What Is Boho Clothing? Everything You Need to Know About Bohemian Style

28th Mar 2023

In 2023, boho clothing is as popular as ever.

If you’re a fan of layering unconventional accessories and expressing your carefree personality through fun fashions, chances are bohemian clothes would be a good fit for your wardrobe, too.

But before you go on your next shopping spree, let’s dig into all that bohemian clothes have to offer.

What Is Bohemian Clothing?

Bohemian clothing (or “or boho style” for short – also referred to as “boho chic”) is characterized by loose-fitting, flowy fabrics, frequently sporting bold prints, and layered creatively. You’ll often see “bohemians” combining elements of bohemian and hippie fashion, including floral prints, flowy skirts, tiered dresses, cowboy boots, eclectic patterns, fringes, layered accessories, wide-brimmed hats, and lots of jewelry.

Even though it’s become extremely popular in recent years, it’s still a fashion genre that often bucks mainstream trends and draws inspiration from various cultures and eras.

At its core, bohemian style is about embracing a free-spirited and non-conformist attitude towards what you wear - using fashion to celebrate individuality and express your unique identity.

This style often evokes a sense of freedom, peace, and love, reminiscent of the hippie era.

In the same sense, boho style is often associated with artists, musicians, and writers who appreciate the unconventional and the eclectic.

So, if you're looking for a fun, comfortable style that allows you to unleash your creativity and express your artistic side, bohemian style might be just the thing for you.

With its playful and imaginative approach to fashion, it's a style that's all about embracing your inner bohemian spirit.

Signature Elements Of Boho Style

Boho style is characterized by several key elements that create its unique aesthetic.

These elements include an abundance of long, loose layers, tassels, fringes, natural fabrics, patchwork, paisley patterns, and plenty of statement jewelry. These features combine to create a look that is both eclectic and free-spirited, capturing the essence of the boho fashion style.

There are many boho styles, but these are the classic elements that tend to remain consistent throughout each of these.

A Very Brief History of Bohemian Fashion

While the first bohemian looks can be traced all the way back to the French revolution, the modern-day version of boho style took shape in the counterculture movements of the 1960s. This style was associated with artists, musicians, creative types, and individuals who use fashion as a means of self-expression.

In the 1960s, the hippie culture really embraced and popularized the boho look. Bohemian clothing become almost as synonymous with that decade and the one that followed as the iconic music.

It would then return to popularity once again in the early 2000s. This was thanks in large part to celebrity fashion icons like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller but also the arrival of festival fashion and the rise of fast fashion.

Nowadays, the boho style has evolved into a trendy fashion statement that's often associated with mainstream fashion rather than its original counterculture roots.

Nonetheless, it still captures the essence of carefree and creative expression through fashion, making it a popular choice for anyone who seeks a nontraditional look over more conventional (see: “boring”) clothing options out there.

Whether you're looking to embrace the boho style in its original form or adapt it to modern times, there's no denying its enduring appeal. With its emphasis on individuality, creativity, and self-expression, it's a fashion style that continues to captivate people across the world.

Why Boho Chic Works for Any Body Type

While there’s a lot to love about its originality and style, many people are drawn to bohemian clothes because of their versatility when it comes to body types. The loose, flowing layers of boho outfits are flattering and comfortable for all figures.

The layers can add flattering curves and an overall vibrant silhouette. Everything from detailing to ruffles to dramatic necklines can draw attention to wherever you’d like it.

Both figuratively and literally, boho fashion is less restrictive. You’ll have fun expressing your unique style and be more comfortable at the same time.

What Are the Defining Elements of Bohemian Style Clothing?

The bohemian style is defined by a number of key elements.

And as we’ve already touched on, creativity is probably the most important of them. So, none of these are carved-in-stone rules you must abide by to adopt a bohemian look.

But here are the elements of style that usually characterize this genre of clothing:

  • Loose Fitting
  • Flowy Silhouettes
  • Headbands
  • Eye-Catching Prints
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Natural Fabrics

Other hallmarks of the bohemian look include oversized sunglasses, audacious jewelry (sometimes oversized), and open-toed sandals.

Mix and match these elements to create the fun, individualistic fashion statements that fit your personality best.

Is Bohemian Style Clothing Right for You?

Not sold on the boho look just yet?

If you're unsure whether it’s right for you, we put together a bit of a checklist to help you decide. But one more time, remember: bohemian fashion is all about being yourself. There’s no one personality type that’s “allowed” to wear this look.

Plenty of women have boho items in their closets even if it’s not their primary style, too. There’s no contract you have to sign that says you’ll wear this clothing every day.

With that said, here are four reasons boho style may be perfect for you.

1. Conformists Need Not Apply

Like we said, women who love bohemian clothing don’t necessarily wear it every single day.

But they tend to look at conventional attire as more of a necessary evil than a primary preference.

Bohemian style isn’t for people who want a paint-by-numbers outfit they can buy in a catalog. It tends to be for women who like to think outside the box and wear what’s best for them – not necessarily everybody else.

2. You’re a Creative at Heart

Speaking of which, if you think of yourself as a “creative type”, boho clothing is probably right up your alley.

After all, creativity is at the heart of this style.

It’s all about creating the look that reflects your personality best.

This is why many women who love bohemian clothing also enjoy other creative hobbies and artistic endeavors. If you’re new to creating your own bohemian outfits, you might find that it’s another perfect outlet for that imagination of yours.

3. You Like To Be Comfortable

Arguably one of the best things about bohemian clothing is that it’s always comfortable. Forget cramming your feet into uncomfortable heels or tight tops that restrict your breathing.

Fashion should be fun, and you can’t have fun if you’re under assault by your attire.

As we’ve mentioned, relaxed, free-flowing fabrics are a staple of boho fashion. Sweatpants may be a step too far for most lovers of boho chic, but if you can find a pair with a paisley pattern or some fun tassels, give it a shot!

4. Unconventional Fabrics Are Right at Home in Your Closet

Along the same lines, adopting a bohemian style is a great opportunity to explore how many amazing fabrics exist. This even includes unconventional types of more common offerings like linen, cotton, and even silk.

It can be a lot of fun to pair some of these fabrics with bold prints and patterns, too. Paisley, boteh, and a wide variety of tribal designs are all great options for a beautiful bohemian outfit.

6 Tips for Adopting a Bohemian Style for Your Wardrobe

Now that you’ve decided boho chic is for you, let’s talk about some simple tips for adopting the aforementioned elements and making sure they look their best.

1. It’s All About Layering

As you no doubt know by now, layering is central to pulling off the bohemian look.

Layering can apply to accessories and accouterments, too. As I’ll cover in more detail below, you should always feel free to add boho-style jewelry, bags, and even fun hats to your bohemian outfit.

2. Try Long, Flowing Garments

Bohemian fashion is all about freedom and comfort, so it's important to wear clothes that don't constrict you. Opt for long, flowing dresses and comfortable maxi skirts, as well as  tunics (especially comfortable loose tunics), peasant tops, and floral blouses that allow you to move as freely and comfortably as you like.

3. Select Natural Fabrics

If you want to embrace the bohemian style's connection to nature, natural fabrics are the obvious choice.

Look for materials like cotton, wool, linen, bamboo, cruelty-free silk, hemp, jute, and even cheesecloth to create a more organic look.

Synthetic fibers like nylon, spandex, acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene should be avoided, though. These fabrics contribute to the release of millions of plastic microfibers into our water systems and oceans, which makes them distinctly unbohemian.

Prioritizing natural fibers is an easy way to minimize the negative impact on the environment and maximize style points in the process.

4. Natural Colors Are a Good Choice, Too

To complement your natural fabric choices, go with the kinds of subtle and muted colors that you’d find in nature.

A palette including shades of burgundy, mustard, and russet can be a great starting point.

Or try taking a more direct approach. For example, lots of women look to the ocean and incorporate an array of blues into their outfit choices or to lush forests for a palette of greens. By selecting colors that reflect the natural world, you can create a cohesive bohemian look that feels connected to the environment.

5. Think About The Prints You Use

The prints you choose are a defining aspect of the bohemian style.

Among all fashion styles, the bohemian look places great emphasis on heritage prints that hold cultural significance.

Here is a list of patterns to get you started with your bohemian wardrobe:

  • Tribal
  • Ika
  • Trellis
  • Paisley
  • Kilim

An example of a velour top covered in a fun paisley design:

Experiment with these and other prints to add depth and authenticity to your bohemian wardrobe and make outfits that are uniquely your own.

6. Secondhand Is In-Demand

Another reason to love bohemian clothing is that it’s a very inexpensive form of fashion. Sure, plenty of top designers have incorporated the looks into their lines, but you don’t need to have a Fifth Avenue budget to make this style your own.

Your local flea market, secondhand shop, or thrift store is probably full of great items at affordable prices.

By browsing vintage finds at these locations, you’ll discover unique pieces perfect for layering and showing your commitment to sustainability.

Additionally, by choosing to shop secondhand, you are reducing the demand for new clothing production from large manufacturers. Make a real impact by embracing the bohemian style's sustainable values and shopping at flea markets for your next fashion finds.

Of course, our own store is also a great place to begin your bohemian journey. We only feature clothing items from independent designers who don’t utilize large-scale production practices that are bad for the environment.

Bohemian Style Broken Down by 8 Clothing Types

Before we talk about celebrities who love the bohemian look, let’s go through each clothing item to give you specific ideas about how you can revolutionize your personal style.

1. Relaxed Boho Tops Made from Fun Materials

To achieve a bohemian look, select tops with unique cuts and relaxed fits, featuring the kinds of patterns we’ve already covered (i.e., tribal, paisley, boteh, batik, etc.), as well as unique hems and ruffles. In recent years, even comfortable bodysuits can work when paired with jeans, loose pants, and other stylish bottoms.

Embroidery, bell sleeves, and summer tops made of distinctive materials like velour and faux suede can also add a touch of bohemian panache to even the most basic outfits.

Experiment with these details to add depth and character to your wardrobe.

Most importantly: have fun mixing and matching tops with different bottom pieces to create a unique look that embodies the bohemian style's relaxed, carefree spirit.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/344103227792400202/

2. Jackets, Sweaters, and Cardigans with Plenty of Personality

As the weather cools down, it’ll be time for sweaters with tassels, bell sleeves, tie detailing, and unique patterns to add interest to your bohemian wardrobe. For sweaters, try layering a short one over a longer top, or use longer cardigans to create elegant lines.

When it comes to jackets, choose pieces that come in unique shapes or with standout details to layer over bohemian pants, dresses, and skirts.

There are all kinds of pieces you can wear during the fall when it’s not yet cold enough for a jacket. Try kimono jackets, ponchosrobes, or capes. Vests can also add texture and dimension to your layered look. Light sweaters are a versatile choice, too. Suede or shearling vests are amazing if you want a distinctly bohemian rocker vibe.

Mix and match these pieces to create a unique style that reflects your personal bohemian aesthetic.

3. Bohemian Pants with Lots of Details

To showcase your bohemian fashion sense, choose pants that really make an exciting statement.

Embrace unusual and offbeat materials. Look for patchwork, embroidery, gauze, faux leather, or faux suede to add an audacious touch to your attire. Loose-fitting linen pants are always a safe bet, but even bell bottoms are back for those who love boho chic.

Experiment with mixing and matching different patterns and textures to create unique outfits that embody the bohemian spirit. By choosing pants with distinctive details and materials, you can create a bold, expressive look that is truly your own.

4. Boho Dresses and Unconventional Skirts

When it comes to choosing skirts in a bohemian style, keep an eye out for pieces with spirited details such as embroidery, crochet, fringe, waterfall hemlines, and lace.

These details add character and texture to your outfit, bringing a touch of bohemian charm to your wardrobe.

Embrace the boho spirit by combining pieces in exciting and unusual ways. For example, you could pair a light lace top with a rugged leather skirt, or layer a warm shearling vest on top of a lengthier, feminine skirt for a mix of textures and styles.

Experimenting with different combinations of skirts and tops can help you create a unique and expressive look that reflects your individual style in a very bohemian way.

Most women with bohemian styles prefer to steer clear of miniskirts, fitted dresses, structured silhouettes, and other conventional items.

Instead, opt for long, flowy pieces such as peasant dresses and maxi skirts that exude a cool and casual vibe. Oversized shirts, loose blouses, and unstructured jersey tunics are also great options that lend well to the bohemian look.

Remember that comfort is a priority here, so prioritize pieces that allow for movement and freedom.

If you’d prefer a slimmer silhouette while wearing bohemian outfits, try pairing them with fitted pieces like leggings or a short denim jacket.

A large tan leather belt is also an easy way to cinch your waist and add some definition and shape to your outfit.

Source: https://bit.ly/3kT6yUK

5. Casual Shoes, Sturdy Sandals, and Chic Boots

In summer, choose sandals with substantial straps and contrasting textures to add some interest and depth to your look.

When dressing for cooler weather, it's important to choose substantial shoes and boots that can balance out the lighter, flowy layers that characterize boho chic.

Oiled leather boots are a great option to pair with dresses or maxi skirts, as they add a rugged, earthy feel to your outfit.

And if you really want to make a statement, look for booties made from materials like sumptuous velvet and with unique details like laces and grommets.

These unexpected touches can elevate your outfit and give it a touch of individuality that really embodies the bohemian spirit.

As with every other aspect of your bohemian outfit, the key is to choose shoes, boots, and sandals that are both comfortable and stylish, allowing you to move freely and express your unique sense of style.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/785033778809264176/

6. Fun Hats with Character

Hats might be the most fun you’ll have with your bohemian outfit. There’s no such thing as choosing one that makes you stand out too much.

Panama hats, straw hats, fedoras, and other wide-brimmed hats have become especially popular. They come in countless styles and all kinds of different fabrics.

Cowboy hats are a great option, too, or consider headscarves with all of their color options.

You can even take extra steps to decorate your hat with buckles, jewels, straps, ribbons, and more. The sky’s the limit.

7. Don’t Be Shy About Necklaces

When it comes to boho chic, necklaces are always a good idea.

That’s why you’ll often see layered necklaces complementing a bohemian look.

Mix and match different lengths, textures, and materials to create a unique effect. Here are some tips on how to nail the layered necklace look:

  • Start with a choker or short necklace as your base. This will sit close to your neck and act as a foundation for the rest of your necklaces.
  • Choose necklaces of different lengths. You can layer three or more necklaces, but make sure they are not all the same length. This will create a tiered effect that looks more interesting.
  • Mix and match different textures and materials. You could layer a delicate gold chain with a chunky beaded necklace or a pendant necklace with a long tassel necklace. Don't be afraid to mix metals, beads, stones, and colors.
  • Now, be careful not to overdo it. While layering necklaces is a great way to add some bohemian flair to your outfit, there’s still a limit. Keep the rest of your accessories simple so that your necklaces can really shine. If your neck starts to hurt, you’ve gone too far.
  • Along the same lines, don’t forget about balance. If you have a statement necklace, balance it out with more delicate pieces. If you have a lot of long necklaces, add a shorter necklace to balance out the look. Too many similar necklaces will mean none of them stands out.

Whatever you choose, necklaces are never a bad idea.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/443534263313336075/

8. Accessorize. Accessorize. Accessorize.

Finally, let’s talk about other types of jewelry and accessories.

This is another area where you have all kinds of options for boho chic.

Look for unique pieces that have an artisanal feel.

Handmade jewelry made from natural materials is perfect for this. You’ll find plenty of options out there that are made from materials like bamboo, metal, terracotta, shell, and even coins. This type of jewelry adds a bohemian touch to any outfit.

That’s not all.

Jewelry made with feathers, beads, threads, and tassels can give your look a playful and carefree vibe. It's all about finding jewelry that reflects your personal style and adds to the overall bohemian feel of your outfit.

Aside from necklaces, here’s a list of other options for achieving a bohemian look with the rest of your outfit:

  • Headbands and hair accessories: Headbands made of fabric or decorated with beads and feathers can be a fun addition to a bohemian hairstyle. Hair accessories like clips and combs with natural elements like stones or shells can also fit well with the style.
  • Statement earrings: Dangly, oversized boho earrings in bold colors or with unique shapes can add an extra touch of flair to your outfit.
  • Natural gemstone or wood jewelry for an earthy feel
  • Bangles and other chunky bracelets
  • Ankle bracelets or foot jewelry for a free-spirited vibe
  • Sunglasses with round frames or unique details like colored lenses to complete your boho look.
  • Vintage-inspired belts with interesting buckles
  • Scarves in bold prints or tie-dye patterns (again, these can be great in place of a hat)
  • Handmade or woven bags with unique textures and designs

Because so much of bohemian style is about choosing vintage, secondhand, and unconventional pieces, you’ll love collecting jewelry and accessories that you’ll be able to wear for the rest of your life.

Get Some Boho Chic Inspiration: Celebrities With A Bohemian Style

By all means, cultivate your own unique sense of style as you explore all that boho chic has to offer.

But if you want a little help getting started, this article on celebrities who love bohemian style is a great place to start for inspiration.

  • Talitha Getty
  • Donna Summer
  • Janis Joplin
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Chaka Khan
  • Sienna Miller
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
  • Zoe Kravitz
  • Florence Welch
  • Vanessa Hudgens

Other celebrities who have become known for boho chic include Kate Hudson, Kate Moss, and June Ambrose.

TK and Cipriana Quann of Urban Bush Babes will give you plenty of good ideas, too. Also, check out Rosemary RetroElise Cook, and The Salty Blonde for even more inspiration.

And recently, we published a post on the best bohemian clothing brands

Embracing the Fun of Bohemian Style

Well, there you go.

You now know everything you need to know about bohemian style to start filling your closet.

Take a look at our store for plenty of great boho clothes from independent designers and artists.

But just remember the most important rule: have fun! Bohemian style is all about being comfortable, loving how you look, and expressing your inner creative!