At Central Casting, we cast Background Actors for all kinds of looks, from detectives to bikers to military types and skaters. Often, Background Actors need to create their entire look for a scene, including wardrobe, hair, and make-up. To help give you some inspiration on portraying a hipster, we put together a style guide with everything you need to know.
According to Time, “everything about [hipsters] is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.” The term dates back to the 1940s, when people in the New York jazz scene wanted to subvert the status quo by embracing bohemian culture. But unless you’re giving your character a backstory, knowing what a hipster is is less important than knowing what a hipster looks like.
Though they would prefer to stay out of the mainstream, hipsters have had a huge impact on fashion and pop culture. Even if you don’t think you can pull off hipster style, you probably already have everything you need in your closet – you just need the right pairings. But don’t worry if you are missing some pieces for your look, you can find perfect (and affordable) options at your favorite thrift store.
Much of modern women’s hipster fashion takes cues from different eras, like hippie styles of the 1960s and grunge of the ‘90s. When putting together an outfit, a good place to start is with denim. Whether your jeans are short, skinny, bootcut, or boyfriend with a few rips or practically torn to shreds, denim is always a good base. Other options include vintage skirts, jumpsuits, leather, plaid pants, or leggings. These can be pared with flannel shirts, graphic tees, leather jackets, and oversized sweaters or cardigans. To complete the look, add oversized glasses, slouchy beanies, wide brim fedoras, baseball caps, combat boots, booties, sneakers, and scarves.
When it comes to hairstyles, messy waves or a topknot are easy go-tos to complete your look. While pastel colored hair is on trend right now and works for a general hipster vibe, be sure to let the Casting Director know if you dyed it recently and haven’t updated your photo with us. Our Casting Directors cast based on the aesthetic of the project they’re working on and even if your hair color is authentically hipster, it may not work for that production.
Men’s hipster styles are usually a mix of casual, grunge, and punk with some ‘60s hippie influence thrown in. Skinny or slim cut jeans or chinos in dark wash, neutral tones, or bold colors are usually the base for men’s hipster looks. Pants are often worn cuffed to show off socks and paired with flannel, denim shirts, graphic tees, v-necks, short sleeve button downs, hoodies, cardigans, or thick-knit sweaters. For outerwear, think leather jackets, casual blazers, jean jackets, or peacoats. Don’t shy away from colors or patterns; bold styles are part of the hipster look.
Some accessory options are thick-framed glasses, slim leather belts, suspenders, bow ties, scarves, fedoras, homburg hats, beanies, and baseball caps with sneakers, ankle boots, combat boots, loafers, or slip-ons.
There are many different types of facial hair and hairstyles that go with the hipster look, like pompadours, undercuts, full beards, and handlebar mustaches. If you haven’t updated your photo recently or if you’ve just changed your look, be sure to let the Casting Director know when you submit. They may ask you to send a recent photo so they can confirm that your hairstyle and facial hair is the look they’re going for.
As with all fashion, hipster style is reflective of the culture around it, so hipsters in Silver Lake can have a different look than those in Williamsburg. If you’re cast as a Background Actor, be aware of where the production is set so you can put together wardrobe that’s reflective of that region. The same goes for the time period the production takes place. The modern use of the word “hipster” dates back to the early 2000s, so if you’re working on something set in the last twenty years, make sure you’re aware of what hipster style was like during that time.