So what is Boho Chic anyway?

boho chic sewingWe’ve all heard it, seen it, worn it. It’s the fashion phenomenon which swept the globe at the turn of the century and it’s firmly taken hold in our society. The majority of women, from teenage girls to middle age moms, are rocking some sort of boho-chic these days. For the first time in goodness knows how long, women can wear clothes that are comfortable and beautiful at the same time, while the men try to to squeeze into their stretch jeans! More of the same!

Let’s first get comfortable with the lingo, because the name speaks a thousand words. Boho is the shortened form of Bohemian. Bohemian is a wonderful word and an even more wonderful thing to be. It’s a French word derived from the term referring to gypsies, adventurous souls, artists and socially unconventional people, with an alternative lifestyle and sense of style. Bohemians are profound romantics with a deep appreciation for beauty. They know no limits, they see something they like and they flaunt it!

boho chic sewing

Bohemians are all about love, happiness, art and forward-thinking. When it comes to fashion and fabric…think comfortable cuts and beautiful fabrics with complex prints (tribal and ethnic patterns from all over the world, East and West), tassels, leather shoes & hobo bags and costume jewelry with semi-precious stones and crystals.

According to Wikipedia: “Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.”

Think of Bohemian as an eclectic mix of luxurious fabrics, comfy, breezy styles and practical, durable accessories. Bohemian on it’s own can end up on the Flower Child, hippie side of the spectrum…it is alternative after all.

Chic is the other end of the equation. It’s there to temper and balance out the Bohemian element, taking alternative fashion and hippie vibes to the high street. Chic is also a French word, meaning classy, upmarket or smart. Chic is what happened to Boho when Sienna Miller started rocking it on the red carpet! We all remember the period between 2003 and 2006, Sienna was in the headlines…the world couldn’t get enough of her style, although some of us hadn’t even seen her in a movie! Sienna is the icon and foremother of the boho-chic fashion phenomenon.

boho chic sewing

Like every style, it has its staples, it’s basics. These are the items you need to have in your wardrobe if you’re planning on calling yourself Boho-chic! Here’s a general overview of what your wardrobe should look like…

Boho Shoes

Everything Zen, comfort is key…nothing too tight and the shoes are comfy and practical. Sandals, cowboys or worker boots, wedges or platforms. We’re talking shoes you could run in…in the rain!!! So leather if possible, battered and worn.

Boho Fabrics

Natural fabrics like denim, chiffon, silk, suede, leather and cotton, with a variety of textures. All in natural colors, no neon colors or pop art prints, complex mixes of eclectic and avant-garde prints are welcome. We’re talking cultural, artistic, rich fabrics and textures with details like fringes, Lace Pieces, multi-layer, knits and flares. Our article on Batik Printing will give you an idea of what boho prints might look like.

Boho Jewelry

As much jewellery as possible, obviously! Thrift store rings, bangles and homemade knick knacks, the idea is to jingle ever so slightly and be able to give a ring or bracelet away without really feeling the loss. No need to match metals or stones, whatever is pretty, wear it…and don’t forget the feather earrings! Check out our Fabric Bead Tutorial for some fantastic boho bead ideas.

Boho Accessories

Large floppy hats and John Lennon sunglasses, at least an entire drawer stuffed with ethnic embroidered scarves. You need faux coin belts, hobo bags and rustic canvas totes. Our Fringe Bag is ideal!

Boho Hair and Makeup

Hair is au naturel…randomly clipped up, tied in a loose high pony on the top of the head, plaited Lagertha from Vikings style or covered with a vintage floppy hat or bandana, hair wraps and the odd dreadlock welcome. Make up is to match, super natural, often with a smokey eye on special occasions…eyebrows are left to flourish as much as is doable, we don’t want to scare anyone!

boho chic sewing

Boho Chic Must Haves

Footless tights and leggings, rip-cut denim shorts, rustic jeans, Floaty Skirts with crinkle material, Maxi Skirts,  embroidered Tunics, Pleated Blouses and furry gilets, kaftans, cropped jackets, baggy cardigans galore, Ugg boots, worker boots, cowboy boots, wedges.

An interesting factor to note is that the sale of footless tights or leggings associated with boho-chic fashion effectively halved the sale of stockings in Britain between 2003 and 2007, that’s how popular boho-chic fashion became!

We love boho chic fashion because it allows us to upcycle and repurpose our favourite vintage pieces and mix vintage and modern at our leisure. We love it because we can finally wear our favorite Indian fabrics to the mall instead of just hanging them around our bedroom. We love it because no-one, no-one, can tell us “those two prints don’t match” or you’re wearing to many layers. We love being comfortable and feeling beautiful all at the same time and boho-chic allows us to do that!

boho chic sewing

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7 Responses to So what is Boho Chic anyway?

  1. Joan L Webb says:

    where is the pattern?

  2. Julieanne says:

    Not sure who Sienna Miller is, but for me, Stevie Nicks will always be the Queen of Boho Chic and this was back in the 1970’s, and she still rocks that look today at 70 years of age. It’s a timeless style, and having grown up in the late 60’s early 70’s it was and still is the style I choose to wear.

    I wanted to thank you for the free Boho Tunic Pattern and I also found the cutest purse here on your site that is small and has that Boho Chic style I love. Looking forward to making both and adding my spin on it.

    Thanks so much for all you do for, you are so very appreciated.

  3. Lois McCabe says:

    Regarding the Boho Chic style: Very interesting article. The style reminds me of the hippie era in the 60’s. Sadly or me, I am now quite a bit older, shorter, and heavier than I was during that era.. Except for some of the long skirts, I don’t think any of the clothing fashion suggestions would be flattering for me.

  4. Linda L. says:

    “Hair is eau natural…” Did you mean to say ‘au naturel’ or were you talking about wet hair? ‘Eau’ means ‘water’ while ‘au naturel’ means ‘in its natural state’. 🙂

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Linda, that’s meant to mean without any hairspray, gel or special preparation. Just plain and simple. Thanks for the comment and kind regards.

      • Linda L. says:

        That’s what I thought you intended based on the context. The proper phrase would have been ‘au naturel’ then.
        When I wore these styles in the 60’s, we didn’t call it ‘boho chic’ but many hippies would certainly recognize most of it.

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Hi Linda, you are, of course, absolutely correct. Not sure why my French failed me there. Anyway, have made the correction. Agree with what you say re the ’60s. Thanks for sharing and kind regards.

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