How to be an Indie Girl!

Indie Girl is in. So do you go about getting ? It’s not too complicated. Here we have the complete guide to being an official “it girl.”


Step 1

Indie is a term that’s being thrown around quite a bit these days, and is used generically to describe something or someone who is original, artistic, or outside the mainstream. Regardless of the fact that indie supposedly refers to a unique quality, it has quickly developed a stereotypical style. If you’re into trends, and aim to be an , get ready. There’s only a few simple steps standing between you, and a new, edgier, more artsy persona. The first step is admitting to yourself that you are trying to be a “.”

Step 2

First and foremost, the most important rule about being indie, is NEVER let anyone know that you are attempting to be indie. Don’t talk about being indie, artistic, or unique. Don’t tell anyone that you oppose the mainstream music, movies, culture, etc. Your appearance, interests, books, and music should convey this. If you are caught trying to appear indie, you will be called a “hipster” or “poser,” and generally, you’ll look like a jackass. So this article is our little secret. Don’t tell your indie friends you read it.

Step 3

Get the music. This is very important. You can’t be an indie girl without a large collection of obscure music. So what does the trendy indie girl listen to? Here’s a list of bands that serve as basic essentials to your indie music collection:

-Modest Mouse
-Neutral Milk Hotel
-The Cold War Kids
-TV on the Radio
-Mountain Goat
-The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
-Clap your hands say yeah
-Le Tigre
-Cat Power
-The Apples in Stereo
-The Pixies
-Tilly and the Wall
-The New Pornographers
-Broken Social Scene

If you are accustomed to listening to lots of pop music, R&B, or country, these bands may sound like a heap of crap. There are some lighter indie bands, that may be more digestable if you aren’t accustomed to listening to indie music. Of course, these bands won’t get you much recognition as an indie girl, but they will get you headed on the right track:

-Bright Eyes
-Anything on the soundtrack for “Juno” (but don’t tell anyone you own that CD)
-Of Montreal
-Deathcab for Cutie
-The Shins

I will also note that you should probably know a little music history. At least know a little about music in the 60’s, and punk rock. It would also be useful to have some background knowledge of blues, ska, reggae, and folk music.

*Important: Emo bands are not indie. Do not tell people you are into Fall out boy, or panic at the disco, or any other such band. Listen to those at home, in privacy, if you have to listen to them at all.

After you’ve acquired music from these bands, begin looking for the most obscure music you can find in the indie genre. The more obscure, the better. Drop the names of the bands in conversation with other indie people. This will make you look very indie.

Step 4
A cardigan sweater is an indie girl essential.

A cardigan sweater is an indie girl essential.

Now the clothes! This part is fairly easy. Indie style is about trying to appear like you don’t care if you look cool (but you do). Dorky clothes are in.

Buy anything at urban outfitters. It is a pretty expensive store, and they don’t have many locations, but if you’re lucky enough to live near one, you’ve instantly got indie style readily available. However, you should not tell people you shop at urban outfitters. They will call you a hipster.

If don’t have ready access to an urban outfitters, visit urban and check out their clothing for ideas.

Ideally your wardrobe should contain:

-Skinny jeans, and lots of them.

-Another pair of skinny jeans, in a bright color, like yellow or red

-High top shoes. Preferably in bright colors (not hot pink) DO NOT get chuck taylors (converse) shoes. These are officially out in the indie scene (everyone has them, and therefore they are no longer indie.)

-A few pairs of flats. They should have patterns like plaid or polka dots, or be brightly colored.

-One or two vintage dresses.

-Brightly colored tights and leggings

-Plaid. Lots of plaid shirts.

-Tshirts with artistic pictures on them. However, they should not be from brands like billabong or roxy. Brand names aren’t indie.

-Cardigan sweaters

-Tops that have patterns. Loud patterns. Again, go with the bright colors.

-Vintage jewelry. Not the big plastic emo beads from claire’s either.

-Scarves. Add a scarf to any outfit for an instantly indie feel. Patterned scarves are even better

-A messenger bag.

-Funky hats, belts and purses. Suspenders get you extra points.

-Leg Warmers

DONT’s for the indie girl wardrobe include:

-Studs and spikes. Those are for emos.

-Dark colors. They are okay in small doses, but your outfit should not be all black, or mostly black. This again, is associated with emo.

-Hot pink and lime green.

-Brand names. No article of your clothing should have an a brand name plastered on it.

Step 5
Bangs and Bedhead are the basic of indie girl hairstyles

Bangs and Bedhead are the basic of indie girl hairstyles

Now it’s time for hair and make up. Bangs make almost any hairstyle automatically indie. Pixie cuts are also a good bet. Don’t do too much with hairdye. Crazy loud colors aren’t generally associated with indie. The hair should be a little messy, and it should look like you didn’t spend very much time doing it. Also, avoid emo hair styles. I trust that I don’t have to tell you what an emo hairstyle is. You should know one when you see one.

Scarves and head bands are safe indie hair accessories.

As for make up, less is more. Don’t wear a lot of make up. Dark eyeliner, or smokey eyes is acceptable. Red lipstick is also okay. If you use eye makeup, don’t use lip make up, and if you use lip make up, don’t use eye makeup. Keep it simple.

*Note: Peircings are definitely acceptable in the indie scene, but as with make up, less is more. One facial peircing is appropriate, at most (and you’re pushing it) two.

Step 6

So you’ve got the clothes, the hair, and the music. What’s left? You’ve got to pick up an artsy hobby (if you dont already have one.) This should be something like painting, photography, playing an instrument, writing poetry or stories, making films, etc. Just something artsy. Not good at art? Try abstract painting. It will make you look deep, and its very easy.

Step 7
Bikes are a very acceptable mode of indie transportation

Bikes are a very acceptable mode of indie transportation

Your lifestyle should fit with your indie girl style. Here is a list of things to do that will fit with your indie life style:

-Watch lots of independent movies.

-Ride a bicycle everywhere. Not a mountain bike though. On old fashioned one that you bought from the thrift store.

-Collect records and own a record player

-Be a vegetarian or better yet, a vegan

-Smoke. I know it’s bad for you. But all the indie kids do it. Learn to roll your own cigarettes

-Drink hard liquor

-Do NOT be a republican

-Read books. Not books like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter.” Read classic novels, and books about art and philosophy. Read every Hunter S. Thompson book you can find.

-Read the newspaper.

-Develope strong liberal attitudes about politics

-Go to local shows frequently (indie bands of course)

-Join an indie band. Learn a weird instrument, like the accordian or banjo. Weird instruments make bands much more indie.

-Hang out at local coffee shops

-Buy clothes at thrift stores.

-Pretend you are poor, even if you aren’t

-If you must drive a car, make sure it is a compact car or a hatch back

-Motor scooters are the ultimate form of indie transportation

-Be very, very thin. You can’t look good in those skinny jeans unless you are thin. Being a vegetarian should help with this.


  1. Sophie

    July 7, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Okay – so, I’m Sophie, and I don’t have an email address. (I use old-fashioned mail, it’s cool like that.)
    Being an indie kid doesn’t mean you have to knock out all popular bands. That would be being a poser/hipster. And whoa, not all indie kids smoke! I know for a fact that I don’t smoke, and I’ve been “Indie” for quite some time. Plus it kills the atmosphere and clogs our lungs. Lots of Indie kids are passionate about the environment, too. Indie isn’t just about style and music. Only a poser would think that. Just because you like the clothes we wear, doesn’t mean you can GO indie! I mean, come ON! If you’re “going indie” then you’re not indie. You’re following the masses. No indie kid is the same. Indie = individual. Independent. And we do what we want to do.

  2. Noah

    August 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I agree with Sophie.

  3. bambiii

    October 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    i really like indie style,all this urban and vintage bohemian stuff and even some bands are nice. but honestly, indie is the biggets mainstream in world. xD this side tells you how you should be !!! ithought indie is about expressing urself,but it is only some style and fashion,too. has nothing to do with being unique ^^

  4. Totes

    November 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Agreeee completely with bambiii there! 

  5. ExterminateRegenerate

    March 26, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Okay, so, the fact that you’ve written this article proves that you know nothing about being ‘Indie’. Indie is just being you. Indie isn’t smoking, or bands no one has ever heard of. Indie is being you, accepting who you are, and loving yourself. 

  6. Hayyyyyyliee

    March 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Um.. excuse me? Being indie requires you to be really thin? Whats so independent about that? I’m pretty sure that anorexia is really mainstream and disgusting. You obviously have no idea what it’s like to be indie. Like INDEPENDENT and a person.

  7. Elle

    March 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I have to agree with Sophie and bambii ! I don’t know if i’m ”indie” but many people refer to me as indie and if i am, half of what you’re saying is absolute crap. You’re making an expression of individuality  mainstream by publishing this article. I don’t know if i’m indie or not but your description of an indie girl isn’t one i’d consider to be indie. 
    The music…. Jesus ! You didn’t even mention bands like the Crookes or the Heartbreakers! Being ”indie” is being yourself, dressing how you like , listening to bands you enjoy listening to, reading books you like and using the methods of transportation you like! I take the bus and walk a lot … what category does that put me under then ???
    Oh and my last point , you’re standard of English is less than satisfactory especially since you’re writing an article for heavens sake! 

  8. jojo

    April 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with all the comments, the article just show how hard some people try to be accepted, that’s not cool, to follow any fashion is stupid, people really have to be themselves and find an own style, and to read, have culture, and be worry about environment shouldn’t be a fashion either! 

  9. Jodi

    May 2, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Um I think this article is good..but you really shouldnt do all this trying you just go with it and then you are in

  10. Ami

    June 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    This is all so contradicting! Okay, all you people saying that indie is about “being yourself,” if that were the case, why do YOU feel the need to label YOURSELF as indie? JUST BE YOURSELF! Labeling yourself IS conformity and by doing that you are NOT being yourself. You are just following a title somebody else created.

    Honestly, I found this article to be accurate with all its ridiculous guidelines. I feel that people who label themselves as indie say that they are “being themselves” when in reality they are trying hard to seem “cool” and “different” by exclaiming to the world the fact they have interests that the minority of people have. They feel the need to shout the fact that they like obscure bands and shop at Goodwill. Well I got news for you: It’s not different. Millions of people listen to the same bands, thanks to music sharing sites and Youtube. Millions of people shop at Goodwill, a mass-marketed thrift store chain. You are conforming to the mainstream by being indie. You are not different. Deal with it.

    Before anyone asks, I like what I like. I’m not going to sit here and list it all out for people. I don’t feel the need to shout out my interests to others, whether they are typical or unusual. I’m not going to tell you about the unknown bands I like in order to earn imaginary “cool points” and make me seem like I’m more unique than someone else because, in reality, everyone is unique in their own way. By labeling yourself, however, you are limiting the uniqueness that we all contain. You are boxing yourself into a group instead of expressing yourself as the individual that you are. You are not indie, hipster, punk, emo, scene, or goth. You are not even your name. You are yourself.

    Lots of love,
    a girl who values individuality

    P.S. After I finished writing this, I asked myself, “Why did I look this up if it made me so angry?” The answer? I needed to know what the hell people meant when they labeled themselves as “indie.” I mean I had my own definition already based on what I’ve seen but I just wanted to see what others thought. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that people don’t know how to be themselves so they let a label decide how they should be.

  11. ashley

    June 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    ^^ i agree completely with the girl above me.

  12. Jillian

    July 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    whoa, i agree with Sophie. you don’t have to smoke or rule out popular bands. i find that being indie to me is having an ecclectic taste in music. i listen to anything from folk, rock, pop, 20’s blues and jazz, swing, big band, classical, oldies, techno, emo, french, german, icelandic, swedish, german, bollywood, jewish, african, native american, celtic, and typical “indie” bands.
    and also, you do NOT have to be thin or skinny. i know i most certainly am not. i have always been into the “scene kid” and “bohemian/indie” styles and i have never been thin at any time. i am 5’4” and 160 lbs and very proud of my curves. guys don’t like sticks, they like curves. 🙂
    and you don’t HAVE to be a vegetarian or vegan. i LOVE my meat. now don’t get me wrong, im not for animal cruelty or killing them for fun, but God put em here on the earth for a reason. and i’m green anyways. i wear Toms and am an avid supporter of Day Without Shoes and Earth Hour.
    anyways….just thought id throw my opinion out there.

  13. Airen

    July 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

    People tell me I’m indie and I don’t honestly care.I’m jus bein who I am. I don’t smoke or drink and I’m not fat but I’m not anorexic skinny either.
    This is bogus.

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