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I appreciate the effort but…(not a rant against hipsters)

October 20, 2010

[editors: Anthony wrote this for us back in September. It took us a month to get around to posting it. Sometimes, that’s how we roll around here. Ally apologizes for being absent this week. Baby G is refusing to let her get any sleep, which is wreaking havoc on her work life and her sanity.]

Anthony: I started this article when The Coast issue about Halifax style was published but had to put off finishing it due to my love for the theatre and need to constantly be busy. However, now that the Atlantic Fringe Festival is over my time is suddenly much less constrained and I can get back to the other love that I have: bitching about what guys wear.

If you follow me on Twitter you may notice I have a subtheme during the week: Hipster Watch. Now, let me say this from the beginning: I DO NOT hate hipsters. I have been called a hipster non grata in my day because if my pants were any tighter you could see what’s in my bank account, but I would not bestow hipster status on myself at any level. No, the hipsters I’m talking about are the ones who are painfully trying to be noticed by you and your friends. Men and women who seek out the patterns that somehow clash with basic black; men and women whose faux glasses could easily serve as a protective face guard; men and women who know what a hipster is and try to redefine it. When it comes to style, I have always been an advocate of wearing what you are comfortable in – as long as you look put together. Personally, I hate wearing loose fitting pants so I don’t buy them. I would not, however, be comfortable in a deep-v t-shirt that hits mere centimetres above my waistline or a crewneck sweatshirt with a RUN DMC logo emblazoned on the front.

My point? Please stop trying so hard, guys.

The men featured in that issue of The Coast looked comfortable in their clothing and therefore pulled off their respective looks. The young man I saw on the #1 Spring Garden whose pants were so tight that he could not even zipper them and who seemed to be short one scarf to perform the Dance of the Seven Veils? He did not look comfortable. Hell, he didn’t even look like he could breathe. I think there is more power in a look that is polished and thought out rather than a collection of “cool” pieces thrown together. This past summer, shorts that were above the knee for men were very popular and really helped to define a Cape Cod style sensibility that was refreshing and fun. Unfortunately there were a few who took it too far and paraded around in shorts that were cut just below “the business” rather than just above the knee. I ask: do you need to be noticed that badly? Seriously, I appreciate the effort the fashionable men have made to push male style forward but sometimes you have to admit that enough is enough.

In the end, I suppose what I would like to see from men, fashionable or not, is some sensibility when it comes to your wardrobe. If your standard look is a nostalgic graphic tee with your tattoos showing below the sleeve, switch it up with a collared shirt and tie. Conversely, if you look like you’ve just auditioned for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, maybe lighten up with a pair of dark denims and a t-shirt or polo you’re comfortable in.  They key to being noticed and truly appreciated for your style is to make it an extension of yourself. Stop dressing for an audience and dress for yourself. If your last thought before you head out the door is, “Hey, I should add a scarf, that looks really cool”, consider your life choice for a minute. Personally, I’ve always preferred to stand out.

L-A: Can I get an Amen?  I think a lot of this applies to the ladies as well.  I’m currently in a weird style limbo, where I’m not sure exactly what my personal style is (but I do know it involves nautical stripes).  That means there are days when I fall back on sweaters and jeans, but other days when I might try something new. Which is a bit scary.  Sometimes being “fashion forward” (I sort of hate that term) can be a little uncomfortable. Sometimes, when you push your envelope, you step outside of what is comfortable and you spend part of the day feeling like a try-hard.  But the real test is this: why are you stepping outside of your comfort zone?  Is it because you think you need to look cooler or need to impress strangers on the street? It that’s the case, give up now.  This isn’t junior high and the strangers probably don’t care.  But if it’s all for you and you start to get comfortable after a few wears? Then yay! Go for it! Push your fashion envelope!  I’m not quite there with you, but I support you.

Of course, I support you to a point.  When you start choosing clothing that doesn’t even fit you (especially if it cuts off your circulation or it makes you look like what my mom calls “ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag”), then maybe let’s rethink that outfit.  You can do the same outfit, but a size or two bigger.  Sound like a plan? Awesome.

Since Anthony mentioned hipsters, I thought I’d share a video the husband made me watch. The music is a bit annoying and it is a bit of a stereotype against hipsters (I don’t hate you, hipsters. Promise), but it had mildly amusing moments.  Best part? You can play spot the Halifax Hipster. (seriously…spot the Halifax!)

A reason I’m glad I’m not a hipster? Because I’d rather not have the world hate on me for my choice in pants. Sheesh. Tough crowds out there. One of the commenters on the Coast article even started to hate on hipsters for using single speed bikes with back peddle brakes.  Haters gonna hate and I’m gonna keep on riding my adorable bike.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2010 9:26 am

    Standing ovation!!! Bravo, bravo! It is a fine line between trying too hard and stepping outside your comfort zone, and sometimes you will end up looking like a dork, but hey, you tried! The litmus test for me is if people think they’re cool, they’re not.

  2. Kristine permalink
    October 20, 2010 11:05 am

    Awesome post!

    My style is the most boring of boringville. I’m not going to lie. But at least my clothes fit. I could probably do with stepping a teensy bit out of my comfort zone, especially when it comes to my work clothes. The same pant and dress-shirt combos from three years ago probably isn’t that hot.

    • L-A permalink*
      October 21, 2010 2:07 pm

      Despite writing about fashion, my personal style often falls on the boring side. My work wardrobe last winter involved far too much black and grey. I really need to shake things up.

  3. October 20, 2010 11:13 am

    LOVE. Bonus points for using the line “10 pounds of shit in a five-pound bag”!

    • L-A permalink*
      October 21, 2010 2:02 pm

      I try to work that one into as many conversations as possibly. Fortunately for me, there are enough people out there wearing outfits that make it possible.

  4. October 20, 2010 5:47 pm

    Oh man, I knew a few of my favorite outfits and accessories could be defined as being hipster-like, but I had no idea my bike was too!

    • L-A permalink*
      October 21, 2010 2:02 pm

      I know! I need to stop wearing slouchy hats when I head out on my bike.

  5. Sarah M permalink
    October 21, 2010 4:41 pm


  6. October 22, 2010 8:24 pm

    i dunno. i think hipsters can pull it off quite well.

    don’t hate the hipster. hate the poor sap who loves the look but just doesn’t know how to put it all together.

    (we all play synth.)

    • L-A permalink*
      October 22, 2010 10:21 pm

      I think that’s what Anthony was getting at. The hipster that everyone hates is the one who can’t do it well – the one who looks artificial and uncomfortable. They’re trying too hard.

    • October 23, 2010 11:27 am

      I’ve been told that some days I look like I’m straight out of Williamsburg but that’s never my intention. L-A’s right, it all comes down to authenticity v. artificiality. I think the backlash against hipsters from blogs like is aimed at the ones who blatantly adopting the style because it’s trendy.


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