Where to buy bohemian clothing?  - Boho Chic Dresses, Kaftans

Where to buy bohemian clothing? - Boho Chic Dresses, Kaftans

Bohemian style is a fashion style strongly related to hippie fashion, in which natural fabrics, retro patterns, neutrals and warm shades merge with 70s style accents and a flair for statement accessories.

Bohemian style is more than just a fashion trend – it’s an actual culture in its own right, one that comes with a very specific ideology and complicated history. While it’s closely associated with the hippie fashions of the 60s and 70s, these days, bohemian fashion is part of the mainstream culture. But fact is, boho fashion actually started out as a counterculture back in the 19th century. Today, the wide variety of boho clothing and accessories make the style an actual phenomenon, one that follows the lines of effortless, relaxed fashion, with its loose-fitted clothing items, casual accessories and overall artistic, creative mishmash of elements.      

The fashions labeled as bohemian represent the lifestyle ideology that comes with it: an alternative to the traditional way of dressing, paired up with an equally alternative, more liberated lifestyle and a social stance against everything from materialism to society’s constraints.

What does bohemian style mean?

Bohemian style comes with a long history, with its aesthetic originating in the late 60s and 70s. Also called ‘boho chic’ or ‘boho’, the style features a variety of natural materials, earthy shades and hippie-inspired patterns.

Where does the Bohemian style come from?

The origin of bohemian style is strongly correlated with the bohemians, a counterculture that appeared in France after the French Revolution. The era saw many artists plunge into poverty, as a result of being deprived of the former system of patronage.

What is the difference between bohemian and hippie?

Bohemian fashion is laid back, unconventional and highly expressive. Like hippies, bohemians are free-spirited and refuse to dress in order to conform. Bohemians are often romantic, with a wonderer like lifestyle, similar to hippies.

2. History of Bohemian Style

Bohemian style is defined as an alternative type of fashion, different from the mainstream trends of any given period in time. In fact, this exact definition applies to the entire history of the trend. Over 200 years ago, bohemian was a term referred to an exotic style sense, usually associated with the artists of the time, as well as with writers and certain eccentric intellectuals.   

The Beginnings

The first mention of the Bohemians dates at the end of the 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. Back then, due to the social and economic climate, artists and creatives alike were forced to a life of poverty. As a result, the artists of the time started wearing used and old clothing. Soon after, once the economic climate stabilized, artists began expressing their creative side more through clothing – and more often than not, in eccentric and highly artistic ways.

The general perception of the era was that artists dressed similarly to nomadic gypsies, who had their origins in the Balkan area of Eastern Europe, in a region called Bohemia. As a result, ‘bohemian’ became synonym with a culture, or, better said, counterculture, associated with creativity, artistic expression, as well as disregard to social constructs and mainstream aesthetics.

The Romantics and French Bohemians

Towards the middle of the 19th century, the Romantics (intellectuals who identified with the Romantic art of the era) became associated with the French Bohemians. The groups started incorporating flowy garments, oriental-inspired clothing, medieval elements and colorful materials in their looks, as well as gypsy-inspired accessories and hair, old coats and distressed fabrics. While appreciated by many at the time, these details were all very different from the mainstream fashions of the era.

The Aesthetic Movement

With time, Bohemians’ style evolved considerably. What started as a necessity (dressing poorly due to poverty) became an ideology – one against materialism, pro communal living spaces, against social conventions and often against personal hygiene. Later on, the Bohemians took part in the Aesthetic Movement, which stood against the stiff corsets and crinolines of the era. As a result, the Aesthetic Movement followers embraced a new lifestyle and new style of clothing, focused on loose fits, hand embroideries and medieval-inspired designs. The literature and music of the time began referencing the newly-developed counterculture, with artists like Henri Murger and Puccini dedicating masterpieces to the Bohemians.

The Early 20th Century Bohemian Icons

In the early 20th century, designers started taking the bohemian fashion to the next level. Among them was Paul Poiret, who incorporated a variety of ethnic details into his designs, including Russian and Middle Eastern elements. Likewise, textile designer William Morris created a variety of patterns for both interior design and fashion, featuring lush floral prints, paisley and swirls, all intricate and highly ornamental.

The Hippie Era

The Bohemian Movement took a new meaning in the 1960s, one that was about to change the definition of fashion. Back when the Hippie Movement stood against conventional lifestyles, new clothing styles including ethnic dresses, embroideries, mixed prints, volume, fringe and flared silhouettes started getting popular. The hippies rejected everything from mainstream values to materialism, and from established institutions to social constructs, which was apparent in their fashion choices that went against the streamlined, polished and classy silhouettes of the previous decade.