Fashion is a fast moving market, with new trends every season making the news and hitting the high street, before being snapped up eagerly by the public. Still, although the dominating themes change, some manage to remain popular year in and year out, as the essence of the original is re-worked and re-invented to suit different eras. A good example is the bohemian chic look; a modern interpretation of the bohemian fashion movement which was first seen two hundred years ago.
The definition of bohemian was first born from a style adopted post-French Revolution by artistic folk who had lost the financial support of their aristocratic mentors and were pretty much set adrift without a steady income, or a definite place in society.
Plenty of experts make connections between fashion and society, believing it is possible to chart the politics, social attitudes and economics of a period simply by looking at the clothes people wore. That makes sense in this case for sure, as a group of artists, writers, musicians and other creatives expressed their unexpected lifestyle by shunning conventional clothing rules, along with any need to conform to popular opinion on how society should work. They spoke openly about corruption, crime, inequality and poverty; challenging the status quo many times over.
Their second hand clothing and mismatched fabrics or patterns may have originally been more about necessity than rebellion, but it wasn’t long before they attracted a label inspired by the European gypsy culture of the time. In the 21st century it is bohemian chic dresses which top the popularity charts, but finding the style and look you want can be a bit of a mission, especially if buying new and on the high street.
To be honest shopping online is probably the best way to find what you want, as department stores and boutiques tend to stock only the top few fashion pieces in this genre. With so many dresses to choose between once you do find them you may also want to think about the cost. Looking at a site like Top Tier Style is a sound way to find lovely pieces at very reasonable prices.
What is bohemian chic?
It’s important to understand the fashion family tree of the bohemian look, as the modern interpretations are inspired by previous versions, which, while keeping hold of the key concepts of what bohemian items represent [such as ethnic prints, ruffles, lace or bright colours, free flowing, loose and sometimes downright quirky pieces], are still adapted in some way. Overall this helps to create a look which still works so well for indiduals in a new era.
In the 1960s the beatniks adopted the look, mixing staid and frivolous clothing, or items with clashing geometric prints. Shortly after came the hippies, and for them everything bohemia stood for made perfect sense. Tribal prints representing solidarity with those rules (unfairly) by the British Empire, or masculine cut outfits on women to protest at gender inequality were just two of the ways these subcultures embraced bohemian fashion.
A new century dawns
For a few decades this fashion style withdrew back into the shadows, still worn by dedicated fans, but without the emotional punch it delivered when closely linked to a social movement the way it once had been. However, what we now know as ‘boho chic’ – a blend of bohemian and hippie styles, hit the headlines once again in 2005 when famous faces Sienna Miller, Mary-Kate Olsen, (both actresses), and Kate Moss (a model) fell for the new century’s playful version of a long established style.
Examples of boho-chic fashion style
Net skirts, soft cotton long dresses falling sexily off the shoulder, hot pants emblazoned with loud and busy prints, flounces, ruffles, lace and layers – the public simply couldn’t get enough of their styling. Fans were labeled as ‘Siennas’ as they swept the capital desperate to replicate the look.
Pretty beats politics
Bohemian culture markers like the fashion it inspires are no longer almost always associated with being part of a socio-political movement committed to social causes and political campaigns. Instead modern young people (and perhaps nostalgic older folk too) buy into the comfort, the promise of releasing your free spirit that no other item of clothing can ever quite match.
Modern boho chic magic
Choice is never a bad thing, so having both short, playful boho dresses in ethnic patterns up against long, soft, and sexy, bare shouldered maxis with ruche bodices worn with clumpy boots is amazing. Jeweled coloured evening wear and fringed sleeve or cuff tops add even more variety.
The great thing about the bohemian fashion scene has got to be the lack of limits. Whatever your age, style or motives, the modern version of it has touched the hearts and insular world of many people here; not a bad result from simply choosing to buy and wear clothes which make you feel special, and attractive, while also being super comfortable. Who knows what the future hold for boho chic, but it is bound to be a lot of fun when it happens.