Our quintessential hipster. (Photo by Charles Nguyen)

Don’t like being stereotyped as a frat star or a sorority queen?
Tired of repeating those same nights O’Malleys and The Silver Dollar?
Want to feel original and bold – while looking edgy?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, well then you, my friend, need to put down that Bud light and grab yourself a real drink – a Pabst Blue Ribbon, the hipster’s iconic drink of choice.

They loom in the local coffee shops and thrift stores. They reign the cosmopolitan neighborhoods of Mission District, Williamsburg and Wicker Park… and as you’ve probably noticed yourself, they’re in Charleston.

Let’s be real: Charleston’s college demographic is seemingly split between the preppy, Greek Life clean cuts and those artsy hipsters. Here’s a little guide to becoming one of Charleston’s fashionable, artsy and liberal trend-setters (or at least look like one…which is all that matters).

Look hip and they’ll be biting lips: What do I wear?
Straying away from the obnoxious branding of most mainstream clothing lines and is the easiest way to be fashionable. You see how your peers dress. Be different. Don’t just mirror the other clones around you: find your style. Whether it’s the grungy, shaggy-haircuts-and-vintage-clothing, the chic-dressed-up-as-characters-in-a-Wes-Anderson-film or the high fashion, avant-garde-all-black-every-day, finding your look is the first step towards being a stylish hipster. Go to vintage stores, thrift shops or shop online. There are gems everywhere in the least places you’d expect with a little patience and a keen eye. Remember: fashion forward.

Super hipster Megan Schaeffer in her natural environment. (Photo by Charles Nguyen)

Hangin’ with the Hipsters: Where do I go?
Well, besides sitting at your local coffee shop reading Keruoac, there are always events around Charleston to be hip. Hipsters have a strong appreciation of art and music, so of course they’ll be at shows for bands you had no idea existed and the coolest, exclusive art openings.
Our counter-culture embracing youngsters also enjoy dark dive bars that you probably were too intimidated to venture into. It’s so obscure you probably never even knew they existed – and that’s the goal. If you want to try something new, go to The Recovery Room, The Upper Deck or The Faculty Lounge, three hipster staples here in Charleston.

The Upper Deck Tavern - a hipster haven. (Photo by Charles Nguyen)

Be one with your inner hipster: What do I do?
Being a hipster is (some of the time) a state of mind. Hipster culture applauds creativity and intelligence. Get into the arts and be well-read in topics relating to indie music, fashion and high culture. You can pick up an instrument and serenade your tight-jeans wearing comrades, read the bold youth-inspiring novels of the Beat Generation, or paint your way into the artistic world of hipsterism.
But if intellectual pursuits are just not your thing, you could always get yourself a nice fixed-gear bicycle. Essentially, a fixed-gear bicycle lacks a freewheel mechanism, meaning you can’t coast while cycling. Lucky for us, Charleston is flat, which is perfect for fixed gear bikes (also known as ‘fixies’). Your fixed gear bike is your precious newborn baby – and people love to show off their newborn children.

Whatever it is you choose to do to up your hipster game, remember that none of it really matters – just be bold and roll with it.

A fixed gear bicycle. (Photo by Charles Nguyen)

Hipster rule of thumbs:
1.     The poorer you look, the more hip you look. Shop at vintage clothing stores and go thrifting.
2.     Is that a Pabst Blue Ribbon in your hand? No? Well, fix that. PBR is the hipster go-to drink of choice. Nothing wrong with a
couple shots of Fireball either.
3.     House parties? Nah, I’d rather go to the art opening. Attending art events and shows is just another way to reflect your inner-
creative side.
4.     Grow some facial hair. The bigger and more bear-like, the better. If you can’t grow a gnarly beard, then a healthy mustache
will just have to do.
5.      If the facial hair just won’t grow, better get yourself a pair of thick-rimmed glasses. Nothing screams “I’m-an-intellectual-but-
fashionable-person” like a pair of those bad boys.

Top Hipster Literature (in no particular order):
1.       The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (The standard entry-level hipster novel)
2.       On the Road – Jack Keruoac
3.       The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
4.       Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
5.       Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

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