East 12th Street, New York.
A few months ago, Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist had some choice remarks about hipster street style. Actually, he didn’t call it “hipster”, but he referred to a certain class of Brooklynites by their aesthetical marker. In the post he commented on the acquired tastes of counter fashion (or anti-fashion), and said how he didn’t like the Brooklyn brand of anti-fashion because it had been pushed to the point where it was ugly on purpose. There was a time when I couldn’t have agreed more. This is my sixth consecutive year in New York, and I remember when I first arrived, it was the first thing I noticed about Williamsburg.
(Quick tangent #1: When I first arrived here, there was a hilarious skit on SNL, a commercial for mom jeans, and after that all I saw under the sun (in Brooklyn) were mom jeans. Mind you, we were still in (or coming out) of one of the longest, steadiest and welcomed fashion trends in my lifetime: form-fitting women’s attire. From a primitively sexist perspective, the style had the superior advantage of allowing millions of hetero-men to figure out exactly what it was that they appreciated about women physically. The mom jean was like an atomic bomb to that and everything that was holy about it. And no, I’m not exaggerating, it was like an atomic bomb.)
And for three or four years after it stayed like that–formless, stone-washed and ugly. So went the rest of hipster style and fashion–
(Quick tangent #2: Ten years ago, I was living in Northern California. My girlfriend and I had this television show that we loved called The O.C., and there was this character called Seth Cohen who was like the first relateably cool retro nerd on primetime. But really, he was like the prototypical hipster 1.0 in my universe. This was… 2003. Seth Cohen wore slim-cut pants, tight shirts that said he was smart but somehow also worked in nightclubs. He embraced a baby Jew-fro and spoke like he didn’t care if his somewhat shrill aura rubbed people the wrong way. Counter-culture was embracing OK Computer and elevating Radiohead to legend status, Franz Ferdinand and telling people at parties that you didn’t own a telly. But Seth wasn’t a douche–what the term hipster has somehow evolved into, a decade later.)
But in the past 12 months, really, 6 months, sometime after Scott’s comments, I’ve been noticing a very subtle shift in hipster style, something that’s evolved from the tasteless to the kind of … cute. Mom jeans and shorts now have this sneaky adherence around the hips; American Apparel have reconsidered the placement of the rear pockets, and boots no longer swallow the ankle and achilles with gluttony and without regard.
This is all really just a long-winded way of explaining why I took the photo of this young woman. Her clothes are cut and fit on her in a surprisingly alluring way, there’s nothing frumpy or nonchalant about her appearance. I am increasingly finding that style is starting to creep up out of the Williamsburg culture–I don’t know if it’s been re-appropriated or stolen by mainstream girls, forcing retailers like AA to pretty up their lines or what, but I’m surely liking it. My sincerest apologies to those of you stubbornly keeping it real on the 24/7.