Bohemian Style Clothing

March 2, 2012

The everlasting appeal of bohemian chic

Bohemian chic is one of those quaint fashion trends that have a long history and are always on the verge of yet another transformation and come back. Although hearing ‘boho-chic’ prompts the mind to conjure images of Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, and the Olson twins around 2004, the trend has much deeper roots and would fascinate anyone with a penchant for fashion.

Bohemian Inspired Fashion

Bohemian trends in clothing appear as early as the mid-nineteenth century. Back then, it was a trademark of belonging to an avant-garde movement in art and a new, reformed style of living, not always welcomed by the mainstream society, hence the reference to Bohemians, usually used to describe gypsies, or Roma people. The denunciation of borders and strictly defined social norms common for gypsies has been used to ban limits in creative norms in fashion, all the while retaining the necessary quality of timeless elegance, or ‘chic’.

Thus the staple elements of boho-chic include long free flowing skirts; ornately embroidered or printed blouses and tunics; wide belts, often faux-leather; slightly oversized, baggy sweaters and cardigans; gilets; sheepskin or cowboy boots; and, mother of all hobo chic accessories, the hobo bag. This oversized, slouchy, often crescent-shaped bag that seems big enough to pack all of one’s belongings has taken on a life of its own and has been reinterpreted by most major fashion houses.

Many of these elements, so dear to everyone favoring laid-back, effortless style of hobo chic were warmly embraced and popularized by the hippie movement of the sixties, thus the hobo chic of today carries a substantial hippie legacy.

Boho-chic is always on the fine line of being highly marketable and out of tune with reality. A more recent trend in boho-chic is to layer vintage, folk, hippie, punk, and modern chic styles with carefully selected accessories.

Bohemian chic has several trends, namely, boho-rock and gothic. Boho-rock outfits combine very heavy elements, like studded leather jackets and biker boots, with loose chiffon dresses and feminine garments. The high-style interpretations of boho-rock were presented on the runway in the fall collection of Christian Dior. The gothic trend builds upon the contrast between soft fabrics and patent leather suggestive of bondage. The trends were successfully employed in the clothing lines of the Olsen twins, the Row.

The most recent reappearance of the boho-chic motives on the runway could be see in the spring 2012 collection by Emilio Pucci presented during Milan Fashion Week. While maintaining the signature geometrical prints and expressive colors, the collection offered a sophisticated take on retro vintage boho dresses and accessories.

While whimsy intrinsic boho-chic style can be found in many collections, the style is notable for being defined by fashion-forward famous crowd rather than major fashion houses and brands. Sienna Miller and her designer sister, Savannah Miller; Kate Moss; the Olsen twins; Zooey Deschanel, Nicole Richie, Joss Stone, Juliette Lewes, Kate Hudson are among the most notable proponents of the boho style. The staying power and cross-generational appeal of the bohemian chic were behind the most recent revival of Marks and Spencer.

The brands catering to bohemian chic – oriented customers include Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Free People, Gypsy 05, Forever 21, Lucky Brand, Guess by Georges Marciano, American Eagle Outfitters, BCBG Max Azria, H&M. Nice boho elements and accessories are often present in collections by Marc Jacobs. In addition to their dedicated websites, these brands can be purchased through TopShop, Amazon, Zappos and major retail stores, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. For budget-conscious, Modcloth ( offers an impressive selection of boho-inspired dresses and accessories that can be used with more high-end brand garments.

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