Hipsterism is highly contagious and can quickly spread to others if there is a high volume of hipsters present. Thus, if you live in an area with a high density of hipsters, the stores, restaurants, etc. will tend to reflect their tastes/lifestyle. Interestingly, despite being the trendiest of trends, neighborhoods that have suffered from hipsterism have generally increased in property value.
Hipsters frequently dress in the same general manner, despite describing that manner has being unique/individual. This usually includes vintage clothing, clothing from thrift stores, ironic clothing, plaid, tight pants, metro-sexual clothing, clothing meant to appear ragged/poor (despite it's wearer being middle to upper-middle class and receiving all their money from wealthy parents in the form of an allowance, rather than working/living in reality), etc. They may also wear unnecessary accessories such as scarves during the summer, sunglasses indoors, etc.
Hipsters are also associated with indie music, contemporary art, etc. Unfortunately, their attempts to turn away from the mainstream and "kitsch" to a more bohemian-like lifestyle has ruined much of what they now claim as theirs (ie: indie music is now dominated by a scene and has little to do with the actual music, contemporary art is plagued with over dramatic plays and poor work/weak conceptual ideas, coffee shop atmospheres are ruined by their judgmental attitude towards all non-hipsters, etc.) In essence, the things they helped to build have lost all value and meaning, but that is appropriate to the apathetic, lack of originality that is possessed by all hipsters.
Knowing the truth about what they are, most hipsters will deny that they are a hipster. However, it should be noted, there are some people who fit the hipster description and are legitimate in their interests, activities, and lifestyle, but this is extremely rare.
Despite their likely denials of being a hipster, and a belief in rugged individuality (which has turned into a conformity apart from "mainstream conformity"), to be a hipster, one must win the approval of other hipsters. Thus, it is impossible for a naturally "non-coo" person to ever achieve hipster status. This of course, is yet another contradiction. Over all, hipsters lead a judgmental, elitist lifestyle, as aforementioned, with a strong conviction in the belief that they are "cooler than life."
For some reason, hipsters like Pabst Blue Ribbon, possibly one of the worst, most watered-down beers available... Apparently it's cool to have bad taste, an important detail to remember for any aspiring hipster.
If one is at all unsure of whether a person is in fact a hipster, the yuppie/douche test never fails. If the person comes across in any way as a pretentious, hypocritical, yuppie douche, they are probably a hipster.
Wicker Park/Bucktown, Chicago
Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional "rules" of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair, overly tanned skin, and "Britney Spears tube-tops" are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking. Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture.
Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. "distressed"), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved.
Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural "norms" have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class. For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can't keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.
Frat Boy #1: Dude, are you having any luck picking up chicks in there?
Frat Boy #2: Man...I haven't experienced anything like this before. These chicks are totally rejecting me and going for all these hipster guys in tight pants and shaggy hair instead.
Frat Boy #1: Maybe we should head back up to that bar in Murry Hill where you hooked up with that drunk b*tch from Alpha Sigma Phi last week?
Frat Boy #2: Yeah...I don't think we have what it takes to compete with these guys in here. These hipster chicks won't even give us the time of the day!
Person 2: She's probably just a hipster.
-The Hipster Handbook, Robert Lanham