Beyond the Monocle: Five Ideas for Future New York Times Hipster Trend Pieces

What Women Really Think
March 6 2014 12:18 PM

Beyond the Monocle: Five Ideas for Future New York Times Hipster Trend Pieces

It's inevitable.

Photo by Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

With “One Part Mr. Peanut, One Part Hipster Chic”—a rousing meditation on the return of the fashion monocle—the New York Times Style section appears to have reached peak hipster trend story. “The one-lensed eyepiece, an item favored by 19th-century military men, robber barons and Mr. Peanut, is finding itself wedged anew into the ocular sockets of would-be gentlemen seeking to emulate the stern countenances of their stuffy forebears,” Allen Salkin reports. Also appearing in the piece are the phrases “tiny brass telescopes kept in satchels,” “Warby Parker,” “hipster subspecies,” “British trend forecaster,” “old artisanal and craft-based technology,” “aspiring Miami rap musician,” “gin ads,” “effete English lord,” and "SoundCloud page.” Where can the Times go from here? We plugged five outmoded fashion trends into gray lady language to forecast the future of the Times trend piece:


One Part Spanish Armada, One Part Hipster Chic: The stiff lace ruff collar, an item favored by 17th-century noblemen, Elizabethan playwrights, and boy sopranos in Anglican church choirs, is finding itself wedged anew between the heads and shoulders of would-be gentlemen seeking to emulate the stiffened vertebrae of their fastidious forebears. From the trendy enclaves of Prague cafes and Conservative Norwegian Lutheran ministries, to the grounds of the Apache Junction Renaissance Faire, the ruff is taking its turn alongside key 21st-century accouterments like the stone-washed tricorn hat and certificates in leech therapy.


One Part Coddled Victorian Infant, One Part Hipster Chic: One of Mr. Tannenbaum’s full-skirted child sailor costumes, complete with floppy, oversized neck bow, is worn by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the March issue of the fashion and arts magazine Modern Cobbler. And at UMad, a clubby restaurant in Portland, Ore., a sailor suit tailored to fit grown men is offered to customers who complain that they don’t look sufficiently Victorian toddler-ish in the dim light.

One Part Welsh Barrister, One Part Hipster Chic: “I wore an ombre top bun throughout my 20s, but then the pickler at my co-op was like, ‘Didn’t I see you in that 30 Seconds to Mars video?’ At that point I was like, ‘OK: what’s next?’ ” said Jude Loving, who runs his own cassette-only music label and can be seen powdering his billowing horsehair wig with arsenic-laden powder in a three-second video posted to the micro experience-sharing app Twine. “Also, I’m balding.”


One Part Plague Doctor, One Part Hipster Chic: Maris Norwich, a British trend forecaster, credits the proliferation of old-tyme bird masks to what he calls “the new pseudoscientists,” a hipster subspecies who have been adding meticulously sharpened beaks—often filled with aromatic wildflowers to ward off the stench of death—to their hand-crafted cloaks and distressed pocket bloodletting instruments. “In a time of unprecedented scientific knowledge, it’s a romantic callback to the artisanal ignorance of Medieval medical professionals who didn’t understand what germs were,” Mr. Norwich said. “You see plague doctor chic surfacing in Berlin, parts of Orlando.”

Illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo.

Illustrations by Natalie Matthews-Ramo.

One Part Early Olympian, One Part Hipster Chic: While some athletic nudists affix fig leaves atop their artfully flaccid penises, a majority carry only bespoke discuses for cover. One Portland, Maine, boutique markets a $70 white sheet designed to be draped casually over the shoulder to add a whimsical hint of texture. Tanya Milvens, a cultural historian, said: “Nudity has always marked people out as beyond the crowd, slightly different. On one hand you have the pederast Spartan; on the other you have the impudent collegiate streaker, and then you also have the Anglo-Saxon horse-mounted noblewomen of the 11th century.”

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 



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