Surly hipsters, of the cold-weather variety.
Surly hipsters, of the cold-weather variety. ( Scott Griessel - Creatista )

Toting "holier than thou" attitudes when it comes to music, clad in vintage threads or American Apparel and often mistaken for hippies (or the homeless), Boulder has found a rising counterculture: hipsters.

Hipsters aren't technically a new thing; in fact, the term was coined in the 1940s when Jack Kerouac described them as "rising and roaming America... bumming and hitchhiking everywhere."

So what is a hipster? Where did they come from? Why are they here and what the hell is with the attitude?

Andi Bartz, co-author of the "Stuff Hipsters Hate" book and blog, examined the species in Brooklyn, N.Y., and concluded:

"Hipsters aren't brought together by what they like; they're defined by what they hate, which explains why they're such an enigma to people." Bartz said. "They're a nebulous crowd of cool-hunters who fit in by wearing outrageous accessories and pulling off outrageous schedules, day jobs and relationships."

Here in Boulder, we'll break it down this way:

Field guide: Hipsters

How to spot a Boulder hipster in the wild:

1. If you call them a "hipster," they'll probably try to kick your ass.

2. They'll spend an obscene amount of time at Amante or Trident.

3. Their worn-out low-top Converse or Vans are their prized possessions.

4. They have an "I don't give a shit" attitude about what they wear, but only buy vintage or American Apparel.

5. Their ride of choice is a fixed-gear bike.


It's really hard to nail down a specific type of dress when it comes to hipsters, because no two really look the same.

"They're all about originality," CU graduate student Lori Shultzaberger said.

Boulder's hipsters are like overly educated, indifferent snowflakes.

"I always think of American Apparel T-shirts, tight jeans, and second-hand stores," CU graduate student, Laura Cook said.

The girls are drawn toward vintage cowboy boots and ripped tights, while guys usually can be heard a block away with their keys on their pants like a janitor.

A big thing with male hipsters is the mustache. You'll find every style in the hipster regime. From thin and twisty to something that looks like it could be its own entity.


Because most hipsters have had higher education and are rather intellectual, most have a strong opinion on politics. Some are definitely more educated than others when it comes to knowing what they're talking about, but they usually lean toward the extreme liberal side of things. (You know, to rebel and stuff.)

"They try to be socially responsible," Cook said. "They love to talk politics, but don't always do anything about it."


Most hipsters tend to listen to "music you've never heard of," as they like to say -- although most of it can be heard blasting in Urban Outfitters, or even on MTV. To that they'd just say they "knew about them before everyone else did."

They go to music festivals like Coachella out in the California desert, they don't dance and they revel in the snarky criticism dishes out. A big part of the hipster culture actually centers around music, which is admirable, if they weren't so mean and reclusive about it.

"They like indie music, foreign film and indie film," Cook said.

If you're wondering why Cook seems to know so much about this group of kids, it's because she basically is a hipster.

"I'd almost categorize myself as one -- even though I don't like it," Cook said.

Drink and drugs

Hipsters waver on the category of mind-altering substances. While some are straight edge and have never touched an addicting substance in their lives, some can't live without their beer.

Pabst Blue Ribbon seems to be the beer of choice among this group, but you can also find them sampling local breweries' finest creations.


The hipsters seem to have laid-back, care-free -- but somewhat judgmental -- attitudes.

"They're a bit judgmental of people that aren't in their 'group,'" CU sophomore Chris Moore said.

The attitude of the hipster seems to stem from their native lack of care for most things. But when it comes to music, they'll jump on your opinion so fast it'll make your head spin.