Thursday, April 9, 2015

On the Fringe of Boho

Here it comes again... Although we know Boho never really went away. When a trend is named THE guiding style of the season, it's pretty hard to ignore. Besides, Boho is fun, especially for us gals who like to play dress-up. It won't be fun for the JCrewish or Gapaholics except in small doses.

One can— and probably should— Boho carefully lest one look like a refuge from a road company of "Hair". Make that especially so if you are a WOACA (Woman of a Certain Age). The rule of thumb about vintage has always been: if you wore it once in its full flower, you can't wear it again. Thus anything before the '60s is fair game for me. After that would be deja vu all over again.

The Summer of Love officially began in 1969 with Woodstock, but the Bohemian look (calling it "Boho" came later), was being worn for some time by those whose lifestyle it reflected.

Talitha Getty has become the patron saint of Boho. Her delicate features and jet-set journeys (much time spent in Marrakesh) set off the look, though she took a tumble after her early death from a drug overdose. It was Look as She Looked just Don't Do as She Did.

Talitha Getty in a Berber
wedding dress, 1971

I do remember debating whether my wedding dress in 1968 should be a riff on a Victorian nightgown (carrying daisies) or a Courreges-inspired mini-dress (with roses). I opted for the latter as the wedding was at The Plaza and not in Central Park. Bohemian was not yet for everywhere.

What sparked this return to the forest? I'm thinking the resurgence of festivals such as Coachella and Burning Man have inspired Bohemian group-think. It is a kind of uniform so one doesn't feel out of place.

Coachella "street style"

By the looks of the Bergdorf Goodman email I received this morning, "Start Your Journey in Boho Style" does not come cheap. With prices from a relative bargain $1890 for a Roberto Cavalli palazzo pants outfit, to a $7900 Valentino gown (can't just call it a dress), there must be gold in them thar Bohemian Hills. Thus anointed, you can be sure— Boho is back.

Cavalli $1890, Valentino $7900, Etro $4300,
Ralph Lauren $3185

Free People isn't free either, though that brand has been churning out Boho since 2001. Aimed squarely at the young with money (target age 26), Free People slices and dices Boho into mini skirts and thigh-high boots, midriff tops with ground-grazing dusters. Price range: $58 to $428.

Of course you don't need brand identity to create the Boho look. It really should be about individual expression and combining what you have. Thus 2015's Boho is all about balance: a t-shirt and jeans with an embroidered vest, beads and chunky sandals, a long skirt with a classic button-down, tooled leather belt and earrings that sway. It's a bit more mix-and-match, folkloric and tribal. Ixnay the head wraps lest you laugh your head off at the photos in years to come.


  1. I noticed the trend at Anthropologie this year too. I'm still not in a position to purchase most things there, but in my 20's it would have made me so green with envy to be in there! Of course, I still managed with all my thrift store finds... as I still do! But today I am creating more refined looks. I'll take a pass on this season's trend.

    1. If you're aiming for your very own style, it makes sense to take a pass on what you know is a passing fancy. Takes discipline though, so I admire you!

  2. I turn 74 in September and basically never gave up my love of Boho! Still receiving compliments from everyone, including strangers passing by ~~~

    1. Good for you! Nothing like a compliment from a stranger to make your day, too. And of course, what goes around comes around and nothing is ever new under the sun. : > )