In the first episode of HBO’s much-hyped new dramedy, Girls, the central character, Hannah Horvath, quips “it costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” The line is borrowed from Dolly Parton, but instead of too much makeup and rhinestone-studded clothing, Horvath (played by the show’s creator Lena Dunham) and her friends wear disheveled vintage rags (from the best stores) and carefully blend a Hippie nomad/world-weary artist/spoiled preppy aesthetic (think drape-y blouses, fedoras and broad-shouldered overcoats). They live in bourgeois-bohemian squalor in the hipster-packed neighbourhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Horvath shares an apartment with her roomate Marnie Michaels, and their place suits their clothes: slightly rusty chairs around a Saarinen tulip table; a bathroom decked in trendy white subway tiles with a gaudy floral shower curtain. Horvath’s boyfriend, Adam Sackler (whose last name, fittingly, is an obvious anagram for slacker), is a carpenter-actor-louse whose apartment is even more elegantly disheveled: a tarnished mirror, an typewriter, scraps of his carpenting wood, a plush but ratty settee.
Admittedly, I can relate to the show. Like Horvath, I’ve been a university-educated, unpaid intern with romantic aspirations of becoming a writer. And being in my 20s and living in a big city, the show’s aesthetic is very familiar to me. I’ve partied in those apartments, and know people who wear those clothes. And while I agree that it can cost a lot of money to look that cheap, it doesn’t have to — there are lots of easy ways to be hipsterific on a budget. Here are my top three suggestions, based on the show.
In the first episode of Girls, Horvath is taking a morning bath and eating a decadent looking cupcake, as Marnie looks on wrapped in a towel. It sounds like a weird, foodie porn scene, but there’s nothing lesbian about it. The whole thing just goes to show how important cupcakes are to hipsters: it’s a breakfast food, a grooming staple and a beauty accessory all in one (just notice how dainty if looks in her hand). And while gourmet cupcakes can be expensive, you can also buy in bulk from the grocery store to save money.
Don’t Wash Your Hair
In the same scene, Horvath is clearly too busy eating her cupcake to use shampoo and conditioner. A smart move, considering how slightly greasy, teased-and-tangled hair is a sign that you care too much about your art — be it writing, painting, pottery making or whatever — to care about your locks.
Get A Really Gross Boyfriend
You can easily pick one of these up at any bar that has a pool table, stained carpets and cheap cans of PBR. Be warned, though: he will likely be unemployed, so make sure someone is paying his rent, because that could be very expensive.