In advance of my kids’ school auction, I was asked to write a little something for parents about how to dress for the event. The theme of my kids’ auction this year is Portlandia, as in, the TV show.
In any given year, dressing for the school auction is anxiety inducing, because parents at my school, being involved and enthusiastic Montessori parents, actually dress up according to each year’s theme.
That’s a problem for me because I hate costumes. I hated costumes long before married friends of ours suggested that the four of us dress up for Halloween as the gang from Scooby-Doo. “We can be Daphne and Fred,” the wife half of the couple chirped. “Tom can be Shaggy, and you can be Velma, Yoona. It will be so perfect!!” Perfect for whom? Daphne and Fred were hard-bodied and attractive. Tom is tall and white and could conceivably be made to look like Shaggy, but Tom was deeply offended by the suggestion. And me! Velma is the nerd who wears a baggy orange turtleneck sweater and knee socks. Why does the Asian always have to be the nerd? It all seemed so unfair, as if they’d suggested that we dress up as characters from the Lord of the Rings and then suggested that I’d make the perfect Gollum.
But this auction is for my kids. I’ll do anything for my kids, except wear a tankini. Portlandia means hipsters. I could throw something together, but what about Tom, who wears suits five days a week? I had never really thought about the components of a male hipster outfit. I started with online research, and found a Wikihow page called “How to Dress Like a Hipster” that included helpful tips like “Be under 30 years old.” Anyway, here’s my take.
Step 1: glasses
In case it’s not evident from his expression, I had to blackmail Tom into participating in this post. The blackmail went like this. Yoona: “Tom, I’ve fulfilled 12 volunteer hours for the school this year. How many have you fulfilled?” Tom: “I brought the guinea pig home that one weekend and bought the guinea pig supplies.” Yoona: (penetrating stare).
Anyway, hipsters love glasses. The more awkward, the better. I bought these for ten dollars at Lloyd Center and wore them religiously for two weeks until someone at work asked whether they had prescription lenses in them. I would have lied but I was worried that some jerk would snatch them off my face and look in the lenses to discover that not only were they not prescription, they had a cheap film over them that actually inhibited vision. Once people found out my glasses were fake, I got all sorts of unsolicited opinions. One partner was borderline distressed about it. “Why would you wear glasses if you don’t need to wear glasses??” When put that way, I felt sort of dumb about them. But glasses are a solid first step to hipsterville.
Step 2: plaid button down
Every waiter in town wears one of these. Usually they are buttoned up to the neck and tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans, but Tom refused to do that. Anyway, the tighter the better. I think the one here is three sizes too small. Straining buttons are great.
Steps 3, 4, and 5: the hoodie, the hat, the ‘stache
I wasn’t present when these photos were taken, as I was out of town. I gave Tom and Cuz my instructions and they did a bang up job, but Tom started getting upset so Cuz made the decision to fast forward from Step 2 and started piling everything on at the same time. The hoodie is de rigueur. The hat is usually of the skull cap variation, but you might go indigenous with a highly patterned number. Anyone who doubts my love for my kids should know that I had to visit the costume place on Hawthorne to procure this moustache, and that place scares the bejeezus out of me. For starters, I hate costumes. Also, it’s really cold in there because it’s staffed by vampires.
The moustache cost me $14.00 and is made out of someone’s real hair. Thinking about that for too long makes me want to vomit, but at least you know it’s authentic.
Step 6: the skinnies
Skinny jeans are a hipster must. We ran into some regional issues with the skinny jeans, as Cuz is from NYC, and apparently in NYC the hipsters only wear skinny black jeans. We tried to buy some from American Apparel for this shoot but NEWS FLASH you can no longer return items for a refund at AA. There goes everyone’s Halloween, I guess.
In Portland you see skinnies in all colors. I am particularly impressed by skinny jeans in raw denim, as they look spectacularly difficult to pull on. These are Tom’s own skinnies but as skinnies go, they aren’t that skinny. Still, every time I ask him to wear them he complains that they hurt when he eats. When you can’t feel your legs or your reproductive organs, just remember that it’s for a good cause. It’s for your kids’ education.
Step 7: put a bird on it
The joke goes that people in Portland like to put birds on things. We didn’t have any birds in the house except some chicken breasts and this Korean wooden duck but you get the idea. You might even get other animals involved. Like so.
So there you have it. How to dress like a hipster in seven easy steps. Any questions? I’ll refer you to Cuz.
Tom can’t wait for this auction.