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Well hello there! It’s been nearly a year and a half since I updated this blog, and much has changed in my life since January 21, 2012. One of the most significant changes is that I’m now living in the west end of Toronto, rather than in one of its exurbs. And, just like the streetscape itself, the people are dramatically different from what I’d grown used to in my old surroundings. One of the most startling differences is the fact that my new neighbourhood is infested... with hipsters. So, as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reintroduction to this blog, I present: The Five Essential Ingredients of the Queen West Hipster.

1. Skinny Jeans
The sine qua non of hipsterism, skinny jeans are ubiquitous in my neighbourhood. And the skinnier the better: if you can’t read the dates on the coins in your pockets, go back to Urban Outfitters and try again! They’re ideal for showing off the perfectly-toned ass, thighs and calves you’ve acquired from constantly walking or cycling around the city because the TTC is "too corporate". Or, for showing off the fact that you barely have an ass, thighs or calves, since a hipster who isn't skinny is like a mafioso who isn't fat—sure, they exist, but it's not exactly what you picture when somebody mentions one, is it?


2. Thick Plastic Glasses
They may be black, they may be tortoiseshell—they may even be brightly-coloured or transparent—but whatever their colorway, chunky frames are a sure-fire way to say “look at me, I’m so effing countercultural”. Score one bonus hipster point if they’re made by Ray-Ban; score two bonus points if you bought them from an independent eyewear merchant; score three bonus points if you don’t actually need glasses at all.

Honourable Mention: Browline frames, à la early-season Mad Men's Harry Crane.

3. Herschel Bags
Founded in 2009 and based in Vancouver, Herschel Supply Co. has been taking the world by storm. Ever wished your plain canvas bag had a brand that could suitably convey your particular chosen social niche? With Herschel, it can. They may be roomy, and they may be comfortable to wear, but with Herschel bags, there's only one thing that really matters: they say "Herschel" on them.

Honourable Mention: Plain canvas messenger bags. Score a bonus hipster point if covered with pinback buttons.

4. Beards
I don't know when it became a thing to ensure that one's face is constantly swathed in a gross, sweaty mane of hair, but unfortunately, this trend doesn't show any signs of going away. It is, thankfully, largely confined to the hipster community, but within those confines, it is rampant. Can you imagine being a woman (or gay man) and having this face looming over you during sex? I shudder at the thought.

Honourable Mention: Period facial hair. Score a bonus hipster point if achieving it requires the use of moustache wax.

5. Dr. Martens
This last one is debatable, since it’s a component of many different aesthetics. But, when worn in combination with two or more of the aforementioned items, Docs become the ne plus ultra. It’s pretty simple: you wear them, you win at hipster.

Honourable Mention: Blundstones, the boot for the slightly less in-your-face hipster. Not just for winter anymore!

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