If you’ve ever needed a name for the style that celebrities like Sienna Miller, Florence Welch, the Olsen twins’ don, “boho” would fit the bill. But when did the boho trend start? People commonly associate boho design with the 70s, but the style’s history goes back much further. History dates the bohemian lifestyle, including the fashion, back to mid- to late-1800s. During this time clothing norms were challenged, giving us the free-spirited, charming boho looks that we know and love today. To give you a greater idea of bohemian fashion’s evolution, latebloomerquilts explores the beginnings of boho style and how its impact still influences modern boho looks.
What Does the Term “Bohemian” Mean?
Oxford Languages describes the term bohemian as “a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts.” Especially at the time of its inception, the concept of a bohemian was associated with artists, writers, and other eclectic intellectuals who didn’t strive to align with society standards.
The fashion represents the liberated ideologies that stand against societal norms and materialism. Some elements of boho style remain true to their origins, while some modern components pull inspiration from other style types.
A Brief History of the Bohemian Look
Who can we thank effortless boho looks for? latebloomerquilts sifts through history, delving into the beginnings of boho style.
Fashion Inception and The French Revolution
During the French Revolution, creatives were often dealt a lie of poverty given the social and economic climate. Because of this, they defaulted to wearing old, worn-out clothing. After the economy stabilized, these creatives started to express themselves through clothing, experimenting with fashion as an art form.
It’s believed that this era of fashion was highly influenced by nomads originating from the Balkan area of Eastern Europe, a region called Bohemia. The term bohemian quickly became a reference for the creative, stylistic expression and counterculture that emerged from this period.
A Match Made in Fashion Paradise: French Bohemians and the Romantics
Come mid-19th century, the Romantics started affiliating with the French bohemians. Romantics were intellectuals associated with the Romantic art of the period.
The two groups started to implement flowy materials and East Asian and medieval elements. Colors started coming into play more, as well as a blend of textiles and accessories. The details of their garb strayed very far from conventional fashion of the era.
Rebelling Against the Norm: The Aesthetic Movement
It’s during the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century, that bohemian style evolved from a style established in poverty to a philosophy. People started practicing lifestyles that veered from the mainstream, such as residing in communal spaces and often rebelling against personal hygiene.
The Aesthetic Movement is known for the rejection of corsets and crinolines in fashion. Instead, loose fits and embroideries were embraced, as literature and music also started pulling inspiration from this newfound counterculture.
Grooving Through the 60s: The Age of the Hippy
There’s a lot of overlap in stereotypical hippie fashion and bohemian wear. The Hippie Movement celebrated deviance from society’s standards, values, and institutions, promoting the free-spirit mindset.
During this time, breezy dresses, prints, fringe, and loose silhouettes inspired by bohemian culture reemerged. Though modern boho fashion is commonly mistaken as an offshoot of hippy culture, it turns out hippy chic has bohemian roots.
What Does the Modern Boho Style Consist of?
So, what does the modern-day evolution of boho style look like? latebloomerquilts discusses facets of boho fits you’re likely to see in today’s fashion.
Which Tops Are Boho Chic?
As you may have gathered by now, boho fashion prioritizes loose fitting clothes. When it comes to tops, the more relaxed the blouse, the better.
Bell, bishop, and trumpet sleeves are common, as are half-length and three-quarter length. Embroideries and mixed prints are still popular in boho materials, too.
What Kind of Pants Complement a Boho Fit?
There’s not much of a limit on what classifies as a boho style pant. Boho fashion prioritizes comfort, making it important to wear bottoms that you feel best in. Flowy skirts, distressed and flared jeans, and Harem pants pair especially well with typical boho tops.
What Kind of Dresses Count as Boho?
So many dresses are designed to be comfy and breezy, making them the perfect clothing item for boho culture. You’ll find most boho dresses in a maxi style, though there are still tons of styles that come to roughly a knee length that still provide plenty of sway. Boho dresses emphasize loose silhouettes, so you’re not likely to find any uncomfortable body-hugging dresses in a bohemian’s inventory.
What Colors Should I Strive For?
Like with any fashion style, starting with a color palette can help guide your clothing options. Boho style isn’t exclusive when it comes to colors, accepting warm and cold hues into the mix.
If you’re a minimalist who still wants to add a boho twist to your wardrobe, try incorporating more muted and natural bohemian clothes into your closet. Brown, white, and green pieces can serve as a great base to top off with accessories or additional layering with vests and sweaters.
For folks who enjoy wearing more exuberant looks, there are plenty of boho styles that pop. Using prints, layering, and excess accessories, you can make any exciting look uniquely yours. Next, we will explore which patterns are most common in boho culture.
Can Patterns Come Into Play?
Absolutely. Patterns, prints, and textures are a fundamental aspect of so many boho chic clothing items. You’ll often find paisley, tie-dye, and floral print on the racks of any true bohemian store, along with lace commonly providing some texture to materials.
Any Unique Accessories To Top Off the Look?
The answer to whether you should accessorize a boho chic look is simple: always. Jewelry, necklaces, anklets, hats, and other accessories are staple features of a true bohemian outfit. Mix and match with your jewelry selection, and don’t be afraid to layer your pieces to achieve the eclectic boho look.
How Can I Create a Boho Look of My Own?
Feeling inspired to add some boho style to your wardrobe? Anybody can harness the free-spirited nature of boho fashion through their clothing. latebloomerquilts has an expansive selection of bohemian women’s clothing to help get you started.
From fashionable sunglasses to free-flowing maxi dresses and comfortable footwear, you can compile an outfit from head to toe—literally! Have a look around our website to preview our comprehensive inventory of the best boho finds around.