05 June 2016

Power Suits and Beautiful People vs. Skinny Jeans and Hipster Beards

As evidenced by a couple of my recent posts, I have done a quick trip to Cologne and back recently. I flew in both directions, after all, it was cheaper to fly than to take the train, not to mention the fact that it was also faster. Anyway, I observed something very interesting when it comes to the people flying the routes.

When I was heading to Cologne, I flew to Berlin-Tegel Airport. It was a mid-morning flight, leaving at 10:15. Most of the passengers were very well-dressed, with suits, briefcases, and other signs and paraphernalia suggesting that they are traveling for business. I was also traveling for business purposes, but as you know, academics mostly don't show their power using suits and snazzy gadgets. After all, we have our brains and our publications, so it doesn't matter if we dress down for the job, LOL.

Anyway, that isn't remarkable in itself, except when I realized when flying back a day after how much of a contrast the crowd flying to Berlin was. I flew into Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport this time. I am not sure whether the choice of Berlin airport matters (Tegel Airport is closer into the city, while Schoenefeld is outside Berlin, which means the latter is used more by low-cost carriers, and airfares are cheaper to/from Schoenefeld than Tegel; in my case, I flew using the same airline, who happens to fly to both airports), but the crowd was definitely not business-like. Of course, it was also perhaps due to the departure time, leaving Cologne at mid-afternoon, at 14:30.

So, instead of business people, I saw plenty of people wearing skinny jeans, men sporting very wildly cultivated hipster beards, and weird colored sunglasses. It is clearly a different crowd, compared to the crowd of people waiting to board a flight to Cologne the day before.

I see the same skinny jeans and hipster beard crowd every time I board a flight to Berlin. When I am in a large airport terminal, say for example London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5, or Frankfurt Airport, even before I see the signage for my gate for my flight to Berlin, I already recognize it, due to the immense higher-than-normal proportion of hipsters waiting at the gate. It never fails: whenever my hipster-meter detects an unusually high proportion of hipsters compared to the rest of the crowd, I know that somehow there's some connection to Berlin.

I don't really have anything against hipsters: I just find them fascinating to look at. I guess I am already too old to be one, not that I want to be one. It's just that every time I encounter them here in Berlin, they look so young, like in their 20s (I am entering my mid-30s now), and I wonder what they would be like a decade from now. If I had a time machine, I probably would have used it, just to figure out where these skinny jeans and hipster beards would be 10 or 20 years from now.


  1. Aw, come on, there is no cut-off age... you could totally rock the hipster look! :-D

    Side question, though: what is usually your work "uniform"?

    1. Unknown,

      I suppose I could rock the hipster look, but the look changes every year, and I find myself uninterested in trying to keep up with every change.