We’ve heard it, we’ve said it, we’ve done it. The word bougie is now part of our vernacular. But what does it mean? That’s the challenging part. 

While our use of the word seems to trigger an immediate and clear reaction to the interlocutor, it seems as if it is now used in a wide variety of contexts and in very different social situations – from staying at a fancy hotel to brunching’ or only consuming organic food and attending the most exclusive clubs in town.

In other words, that sentiment of exclusivity and high-class attitude is now quite often married to the radical-chic bashing of mainstream culture, loving designer coffee, and adoring weed and CBD.

Bougie is the contemporary morphing of the word Bourgeois, the so-called borough dwellers who have, for ages, been the embodiment of sobriety, style, class and moderation. They were the ones engaging in commerce and art, wearing suits and opposing the elites.  

It’s hard not amalgamate the two when you witness representatives of both categories standing in line on Sunday morning at the local brunch spot, waiting to pay $25  for a pair of eggs covered by five or six types of herbs and spices, all while holding a pack of CBD cigarettes.

How fascinating! A term that used to be the verbal incarnation of the moderate and anti-social, flipped its lineaments and turned into the social label of abundance, exclusiveness, and your typical “extra AF!”

But our question is: are you bougie or are you Bourgeois?

Here are the top three elements of what we think  could help you get a clearer idea on the matter.

1. Baldness

Very Bourgeois. As opposed to a head full of hair. Think Indro Montanelli, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Charles Darwin, or Shakespeare.

2. Cigarettes

Nothing is more Bourgeois than a couple of people discussing a variety of social issues while taking a puff of smoke from a cigarette. Possibly indoors. As opposed to vaping.

3. Cats

Cat lovers should consider themselves highly bourgeois. Felines have an intrinsic regal and elegant flair which you simply can’t contend. As opposed to owning a dog and specifically bringing it everywhere you go: to work, to lunch, to the bar, etc.

On the other hand, here are the top three things you thought were bougie but are actually bourgeois AF!

1. Sandals (for men)

You might have thought hipsters invented that open feet look for men. Well, think again! 

2. Beards

No need to further articulate here. Long, slovenly beards might be the symbol of hipsterism today. However, the stylistic copyright belongs to someone else…

3. Mustaches

More of a gloss on the above-mentioned point. Just put together a picture of Salvator Dali or Friedrich Nietzsche to pretty much any musician you’ve dated and you’ll have the whole essence of this piece unravel right before your eyes.

Now, this is all well and good. But one thing needs mentioning.

Whether you consider yourself Bougie or Bourgeois, attempting to shorten every single word of the English language or using acronyms for the most simple sentences is neither. It’s just annoying.


Photos courtesy of Rare Historical Photos.