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The Bohemian Look

Updated on July 24, 2013

Boho - Shabby Chic of Fashion

I absolutely love fashion. A "Passion for Fashion" describes me to a "T". Ever since I was a young girl I've loved Barbie dolls, paper dolls and the Sears catalogue. And one of my favorite styles is "Bohemian" or "Bo-Ho".

The style "Bohemian" is believed to have originated in France during the early 19th century and was a term which described the poor "artistes" who led a nomadic lifestyle, often moving from one place to another, their paint and canvas their only material possessions.

These were the same artists who threw together creative and artistic ensembles from hand me downs and thrift stores not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Thankfully for us, their colourful and mismatched style which flourished out of necessity became a style copied worldwide.

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What's The Bohemian Look?

If you've seen fashions from the 60's Hippy period (which the Bohemian look was influenced by) there were a lot of indian peasant blouses, bell-bottom jeans or as we liked to call them "hip huggers" , fringed vests in leather and suede and layers of beads and bangles.

It was a very free-spirited style where fabrics were made of natural cotton in earthy or ethnic colors and skirts were long and flowing.

Footware was either non-existant or Indian sandals which you had to soak in water and wear them wet to soften them and "break them in".

Where the 60's Hippy look was a bit on the sloppy side, the Bohemian or Bo-Ho look is just as relaxed and carefree but more put together and far from sloppy. I like to call it Bo-Ho Chic.

And though you'll often see younger girls dressed head to toe in the Bohemian look, women 30+ can certainly add accessories from the Bo-Ho Chic style to accent their wardrobe.

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The Bohemian Look

The Bohemian Look is really all about mixing and matching, layering and finding your own personal fashion style. It's certainly not a look that you would wear to an office but is perfect for a relaxed weekend look.

So what's Bohemian? And how can you give it a modern look? Here are some quick tips to add Bo-Ho Chic to your wardrobe

  • Accessories: Necklaces and earrings in tribal colours, African beads, shells and feathers. On the Bo-Ho Chic side, necklaces become a little more delicate and feminine with colored stones and chandelier earrings. Thin bangles are multi-colored and layered (watch for these in metalic for a modern look) and bracelets are chunky with stones, often in turquoise. Crafty and one-of-a-kind pieces also identify the look.
  • Dresses can be short or long and flowing stitched with embroidery or embellished with beading.
  • Shoes: Gladiator or flat beaded sandals work best with long and flowing skirts or flat leather boots in the Fall. With the Boho-Chic especially with the beaded dresses and pencil jeans, these tend to look better with a higher heel in a strappy sandal (beads, stones, fringes and flowers as embellishments) or a nice ethnic look wedge sandal.
  • Denim: Faded denim plays a big part in the Bohemian look whether faded jeans, jean jacket or cut off jean shorts.
  • Scarves: There's such a wonderful choice in scarves today, perfect for the Bohemian look. Be a little creative, don't just wear one, wear a patterned and a solid together, mix up the textures, use one for a belt.
  • Purses & Handbags: Colorful and hand crafted ethnic, Plush and soft leather hobo bags Cross sling purses in fabric or leather.

Synthetic Turquoise Blue Lapis Reversible Sterling Silver Pendant
Synthetic Turquoise Blue Lapis Reversible Sterling Silver Pendant

I love turquoise. Every time I wear it, I think of warm summer days, cut-off jean shorts & indian sandals. Pure bohemian.

Sparkling Sage Bohemian Butterfly Necklace
Sparkling Sage Bohemian Butterfly Necklace

A beautifully feminine necklace set with coral and glass beads.

Lenora Dame "Bohemian" Cheeky Bauble Bracelet
Lenora Dame "Bohemian" Cheeky Bauble Bracelet

Beautifully designed bauble bracelet by Lenora Dame in wonderful colors that you can mix and match with everything in your wardrobe.


Bangles, Bangles,Bangles


Bangles don't have to be worn with only the Bohemian look.Multi-colored or metalic bangles can be layered with a simple black or white dress, a chunky necklace and kitten heels for a casual office look or an evening out for dinner.

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Big on Beads


Beads on camisoles, beads on dresses, beads hanging off your shoulders. You get the idea. The bohemian look was once identified for more of an ethnic look. Today, it's been modernized with feminine pearls, pale stones and beads and lots of metallic


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Bohemian Hobo Bag CHECK PRICE

Reversible Tie-Dye Hobo BagCHECK PRICE

Lungta Gypsy Bag CHECK PRICE

Think Turquoise

Bohemian - BoHo Chic - Perfect for the office


Just because you're of a certain age, you're not pencil-thin or you work in an office doesn't mean the Bohemian look is NOT for you!

Here we've taken a plain black dress, added Boho bangles, scarf, gladiator sunglasses and a slouchy bag and you've got a hip, chic look for any office.

Image Credit: SugarShack on

Get The Look - The Bo-Ho Chic Office

You can't go wrong with any of these pieces. I love them all! Especially the handbag !

BANGLE SET (Over 20 Pieces): Womens Stackable Plastic & Metal Bangle / Bracelet Set - Gray, Black & Gold
BANGLE SET (Over 20 Pieces): Womens Stackable Plastic & Metal Bangle / Bracelet Set - Gray, Black & Gold

Bangles are a Bo-Ho trademark but the nice thing is you can mix and match them with everything in your wardrobe!

Calvin Klein Women's Printed Colorblock Dress
Calvin Klein Women's Printed Colorblock Dress

A little black dress is a must have in any wardrobe.


The Look is Relaxed

What better way to look relaxed than with a floppy hat. Without the hat, this looks like nothing more than a "Western" look but as soon as the hat is added, it gives the whole look a laid back ,lazy Bohemian feel .

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Ethnic Colors

Effortless and relaxed. Faded jeans. Big Belt. Well worn boots. Lace Camisole. Colorful ethnic caftan. A great weekend look for any age.

Lots of people have expressed interest in this caftan (sweater coat). Unfortunately it's not for sale but if you're a knitter and you speak French, the pattern can be found at "Granny Mania".

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Denim & Lace

One of the hottest looks this season is the variety of lace scarves you'll see. Perfect for softening the denim and giving the look a feminine touch. This is a look that anyone can wear. Soft peasant top, layered necklaces and lots and lots of bangles!

There are no hard and fast rules to mixing and matching necklaces and bangles, just make sure the weight is balanced. For example, you wouldn't wear five chunky bangles together, you might wear one chunky with 5 coordinating skinny ones.

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Vintage Jewelry

Beautifully crafted set of vintage look bangles would look great with anything. Keep your eye out for these type of vintage items at garage sales and flea markets.

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Mix & Match

The Bohemian style is all about layering. Different fabrics and textures that you wouldn't normally think to layer together. Here we have an animal print vest with lace, topped with multiple strands of necklaces. As with anything that you're mixing and matching, think about weight of the fabrics. For instance, the heavy vest over the lace top doesn't overpower it as it's balanced by the multiple necklaces.

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City Bohemian Look - Perfect for the Weekend

This is a great look that any age group or body size can wear. Heels a little too high for you? Pair it with a low gladiator sandal or a natural jute wedge embellished with beads.

Image Credit: Sugar Shack Designs 2013

What's in Your Closet? - Do you have a little Bo-Ho in you?

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    • profile image


      11 months ago

      For the Colorful ethnic caftan you have pictured above, do you know the month and year it was posted on Granny Mania?


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks, Sugarshack. You've inspired me to start "seeing" boho outfits when I'm doing my thrifting. I've already found quite a few cute items. The hippie look is very me--I see a lot of people agree!

    • Sugarshack LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugarshack LM 

      5 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: I am a fan of that era but I think it's because we were so young and carefree!! Thanks for visiting :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      There's a bit of hippy in me, too, and not nearly enough Boho chic clothes in my closet!

    • Sugarshack LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugarshack LM 

      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! I do's the hippy in me I guess :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens, like the Boho look.

    • Sugarshack LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugarshack LM 

      5 years ago

      Its a fun and creative look!

    • carolinarobin profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this look also!

    • Sugarshack LM profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugarshack LM 

      5 years ago

      @anitabreeze: So do I... :) Thanks!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh I love all the looks in this article, it must be the hippie in me!


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