Styled & Studied: What exactly is bohemian?

MOVE columnist Lauren Williams takes a look at the trend.

By Lauren Williams | Sept. 2, 2015

Tags: boho Fashion


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Although the Missouri sun continues to luminously beat over our heads, summer is inevitably coming to an end. Prepare yourself to bid farewell to late night bonfires and waking up at three in the afternoon to a day of nothing; unless, of course, you plan to take these activities into the school year. Nonetheless, as summer is beginning to come to a close, I wanted to take a look at the one trend that doesn’t seem to be disappearing as the summer dances its last tango: the bohemian.

A bohemian is a person who lives and acts free of regard for conventions. Translated into the fashion world, the trend, better known as boho, has not only stolen the runways, but has also become the look of music festivals worldwide.

You’ve seen it at Lolla and you’ve seen it at Coachella. To be quite honest, you’ve probably seen it on every teenage girl in the world. In order to fully understand the extent of the boho trend, I must break it into two areas. The first I will refer to as “the everyday bohemian” and the latter I will call “the seasonal bohemian.”

The everyday bohemian resembles something like Nicole Richie in the early 2000s. The look encompasses oversized tunics, flare jeans, fur vest or coats, belts, floppy hats, jumpsuits and layering for the gods; more or less, you’re giving off a very chic bag lady vibe. Inspiration for this trend was definitely birthed from the ’70s; it’s like a modern day take on hippie couture.

I can admit the everyday bohemian is not for everyone. It’s actually a very hard trend to pull off, and it takes a good amount of skill to conquer correctly. One of my favorite everyday bohemian examples is Rachel Zoe. She makes the bohemian trend look very clean and put-together, but yet still manages to keep with the overly layered look.

For someone that is considering trying the everyday bohemian look, I would suggest shopping at stores such as Anthropologie, Free People or Urban Outfitters.

The seasonal bohemian, on the other hand, is more of a subculture that usually emerges around the beginning of summer. The seasonal bohemian is usually found in cut-up Levi’s, crop tops, a pair of Chucks, fringe or lace, printed palazzo pants, kimonos and bell-sleeved dresses. I like to consider the seasonal bohemian more of a practical trend choice. The outfits work because they simultaneously allow you to be cute and comfortable.

The stark difference in the two types of bohemian is the amount of clothes that you wear. You will find the the seasonal bohemian is about “less is more,” and the everyday bohemian is geared to a “more, more, more” mentality. For someone that is wanting to try out the seasonal bohemian trend, I would recommend shopping at stores such as Forever 21 or Boohoo. They offer a plethora of crop tops, palazzo pants, and even have sections dedicated solely to the bohemian trend.

What I find so ironic about the modern day bohemian trend is that is differs so much from the actual definition of a bohemian. Nowadays, it’s less about being different and free and more about being the same. Which makes me question: Can we really call ourselves bohemian?

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