Straight Up Boho and Not Boho Chic

Back in the ’80s when my mother was dressing me in acid-washed jeans, parachute pants, loud-striped loose T-shirts, and culottes, I was already seeing myself in what was to be my lifelong style preference, which was bohemian. I just knew even then while I was smack in the middle of that period that I didn’t like ’80s fashion. I’m not sure if these sentiments stemmed from things I’ve seen on TV or read in books, but I definitely longed for the ’60s and the ‘70s.

As soon as I could, I washed out the noxious hairspray from my shoulder-length frizzy hair and started growing it to waist-length. I traded in my tight-rolled up jeans for some flared denim pants, and the boxy jacket (with shoulder pads — honestly, what was the rationale in making a ten-year-old wear these?)-cum-pencil skirt ensemble for a tunic dress.

Now, I’ve never been intentionally fashionable in my life. If I’ve ever seemed that in the past, that was purely by accident or through the help of my sister who got all the fashion acumen in the family. When I say that my style is bohemian, I don’t mean boho chic a la Nicole Richie or the Olsen Twins. I mean that my hair is gathered in a thick frizzy braid, not stylishly tousled or wispy. My clothes are maybe a decade old and even ten years ago, they would have come from a thrift store. You may detect an artsy air, but there’s nothing chic in the effect at all.

For fashionistas, it’s easy enough to adopt a boho chic style. If you’re into fashion, then you probably have a flair for it, so whatever style you sport, you’ll end up looking good. Yeah, that’s not really the case with me. However, if boho chic is what you’re after, I do know that you just need the following elements and you’re set:

· Headband — This is obviously not the neat hairband you see on preppy girls. This has flowers, beads, feathers, and other whimsical bits. It usually circles across the forehead.

· Flowy blouse — It can be a flimsy or filmy material that bears a floaty, ethereal feel, or it can have a psychedelic or geometric pattern print.

· Flowy long skirt — It is similar to the flowy blouse.

· Maxi dress — Now, this can be flowy or this can be medieval. Fairy or Maid Marian/Merida? Take your pick.

· Vest — This adds a gypsy feel.

· Earthy accessories — Obviously, you don’t want delicate, streamlined, and modern. You want clunky, chunky, gemstones, pewter, copper…

Boho clothing can definitely be fashionable. Ultimately, it really depends on who’s wearing it.