Terms like ‘Boho-Style’, ‘Boho-Fashion’ and ‘Boho-Interior’ are flooding our on-and offline world. But what essentially does ‘Boho’ mean and what look does it stand for?
Boho is a short way of saying bohemian. The name derived from a group of unconventional, french artists in the 1930s as a way to distinguish themselves from the french middle-class, whose values they didn’t support. The bohemians created their own image of the bourjois. They labeled them as being narrow-minded, ignorant and commercial with a strong disinterest in art. That way, the bohemian look has grown from a strong wish to set themselves apart. There I understood that bohemia is not a fashion movement, it is an attitude.
Doing some research on bohemianism, I collected some characteristics:
- Work as an expression of self, and not money making. Work as we know it was seen as slavery.
- They had a creative outlet. That, in an ideal case, was their source of income too.
- Individualism – A bohemian follows their own idea of art, community, politics and style.
- Extravagance / distinct visual differentiation – clothing, home, relationships. All that could be seen, was (on purpose) visually estranged from the bourgeois.
- Money/Sucess is not important. Everything that is valued as a success by society is relativized by the bohemians.
Now that we know how Bohemians defined themselves, you might have a better idea of where this popular movement of the boho-lifestyle and boho-fashion derived from. Let’s take a closer look at those terms.
Where does it come from?
Bohemian fashion is not only influenced by the bohemian movement, that started in Paris, it also derives from the bohemians coming from Bohemia in Czech Republic. Since these two origins melted together, their style of clothing fused, leaving us with a beautiful mix of colours, designs and fabrics.
Instead of following the practical aspect of the middle class fashion, bohemian fashion tended to go all against that. Not tight and restricted, but long and flowy. Not hard and scratchy, but soft and wide. Not grey and brown but white and green and red. All to set themselves apart from the bourjois. That coming together with the czech influences, the boho style soon gained a ethical, open minded touch, embracing influences from other cultures and is today being known for its individuality.
Typical fabrics associated with the boho style
- White Lace 4. Crochet Wool
- Light Cotton 5. Flowy Poliester
- Fur 6. Denim
Bohemian Fashion Looks
Light Bohemian Kimonos
Long and flowy with wide sleeves, with or without tassles, made out of light cotton, silk, jersey or chiffon – the bohemian Kimono. It’s one of my favorite additions to any casual outfit. For a full on bohemian look, I like to add it to maxi dresses. Achieve more of a bohemian touch adding it to jeans shorts with tops or short white dresses – you can never go wrong with a kimono.
Organic Crochet Clothing
In the 1920, crochet turned from being an embellishment of furniture into a method of producing clothing. In the 60s and 70s the crochet boom really took off, wide sleeved dresses, skirts, tops – all made of crochet. The airy texture, the selfmade feel and rustical look makes it an essential addition to the bohemian style.
Colourful Light Rompers
It’s all about this effortless, colourful look. A big part of ‘boho’ is, that clothes feels easy and effortless to wear and quick to put on. Its not about pleasing others visually, looking a certain standard, it’s about pleasing yourself. If you want to wear fours scarfs and a fifth around your head, go for it – that’s the beauty of individuality and the heart of bohemian wear.
Long Maxi Skirts
We have already talked about long flowy material adding to the bohemian look. When it comes to skirts, this idea can be beautifully translated into long, light flowy maxi skirts. Either single coloured, embroidered or printed with patterns of all kinds. It’s great in combination with cami-tops, cropped and crochet tops.
Bohemian Interior Design
When it comes to bohemian interior design, everything is possible. Here I am concentrating on a very earthy, natural look, that is often associated with the style. You combine deeply saturated, earthy colours with nature elements, such as wooden furniture and plants. You will notice african and arabien influences, such as the design of the pillow cases and rugs, simply because its patterns speak to the colourful interior understanding of bohemian minded folks. Since the bohemian folks I know are open minded people, you will often hear the word ethical associated with this type of style, combining furniture and decorative elements of different cultures in their home.
Adding the Twist
Recycling used furniture, combining nature elements with function and adding the bohemian twist to it – there is no limit to your creativity. I found that secondhand stores, antique flea markets and furniture, people leave on the streets to take away, are great sources to take from and play with. My first dorm room was completely furnished with beautiful second hand and found furniture – I loved it!
The beauty of the bohemian bedroom. Oversized bedding, cozy layers of blankets, rows of pillows and tons of candles – of all a bit too much but just perfect too look and feel super cozy. A place where your mind can wander, that feels happy and safe.
To achieve a look like this..:
- I invested in bedding larger than my bed, so it could overlay, and give off this cozy vibe.
- I got 2 blankets, one dark & fake fur and one thick & fuzzy.
- Three rows of pillows: two 80×80, two 60×60 and two 50×50
- And chiffon fabric to hang from the ceiling and a 100 bulbs fairy light – I just love being in my room now!
The bohemian style isn’t a decision I made one day for myself, it is a way of life that I grew into while growing up. So do you like boho and is there anything you would like to add?