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  • Writer's pictureLatisha Sonia

Is Boho Chic the New Slay?

The day is bathed in sunlight and you are out with your girlies (or dudes) on a yacht, clad in a crocheted cream top with a black ruffled maxi skirt and a pair of gold lace-up sandals. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention the Hawaiian flower claw clip paired with a crocheted sling across the shoulder.

If you have yet to figure out the look that I eagerly attempt to paint for you, fret not! An aesthetic that dates back to the 18th century, the Bohémian aesthetic, in short, Boho, would either be one you love or simply can’t stand.

The French word, ‘Bohémian’ is a derogatory term that was first used to describe Romani immigrants, pejoratively referred to as Gypsies, who came to France from Bohemia - the modern-day Czech Republic. While the origin and early history of Gypsies was long an enigma, their free-spirited nomadic lifestyle was marked by poverty - often working temporary jobs.

The Bohémian aesthetic as a Counterculture

Leading a precarious lifestyle, Gypsies were shunned by the French elite in the late 18th century given their musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. Gradually, their unorthodox professions began translating to their everyday wear as they wore a mix of bold and vibrant paisley prints and geometric patterns.

However, the French Revolution that took place between 1787 and 1799 resulted in financial turmoil wherein the French elite resorted to wearing older clothes - resembling that of the Gypsies. With one of the defining features of the Bohémian aesthetic being flowy, loose-fitting garments, French fashion designer, Paul Poiret, made the shift from tight corsets, to unstructured garments such as the hobble skirt and harem pants - prioritizing freedom of movement, Gypsies alike.

French fashion designer, Paul Poiret, created Boho statement pieces such as the hobble skirt that gained popularity amongst elitist women during the Edwardian era in the late 19th century (Source)

An aesthetic that greatly values self-expression and individuality, the Bohémian aesthetic became a counterculture that gained global recognition as it seceded from conventionality, appealing to individuals who seek an authentic approach to fashion and lifestyle. With Nineties minimalism making a comeback, from vintage streetwear to futuristic luxury, such as your 2000s style and Y2K fashion, it’s safe to say that the 90s isn’t the only era that’s here for good.

The Evolution of Boho

An evolutionary fashion era, the Boho look is strongly associated with the hippie style of the 60s and 70s. Recollecting my first sight of a Boho look when an image of the queen of High School Musical, Ms. Hudgens at Coachella surfaced on the internet, I was in complete awe at the simplicity yet liveliness of the look as I had not seen anyone wear something like that before. (Disclaimer: 13-year-old Sonia had never been to a music festival, let alone, a concert before, and instantaneously felt the urge to do so in every inch of her body when this image appeared on her feed)

Hudgens attended the Coachella Music Festival in 2011 styled in the iconic Boho look that took the internet by storm - a floral crocheted halter top, and distressed denim shorts, accessorized with layered bangles, necklaces, and face gems (Source)

A huge inspiration to my love for the Boho style, I do not quite think that there is anyone better fitted for the title of “Boho Realness” than the one and only Ms. Hudgens herself. Hudgens’ Coachella ensembles have since paved the way for many music festivals and concertgoers, myself alike, as she boldly pairs chunky accessories with Western-esque belts - all of which encompass the Bohémian aesthetic.

Hudgens taking a casual stroll on the streets of Los Angeles as she looks flared and fabulous in her white spaghetti top and bell bottom jeans paired with layered necklaces and a quintessential Boho staple, a Western-esque belt (Source)

Is it givin’ Boho chic tho?

The evolution of Boho did not stop at Hudgens.

Known for her reality television series, “The Rachel Zoe Project”, American fashion designer and celebrity wardrobe stylist, Rachel Zoe was credited for the creation of the “boho-meets-rock chic” look that introduced a new wave of “It girls” in the mid-2000s. In less than no time, every It girl in town had an essence of Boho in their fit.

Celebrity wardrobe stylist, Rachel Zoe introduces the “boho-meets-rock chic” look with bell-bottom jeans, macramé scarves, and beaded necklaces (if these necklaces aren’t my absolute fav…) (Source)

Formerly known as “boho-meets-rock chic”, Boho chic fashion infuses hippie and vintage influences through a mixture of textures, flowy silhouettes, and colors that can range from muted to vivid. An everyday maxi dress paired with a belt bag and voilà you’ve landed yourself a Boho chic look.

In fact, the Bohémian aesthetic isn’t just for the girlies.

A cross between jeans and shorts, the return of the jorts paired with a crocheted button-up would be the perfect fit for the blazing heat in our little red dot. Also, if you have yet to figure out the importance of accessorizing with necklaces and rings, this image should do the trick! (Source)

An aesthetic that embraces diversity, Boho chic also provides an avenue to explore modest yet sophisticated fits. To all my Hijabis, don’t you worry as I’ve got you covered!

Exploring various textiles, a cream linen button-up paired with a sage silk straight-cut skirt and a cream Hijab provide the perfect match for a modest and opulent everyday look. Perhaps, consider wearing this to your next tutorial because who said campus can’t be your fashion runway? (Source)

Once eschewed by the elite, luxury fashion houses such as Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Chloé, are now celebrating the Bohémian aesthetic as they incorporate Boho staples into their high-end designs. Isn’t it crazy how countercultures can evolve into mainstream fashion that we boldly flaunt today?

Renowned fashion model, Gigi Hadid appeared in a head-to-toe tie-dye, loose-fitted two-piece on the runway for women’s ready-to-wear and accessories luxury brand, Altuzarra. (Source)

Defying the stereotype that opulence can only be rigid and formal, Boho chic has since blurred the lines between casual and elegant wear as it integrates the free-spirited aesthetic of Bohémian fashion into luxury design. And so as Boho and luxury are a match made in (fashion) heaven, it can very well be concluded that Boho chic is indeed the new slay!

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