History of Bohemian Fashion

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The new year is upon us and it's a great time of year for reflection, for letting go of things that no longer serve us, and for looking ahead to new beginnings. It's in that spirit that we invite you to take a moment to look back at where ‘Boho’ fashion came from, what it has meant over the years and where the concept is heading. 
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Historic Bohemian Ladies

What is a Bohemian?

The term 'Bohemian' itself began hundreds of years ago as a word that described the local eastern European gypsies, who hailed from an area called ‘Bohemia’. They were travellers who led unusual and nomadic lifestyles. Because of this they had to travel light and by layering their clothing, there was less to carry. On their travels they encountered many different cultures and they would adorn themselves with textiles, trinkets and treasures from afar.
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What we know as 'Bohemian Fashion’ was born out of necessity. After the French Revolutionary war, the economy and social hierarchy of Europe changed dramatically. No longer did artists, musicians, writers or intellectuals enjoy patronage from well-to-do sponsors. Instead they were left to their own devices and it meant, for a lot of them, they simply didn’t have the money for the latest 'on trend' items. So they began to wear second hand clothes, mix-matched clothes, and basically anything they could afford, styled by their inherent creativity. What was a reaction by a poverty stricken class of people, has morphed into something much larger - an entire counter-culture movement.
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@gypsylovinlight wearing bohemian inspired Embella Jewellery
@gypsylovinlight
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As time marched on, these same creative, mix-matched souls began to use their fashion as an act of rebellion. No longer did they feel the need to conform. This liberation led their choice of clothing to become a form of personal expression and it could be as unique as they desired. The artist became the art. The rules of how to dress, how to act, how to be, had been thrown out the window by these free thinking pioneers. They led simple and authentic lives, passionately dismissed materialism and ignored the status quo of the day. Ironically, the style itself shied away from minimalism and generously incorporated maximalism - the more embellishments the better! Exotic prints and textiles were mixed with historically outdated fashion, colours co-existed in bold ways that fashion had never seen before! Anything matched anything so long as it was a true expression of your imagination and self. Bohemian fashion had arrived.
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This unruly ideology has wandered the globe over the years much like the gypsies that inspired it, and has likewise been picked up in some way by every free spirit the generations have blessed this earth with. Rich undercurrents of returning back to nature and retreating from the civilised world heavily influenced the symbology often used in Bohemian Fashion - think feathers, leafs, stones, shells etc. As this concept meandered through different cultures it has adopted many unique looks along the way. 
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Boho Fashion Through the Psychedelic Age

It was during the 60’s and 70’s that Bohemian Fashion entered into our modern lives. The ‘Beatnik', the ‘Flower Child’, the mavericks that saw that mainstream society was limiting their own creative nature - these heroes kept the tradition alive of not giving a **** what other people thought. Dress to express, not to impress. They enjoyed the same liberation honed by their bohemian ancestors, bucking the system and encouraging people to wake up. Bohemian Fashion was now solidified as a sweeping global phenomenon.  
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@ibizabohogirl wearing bohemian inspired jewels
@ibizabohogirl

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Boho Chic Becomes Mainstream Fashion

As we can see the things we associate with 'Boho Chic', have their roots in our collective history. The gypsies of years gone, layered up out of convenience and necessity. When we layer up our clothes and our jewels to create our daily masterpiece, we follow in their well trodden alternative footsteps. Even some of the prints we wear are deeply rooted in history. Paisley, for instance, is recorded to have been first invented as far back as 221 AD and was a print that was commissioned for a local religious group, with its signature tear drop shape representing eternal life! There is always more than meets the eye, if one scratches beneath the surface.
Historically speaking, Bohemian Fashion has been linked with counter-culture underdogs being opposed to oppressive mainstream culture. Ironically, nowadays the term ‘Boho’ gets thrown around left right and centre and the fashion itself has, in some ways, become completely mainstream. Some would argue that the term ‘Bohemian' in its truest sense should no longer be used in this modern version of the concept. But let us remember that it is up to us, the individual, to ensure that we follow not just trends, but follow our hearts and stay true to ourselves

Bohemian Styling Tips

Clothing

Tip 1: Include a variety of both warm and cold colour hues. A mixture of natural, earthy colours with pops of gemstone inspired colours like turquoise work really well. Pastels are also a great way to incorporate subtle colour.

Tip 2: Incorporate shades of the same colour, for example cream, tan, brown. Or sky blue, turquoise and navy. This will allow you to mix and match your look easily.

Tip 3: Mixing prints is much easier when you start with a colour palette, mixing prints, patterns, textures and techniques is the embodiment of boho style. 

 

Jewellery

Tip 1: Select jewellery made from natural materials. For example, silver, gold, semi-precious gemstones, pearls and shells. 

Tip 2: Don't be afraid to layer and stack! Nothing says Bohemian like stacked rings and layered necklaces!

Tip 3: Choose artistic jewellery with design influences from tribes and cultures all over the world. The larger the better to make a statement!