The history of bohemian fashion

200 years of bohemian fashion

The bohemian style has, for more than 200 years, been an exotic alternative to the accepted fashions of a given era. Typically associated with artists, writers, and intellectuals, bohemian culture incorporates different styles of clothing from around the world, as well as historical costumes.

This style consists of loose, colorful clothing and has been known as bohemian chic, hippie and aesthetic style. With their long, flowing hair and rich, damaged fabrics, bohemians stand out in a crowd by representing a colorful counterculture based on creativity, poverty, and indifference to social structures and traditions. 

Origin of the bohemian style

Bohemians, as a counterculture, appeared in France after the French Revolution. Deprived of the old system of patronage, where a wealthy clientele supported the arts, artists were plunged into poverty. Many adopt a nomadic lifestyle, live cheaply and wear worn, out-of-date or second-hand clothing. In the past, an artist was considered a competent and talented craftsman. But the Romantic movement of the late 18th century rejected the limitations of bourgeois life, and the old emphasis on reason, to embrace the imagination. A new cult of personality emerged with the artist as the hero and individual style expressed in the way one dressed. The artist became a special type of person, not just a craftsman, but a kind of eccentric genius whose creativity was expressed in the way he lived and appeared. The artist himself (or herself) was a work of art...

The way of life of bohemians in the 19th century

In the 1830s, French bohemians and romantics adopted medieval clothing styles with their colorful fabrics, long, flowing hair, and wide-brimmed hats. The novelist Henri Murger wrote accounts of those he called bohemians , focusing on a group of artists and intellectuals in scruffy coats, old shoes, and a general appearance of disenchantment. The style evolved into a cult of the individual, a person whose very appearance became a work of art with carefully considered outfits and accessories.

The aesthetic movement

In the 19th century, the aesthetic movement became a kind of bohemian lifestyle. The Aesthetic rebels against the rigid social constraints of the Victorian era and adopts a style based on the clothing of the past.

Convinced that the mass production of the Industrial Revolution was dehumanizing, Aesthetics worked to encourage ancient techniques from the Middle Ages with individually made products. The clothes were loose and soft, using fabrics colored with organic dyes and decorated with hand embroidery. Pre-Raphaelite artists of the time rejected the corsets, crinolines, stiff bodices, and restrictive clothing of Victorian fashion.

The bohemian style of the 20th century

Bohemian style, which remained unchanged for many years, was associated with young people who hoped to distance themselves from the materialistic culture of past generations. It even gave rise to more modern counterculture styles. The Beatniks, with their black turtle necks and striped shirts, took on a more austere tone. Hippies introduced a touch of childhood into the mix by incorporating old Western styles as well as short, feminine skirts.

But as the media has embraced the bohemian style, it's questionable whether the term is still viable. When a counterculture becomes mainstream, the style can no longer be considered an alternative.
When discount stores sell peasant skirts and fashion magazines offer expensive designer-made boho clothing, the nature of the lifestyle has become a cultural norm, and is no longer unique or specific to a particular group.
Although fashion often embraces boho chic, life itself - the desire for individual freedom, the rejection of modern materialistic concepts, the dream of utopian ideals and the production of artisanal goods - remains a powerful alternative to dominant culture . The bohemian style has become iconic, in part thanks to the bohemian chic style which gives liveliness to fashion, many bohemian chic style dresses are worn every day for bohemian weddings. In addition, the many bohemian accessories, such as macramé, bohemian cushions, or bohemian rings go very well with it.

You can also create a totally bohemian interior decoration, with beautiful colored garlands, dream catchers on the walls, warm candles, colorful cushion covers, a total bohemian look in short!

Elements of Bohemian Style

Bohemian style, or more commonly known today as bohemian chic, has passed through history, reappearing as beatnik style and in the hippie culture of the 1960s. This style generally consists of the following fashion elements.

  • Loose, flowing clothes in natural fabrics
  • Bohemian robes décontractées , fluides, colorées, pastel 
  • Embroidered dresses, multi-colored, lace, very sexy
  • Soft, flowing hair
  • Colorful scarves worn around the neck, on the head or instead of a belt
  • Peasant-style clothing, including tunics, wide pants, boots and sandals
  • Wreath of flowers or wicker
  • Used or worn clothing
  • Robes, kimonos and traditional fabric designs from Persia, India, Turkey and China
  • Mixture of historical elements of medieval clothing and more modern styles
  • Couches
  • Little brown dresses or very comfortable suede dresses
  • Match clothing in non-traditional ways, such as mixing unusual prints or color combinations
  • Several rows of pearls, several bracelets, and the wearing of unusual, artisanal or unparalleled jewelry
  • Large pendant or hoop earrings
  • Wide-brimmed hats
  • Patched clothing for women with bright colors that goes very well with bohemian sunglasses
  • Velvet or denim skirts
  • Paisley, floral fabrics, ruffles, sleeves with jagged edges
  • A look of artificial dismay
  • Bohemian hairstyle: braid or bangs that will give you a magnificent bohemian spirit

You will have understood, in the boho style, there is something for all tastes, whether you have a thin or large size, the bohemian style will suit you. A patterned or floral printed dress? A hippie dress? A lace dress? Each bohemian dress will beautify your wardrobe and your daily life! Boho chic is a very typical style, with natural materials and a hippie-oriented style like pom-poms or feathers, with lots of bright colors like turquoise, which goes very well with a tunic for example. This colorful style will bring love into your life, which will make your life a true bohemian life. You can also combine your bohemian dress with a kimono, pants or even an accessory like a bohemian necklace . Don't forget that there are not only dresses in bohemian style but also magnificent sweaters, long skirts, jackets, or even ankle boots. Everyone will find what they are looking for in this style that is both chic and floral, but also combines romanticism and sexy, which is very rare. 

Ultimately, the bohemian style is a style that corresponds to both spring and summer, our dresses will beautify your wardrobe and bring love into your life.

Bohemian, timeless like vintage

The boho style is a style that lasts over time, exactly like the vintage style. These two styles are different but so complementary, what could be better than a bohemian dress in your wardrobe accompanied by a pin up dress? The bohemian dress for a casual daytime outfit, and the pin up dress for a cocktail evening for example!

Bohemian Icons

William and Jane Morris: William Morris was a designer who created alternative textiles for clothing and interior design. He was known for his commitment to liberal socialism and the preservation of history, and was known as an early environmentalist. He also designed clothes for his wife, Jane Morris, who was a model. She became an icon of the aesthetic and craft movement with her loose medieval-style dresses and long, abundant hair.

The Rainbow Gathering: An annual gathering of like-minded individuals who reject capitalism and materialism and embrace utopian ideals, creative living, the environment and diversity.

The hippie movement of the late 1960s: Centered on creativity in life and dress, the hippie style included elements of historical costume and a rejection of everyday life.

Greenwich Village, New York or The Village: A modern gathering place for impoverished artists and writers, and a refuge for the creative community as a distinct minority group.

The Left Bank: In the early 20th century, the Montparnasse district of Paris, France, was a center of creativity that attracted artists, writers, and intellectuals. Here, people like Marc Chagall, Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse and others were able to live cheaply, meeting in bistros and restaurants to share ideas.

La Bohème and the musical rent: the musical rent is based on the opera La Bohème by Puccini. The story revolves around a group of artists and their struggles against poverty and illness.

Paul Poiret: The fashion designer of the early 20th century used elements of peasant costumes from around the world in his designs. His introduction of historical dress into haute couture eventually bled into mainstream fashion.

Dorelia McNeill: Dorelia was a model for artists Gwen and Augustus John in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Augustus painted her wearing long, full skirts and scarves as they lived in their personal utopia.