How to Dress Like a Hipster

Since the ancient times of the sixties, our parents have witnessed a significant amount of people who have been bending the rules through arts – may it be in fashion, music, literature, religious and political views. These people have evolved through time from what we called ‘beatniks’ and now, ‘hipsters’. These 21st century nonconformist fools were theorized to be originated from mega cities such as Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Melbourne and London where arts and culture are heavily revered. However, no word from Mr. Webster could really encompass their description up to this date.

My hypothesis on why the so-called ‘hipsters’ are rampant in these venues is because their government does not have much pressing problems to focus on, thus, they have the luxury of time in developing and spreading this epidemic. Albeit Philippines is on the opposing pole of this situation, I believe that our country, despite the lack of financial support from the administration, can put their best foot forward for the sake of cheap imitation of the west (i.e. Spiderman vs. Gagamboy, class A Louis Vuitton bags and pirated DVDs).

For your guidance, I have listed down head-to-toe tips on how any regular Filipino can dress like a hipster:

  1. Everyday is summer. Therefore, don that long, wavy beach hair complete with dusts and salt. You may consult with Tony and Jackey or any Korean stylist for that matter. Digi perm may cost at around Php 3,000 – 6,000 depending on hair length. Oh, the price of looking homeless!

If you’re too lazy to maintain a long ‘do, you may opt for a short pixie haircut. Think Nick Carter post-Backstreet’s-Back-alright. Just make sure you use gel or hairspray to make it look as if you have just gotten out of bed. Play Garbage’s Androgyny while you’re at it.

  1. Facial hair. Regardless of gender. The uglier, the better.
  1. Head gear is optional. Straw fedora hats never go out of style. While bandanas tied around the head ala Ja Rule’s Murder Inc. phase is the ‘it’ thing now – looks best with an arm cast. Gartered string headband worn around the forehead (excuse my lack of knowledge for fashion terminologies) is a recurring trend among the hippies – looks best with pot on hand.
  1. Ray Ban Wayfarer. Even when the sun went down ten hours ago. Even if you are not on the wanted list of the authorities. Even if you are not a rock star hiding from TMZ. Even if you are not inherently blind. And oh, cheap imitations are excused, but only because of our country’s poor economic condition. Thick-rimmed faux eyeglass is only a daytime alternative.
  1. Choose your era. Are you stuck in the glorious grunge era? Do you still think John Lennon is the greatest literary icon of all time? Dress accordingly. Hunt down items from pre-loved stores in Cubao X. Or better yet, buy straight from the catalog like Topshop/Topman, Forever21 or Uniqlo. Overwash it. Pass it off as vintage. No matter what happens, deny that you side with the capitalists.
  1. Get an artsy hobby. Flaunt it as much as you can. Drawing books are a good buy from National Bookstore. If you are into photography, hang that lomo camera around your neck. No, Instagram does not count as photography. En route to a music festival, carry around your camping tent…and half of your life’s belongings.
  1. Limit your shoe closet to loafers, brogues and Doc Martens. Doc Martens are expensive but can last a lifetime. Plus, it can withstand that rain-or-shine M83 concert you have waited your whole life to get into.

Following these tips might seem like such a fun idea. But prepare yourself to be ridiculed by fellow hipsters. For them, hipsters are no more than social pests who are exploiting post-war cultures as if it is ready-to-wear. Hipsters hating hipsters is not hypocrisy. It is from the very core: irony. I wish you put a mental post-it note on that word. At the end of the day, nobody likes hipsters. Even they hate themselves. I do not blame them.

While you are on your way to the thrift store, I hope you remember the emo kids you have left to perish on Dashboard Confessional forums. Pray to God you don’t suffer the same fate. While you consider yourself superior to those who embrace the ‘lamestream’, while you hold disdain for music that has gained exposure, I hope you also think about the conforming ways you do to counter normalcy. Does conformity define the rebel that you really are? Is this really a movement you desire to be fitting in? A movement towards what? Is this the vapid generation you wish to contribute to your country? If so, why? Do you really need me to tell you all these? Seriously? I mean, seriously?

When you have answered all those questions, feel free to tweet me about it. Until then, I will be preparing myself for the next NKOTBSB concert.

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Noted with Thanks

I am having a hard time trying to fathom how it exactly came to this. I cannot help but be excited while I am packing my things, closing this chapter of my life from what I called home for almost two years. I can still remember the same anxiety I felt as I entered the four walls of the office on that day of September 21, 2010.

I planned to be an employee to keep myself busy, to save myself from the emptiness of my house. When I landed a job, I found out that having a nine-to-five work is not too far away from being a bum. I watched myself getting acquainted with the subversive subculture of a big company. I was slowly permeating the norms as I reap the latest grapevine from my spacious cubicle. I was managing my finances from my own paycheck – if managing means fifty percent goes to food and the rest for gas. Suddenly, I was no longer a useless member of society. Little by little, I was hoarding clutters from my room onto my workspace while I sip a cup of coffee from what could have been the ultimate yuppie dream.

A few months later, I was transferred to another cubicle, which is just a few inches longer than my left arm. It is an epiphany of a cheap company, squeezing robots in their money-factory. I was drifting away from the realms of a good career. Crammed and sleepless, I could summarize my job description in random order: 1) read emails 2) face ungrateful employees 3) take orders and 4) pick up other people’s shit. Despite my personal office entertainment of creep-stalking the owner’s children, there were times when I wanted to kill myself just by walking in the building. Everything went from interestingly boring to downright boring.

Everytime I work, I come up with theories on why I am doing what I am doing. I could never understand how dreaming of becoming rich while working for the rich is an acceptable idea. Plans never work. Goals are a waste of time. If you do the same things everyday and expect something spectacular to happen, you are driving yourself crazy. The heck with organization, nobody should be comfortable with status and labels. Sure, you may love your job, but does your job ever love you back?

Struggling and drowning in a quicksand of questions is an affirmation that the next logical move is to take off my hideous uniform and start living the life I wanted. Though I am not exactly sure what that is, I would rather spend my next few weeks pondering what it may be than waste my time convincing myself that this is what I should be doing.

Even if I initially felt sorry for myself for how everything turned out, there is still one positive adjective that this whole experience made me. Grateful. And I want to take this space in expressing just that.

To my friends in my department, thank you for welcoming me into a niche I have sought comfort in. Thank you for accepting the weird little kid that I am. I am thankful for your company, for your friendship and for making me feel that I belong, a feeling I never thought could be possibly felt at that time. You will sincerely be missed.

I want to thank our department head for flocking us out of pretend-leaders who are eternally waiting for the green light to magically appear out of boxed procedures. You give everyone hope and that is very important. That, on top of your excellence and envision.

To all my friends in the company, thank you for making me feel at home, for making me feel that I matter, and for making me feel close to normal for once in my life. I will forever treasure the six hundred and nine days I have spent with you. That is six hundred and nine days that no one can ever take away from me (and yes, MS Excel helped me count that). I will look back on those days without a hint of regret but with a smile on my face.

I would be lying if I say I do not fear the consequences of my decision. But I find comfort in knowing that being scared means you are about to do something brave. In a few weeks time, I will be moving on. Everyone will. Everything will turn out for the better. It has to. One thing is for sure, I will be bringing with me the memories I gained in this experience. I truly wish everyone well.

Cheers to the six hundred and nine days! For the good times and the bad, for the lessons everyone has instilled in me…this is duly noted. Thank you.

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