How to Dress Like a Hipster When You’re on a Budget

So you want to be cool, huh? Want to be chill and fashionable and look like a New Yorker? Well, unless you love the Upper East Side prep style (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you might just end up looking like one of the many hipsters you see walk around the streets of the city. (If you’ve never been to New York, be prepared when you visit.) I have talked about American Apparel in Looking Nice at Half the Price, but don’t worry! Here are a few more places to shop in aspiration of looking like a hipster:

1. Urban Outfitters This is a no-brainer for America’s fashion conscious, and some may find it overrated sometimes. But I think Urban always has eccentric items no matter what, so you know what? I don’t care if everyone else shops here. Your style is chiefly based on how you put together your clothes and accessories anyway. I usually don’t buy anything full-price here because it will most likely go on sale at some point and the quality of some brands aren’t always the greatest. They also periodically have sales on already reduced-priced items, from an extra 20-50% off. I prefer the brands Staring at Stars, Silence & Noise, Deena & Ozzy, and Ecote.

2. Housing Works This is one of the best thrift shops you’ll probably ever go to. Housing Works is a non-profit charity whose profits go to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. It also happen to have great deals on everything from apparel to books to home goods. (Someone I know bought a brand new Marc Jacobs bag for just $55 and Prada Shoes for $125.) With student ID, students get 20% off their purchase on Tuesdays! Brand name or no name, its up to you what you choose to buy, but you do not want to not miss out on the great deals this sweet thrift shop has to offer. In addition to purchasing it’s items, you should also think about donating your clothing, shoes, books, artwork, jewelry, or housewares. Sharing is caring!

3. ASOS ASOS is a British online retailer for men and women. It offers a wide array of hipster-y fashionable brands, but some of it’s prices tend to be a bit higher than what you might be looking to spend, so I suggest checking out it’s sale section: Women, Men. To see trends and outfits exhibited on the site, go to it’s Outfit & Looks page. To buy and sell new, pre-owned, and vintage clothing, go to ASOS’ Marketplace.

Dressing like a hipster isn’t just in what you wear; it’s how you wear it, often adding much-needed accessories to create the hipster look. For example, you can wear a white t-shirt with a plaid shirt and skinny jeans and think that’s hipster. Or you can wear that outfit with a fedora, an infinity scarf, a pair of oxfords or Jeffrey Campbell Spike Litas, and a piercing or two or five… and Voila! You’re dressed like a hipster.


What Should Your Future Salary Be?

I just love New York Magazine. It provides me with everything I want to know about New York City, from restaurants to entertainment to politics to fashion. It even has a separate section online for shopping, apart from fashion. How lovely! The writing style is intellectual yet approachable, and if you have a sense of humor, you’ll be sure to catch onto the that of the magazine, as well. Whenever I decide to spend my own money on a magazine subscription and stop mooching off my parents’ regularly delivered issues, New York Magazine will be on the top of my list.

Another thing I love about the publication is their quirky little features, such as it the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator, which is actually looks somewhat like a game.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator,

I answered the various questions relating to my lifestyle in “the next 10 years” (I pretended it was going to be the next 15-20 years because I’m only 20 now!). Thanks to good ol’ NY Mag, I now know that I need to earn $1 million to live the life I aspire to have one day in New York City. Can you beat me?

The Cost of… “Living in New York”

As made clear by my previous posts, New York’s cost of living is considerably higher than essentially any place in America. However, the cost of actually living in New York City also must be discussed. In Moving to Manhattan, I explained the differences in rents among the city and to touch upon it a bit more…

Some families choose to sacrifice what they could have in other towns to live in New York. I know a family of 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment. Now, they do live in the heart of the West Village, a dream of many, but I’m sure people usually think the parents would at least want their own bedroom. This family has been doing this since their kids were born, now 8 and 11 years old, and they seem to be perfectly satisfied with their lifestyle. The bedroom consists of a full or queen size bed (I can’t remember which one) for the parents and a bunk bed for the boy and girl.

I don’t know what they rent is, but this is quite the sacrifice to make to live in one of the nation’s most sought-after neighborhoods. They could probably settle for a small house in the surroundings suburbs or get a less expensive, bigger place in a different neighborhood or even borough. I just wonder what will happen when the kids get older and want to bring home their girlfriends/boyfriends… Uh oh.

How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part II]

(This post continues off of my previous one, How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part I].)

If you’re seeking to live a well-off lifestyle in New York City when you get older, you better plan to have a very well paying job and marry rich. (This goes for guys and girls.) A New York Times article called “You Try to Live on 500K in This Town” explains just how expensive New York can be. After calculating costs of private school, mortgage, nanny, and co-op maintenance fees, the article states, “We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.” Now, the expense listed in this article may seem a tad excessive to some, but to many in New York, these things are parts of the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

The Value of a New York Dollar

New York’s high cost of living is partially due to it’s low dollar value. In a New York Magazine article, “The Value of a New York Dollar,” the New York dollar was stated as being worth only 76 cents. That measly amount was calculated back in 2006, was when the article was published. Because of a number of factors, including regulations and zoning, housing caused the dollar’s value to drop 14 cents. Taxes drag its value down 5.6 cents, while basic costs like the higher prices in New York, decrease it even more by 4.4 cents. These are all further explained in the article, as well as the difference in lifestyle costs and wages.

How Far Does a New York Dollar Go? [Part I]

The money you earn and spend in New York does not go as far as it does in other cities. The New York Dollar is, by definition, “calculated by subtracting the additional cost of living in New York, and then adding back the additional income residents tend to command as a result.” It’s common knowledge that the cost of things in large cities are going to be more expensive than in small towns. But do you know just how big this price difference is?

The cost of living in New York City is much higher than it is in other cities. However, the salary one earns in the city also is higher in comparison. (Though, it may not always be high enough to accommodate the difference of cost of living.) For instance, an Information Technology Director living in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, has a median income of $147,493, according to, while a person who holds the same position in New York, NY earns a median income of $193,881. To find out how far your salary can go in any city, take a look at the CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator and the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator.

Moving to Manhattan

Hola! I just wanted to thank you for the great feedback! It is very much appreciated!

If any of you aren’t familiar with Manhattan, not to fear…the map is here! (Dora the Explorer’s singing map is secretly bustin’ out his song right now.) And it includes all 3,000 neighborhoods that Manhattan is split into. Though, it’s actually only about 30-40, depending on what one deems a “neighborhood” nowadays. If I tell you about all of these neighborhoods, this post would be about twice as long as it already is…no bueno. Here is all the information you need, provided by New York Magazine, one of my favorites.
Warning: This blog is mainly about Manhattan because, to be perfectly honest, I am not very experienced in the other boroughs. However, that is not to say I am not fond of them! I just know my shit when it comes to Manhattan way more than I know about any of the other 4 boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island). So if you have anything to say about the other boroughs, please type away! I’d love to hear your comments.

When apartment hunting in Manhattan, the common feeling you get is “On to the Next One.” (Yes, I quote Jay-Z.) Whether it’s (watch out for the crazies), a broker that your dad’s friend’s cousin’s coworker knows, or the New York Times real estate section, settling on an apartment in the city is no small feat. Here is a map of Manhattan’s neighborhoods with their respective average rents and percent increases/decreases.

Average Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment in Manhattan, March 2010

“Across Manhattan in March, the average rent for a one-bedroom was $2,341,
while two bedrooms came in at $3,289.” –

So you can see why I want to scream at my friends when they complain about their $600 rent. Dude! That is unimaginable in Manhattan! Even a studio will run you about $1200-$1500, at the least. Unless of course, you happen to be me… and rent a two-bedroom apartment in the West Village for almost half that price. (It’s nice to have friends who don’t actually live in the apartments they own. :-P)

Anywho, back to normal circumstances…
Renting an apartment in Manhattan doesn’t mean you have to live off of dollar-slice pizza for the rest of your life. (Though, 2 Bros. Pizza is quite delicious.) It does, however, require you to do some research.

Now, if you don’t mind splitting a studio with another person, then by all means, go ahead and sign up for no privacy whatsoever. [A studio is an apartment with no walled bedroom. It is essentially one large room with a living room on one side, a bed and clothes area on the other side, and a kitchen. The bathroom is, of course, in a separate room. We aren’t in colonial times anymore.] But if you want some sort of space of your own, you will need to get a wee bit creative. This can entail sharing a bedroom, putting a wall up to create another bedroom, or simply pitching a tent on the rooftop. (You might want to be careful about the pigeons though.)

Sharing a Bedroom
If you grew up in a house with 14 brothers and sisters, this should be no problem for you. You get all the privacy you want, as long as you share that privacy with your roommate. This is how most people our age live anyway so why must New Yorkers be so greedy and want their own bedroom? Drunken mistakes, late nights ;), the rare occasions you will do homework, not having to worry about another person secretly criticizing your messy room, those times you just want to blast “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit… Any of these are good reasons to want your own room.
Back to my point… If your budget requires you to share a bedroom, worry not! There are plenty of things you can do to make it a pleasant experience besides drawing a line down the middle of the floor. The most important act is to pick a roommate with whom you share similar living habits. For example, do not room with a loud, gossipy, disorderly person if you are a quiet neat freak. This just will not work. If you don’t see that, go get your eyes checked. And your brain, too. Secondly, you can evenly divide the room so that the furniture setup is nearly symmetrical and your things stay on your side. Another option is to get a curtain and use it to split the room, but that would only make it look even smaller than the tiny space New York real estate has blessed you with…so, maybe not the best option.

Sharing an Apartment
Ix-nay sharing the oom-ray. (I’m fluent in Pig Latin.) Sharing an apartment is the best-suited, most cost-efficient option, assuming your budget doesn’t insist on sharing a room. A one-bedroom will probably run you at least $1600-1700 but it might be easier to find a two-bedroom for, let’s say, $2050, leaving each roommate with a monthly rent of $1025. The typical Manhattan rent desired for college students is around $1000 per month. If this is too expensive and you’d rather not resort to sharing a bedroom, you can certainly find more affordable rents in New York City’s other lively boroughs. A couple of friends of mine lived in Brooklyn last year, in two separate three-bedroom apartments with their own roommates, and both paid about $650 per month.
Wherever you decide to reside, the most important act in sharing an apartment is akin to the most important act aforementioned in “Sharing a Bedroom.” The lifestyles of your roommate(s) and you should be as congruent as possible if you want a pleasant living experience. For instance, a wild party animal who could break a flat screen TV with her five-inch heels like it’s nothing would not be a good match for someone who likes to stay in at night to watch movies and play video games on their precious flat screen TV. Common sense is invaluable. Use it! 🙂 Sharing an apartment with a friend or two or five also allows you to be a social butterfly. Let’s think about this… Yes, you like to have your alone time; everyone does. This is why you want your own room. But imagine having your own place and coming home to an empty apartment every single night. Sound boring? That’s because it is. Having roommates is FUN! “F is for friends who do stuff together…” SpongeBob clearly says it best.

Any thoughts?