rather than the lack of make-up...) 

Kristen Stewart

Kate Moss
Ok so Kate is also pretty old now, but still - ew! The years (and cocaine) have not been kind to her.

Of course, there are also those hotties who still look stupidly gorgeous even when they are completely bare-faced: 

Natalie Portman

Liv Tyler

Olivia Wilde

Rachel McAdams (plus bonus Ryan Gosling looking scrummy!!! YAY!!!!!!)
Seriously, what complete and utter BITCHES!!! I hate/adore them all. Also, I am taking this as further proof that Olivia Wilde is, in fact, an alien.

The only positive thing that I can think of that comes from looking a bit off without make-up is that it can get me out of things that I don't want to do - like going to a bridal shower or a Tupperware party. I need to do is rock up without foundation on and as soon as I get there everyone will tell me how really sick and tired I look ("Oh, and so pale!" Um, how have not noticed that I am always this pale?) and then - hey presto! - I am back in bed where my naked face belongs - safe and sound and away from the public eye!