I’m having trouble getting a handle on the “ironic” style.
Near as I can tell, it involves hipsters wearing (or doing) things that would normally be considered old-fashioned, childish or even nerdy. But there’s some sort of wink-and-a-nod involved that makes it clear to others that you are not serious; on the contrary, you are making fun of those who wear or do these things for real.
How do I tell what is ironic, and what is just plain nerdy? Here are some of my questions:
Does it matter what you’re doing when you wear it?
– enlarging your ear gauges – ironic
– using a graphing calculator – not ironic
Does it have to do with location?
Used bowling shoes:
– worn at a coffee shop – ironic
– worn at the bowling alley – not ironic, slightly icky
Does the rest of the outfit matter?
White gym socks:
– with painted-on, unisex jeans and artfully waxed hair – ironic
– with work pants and a mullet – not ironic
Does your career choice matter?
Speedy Oil Change shirt with “Gene” embroidered on the pocket:
– you are a barista at Starbucks – ironic
– you are a mechanic at Speedy Oil Change and your name is “Gene” – not ironic
Does your age matter?
– 20-somethings playing for shots at a club – ironic
– 10-year-olds in gym class – not ironic
Does it matter how long you’ve had the item?
Big, black eyeglasses from 1960:
– Just bought for $199 online – ironic
– Purchased new in 1960 and worn every since – not ironic
Is it a matter of attitude?
Farah Dad ‘N Lad slacks, white socks, black glasses (w/taped bridge):
– worn with a supercilious smirk – ironic
– worn with an earnest, sincere expression – not ironic
Looking over my questions, I have a sinking feeling I know what the answer will turn out to be:
If you have to ask if something is “ironic” – nerd.