What is Bohemian Style?
When you think of how to describe “bohemian style” there are many words that come to mind: free, creative, flowy, artistic, colorful.
Bohemian style, also abbreviated to “boho” is a style strongly related to “hippie fashion”, originating from 70’s influences and using natural fabrics, bright, colorful retro patterns, and statement accessories often paired with flowy silhouettes meant to mimic the “flow” of nature.
Today Bohemian style has been widely modernized and adapted for the present, with easy-to-wear pieces that translate to modern life but still allow freedom of creativity and expression characterized by looser-fitting clothing that goes against societal norms combined with other combinations of accessories and bold colors.
Bohemian style is said to represent the lifestyle ideology that comes with it: an alternative to the traditional way of dressing, that allows the wearer to express their own individuality and live a more liberated lifestyle.
History of Bohemian Style
The term “bohemian” originates from the end of the 18th century during the French Revolution. Many artists in the time period were forced into a life of poverty after losing rich patronage and started using old or used clothing. After the economy stabilized, they chose to take ownership of their expression and started developing their own sense of style through clothing in highly artistic ways.
Bohemians were often compared to nomadic gypsies who traveled through the Balkan area of Eastern Europe, in a region called Bohemia. As a result, the word “bohemian” became synonymous with a counterculture movement that fought against the mainstream ideal.
As the Bohemian style evolved early 20th century designers took it to the next level, creating a variety of intricate patterns for both fashion and interior design that featured fun paisley, artistic swirls, and lush floral prints. The 1960s saw the Bohemian movement start incorporating new styles and pieces such as ethic dresses, intricate embroidery, and different silhouettes. Today, Bohemian style still flourishes, but takes the form of pieces or accessories that can be worked into an ensemble in a modern, functional way.
Dressing for the Modern Day Bohemian: Where to Start?
There are many elements to take into consideration if you’re starting to build your own Bohemian wardrobe. Color, silhouette and fit, accessories, shoes, patterns, and outerwear are all important to consider.
If you’re not sure where to start, start small! One great way to try out this style is to start with jewelry. Bohemian-style jewelry is known to pair well with almost any clothing item, and is known for making a statement with an impactful look. Find a geometric or engraved necklace you like, shop for a beaded leather bracelet or try on some earrings with colorful gems. Jewelry is a great easy way to level up your wardrobe or spice up any outfit. Other ways to accessorize can be a great way to experience Boho fashion without committing right away. Grab a suede fringed purse, oversized sunglasses, or try on a floppy sun hat to add to your outfit and decide if Boho fashion is the way to go.
Bohemian footwear ranges from Roman lace-up sandals in the summer to block-heeled and cowboy boots in the winter, but usually focuses on natural materials like leather and suede in neutral brown or beige colors. The same “rule” tends to apply to the types of patterns and shades you’ll find in Bohemian clothing, which is inspired by nature. Lace, denim, leather, suede, crochet, linen, or rattan are common materials, with neutrals shades paired with earthy tones and rich hues like forest green, maroon, terra cotta, navy blue, or sage. Many Bohemian clothing items are also intentionally made to look gently used or distressed to create a warm, lived-in look.
No matter where you start with Bohemian Style, there is no right or wrong way to figure out your own interpretation! The beauty of Boho style is its original meaning supporting freedom of expression and creativity. Experiment with pieces that work for you and your lifestyle. Bohemian style represents a more artistic, unconventional, and carefree style of dressing that is a perfect addition to any modern wardrobe.