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Style File: Boho

Boho, short for bohemian, in its most recent mode, is a style that typifies a way of dressing inspired by the lifestyle of free spirits and hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. However, the true origins of the boho style and culture are widely debated. Many believe that it was established as a counterculture by

Boho, short for bohemian, in its most recent mode, is a style that typifies a way of dressing inspired by the lifestyle of free spirits and hippies of the 1960s and 1970s.

However, the true origins of the boho style and culture are widely debated. Many believe that it was established as a counterculture by artists in 19th century France after the French revolution. Some argue that the original bohemians were wandering ‘Gypsies’ or Romani people that lived outside the mainstream and were often social outcasts. Boho style is also associated with pre-Raphaelite women of the 19th century, who were radical thinkers and artists of the counterculture. Over the centuries, the bohemian style has been associated with nomadic tribes, gypsies, artistic movements, and music festivals.

Modern boho draws from a variety of inspirations: From the aforementioned hippies to Edwardian style dresses, and encompasses various cuts, silhouettes, patterns, fabrication techniques, and types of materials. A lot of brand name bohemian designs also utilize natural and sustainable fabrics and are influenced by touches of traditional ethnic and folk elements.

In the 21st century, boho style has mostly been the realm of younger women, 20-somethings in floral maxi skirts, and suede high-heeled boots with pendant necklaces, fringe vests, and fedora hats. But, at its core, boho is about intrinsic layers, an earthy color palette, and natural fabrics in flowy silhouettes. So, pieces like tunic-style blouses, kaftan dresses, slouchy wool sweaters, and linen drawstring pants all fall under the boho style umbrella.

Of course, any woman at any age can embrace or incorporate a bohemian flair to her day-to-day style. Instead of going head-to-toe boho, just switch out some of your basics with a few bohemian elements. Instead of skinny or straight leg jeans, opt for flared denim. Instead of a button-up shirt, try a peasant style blouse. Add a few turquoise pieces to your jewelry rotation or swap your regular day bag for one with fringe.

Bohemian style also extends to hair and beauty. The diehard boho-girl will most definitely tend to a more natural makeup look and opt for longer braided hair, as opposed to heavy foundation and shorter cuts. But, again, you don’t have to sport dramatic plaits and dewy skin to incorporate boho style in your overall look. Of course, dewy skin is usually not a bad thing. You really don’t need to change anything about how you wear your hair and makeup to embrace bohemian beauty; instead, look at the products you’re using. Are they made with natural ingredients, what’s the company’s carbon footprint, do they have ethically and equitable marketing? You can embrace some of the bohemian lifestyle tenets, which values a closer connection to nature and earth-friendly practices, with nary a prairie skirt or paisley shawl in sight of your wardrobe.

Whether or not you associate boho with hippies, gypsies, French artists, bohemian-inspired style is meant to be free-spirited, eclectic, and creative. This style has amalgamated different cultures over the centuries and will continue to evolve and stay relevant if only for its tendency towards comfort. And, while boho was originally associated with the counterculture, it has certainly become mainstream, with a variety of brands and retailers catering to the bohemian-loving market. Stores like Free People and Urban Outfitters lean heavily toward boho apparel and accessories. Sites like Etsy are brimming with boho-inspired products, and even boutiques like Three Bird Nest and Soel have online options for trendy boho clothes. Basically, there’s a boho outlet for everyone.

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