How to Dress Bohemian

March 9, 2009 by Anna   | Filed under Style & Trends




Modern day interpretations of the bohemian look.

The Bohemian look is always in, but it is exceptionally present right now.  Sometimes it's hard to be trendy and comfortable in your day to day life. But with this look, you can get as creative and crazy as you want and still be relaxed. Interested? I thought so. If you want to start adding the Bohemian look to your personal style, here are 5 steps:

Step 1: Know what a Bohemian is. By definition, a bohemian is, "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior." What does this mean to you? Experiment, experiment, experiment! There are little to no rules! If you happen to put together a hideously unmatched bohemian outfit and someone tries to doubt your style, tell them...."I'm bohemian, do you know what that means? It means rules don't apply to me. Look it up on" (haha). That's the kind of attitude you need to have when rockin' this look. You are an intellectual, artistic, expressive and creative person. Work it!


Diane Von Furstenberg 2009 Fashion Week

  1. Patterns - The patterns can be loud and busy... flowers, shapes, stars, squiggles, diamond patterns, etc.  Sometimes it's all of the above sewn together.  Patterns sewn on skirts can sometimes look like a patchwork quilt.  If a pattern is not printed onto the fabric then you will see beads and sequins sewn onto the item of clothing in all different colors.  Mixing of patterns is what makes this style unique and fun.
  2. Colors - When I researched the history of the bohemian style, a lot of sites stated that the colors were more earth tones.  While yes, you can definitely go earthy with this look, you can also go the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  I see a lot of modern day interpretations (especially since the 80s are back) of this look to have a lot of bright and vibrant colors.  From oranges to purples, navy blues and yellows.  Maybe in the very very old days the bohemian look was more earthy.  Definitely not today.
  3. Fabric - Think light and flowy.  This is where the comfort of this look comes into play.  No squeezing into tight tube tops or working your abs for the midriff shirt trend.  Yes, this look is flowy and forgiving for your figure.  Light fabrics with no structure is key.  Think of sheer or soft cotton tops and prairie skirts.

Step 3: Pile on the Accessories
Big and chunky is in and that's why I think the bohemian look followed.  This look is all about the accessories.  Let's start at the top.  Wear a headband, then big stone or turquoise earrings, followed by five layers of different types of beads for your necklace (layer them in different height's and add a necklace with a chunky medallion in the middle), wooden bracelets and a medium brown colored belt.  Am I finished with the accessories?  Of course not.  Sport a big bag and aviator sunglasses. I'm done.  But if you want more, check these great "Bohemian" accessories:

Step 4: The Shoes
I love the shoes because not only are they comfortable, they have more detail and are 'oh so cute'.  Think Pocahontas and Indian inspired.  Sandals with colorful beads or medium brown boots with fringing.  You don't have to wear heels, as you are trying to portray a more comfortable look, being one with nature.  However, if you're short like me and must have heels, go for a low to medium heel.  No stilettos here.

Step 5: How far do you want to take this?
By step 4, you're already pretty bohemian.  No one will doubt the look you are going for.  But if you want to take it a step further, tattoos and piercings can definitely top it off.  This is for the hardcore and serious bohemian fashionistas.  Eyebrow piercings, lip piercings, multiple ear piercings will add to your look.  As for tattoos, I suggest getting one on your foot or wrist. Choose something colorful and fun.  Of course make sure it's meaningful and something you can live with forever.  Otherwise, have fun and be free with yourself!


13 Responses to “How to Dress Bohemian”
  1. MizzJ says:

    Hmm this description and photos seem more hippy/60s style than boho to me, at least the more modern interpretation of boho-chic. Right now the whole boho-rock look is in, a la the Olsen’s, who I think utterly embody the boho look. Also, there was that whole Russian bohemian look, like at Gucci that was very different than this look by DvF. Anyways, I could be totally off base… this look is great!

  2. love the green dress! This is not my usual style but these looks give me ideas…

  3. Jay Hornback says:

    I knew the definition of Bohemian, but I just realized while reading this that the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody was so named because it mixes and matches tempos and musical elements. While this isn’t fashion related, I wanted to thank you for expanding my knowledge.

  4. lisa says:

    Cool post.

    MizzJ, I just wiki’d “bohemian” and it sounds as though the term has evolved throughout the years to mean different things in different sociocultural contexts. While it used to refer to gypsies or peoples from the Czech Republic, today it could refer to any sort of anti-mainstream, eclectic look.

  5. Eyeliah says:

    thanks, I am always trying to incorporate more bohemian into my style.

  6. Layla says:

    I find the whole “boho” thing kinda funny on my dad’s side I’m pretty much third generation actual bohemian, by grandmother is an artist and oh MAN you should see her house/art/clothes there are stacks of canvasses everywhere sculptures on every surface etc. My dad lived in a horse drawn caravan for a large part of my childhood, and my mum and dad were in a travelling bohemian circus when i was young. here, if you want it are the style tips i’ve picked up from them.

    * trust your instinct – if you like it, do it, it doesn’t matter if it clashes.
    * beads are good – my grandma has a huge collection of chunky bead necklaces, all turquoise and amber and gorgeousness.
    * anything ethnic is good – by this i mean mexican, indian, middle eastern etc.
    * Embellishments are good – embroidery, applique, painted cloth etc.
    * Theatrical costume departments are your friend – the things mu mum picked up in clear out sales are awesome, big petticoats and long velvet opera coats etc.
    * grow your hair, just let it be natural, don’t fuss with it.
    * ditto with makeup – leave it to a minimum, eyeliner for all but not a lot else.
    * Scarves, Sandals, Sequins.
    * Vintage anything – NEVER shop anywhere where sweatshops may have been involved.
    * natural fibers are good – wool, cotton, cashmere, silk, if it feels good it makes you feel good, if you feel good you’re gonna chill out. bohemians are chilled. unless they’re freaking out in an artistic frenzy….

    wow this is a long comment… sorry… and probably nobody cares so i’m just going to leave now…

    • Ali says:

      Thanks for all the tips Layla–so informative…and interesting!! I can’t believe your parents were part of a bohemian circus…I am definitely going to take your advice.

    • kym says:

      Layla, thanks heaps also for your comments… I think Bohemian is a mix of styles in whatever context its in… Bohemian music ala Bohemian Rhapsody is just that – a mix of styles… Bohemian home is a mix of furniture & furnishings from all eras, cultures & Bohemian dressing is the same… I run a shop call Bohotopia & its name is a combo of Bohemian Utopia… We have just that – a mix of styles from hippy to chic & we mix & match from all bits to create a ‘bohemian’ look… Your tips, I think, were spot on.. Go the chunky jewellery & clashing patterns… K

  7. Meagan says:

    This is such a fun article. As a modern bohemian, hippie, free-spirit, I have dressed with a boho-hippie look for years. I do it because it reflects who I am, and the amazing thing is that I seem to get complimented a lot. I think it just goes to show that if you are true to yourself, you exude confidence and can pull of any look… even the craziest color combos, jewelry, etc. I have written articles on the subject for and also write about it on my blog:
    Check it out if you get a chance. And thanks for the article!
    Peace and Love,
    PonchoMeg: The Modern Bohemian

  8. Christine says:

    I am IN LOVE with that skirt by Ralph Lauren!


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. Links à la Mode Weekly Round Up…

    Breakfast at Saks – Biased Reporting on the Balmain show from a Balmain-iac Clutch 22 – Exploring Etsy – Three unique talents to watch Consume or Consumed – Stylish film looks channeled toward a more stylish life Debutante Clothing……

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!