When we speak of bohemian clothing, we’re not referring to items coming from a certain part of Czechoslovakia. Instead, we’re talking about a culture. Bohemians are nonconformists; most often they’re involved in the arts and don’t care too much about social conventions. The French word bohemian meant a nomadic person, usually artists who lived like nomads to earn a living.

gypsy wagon

More recently, bohemian refers to a style. The look, whether your home or your mode of dress, should be a perfect reflection of you. is shortened to “boho” or “boho chic.” Mixing and matching (or un-matching) loose, flowy clothing is the norm.  It was popular in the 70s and is making a great comeback now. There are no hard-and-fast rules, since being in harmony with nature and comfortable with your clothing is part of it. So the following are “general” guidelines.

You want a relaxed look, one that might slip easily into the gypsy category. So layers are in. Even wearing your bra over your shirt – especially a lacy bralette like this – is okay. To get a relaxed look, you might consider going up a size or two in shirts, vests, and jackets.

boho woman

A lot of fitted layers work with the flowy layers. You might wear a fitted lacy slip under a slightly shorter loose dress or tunic. You can put leggings under the tunic or dress — or these awesome velvet bike shorts I found. You can throw on an oversize jacket or a boyfriend cardigan.

Any rich color, and a mix of strong colors will work for the boho layered look. Mixing warm and cool colors together is also acceptable — and fun. Layering texture and pattern adds yet another dimension.

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One of my favorite things is to visit thrift stores for pieces I can take apart and re-create in a gypsy manner. Often the thrift store has vintage pieces that fit perfectly. I like big, worn clothing in cotton or linen. I take them apart, sometimes working two or more pieces into one new piece. I always look at the knits and laces too. And don’t forget macramé belts or beautiful silk scarves.

Never thrift shopped? Remember, the original bohemians probably didn’t buy new; they made do with old. Thrifting is fun, and easily addictive. If you can sew, you’ll start visiting your favorite second-hand store every week. Mine has 1/2 price items on Thursdays.

To maintain the “chic” part of boho chic, don’t accept clothes that are torn or stained. Sewing a patch or lacy pocket over the tear is fun and acceptable; showing a stain or blatant tear is not.

boho woman in studio

When shopping for clothes or fabric, natural fibers will stay truer to the lifestyle than synthetic fabrics. Plus – natural clothing is so much cooler! Look for hemp, cotton, rayon, and bamboo. You can also search online to find out which companies are selling or using fair trade fabrics.

Next, we’ll talk about Boho hair, jewelry and makeup.