Bohemian styles for everyday wear

Add Bohemian styles and flair without looking like you're wearing a costume

Add Bohemian styles and flair without looking like you’re wearing a costume

What do you think of when you hear someone talking about Bohemian styles?

For many people, it calls up images of 1960’s hippies, decked out in long skirts or billowy cotton pants, gauzy blouses, layers of chunky ethic jewelry, and of course, at least a few “flowers in their hair.”

Even if you love the look, and wish you could have been there, it can be hard to imagine wearing that outfit now to, say, a PTA event or a departmental meeting. 

But wait!  You don’t have to give up the Bohemian vibe entirely. The trick is to pick and choose elements to add to your current wardrobe to give it just a hint of a free-spirit Boho feeling. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Start with everyday wardrobe options that have just a touch of whimsy, like denim jeans with embroidered details and vests with a swing of fringe. It’s easy to go boho chic!

Drop that dress …

No, wait, that didn’t come out right. What I meant was drop the HEM on your dress or skirt. For the past few decades, skirts have become short enough to make those 1960’s mini-skirt wearers blush. 

But the Bohemian look takes the opposite approach. Instead of shorter is better/prettier/sexier, the look relies on soft, feminine materials falling in gentle folds all the way to the ground. Try pairing your favorite sweater or t-shirt with a silky long skirt for an instant infusion of Bohemian style. 


Ditch the fancy jewelry

The Bohemian look doesn’t rely on pricy gold, platinum or diamond jewelry. Instead, try layering simple, handmaid ethnic jewelry. Look for pieces made from wood, unexpected metals, semi-precious or rough-cut stones or recycled materials. 

Or if chunky isn’t your style, embrace your inner tribal goddess and select beaded pieces for bracelets or necklaces, or asymetrical silver pieces.

Use these accessories to bring new life to sweaters, blouses, and even the corporate board room uniform. 

Kick off the high heels

Stilettos, pumps and sling-backs? Forget it. Fancy running shoes or animal print wedges?  No way. If you want your feet to sport the Boho look, head for sandals, preferably flat. Or the classic Birkenstocks.  Remember, this style is all about rejecting mainstream style, and that includes footwear. 

You can add the Boho footwear look to your jeans and t’s, step into handmade leather sandals with a sundress, or lace up a pair of classic ballet flats with your favorite skirts. Small outfit change, big outfit impact.

You gotta get the scarves

For a best bang-for-your-buck when it comes to adding Bohemian style, you can’t go wrong with soft, fringed pashminas in every color of the rainbow, 

Drap them over shoulders (layer two contrasting colors for maximum impact), tie one low around your hip with a skirt or pair of jeans, or loop it over your head hood-style. 

You gotta put your stuff somewhere

I’ve only met a couple of women who didn’t carry purses, and I’m not quite sure how they survived. For most of us, our purse is a combination of make-up center, portable office, toy store and library tote. The wallet is almost incidental!

So if you need to carry a purse, why not use that accessory to bring a Bohemian look to your outfit? Choose a handbag that’s slouchy and big, and of course, colorful. Extra points if your purse is embroidered, hand-painted or made of patchwork.

Pick one, pick a few, do them all

You can get a Boho feel and style with just a few additions to your wardrobe, or you can go for the whole look. The choice is yours.  But I suspected that once you experience the comfort of long skirts, gauzy shirts and voluminous handbags, you might never want to go back to skinny jeans and wrist wallets!