The 4 Varieties of Hipster Names
In retrospect, it was so cliché it hurts.
The first real-live hipster I spotted was back in 1997. He was entering a record store (I know, I know…), wearing a mustard colored cardigan, black-rimmed glasses, skinny denim and Chucks.
A lengthy 18 years later and hipster culture has finally spilled over into the mainstream. From Zooey Deschanel’s prime time show, to fast food commercials featuring 20-somethings donning plaid shirts, slouchy hats and handlebar moustaches, the modern hipster style is prominently featured and easily identifiable.
Most notably, we can see this stylistic movement in baby name selection, as hipsters settle down and begin to bestow their little darlings with unique monikers.
Hipster naming conventions are nuanced and can be segmented into different levels of hipsterdom. These include Urban Hipsters, Mainstream Hipsters (a tad ironic), Hippie Hipsters and Unaffected, dyed-in-the-fair-trade-wool Hipsters.
The Urban Hipster
One might find an urban hipster baby playing in his or her refurbished Post-War era home, wearing a hand-crafted Etsy onesie and bearing a literary, Golden Hollywood or music-inspired name:
The Mainstream Hipster
A mainstream hipster parent may not readily identify as hipster, but is influenced by and ascribes to two hipster ideological tenets:
- Highly personal and emotional associations are best
- Quirky and vintage feel right
Mainstream hipster babies will probably meet at least one or two other buddies with the same name at mom’s Stroller Strides fitness class, while sipping on organic veggie and fruit pouches:
The Hippie Hipster
The hippie hipster is a hybrid of the Portlandia hipster, mixed with a modernized hippie. A hippie hipster baby can many times be found peering from a sling wrapped close to one of her babywearing parents. Her gentle, natural lifestyle would most likely include a soft, yet sleek nature-inspired name:
The Unaffected Hipster
Unaffected hipster parents do not entirely askew mainstream, as the media would have you believe, they simply gravitate toward offbeat choices which are not readily understood at first by the general populace.
An unaffected hipster baby might be spotted at an outdoor fair-trade café, chewing on her Baltic amber teething necklace and swiveling her head when called by one of the following names:
Naming influences come and go.
However, the hipster baby name trend borrows from all eras of history, thereby creating a beautiful muddling of eclectic elements of bygone areas, aspirational namesakes and just down-right fun and quirky name options. This of course skews the perceived normalcy of easily identifiable baby name timelines; making any hipster’s heart instantly happy.
Onomastics has been a love of mine since childhood. My husband patiently waits for me to scan through all the credits at the end of movies. I scour through staff listings in magazines. I collect names like one might collect movies, shoes or music. When it came time to name our own little boy back in 2011, I was heavily influenced by my hipster tendencies. I am the Urban Hipster. We welcomed our son Atticus, and I continue to be in love with his name to this day.
So which–if any–kind of hipster baby namer are you?
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on March 17th, 2015 at 11:31 pm
No offense, but I’m so over this, and I’m someone who lived and bartended at a music club in Brooklyn for three years.
But yeah, congratulations on your little Atticus; thou art hipper than I.
on March 18th, 2015 at 5:14 am
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the cave this morning.
But yeah, keep dissing on peoples’ name and life choices; thou art snobbier than I.
on March 18th, 2015 at 8:51 am
I’ve been wanting to name my kid Arthur since before it became cool. Does that make me a hipster? 🙂 And, I love Imogen!!!
on March 18th, 2015 at 10:39 am
Cheer up Clairels! Maybe all those years of bartending made you jaded and sarcastic!
Generally, individuals who use “no offense,” have not learned to or choose not to use tact or empathy, and could care less if they “offend.”
Perhaps a better substitute would be “This isn’t my stylistic preference.”
Stylistically I do not prefer Amber (a recent friend named her baby this), as it “feels” (yep, just an OPINION) a little outdated. But guess what? She likes it, I see the appeal of soft “am” sound, the nature association, and did I mention the fact that SHE likes it, so good on her.
on March 18th, 2015 at 10:49 am
I found this really interesting; I don’t feel I am a “hipster”, yet I like the majority of names in 3 out of 4 of these lists! (Hippie hipster is too much for me!) However, I’m from the UK, and I think naming is quite different over here. We have hipsters I suppose, but a lot of these names just seem vintage and ready for a comeback.
on March 18th, 2015 at 12:00 pm
on March 18th, 2015 at 12:24 pm
I have a positive association with the word hipster. this definition is pretty close to what I picture:
on March 18th, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Why is everybody being so rude about this post? I think it’s a really insightful list. I love exploring the nuances within a particular category of names, and I’m grateful for posts like this! I know it’s fun to make fun of “hipsterdom,” but really, lighten up! What is it that people are afraid of exactly when it comes to being labeled a hipster–that they don’t fit in, or that they are pretentious? I like to just be me!
on March 18th, 2015 at 4:08 pm
My favorite part about this post: When I read the definition of the “Urban Hipster” a certain young woman and her husband came to mind. I scrolled down and nearly laughed out loud when I saw the name they just gave to their firstborn son a few weeks ago: Arlo! I think it’s a pretty cute name, even if it isn’t my style. I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of being a hipster, but I found myself crushing on a lot of the names in the “Mainstream Hipster” list.
on March 18th, 2015 at 4:11 pm
This post gave me a good chuckle xD I’m pretty sure I’m not a hipster, but I do love many of the names listed on any of the hipster categories, aside from the surname-y names like Presley.
on March 18th, 2015 at 5:48 pm
“Mainstream Hipsters (a tad ironic)” – hipsters are nothing if not ironic 😉
I like quite a few of these names – Arlo, Pearl, Willow, Lola, Anais, Jasper Oscar … I could go on. The majority of the list, actually.
on March 18th, 2015 at 6:31 pm
Love Anaïs, Mae, Alice, Isadora, Margot, Evelyn, Scout, Imogen, and Theodora.
And Jasper, Atticus, Luca, Milo, Silas, and Casper.
Does that make me a hipster? 😉 xD
on March 18th, 2015 at 7:08 pm
I like this post, I find it quite interesting. Plus, I like a lot of the names! What happens if I like names on each section of the list, haha? I liked Beatrix, Everly, Lola, Mae, Scout, Arlo, Atticus, Clark, Crosby, Jasper, and Jude from the urban hipster section. Then I like Alice, Charlotte, Harper, Hazel, Margot, Ruby, Piper, Vivienne, Zoe, Hudson, Milo, Luca, and Oliver in the mainstream hipster section. And then, I like Flora, Juniper, Luna, Pearl, Wren, Willow, and River from the hippie hipster section. Then I like Clementine, Delilah, Maisie, Maeve, Opal, Atlas, and Silas on the unaffected hipster list. Am I like a super hipster then?
on March 18th, 2015 at 7:58 pm
I gravitate more towards the urban hipster or unaffected hipster list. So many of the names are lovely and definitely usable today- whether you identify with the hipster culture or not. According to these lists, 90% of Berries are hipsters! 😉
So many of these names are on my various personal lists. Some that make me swoon are:
on March 18th, 2015 at 9:10 pm
I actually really liked this article. I’m definitely more of a unaffected hipster!
on March 18th, 2015 at 10:01 pm
I quite enjoyed this article! Even if the word “hipster” has maybe gotten a bit out-of-hand 🙂 I liked soo many of these names! I think part of “hipster” naming is just liking names YOU like, no matter what other people may think of them.
I identified more with the unaffected hipster list but liked names from all lists:
Scout, Jane, Arlo, Crosby, OSCAR!
Hazel, Gus, Oliver
Delilah, Opal, Theodora, Atlas, Arthur, Barnabas, Clive, LINUS!
on March 19th, 2015 at 8:51 am
FYI, you don’t chew on Amber teething necklaces! They’re worn fitted so the baby can’t put it in their mouth. It’s the warmth of the skin against the resin that makes them do their thing.
Apparently I’m accidentally hipster. I love a lot of these names! 🙂 especially the girls names.
on March 19th, 2015 at 4:08 pm
I do like a lot of names on this list but, I don’t like being called Hipster because I do. That’s just silly! Though I do think this list will be outdated in a few years especially when Urban names become Mainstream. That’s just bound to happen ; )
on March 19th, 2015 at 7:57 pm
I will confess that I have no idea what a hipster is, but this is not the fault of the blogger. I’ve asked my high school English students but it always ended up sounding like a clothing style, period.
I will also say that I think some of the responses to this blog were rude. There is no need to be rude. Unless maybe that’s a “hipster” characteristic? Don’t ask me, I don’t know! 🙂
Although I am far too old to be a hipster (I guess) I loved almost all of the Unaffected Hipster names.
- The 4 Varieties of Hipster Baby Names – Said on April 8th, 2015 at 10:14 am
on April 16th, 2015 at 12:42 pm
If I had to categorize myself as a hipster it would definitely be of the mainstream variety. Lo and behold my daughter made the hipster list! But hey…its a family name. She hails from down in the unaffected hipster list with the name Opal, and I love love love her name. Thanks great grandma Opal!
on May 12th, 2015 at 2:53 am
I love most of the names on these lists. Alma is my top name for a girl – I had no idea it was considered hipster. :-O My sister and I have always been ones to laugh when we see the hipster/’soccer-mom” types out and about!
on November 14th, 2016 at 12:32 pm
“Unaffected hipster parents do not entirely *askew* mainstream…”
You mean *eschew*.
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