Our “Hipster” at Treasury

Geithner HipsterOver the weekend, the Economist profiled President-Elect Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner. You might assume we liked the article because of this passage: "The current treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, is reworking the $700 billion bail-out plan on the fly" (emphasis ours), but that statement, for reasons that should be obvious, doesn’t make us optimistic. Actually, this was the section that caught my eye:

Mr Geithner looks a lot younger than his 47 years (though not as young
as he did before the crisis began). He skateboards and snowboards and
exudes a sort of hipster-wonkiness, using ?way? as a synonym for ?very?
as in ?way consequential? and occasionally underlining his point with
the word ?fuck?. In temperament he seems similar to Mr Obama: he is
suspicious of ideology, questions received wisdom, likes a competition
of ideas and is keenly aware of how uncertain the world is.

In our Shop by Lifestyle section, we’ve had a "Hipster" lifestyle. Some have construed this to mean that we think we have stuff that would appeal to the anti-establishment, trucker hat-wearing, Pabst Blue Ribbon-drinking, vinyl record-collecting, dripping-with-irony "hipsters". That was never our intended audience.

In our worldview, "Hipster" refers to a psychographic profile for a gentleman that appreciates the finer things in life, but eschews many of the traditional rules of fashion or etiquette in order to create a style all his own. Our hipster might be a 40 year old guy who chooses to wear Agave jeans, Michael Toschi SUV2s, an Ike Behar casual shirt, and a vintage watch (for irony). This is a stark contrast to the Old School gentleman that wears a conservative suit, shirt & tie to work, or the Professor who wears a V-neck sweater over a sport shirt with cords and loafers.

From publicly available photos, Geithner’s wardrobe is what I would consider an Old School/Wall Street fusion, but we bet he’s in jeans & a t-shirt on weekends. If the Economist can refer to a Secretary of the U.S. Treasury as a "hipster", we’re in good company.

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Wingtip Founder & CEO, Ami Arad is the quintessential modern gentleman. He has distinctive taste, an eclectic style, and dresses for every occasion. Ami developed his vision for Wingtip at a young age; even back in high school where four years of speech and debate meant weekends wearing a coat and tie, he was in his element. Years of working in upscale men’s clothing stores and socializing in cigar shops, coupled with his entrepreneurial spirit, inspired Ami to develop Wingtip, a men’s specialty store and private social club.


  • I think your “psychographic profile” for hipster is off. A guy who wears Agave jeans, Ike Behar casual shirts, and clunky loafers might be “hip” according to your worldview, but that doesn’t make him a hipster.
    This is a hipster: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster
    Someone who has “a sort of hipster-wonkiness” is not a hipster. Someone with a real job which requires cogitation is not a hipster.
    The hipster profile here is more akin to a metrosexual yuppie. Fruit-infused vodka? What? But of course, self-identifying as a metrosexual yuppie is somehow even more self-deprecating than self-identifying as a hipster.

  • That is a pretty solid set of definitions. A true, non-identifying hipster might find some cool stuff on our site or in our store without having been drawn in by a brand, and of course, would never admit where he bought it. And the real point, I think, is that there is a vast gulf between “hip” and “hipster” (which we have been cognizant of, but have chosen “hipster” for shorthand).
    So for a modern gentleman that wears “hipper” stuff than the average guy, but is disqualified from being a hipster for reasons like having a real job, what should we call that lifestyle?

  • Hipsters make it cool to be square. But, who doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life? A connoisseur, a style aficionado, a geek chic guy?

  • Our lifestyles are certainly not meant to be rigid, and in fact, our philosophy is that every gentleman has a little bit of a few of those profiles in him — no one is 100% any single lifestyle.
    We hope to launch an application next year that will playfully allow customers to find out what their lifestyle breakdown is, in the hopes it will make it easier for them to find products they would like.
    I, for example, consider myself 66% Old School, 20% Wall Street, 8% Professor, 4% Hipster, 2% Sportsman. Approximately, of course.

  • Lifestyles shouldn’t have profiles. Consumers are individuals with style, not targeted segments to market to.
    For example, I don’t fall into the ‘professor’ profile though I am one, cos I’m younger than most at my school (mid thirties). Right there, my preferences are skewed, which force me to shop by taste, not by suggestions.
    And, I would never drive a hybrid.

  • 66% Old school. That rocks. Not dis meant, but constructive suggestion on knowing we all don’t fit into one click or another.

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