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What Is Bohemian Style?

Modern bohemian style is based partially on hippie and gypsy styles.
Hippie styles emphasized homemade clothing and loose, flowing skirts.
Flowing dresses and layered accessories are considered bohemian style.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2014
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Bohemian style is a type of fashion style or aesthetic in which a person typically dresses and accessorizes in a way that is contrary to traditional or prevailing fashions. This style is often typified by certain particular looks, such as flowing dresses, loose garments that accentuate the wearer’s figure while still providing comfort, and striking uses of color. The style is often seen as more than just one particular fashion trend, and has been popular among a number of people for over 100 years. Bohemian style can, at any given time, be the style that is currently in fashion for many people or it can be a style that is in contrast to more popular trends.

Also called boho style, hippie-chic, and even hobo-chic, bohemian style is often associated with various trendsetters and artists dating from the late 19th century. Early adopters of bohemian style included the models and artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the late 19th century, though it is often identified in modern usage with more recent styles. The term “bohemian” has often been used to refer to the fashions and lifestyles of writers, artists, and other individuals who live outside of the norms and standards of other members of society. As such, the bohemian style has typically been associated with those in such professions as well.

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Modern bohemian style in fashion is typically associated with other styles such as hippie-chic and is often associated with gypsy styles as well. “Bohemian” refers to the French word for gypsies, and so the loose garments, flowing dresses and skirts, and striking accessories often associated with gypsies are typically thought of as bohemian in nature. Boho style trendsetters often wear these types of garments, and though previous fashion trends such as the short skirts and bobbed hair of the early 20th century were called bohemian in their time, modern bohemian style is often associated with the hippie fashion of the 1960s.

Hippie style was, to a great extent, about fashions that rebuked the norms of traditional styles at that time. Homemade garments, rather than store bought clothes, were common, as were alterations to garments to create clothing that was unlike anything commercially available at the time. Modern bohemian style often emulates these trends, and bohemian garments that have been made and sold in stores often appear similar to those a person might make at home. This style often pairs these types of garments with accessories that are quite striking, such as large bracelets, handbags, hats, and belts of vibrant colors, and shoes such as sandals and boots.

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