Boho Chic was, for over 200 years, an exotic alternative to the conventional fashions of a period that was usually associated with artists, writers and intellectuals.
Bohemian style includes loose and colorful clothing, and was known as Boho Chic – a hippie style and aesthetic attire. With long, surfery hair and rich yet shabby fabrics, the Bohemian stands out in the crowd and represents an anti-color culture based on creativity, meagerness, and indifference to social structures and traditions.
The Bohemian – Counterculture
The Bohemians, as a counter-culture, emerged in France after the French Revolution. After being deprived of the previous system of patronage in which established clients provided the arts, the Bohemian artists were fixated on poverty. Many took the nomadic lifestyle, lived poorly, and wore out-of-fashion and ragged or used clothing.
Before that, an artist would seem to be a talented and skilled and professional person. But the late-18th-century romance movement rejected the conflicts of bourgeois life and the importance given to the old causation, in favor of empowering the imagination.
A new cult of personality has emerged from the artist as an individual and heroic style expressed in the way he dressed. An artist becomes a special person, not only a professional, but also a kind of eccentric genius, whose creativity was displayed in the way he lives and looks. The artist himself (or herself) was a piece of art.
People compared the new artistic style to migrating Gypsies, believing that Gypsies originated in Bohemia, an area of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Gypsy was a European concept from the Romanian people, an ethnic group with Native American roots who migrated north. The word Gypsy, came from the Egyptian word, which many thought was the true home of the nomadic people who were mostly social outcasts and lived outside the mainstream. Today, the word “Gypsy” is considered insulting to the Romanian people.
Bohemian life becomes their own institution
By 1830, French bohemian art and Romantics had adopted medieval and eastern clothing styles. These sought to develop a new artistic culture that represented the classical view of the Romanian people – colored fabrics, long-skinned hair, and wide, sprawling hats.
Writer Henry Morger wrote legends about the “Bohemian” people. These stories centered on a group of artists and intellectuals in shabby coats, old shoes, and a general look. The stories inspired Puccini’s famous opera, “La Boheme.”
Bohemian style has evolved into the cult of the individual, a person whose presence has become a work of art with well-designed costumes and accessories. The word bohemian offered a sense of mysterious enlightenment, sexual freedom and poor personal hygiene.
Bohemian life rejected materiality and property and focused on creativity and social life.
Bohemian in the 19th century – the aesthetic movement
In the 19th century, the aesthetic movement became a form of bohemian life. The aesthetic rebelled against the rigid social constraints of the Victorian era and adopted a style based on past clothing – mainly medieval clothing and oriental designs.
Properties of the Bohemian Style
Bohemian style, now known as Boho Chic, is now re-emerging as the 1960s look and hippie culture of the 1960s. For 200 years, the Bohemian style has included some chic elements.
• Loose, loose clothing made from natural fabrics
• Wearing less restrictive, wearing no corsets, bras or other restrictive elements
• Long, curly hair
• Colorful scarves dressed on the neck or head, or in place of belts
• Peasant attire that includes tunics, loose pants, boots and sandals
• Used or worn
• Oriental elements including robes, kimono, and ethnic designs of Persia, India, Turkey and China
• Combining historical elements with medieval attire and ethnic style
• Fitting clothes traditionally, such as mixing prints or unusual color combinations
• Multiple threads of beads, bracelets and handmade jewelry
• Large or large hoop earrings
• Wide-brimmed hats
• Patchwork clothing
• Fabric with paisley pattern, floral, shaggy sleeves and threaded ends
• General disregard for arrangement and uniformity of clothing
• Appearance of staged lashing
Bohemian style in the 20th and 21st centuries
Basically, the Bohemian style has not changed much over the years. This style becomes associated with young people who hope to distance themselves from the materialistic culture of past generations. However, as the media adopted the bohemian style, it will be questionable whether the concept is still viable. When a counterculture changes to mainstream, style can no longer be seen as an alternative.
When discount stores sell peasant skirts, and fashion magazines offer an expensive designer who has designed bohemian-style clothing, the nature of bohemian life has become the norm and no more special and specific to a particular group.
Although fashion often adopts the boho chic, life itself – the claim for individual freedom, the rejection of the concepts of modern materialism, the dream of the Utopian ideal and the creation of handmade goods remain a strong substitute for mainstream culture.