Bohemianism is a term that describes a lifestyle or subculture that values creativity, freedom, and nonconformity over materialism, convention, and social etiquette.
The word bohemian comes from the French word "bohémien", thought to describe the Romani, a nomadic ethnic group that originated in India and migrated to Europe in the Middle Ages. Bohemians often were, or were associated with, artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals who lived in urban areas and formed communities with other like-minded individuals.
Rather than simply a “clothing style”, dressing Bohemian expresses an alternative lifestyle.
“All I'm gonna do is just go on and do what I feel.” ‒ Jimi Hendrix¹.
Bohemian style is a way of dressing and accessorizing that reflects a free-spirited attitude. It's often characterized by colorful, eclectic, and unconventional elements that mix different influences and cultures.
There are many different types of bohemians, each with their own preferences and characteristics. Here are some of the most well known, through history:
The classic bohemian is the original and most iconic type of bohemian. They are inspired by the 19th-century artists and intellectuals who lived in Paris's Latin Quarter and frequented cafes, theaters, and salons.
They like to read poetry, paint, play music, and discuss philosophy and often wear ruffled floral skirts, loose blouses, shawls, hats, and boots.
The classic bohemian is romantic, idealistic, and adventurous. They are always curious and open-minded about new experiences and cultures. They value beauty, art, and nature over money and status and are not afraid to express their emotions and opinions.
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Some examples of classic bohemians from the past are Henri Murger, the author of Scènes de la vie de Bohème, Giacomo Puccini, the composer of La Bohème, writer Anaiis Nin and Natalie Clifford Barney, a writer and salon hostess.
- The classic bohemian may wear jewellery that has:
The beatnik is a type of bohemian that emerged in the 1950s in the United States. They were influenced by the Beat Generation, a group of writers and poets who rejected mainstream culture and explored themes such as sexuality, spirituality, drugs, and jazz.
They often wore black turtlenecks, berets, jeans, striped T-shirts, leather jackets, and sunglasses. They accessorized with bongos, cigarettes, and books. They liked to hang out in coffeehouses, bars, and bookstores.
The beatnik is rebellious, cynical, and witty. They question authority and challenge norms. They value freedom, individuality, and authenticity over conformity and consumerism and are not afraid to experiment and explore.
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Some examples of beatniks are Jack Kerouac, the author of On the Road, Allen Ginsberg, the poet of Howl, and Audrey Hepburn, the actress who played Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, along with the Beatles.
The beatnik may wear jewellery:
“Exterminate all rational thought” ― William Burroughs
The hippie is a bohemian type that originally emerged in the 1960s in the United States. They were influenced by the counterculture movement that opposed the Vietnam War, racism, and environmental destruction.
The hippie is peaceful, optimistic, and compassionate. They are always seeking harmony and love among all living beings.
They value peace, love, and happiness over violence, hate, and greed and are not afraid to protest and resist. They liked to listen to rock music, attend music festivals such as Woodstock, and practice yoga and meditation.
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Some fabous hippies were John Lennon, the singer-songwriter of Imagine, and Janis Joplin, the singer of Piece of My Heart.
They often wear tie-dye shirts, bell-bottom pants, fringe vests, and sandals.
The hippie may wear jewellery that:
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ‒ Friedrich Nietzsche.
The boho gypsy is a bohemian style, inspired by the traveller community and their culture. They like to travel, dance, tell stories and revel in the mystical.
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They may wear brightly patterned colorful skirts, embroidered tops, scarves, and copious jewelry with coins, charms and bells for embellishment. Mystical symbols with magical meaning, such as evil eyes, tarot cards, or moonstones are commonly seen.
“I carry fairy dust, pack dry herb and drive a broom. If you don't get that you won't get me, so long, it's my journey.” ― DC Allen
Referred to as boho-chic, or just boho, this new bohemian fashion trend reimagines styles that were popular during the 1960s and 1970s, while incorporating contemporary elements.
Modern bohemians can be entrepeneurial digital nomads, travelling and working worldwide, attending festivals like Burning Man and embracing aspects of counter culture.
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Their style is characterized by loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk. Boho clothing is often layered and includes flowing skirts, dresses, kaftans, blouses and cut-off denims.
The style also includes accessories such as hats, and headscarves made of natural materials like wood, leather, and feathers that connect the wearer with nature.
Style icons of this century, such as Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Florence Welch, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Nicole Ritchie re-popularised bohemian dressing into what is now considered modern boho.
The boho-chic may wear jewellery that:
“I would describe my aesthetic as definitely personal and harmonious with an eclectic yet bohemian sensibility.” ~ Lisa Marie Presley
Bohemian style is not a fixed or rigid set of rules, but rather a personal expression of one's individuality and creativity. The originality in each lifestyle and outfit is timeless and the possibilities are endless.
There's a little bohemian in each one of us - which do you gravitate towards?
Let me know in the comments and if you love boho vibes, why not explore hand-made jewellery with a bohemian twist at the link below!
Source: Conversation with Bing, 12/05/2023(1) 5 Traits Of The Spiritual Bohemian - blog.sivanaspirit.com. https://blog.sivanaspirit.com/spiritual-bohemian/ Accessed 12/05/2023.
(2) Boho spiritual elements vectors - Shutterstock. https://www.shutterstock.com/search/boho-spiritual-elements?image_type=vector Accessed 12/05/2023.
(3) Spiritual Boho - Mala Beads, Prayer Beads & Yoga Inspired Jewelry that .... https://spiritualboho.com/ Accessed 12/05/2023.
(4) Spiritual Boho - Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/market/spiritual_boho Accessed 12/05/2023.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 12/05/2023(1) 40+ Best Bohemian Quotes Perfect For Free Spirits | Kidadl. https://kidadl.com/quotes/best-bohemian-quotes-perfect-for-free-spirits Accessed 12/05/2023.
(2) Bohemian Quotes (44 quotes) - Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/bohemian Accessed 12/05/2023.
47 Boho Quotes For All the Free-Spirited Souls. https://amodays.com/298782-boho-quotes.html Accessed 12/05/2023.