*sigh* I was describing tropes before it was cool...
Q: How did the hipster burn his hand?
In the 1940s
, "hipsters" were middle-class white people (often Jewish, or at least ambiguously so
) who emulated
the lifestyles of black jazz
musicians. This was, for them, an existentialist rejection of society. These hipsters were an unorganized movement that eventually morphed into the beatniks
of the 1950s
and the hippies
of the 1960s
Sometime in the late 1990s
- early 2000s
, the term hipster was dusted off and applied to a new generation that expressed the old hipster ideals in new ways. They were now predominantly middle-class, urban, white 20-something-year-olds interested in alternative culture: left-of-center politics, alternative music
, independent films, thrift-store or vintage fashion, Apple products
, and a diet of locally-grown, organic
or vegetarian/vegan food.
In The New Tens
, self-identified hipsters (if such a thing can even be found, as no one seems willing to call themselves by this name) view themselves as intellectuals who reject the mainstream and carefully define their own identities, taking a buffet-style approach
to elements of other cultures and subcultures. Your typical hipster outfit will appropriate and/or cannibalize elements from the punk, hippie and rave scenes, plus '90s geek-chic
, and some token from a non-Western culture; lacking the raison d'etre
of any of these subcultures, the hipster will instead use an air of sarcasm
to tie the ensemble together (the '60s hippie did much the same, only without the irony). Hipsters' musical tastes are eclectic but generally centered around such genres as Indie Rock, Indie Pop
, Baroque Pop
, Jangle Pop
, Alternative Hip Hop
, Alternative Country
, Heavy Metal
, Garage Rock
, Punk Rock
, and minimalist Techno
. Particular bands hipsters tend to enjoy include Radiohead
, Arcade Fire
, Beach House
, Belle and Sebastian
, Jens Lekman
, Animal Collective
, Joanna Newsom
, Grizzly Bear, Dr. Dog, Best Coast
, and all Elephant 6
Collective bands (especially Neutral Milk Hotel
), although only knowing those bands is only half the battle
as an obscure and eclectic taste in music is preferred. Pitchfork
, a music blog, is probably the most important hipster taste-maker and gate-keeper of the past decade.
It should be noted that while these bands may be popular among hipsters, this doesn't make the bands themselves 'hipster bands'
. Conversely, a nominal 'hipster band' may actually be abandoned by hipsters if it becomes too "mainstream"
. (Arcade Fire, for instance, were written off by many once they found mainstream popularity from Grammy nominations and soundtrack appearances in movies like Where the Wild Things Are
and The Hunger Games
.) Additionally, a good portion of bands loved by hipsters actively reject the sarcasm, snobbery, and trendiness that often go along with hipster culture. Arcade Fire have been known to throw in jabs
at them in their songs ("they will eat right out of your hand/using great big words that they don't understand!") and indie folk group Bon Iver
outright defied the label by recording an ultra-sincere, proudly cheesy autotuned Power Ballad
for their second album.
A critical mind might see hipsters as yet another subculture dedicated to individuality ended up manifesting just as much herd mentality as the mainstream it rejected, along with a tendency to act as though popularity and quality are inversely proportional
, and to be aggressively smug (read: shamelessly arrogant) about it.
From this was derived the strawman hipster of numerous parodies: A person who spends $60 on a new, designer-brand T-shirt which was faux-aged to look like something you could buy for $2 at Goodwill. A person whose taste in music is calculated to win "Whose iPod playlist is most obscure?" contests, and who disowns their favorite band for being played on mainstream radio. A person who, upon admitting that he or she partakes in any form of mainstream entertainment — especially anything with a "redneck" stigma
or Mixed Martial Arts
) — claims that s/he's only "enjoying it ironically
". An educated rich kid who superficially denies his privilege
even as he flaunts his cultural capital. A person who mocks every other hipster he sees
but vehemently denies being a hipster him or herself. In short: that jerk who thinks he's better than you because he's so aggressively different
Due to this strawman, the term "hipster" is frequently used as an insult, lobbed in the direction of anyone deemed pretentious or the slightest bit "artsy." Further confusing the issue, hipsters themselves will, owing to their "indier-than-thou" attitude, frequently disown
any hipster fashions or artists that catch on in the mainstream
. One year, hipsters may wear distressed jeans and t-shirts with ironic vintage logos; the next year, self-professed hipsters will stop wearing those because they're available at every Walmart
in America, while the latecomers who start wearing those will still be labeled hipsters
by outsiders. This only further contributes to the decay of the label (although the term "scenesters" is sometimes used for these johnny-come-latelies). But the real reason hipsters get so much hate is probably just the perceived smugness.
Compare Emo Teen
, Granola Girl
, New-Age Retro Hippie
, Bourgeois Bohemian
. Related to Irony
, Popularity Polynomial
. Often holds the belief that True Art Is Angsty
Those unfamiliar with subcultural and countercultural movements will often confuse Goth, Punk, Raver and Emo with the Hipster subculture, using "hipster" as a catch-all term for any quirky or alternative music or fashion, including those affiliated with other subcultures. This is a huge
, huge Berserk Button
for anyone involved in any of the aforementioned alternative subcultures.
See also I Read It for the Articles
. Not to be confused with Rule of Cool
or Isn't It Ironic?
Usually this trope is in opposition to The Man
. Yeah, we just had to point that out.
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- The Mac guy from the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads is considered by many to be a hipster stereotype. In fact, many people who appear in Apple ads appear to be hipsters. This is likely the result of Apple trying to tell people "Buy a Mac and be a hip counterculture artist rather than a PC using drone."
- The "Don't Be So Mayo"/"We Will Not Tone It Down" ad campaign for Miracle Whip tries to appeal to hipsters
- "Interior Semiotics" is an offensive exhibit that was greatly associated with hipsters, due to the vast majority attending the exhibit. That is all you need to know.
- In Batgirl #35 Barbara moves to the cool hip area of Gotham. Her friend jokingly warns her not to get run over by a fixie.
- Frank, from The New York Four. That guy knew the greatest underground bands... before you did.
- In Empire State, Jason warns Sara that if she moves to New York City, she's going to be surrounded by annoying hipsters. She moves anyway, and upon speaking to Jimmy again:
- Jack Knight, despite living in the present day, is actually the classic version of a hipster. Somewhat understandable, as he's an antiques dealer in a Retro Art Deco City and the son of a Golden Age superhero.
- The characters of Scott Pilgrim are somewhat hipsterish, although it's more of an Affectionate Parody/criticism toward the lifestyle.
- More of the villains seem to fit the hipster mold than the sympathetic characters do. Matthew Patel for sure, with his weird fashions and declarations of what is "in" this year. Gideon Gordon Graves clearly aspires to be some sort of hipster king, flaunting his impossibly hip new club and telling Scott he's not cool enough to date Ramona. Scott and his friends, meanwhile, seem to send the message that being honest and true to yourself is the way to be happy in life.
- Hipsterdom and geekdom is discussed and played with in the comic, the main characters are vaguely nerdy guys and girls that enjoy their lives and defy stereotype of both Hipsters and Nerds (While they like video games, comics and anime, they also go to parties and have relationships which is considered un-geek by the media. They play in a indie band an have certain unusual interests but their tastes are genuine and honest instead of trying to look cool like hipsters do). The villains and antagonists in the other hand are trying too hard to be hip and appear as cool, Envy, for example, rejected her otaku past and adopted the persona of a sexy, mature rocker. Ramona Flowers also exemplifies this, by being a hipsterish woman that doesn't feel bad for hanging out with her much geekier boyfriend and his friends, while Knives is a teenager looking for her identity and tried to be both geek and hipster, she failed in them two. If this comic teaches something is to be yourself, as the most well adjusted characters are cool losers while the antagonists are just losers pretending to be cool.
- Richard Linklater's Slacker is possibly a sociological, non-linear Start of Darkness of the hipster subculture. As a commenter on IMDB once said, "there is ALWAYS going to be 20-year-olds."
- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
- Allison in Yes-Man, if her strange fashion sense, a penchant for indie music and unusual hobbies are any indication. A rare non-satirical example.
- Zooey Deschanel plays a bisexual hipster in Our Idiot Brother.
- In Juno, Juno and her boyfriend are pretty much hipsters, though her friend Leah is only a marginal example. Jason Bateman's character attempts to seduce Juno through their shared appreciation of hipster media.
- Wes Anderson's oeuvre is basically hipster bait, but hardly any of his characters are actually hipsters.
- Rob, Barry and Dick in High Fidelity think themselves this, with the usual results.
- Scent of a Woman. Martin Brest - A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated. Parfum
- Pretty much everyone in Les Amours imaginaires (also known as Heartbeats)—basically everyone in all of Xavier Dolan's films, actually.
- In This Is the End Emma and Craig accuse Jay of being a hipster because of his tight-cuffed pants and his dislike of the Los Angeles lifestyle. They then ask if he hates universally-loved movies like Forrest Gump (which he does admit to hating).
- Two hipsters walk into a bar. One turns to the other and says "Let's get out of here." The second responds, "Yeah, this place is full of hipsters."
- How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? It's an obscure number, you've probably never heard of it.
- How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? You don't know?
- How many hipsters can you get into a phone booth? One, any more and it would be too mainstream.
- Why did the hipster cross the road? To get to the other Starbucks on the other side.
- If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it - a hipster has bought the soundtrack on limited edition vinyl.
- How much does a hipster weigh? An instagram.
- How do you drown a hipster? Chuck 'em in the mainstream.
- Alternate: Why did the hipster commit suicide in a tributary? It wasn't mainstream yet.
- Why did the hipster drown himself in the ocean? It's deep, you probably wouldn't understand it.
- How did the hipster burn their mouth? They drank their coffee before it was cool.
- Series/Portlandia on IFC parodies the lifestyle of hipsters and the older Bourgeois Bohemians.
- On Selfie, self-obsessed Eliza has her neighbor Bryn, who she calls a "hipster-crite." Bryn dresses in floral prints, runs a book club (in Eliza's words, its for "adult virgins"), her friends have names like Eyelet and Thistle, makes her own pop tarts, and tends to look down on Eliza (but then again, a lot of other people think she's too shallow/self-centered). Bryn and her girls seem to be a bit romantic at heart, as Bryn audibly gasps when she thinks Henry has come to her apartment for Eliza as a "Jerry Maguire moment"
- Britta Perry in Community plays this for laughs, but there's also a bit of mostly-sympathetic deconstruction going on, since she's frequently exposed as being lonely, deeply insecure and painfully aware that she's not nearly as cool, intelligent and well-liked as she likes to pretend she is.
- Jeff Winger tends to share the role of group hipster with Britta, although he tends to occupy the 'vain, self-centred and desperately obsessed with being seen as the coolest person in the room (while simultaneously desperately obsessed with being seen as aloof and uncaring about being cool)' part of the stereotype, while Britta's more the 'smug, condescending indie-culture left-winger' part. Also mostly-sympathetically-deconstructed, as it's increasingly revealed that this is mainly just a cover for his many neuroses.
- Chris Morris's sitcom Nathan Barley was a satire of London hipsterdom, particularly the title character.
- Happy Endings parodied hipsters in the epsiode "Dave of the Dead". Penny hooks up with one unknowingly when she meets one at the laundromat and assumes his shabby attire is due to being the last clean clothes he had. Max instructs her in acting the part, by basically not caring about anything. She eventually leaves him because, being a Large Ham, couldn't bear acting aloof all the time. The final scene had hipsters shuffling like zombies toward Dave's food truck.
- The second-to-last scene features Penny calling out a girl for using a wheelchair as part of her "look." The girl says she is paralyzed. Just as Penny starts apologizing, "Psych. I can totes walk. Sweet chair, though, right?" Penny proceeds to wheel her into something off-screen.
- Namechecked in The Big Bang Theory. While Leonard and Penny try to hang out as Just Friends at a bar Penny strikes up a conversation with a friendly but sardonic guy named Kevin on his laptop, who fits the trope despite comparatively little screentime. Leonard thought she was just trying to make a point to him, but Penny mentions that she found him cute with his "hipster glasses and dorky t-shirt." (While certainly not a hipster, Leonard wears similar glasses and dorky t-shirts)
- A common sketch on You're Skitting Me where the eponymous hipsters take their ideals too far. (e.g. dying in a restaurant of eating raw chicken because they don't want to eat normal chicken)
- Andre from The League is what happens when a hipster becomes needy and desperate rather than smug.
- In the revival series of Doctor Who, the costume theme for each Doctor is (by admission of Word of God) based on a British subculture. The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is the Hipster - he dresses in slightly caricatured hipster fashion that also doubles as Awesome Anachronistic Apparel, and is greatly invested in how various extremely lame things make him cool.
- For one Lizzie McGuire episode, Gordo starts acting like this after suddenly becoming obsessed with 50's Lounge music, particularly Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. After Lizzie accidentally popularizes "Rat Pack Culture" with the rest of the school, he quits it in disgust of it's new-found popularity. When she and Miranda try to apologize, he blames them for ruining his new interest, calls them "mindless trendoids, following the heard" and leaves them to fly RC planes, a hobby he clearly has no interest in, but puts up with because it's unpopular. He eventually relents when he realizes what a jerk he's being and returns to help them with their Lounge themed school dance, delivering the Aesop that hating something just for it's popularity is just as bad as liking it just for it's popularity.
- Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard's university thesis paper has the 1800s equivalent of a hipster title: "On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates."
- The main characters of Ben Croshaw's post-apocalyptic novel Jam are being antagonised by a tribe of hipsters lead by a "Lord Awesomo" for a good part of the story. For what reason? Well, because the tribe has decided to be ironically evil. Not being evil is simply too mainstream for them.
- Although the term didn't even exist at the time the story was written, the title character of Enoch Soames fits the trope perfectly. Soames is a wannabee poet and poseur who puts on the airs of being a world weary artist and professes to scorn contemporary and past writers who are highly regarded. Additionally, he's able to pursue poetry as a vocation because he receives an annuity from a wealthy Aunt.
- The main character of The Lonely Island's "I Threw It On The Ground", played by Andy Samberg, appears to be the sort of hipster who rejects everything as "part of the system", and will inevitably respond to basically everything by throwing something on the ground.
- Ben Folds' song "Cooler Than You" is a Take That to hipsters.
- "The Life Organic" - Dom and Adrian.
- "Being a Dickhead's Cool" - The Grand Spectaculuar.
- Arcade Fire's Magnum Opus The Suburbs mocks hipsters in several songs, most obviously in "Rococo," which is in part about the band's early fanbase abandoning them once they became popular and thus no longer 'cool.' "Month of May" attacks hipstery cynicism and aloofness, and "Suburban War" tells a loose story of two friends who become separated when their musical tastes clash (mixed in with a lot of Growing Up Sucks imagery).
- The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Cherub Rock" from their 1993 album Siamese Dream critiques hipster music culture and the "false gods" of the "indie scene".
- The song "Me gustan las hipsters" (I dig hipster chicks) by the Mexican band Mongosaurio (it’s an obscure band, you have probably never heard of them) has a great Take That: A hopeless guy with a serious Meganekko fetish digs hipster chicks, nerd girls that pretend to take heavy drugs and always treat him like crap… because the guy is not interested at all in the hipster subculture. The guy laments his own mediocrity and lack of pretentiousness:
I know I don’t have a chance
I don’t have a blog or know how to use a Nikon
I don’t play in a band or read Pitchfork
I don't know a damn thing about design
And movie theaters make me sleepy.
And I'm not interesting,
I dig hipster chiiiiiiiiiiicks!
- The Girls Aloud b-side "Hoxton Heroes" mocks the British indie music scene, specifically the hipsters more obsessed with their images, fame connections, and "scene credibility" with no significant contributions rather than being respectable musicians. For extra irony, Girls Aloud were created on a Talent Show whose output was eventually embraced by the British indie scene.
So let's try a little bit harder
Cause you need more than jeans and a parka
Just cause your dad knew the Rolling Stones
You've got the Primrose set in your cell phone
Don't kid yourself, you're an indie clone
We've seen it before, get a sound of your own
- Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a song entitled "If You're Anxious for to Shine in the High Aesthetic Line", which mercilessly mocks "aesthetes" - a sort of 1890s equivalent of the hipster.
- Meg Myers Feat. Dr Rosen Rosen bring us "Tennessee". In the video, the 2 artists run and drive around town assaulting hipsters with a variety of Nerf weapons.
- Dave Frishberg's "I'm Hip" is the great hipster parody of the Beatnik era, a first person account of doing all the cool things and wanting to be seen doing them.
- Don't forget Lil B The Based God's song Hipster Girls.
- MC Lars's song "Hipster Girl".
- That Boy That Girl by Hadouken! mocks the hipster/indie scene that was popping up in the UK at the time (2006). There was a whole a whole scene sort of analogous to the American [[Crunkcore]] scene, of MySpace famous bands merging indie music and electronics, and fans dressing like they were going to a rave (NME labelled the genre "New Rave"). Most of Hadouken!'s early output was basically this but Played for Laughs, and by the time their first album came out in 2008 they'd gotten past it, and most of the new songs on it were serious.
- Cyanide and Happiness occasionally makes fun of hipsters.
- Hark! A Vagrant looked at some of the historical precursors of the hipsters.
Kate Beaton: I think it's funny when people complain super loud about how 'hipsters ruined' this or that as though if hipsters would just go away the problem is solved and you can go back to wearing plaid shirts too or something. Because I mean, directionless youths have always appropriated things and made them annoying!
- Hipster Hitler is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Adolf Hitler as a hipster.
- Dave Strider is initially a parody of hipster culture, as he's obsessed with (his interpretation of) irony, and with living in the most ironic way possible. Although, unlike most hipsters, his taste runs more towards hip-hop and dance music rather than indie rock. In any case, the events of Sburb have caused quite a bit of Character Development, and his interest in irony is no longer emphasized so much. It's also implied that Dave's obsession with irony is a coping mechanism for dealing with his Bro's creepier obsessions.
- Dirk Strider is also very interested in irony—except he takes his irony so far that it twists back around to sincerity. Sometimes even he himself can't tell at what point his treatment of, say, the Detective Pony novel, transitions from mockery to celebration.
- Eridan Ampora actually gets called an "ugly scarfnecked douchebag hipster" at one point, and he certainly dresses the part. (He's even earned the Fan Nickname "hipster fish".) On the other hand, he doesn't do very much hipster-ish besides dress the part.
- His ancestor/clone/descendant/alternate-universe counterpart Cronus also looks rather like a hipster but he's just pretending to be a human Greaser Other Kin to get dates.
- Indie Rock Pete from Diesel Sweeties.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: "I am of the opinion that the word hipster means absolutely nothing anymore. People seem to use it to refer to people younger than 40 who wear clothes. And I’m sure even if they didn’t, that would be 'so counterculture' and end up being hipster too."
- Questionable Content allegedly features (or featured) hipsters, including main characters Marten and Faye, but the hipster tone has been dramatically lowered as time has gone on. The comic has evolved into more of a Slice of Life story featuring struggling post-college individuals than one about music.
- A helpful definition from QC: What's the best way to piss off a poseur-hipster-indie music fan? Actually enjoy music.
- What the Fu features a super-hip bar called the Hipster Jester◊. "It's so esoteric, it actually exists outside mainstream spacetime. You can't find it unless someone takes you there, and even then you probably won't remember the way."
- In Rusty and Co., hipster vampires.
- In one Real Life Comics strip, Greg considers getting some Converse All-Stars and his wife Liz starts insulting him, to which Greg replies that Chuck Taylors were around decades before hipsters were.
Liz: Oh, so you're saying you liked them before they were cool, huh? I can't even look at you right now.
- This gets a Call Back a few weeks later, when Greg doesn't want to see The Hunger Games because it's too popular (since he tried Twilight due to its popularity and got burned).
Liz: That's it, tomorrow, you are returning those Converse All-Stars.
Greg: I am not turning into a hipster, I am turning into a cranky old man. Our jeans aren't as tight.
- Morris and Harry from The Word Weary are self-identified hipsters. The author said in the comments section of this comic that Morris has a real appreciation for the musical and fashion aesthetics of the subculture while Harry became one "because he heard hipster girls were easy."
- In Sinfest, Monique and Slick discuss whether it's dead.
- Heroes Of Thantopolis Trickster, a cool ghost with shades, is a hipster
- On the King of the Hill episode "Lady and Gentrification", Peggy sells a lot of homes in Enrique's neighborhood to hipsters, who like it for its ethnic flavor. Eventually they start opening business and driving up property values, to the point that poor Enrique can't afford to live there anymore. Peggy and Hank fix this by pretending that rednecks and typical suburban white people were moving in.
Hank Hill: Enrique's neighborhood sure has changed fast, I tell you what. All these "artists" have started moving in. They all look the same, all skinny and walk real slowly.
Dale: The people you are referring to are called hipsters, Hank. They walk slowly because they've got nowhere to be, man.
- Super News had a recurring skit called "Hipsters In Space." Take a wild guess as to what it is.
- Mordecai from Regular Show shows traits of this, although "This Is My Jam" made it pretty clear.
Mordecai: You can't touch music. But music can touch you.
- Also from the same episode:
Mordecai (regarding Brain Explosion, his favorite band): Yeah, you probably have never heard of them. You gotta be in the know to know, y'know?
- In the same episode, he also criticises Rigby for liking a song from his youth because it was too popular. They listen to this song on cassette tape, which has become enjoyed a renaissance in popularity amongst hipsters.
- In "Camping Can Be Cool" he mentions he went to art school at some point while talking to Margaret, but he most likely dropped out.
- And let's not forget that Mordecai talks like a surfer dude and/or stoner despite the fact he clearly isn't one, in fact being something of a lazy slob. Of course this is J.G. Quintel's real voice, but still.
- The episode "Cool Bikes" is a big affectionate criticism towards the subculture, as it pretty much makes fun of the shallowness of recent hipster attitude. In this episode Benson takes the golf cart out and gives Mordecai and Rigby some old-fashioned bikes instead, and says that he won't give it back unless they become cool. To achieve this, Mordecai and Rigby start to buy very expensive clothes that squaerly fit into hipster stereotypes and adopt an aloof and cold attitude, it works just fine as they start to be admired by othe hipsters who imitate their style, but although Mordecai and Rigby do look pretty cool, they do nothing to deserve that distinction. A common criticism toward current hipsterdom is that they are much focused on their image rather in real artistic merits (This was criticized since their early days, but it has become more prevalent during the late 2000s.) and they just do un-cool stuff (Old-fashioned bikes, miss-matched outfits with an 80's feel) with a "super-cold" attitude that immediately makes that stuff cool. Later in the episode they are accused of being "way too cool" for being alive (It Makes Sense in Context), and the prosecutor in the trial comment how everyone else copied their style and even mentioned "Ironic T-Shirts" (A staple of hipster fashion anjd attitude) as another trend popularized by Mordecai and Rigby.
- Zoey from Total Drama Island has hints of this. Specifically, her audition tape to get on the show mentions that she wanted to go to indie movie theaters, wear retro clothes and horn-rimmed glasses- basically thinking that acting like a hipster might make her different enough just to be noticed by others. She's really just a normal, sometimes overly-friendly girl filled with good intentions who tries her hardest to make friends since she has none where she comes from.
- In Sym-Bionic Titan, the members of the Disenfranchised band, particularly Ian, come off as this way as they kick Lance out of their band claiming that he's "attracting the wrong kind of audience."
- In the Simpsons episode "The Day The Earth Stood Cool", a "cool" new family moves in next door and Homer tries to be like them. Guess what this family consists of. As more of them arrive, Homer starts to find them annoying but the episode ends with the entire town embracing their aesthetic and Springfield declared the coolest town in America. Which is, of course, the point at which the original family decide Springfield's "played out", and they should move.
- The Groj Band episode "Who Are You" is focused on hipsters. When Corey becomes one after Kin's sneakers malfunction, he stops wearing his beanie, wears glasses, and just says "Meh." with a bored expression on his face.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Antics on Ice", Skipper is driven to get Private to that Lunacorns show. He is haunted by future visions of a jaded, cynical Private who wears a trilby hat, a goatee, and eyeglasses that he doesn't need because "Im ironic".
- The Scott Pilgrimvs The World parody on MAD added a third love interest to Scott in the form of Snow White and made her a much more hipster than the other characters, with unnatural white and black hairstyle (obviously dyed) and big, chunky thick framed glasses