By: Tori Nagudi and Jeffrey Adelson
Photos by: Mollie Coyle
In our everyday life we casually throw around a lot of terminology when it comes to fashion styles and this constant usage can often distort what certain words actually mean. In this article, Tori and I, Jeffrey, hope to provide at least one definition of three style words that get used quite a lot these days: preppy, hipster, and punk. Tori and I have each modeled what we think is a typical outfit of each style and here we will explain the thought processes that went into each specific outfit and/or thoughts about each look in general.
Jeffrey: First up is ‘preppy’ – a word almost synonymous at this point with Georgetown campus style and with many other East Coast colleges. While the prep look may be the butt of many jokes, being considered the ultimate ‘basic’ look, it has earned this reputation because of its great appeal. Preppy looks, for example chinos or khakis with collared shirts and boat shoes, have a great versatility. It is easy to scale a preppy look up with some brown leather shoes or an elegant watch and at the same time they can be quite casual – appropriate for everyday wear. There is rarely a situation where a preppy look won’t do and many of the items that you can buy to complete a preppy look will have staying power in your closet, rather than being swept away in the course of cycling trends.
Tori: While the other two looks are characterized by trends and eras, this look is classic and seemingly timeless. Inextricably intertwined with the East Coast and collegiate culture, the staples, prints, and colors of this look may get updated but rarely change in any drastic manner. Sticking with stripes, nautical patterns, and solids in bright pastels, reds, navies, and monotones will allow you to craft an infallible wardrobe that’ll never go out of style. By buying into the classics instead of the fads, you’ll have a closet to suit you for years to come, whether you’re off to class or off to the Vineyard. Don’t forget your pearls!
Tori: If anything represents the millennial generation’s influence on fashion, it’s the rise of the hipster lifestyle- I say lifestyle because it’s not merely characterized by a stylistic aesthetic but also indie music and a commitment to differentiating oneself from the average person. Blacks, browns, and neutrals intercepted by pops of color (reds, mustard yellow, and olive are popular) convey a vintage and somewhat earthy vibe that coalesces perfectly with quirky add-ons such as printed scarves, thick-framed wayfarer glasses, vintage tees, belts, interesting watches, mustache accessories, and whatever else you happen to stumble upon while thrifting. Put on your outfit and go discover music unbeknownst to most, find a really cool bookstore nestled in between shops, try a new type of kombucha or buy some eco-friendly products…soon you’ll have made yourself part of an entire movement.
Jeffrey: Hipster is certainly a word that has entered into our common vocabulary, but in my opinion it is one of the words that gets thrown about most often – removing any real meaning of the word. To me, the hipster trend is centered on retro and vintage looks. The key to a hipster look is showing your appreciation and knowledge of what has come before you while adding your own personal touch to your outfit. Large frame glasses, brown leather jackets, shoes, belts, oversized sweaters, and socks with wild patterns are all core pieces of the current hipster look. As Tori mentioned, the hipster look is more than that, it is a lifestyle that can characterize more than just clothing. I would also include minimalist tattoos, alternative rock, and artisan everything as parts of the hipster aesthetic. Hipsters have divided into two distinct groups, adding to the confusion around the term, with one group continuing the whimsical and colorful trends and another heading towards a darker, edgier look, incorporating pieces of other counter cultures.
Jeffrey: One of the groups that hipsters have started to encroach upon is the punks. A diverse group themselves, punks include a number of different styles, emerging in the early 80’s and developing into modern punk, post-punk, metal, and alternative sub-cultures. Punk has long represented the edgiest and most ‘dangerous’ (at least according to parents) elements of modern culture. Today’s punk look is close to intersecting with hipsters and hipster culture but it distinguishes itself through its heavy use of the color black, more experimental fashion, and piercings. Whereas hipsters are reviving trends of the past, punks are much more likely to explore more untried fashion items and looks that are more androgynous and will become the trends of the future. Just as hipsters have developed an eco-friendly and playful vibe, punks are distinguished by their concentrated apathy and anger, directed at society at large. Just as important to looking punk is the attitude, as well as wearing your chosen punk items of clothing.
Tori: From the beatniks of the 50’s and the punks of the 80’s to the grungy 90’s kids and the edgy new generation, rebellion is here to stay and so is the color black. The best aspect of this look is that it is multifaceted and therefore easy to manipulate according to who you are as an individual. Inspired by the grunge-era that Nirvana set into motion? Throw on some flannel, distressed jeans and Doc Martens. Feeling more of a classic vibe but want to add a little bit of defiance? Throw on a leather jacket and motorcycle boots to match with your white tee and dark-wash jeans, and try a red lip. Want to keep it feminine and classy while embracing your dark side? Try a sleek black dress and tights with black leather knee-high boots, some gold or silver accessories, and a plum or maroon lip. Whether you listen The Ramones and Bad Religion or Arctic Monkeys and The 1975, find your look here and keep on being your badass self.
Beyond giving some definition to these terms, I want to stress that just like clothes, you can try these looks on, mix and match the pieces, and wear what suits you. It is very easy to see someone who looks like a hipster and assume they check the other boxes of ‘hipsterness’ but as with any type, no individual actually fulfills all of the qualities of the type. In my own style I like to play with the different elements of different looks, combining and recombining them to defy my own and others’ expectations. I think it is very important to allow others and yourself the space to express themselves and not place any expectations on them based on how they may be dressed one day or another.