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A Beginner’s Guide to Boho Fashion

Finding your own unique style is a process. Whether you’re a teen looking for a way to express yourself, or a full-grown adult wanting to change up your wardrobe, it takes some trial and error. But if you’re reading this, you’ve found your way to bohemian fashion.

Boho clothing has been my go-to style choice for a few years now. I’m a sucker for vintage-inspired looks and consider myself somewhat of a hippie. Boho fashion is most commonly linked to the peace and free love era of the 1960s and 70s. Using materials inspired by nature, boho clothing is known for loose and flowy silhouettes with bold and retro patterns, warm and neutral tones, with eye-catching accent pieces.

A Brief History of Bohemian Style

Although it’s easy to assume boho clothing first appeared on the style scene in the 1960s, you might be surprised to hear that bohemian fashion has been around for over 200 years. After the French Revolution, artists found themselves thrust into poverty. Once gainfully employed by wealthy aristocrats and nobility, they no longer had a steady stream of wealthy clientele.

This collective of painters, writers, musicians, and other members of the arts community adopted a nomadic lifestyle. They lived modestly and wore out-of-style, used, and worn-out clothing. As a result, they became known as bohemians and were the first incarnation of the counterculture associated with boho style.

As the bourgeois lifestyle collapsed, the Romantic Movement ascended. Bohemian artists became representations of their own creations, using their style as an outward expression of their creativity. During the Victorian era, boho style rejected social constraints on women’s fashion, trading corsets, crinolines and rigid bodices for loose, soft, and hand-embroidered pieces.

Much like past generations who gravitated toward boho fashion, the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s adapted the style to separate themselves from the materialist nature of their parents’ generation. Beatniks donned turtle necks and striped shirts, bringing a serious tone to counterculture fashion, while hippies mixed old western pieces into their outfits, wearing prairie skirts and fringed leather jackets.

The Modern Bohemian

Looking into the history of a subject, whether that’s fashion, medicine, architecture, or literally any other topic, puts into perspective whatever it is you’re studying. For fashion, it puts into perspective how a specific style evolved. Knowing who influenced it provides some insight into why you’re drawn to the aesthetic. Do you find yourself feeling a bit removed from today’s society? Do you find pleasure in the simplicities of life and wish to incorporate that into your self-expression?

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but regardless boho fashion is a great choice if you want to dress comfortably but still look put-together. Much like the first adapters of boho fashion, today’s boho style can’t be put into one box. But, if you’re looking to start building or adding to your boho wardrobe, a few elements are a must-have.

The Color Palette

Personally, my wardrobe contains a lot of colors. But over the years, I’ve found what hues work with my skin tone and personal style expression and what don’t. So finding your color palette preference is a good place to start before spending money on pieces for your wardrobe.

Some helpful tips: Find one color you absolutely adore, and then look for its sister and cousin shades. For example, add burgundy, redwood, squash, peach, and rose to your palette if you like red. When you have a few color families at your disposal, you make your wardrobe more versatile and allow the easy mix and match of pieces.

Your Go-To Top

These are just two examples of the many boho looks you’ll find for tops. Because the weather is getting chillier by the day, I chose two pieces that will keep you warm in the winter without sacrificing style. The velvet lace button-down would pair perfectly with a pair of jeans or over a dress. The copper-toned flowy blouse on the right pairs well with jeans or a skirt.

Bottoms Up Next

Next up, add bottoms to your wardrobe. I’ve included a pair of pants and a skirt for your reference. For jeans, look for a bootleg or a flare cut. This pair has embroidered flowers in several places and adds that element of whimsy that is so closely associated with boho style. On the right, notice the flowing movement of the skirt. Hitting mid-shin, the mix of patterns and textures gives major hippie-chic vibes.

Dress for Success

These two dresses represent the key themes of boho style: mixing patterns, romantic fabrics, and warm color tones. The dress on the left is flowy with a mix-match of nature-inspired patterns, while the dress on the left is effortlessly sophisticated. Also, if you’ve ever seen Schitt’s Creek, you may recognize it as being “a little bit Alexis” (Alexis Rose is the Queen of boho chic).

In Conclusion

Boho isn’t just a trend. It’s a lifestyle. With a rich history of artists, free-thinkers, and intellectuals, boho style is a great way to express your greatness. Happy shopping!