Saturday, 21 March 2015

My Style Lessons Part Three: Boho

Look here I am being a boho babe!  I like to stand around in doorways being all babelicious.  This is a not -leaving- home -today outfit.  It's a bit blingy and I would prefer the silver to get a bit tarnished. Actually I would prefer some wood beads mixed in.  I'll get on that.  This boob-minimising stretch lace dress looks a bit too night club for my liking when worn with bare legs.  When paired with jeans it's a bit of a what -the -hell -is -she- doing look which I prefer.  These are my bit-too-baggy pre-menstrual jeans.  Don't we all have those?  The dress and the jeans are on my probably not keeping list, but this was a moment of giving them another chance.


 I will get hot and cold alternately all day just to annoy Katy Perry, so sometimes a cardigan will be utilised.  As will a really fake smile that looks more like a baring of teeth.  And who needs socks or shoes?  This is not a classic look but since it's also not a no-effort look that makes it boho by my definition.



Here is an example of a look I love but could not comfortably wear.  The colour is right for me and so is the boho vibe, but even assuming I did add pants or a skirt the heavy belt would drive me crazy and the voluminous top would make me look voluminous myself.  I could tolerate the belt for a special occasion event.  My willingness to be slightly uncomfortable increases if the goal is to stand around and look pretty for a short while.   I might pair this with a maxi skirt and wear it to a party.  I would definitely not wear it around the house.  I do not go to parties. 


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 Although I will sometimes wear my skirts and dresses boho style, it is essentially my preferred look for styling jeans.  I don't really like the term boho and what it conjures in my mind (a stylist invented look with a prescribed wardrobe of denim, short cut-offs, lace, maxi skirts, cowboy boots, anything 'ethnic' looking, felt floppy hats and gladiator sandals) but I have to own up to it.  I do indeed do Boho almost by default, but I try to do it my way.  It has been a favourite style my whole life and I even had boho leanings as a child in the seventies when my favourite style icon was Rhoda Morgenstern .  I was a terrible misfit for eighties style because of this and basically I seem to have been born ten years too late.

With jeans I am more likely to wear a top with more volume. A peasant blouse or a slouchy sweater, contrasting the volume on top with a slim line on bottom.
I would wear something like this look below, though I might front-tuck the blouse. My accessories choices tend to be boho in style, particularly my jewelry and handbags.  I don't deliberately try to make an outfit look boho it's just that what I add to it will make it more so.

If I wanted to put pearls with something I would not choose these:

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But I nearly got lost for a day looking at earrings like these, which I would happily pair with my jeans.

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I do own some classic simple pearl pieces, since pearl is my birthstone.  I tend to pair them with other things, so I will put my string of pearls with heavy silver chains, for instance or a necklace of beads or shells.

This is a simple boho look I would wear around the house.
Note: orange is not my best colour.

                        Image found on Pinterest pinned from this blog

Boho Elements I love:

Denim
Lace
Gauzy fabric
Velvet
Corduroy (poor woman's velvet)
Brown leather boots or sandals
Sliver and pewter rustic jewelery or Celtic style jewelry-especially earring and finger rings
Semi-precious and unpolished stones
Messy hair and braids
Hand crafted accessories
Maxi skirts
Some 'ethnic' patterns though this is now controversial
Earth tones though they are not my best colours
Scarves
Fringe
Embroidery
Large unstructured bags-totes or cross body

This is my ideal pair of jeans. (without the rips)  Finding jeans that fit well is not an easy thing and mine never fit like I am hoping they will.  At least I can now get them long enough.  I like my flares to drag on the ground just slightly.  I want the hem to get frayed.  Where I live, that makes flares a poor choice from mid October through to May because the ground is often wet.  Flares are my summer jean of choice.
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I would wear them like this image below, and just as shown here, I have learned it looks best on my if I front-tuck a voluminous blouse.  I have also learned not to buy these blouses in a size too big unless I am buying it new and it is rayon, which always seems to shrink even when washed in cold.

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Here is a boho-cardigan look I love.  I would wear this with jeans but I am going to share with you what I have learned about cardigans and my body type.

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A cardigan makes an attractive layer, it adds a bit of warmth when needed, but it can also add bulk.  I realised that I don't actually do up my cardigans, if I am that cold I need to dress differently or get a blanket!  Buying cardigans that will do up over my chest usually resulted in buying a size that is too big for the rest of me and a cardigan is not a garment you take to the tailor.  I am more flattered by a snug fit, where the cardigan frames the top I am wearing and hugs the sides of my body.  This cardigan above has a loose, draped look to it which I am definitely attracted to but it may not be as flattering on me as I would hope. I would have to be careful not to get it in too big a size. 

Instead of copying the boho-chic looks easily found all over Pinterest or blogs, I just allow all of these elements which I love anyhow to be part of how I often dress.  I don't feel obligated to assemble an outfit following any rules.  I will likely pair Mary-Jane shoes with a maxi skirt instead of gladiator sandals or cowboy boots.  I don't live in Southern California, Arizona or Nevada, so that American South-West version of boho feels like a costume to me.  With the exception of a pair of western-style boots and some turquoise and silver jewelry, I don't deliberately go for the Navajo inspired look.  After all, I still remember when those Navajo sofas were a trend.

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Navajo textiles are gorgeous and I would definitely buy a rug or pillow from an actual Navajo seller.

The boho look is very much associated with images that could be considered cultural appropriation but even if items are purchased from original artisans it can sometimes feel to me as though it is a bit fake to adorn oneself so much in images that represent a culture that is not my own and not one I travel to visit.  An internet search quickly reveals that the boho look is heavily influenced by anything perceived to look gypsy-like First Nations/American Indian, South American, African, Indian, Mexican, and is clearly not W.A.S.P.   The idea is to represent all your travels or to appear as though you do travel.  Because I cannot travel, this can look a bit fake and poseur to me, even though I usually like such items.  The original intention behind embracing items made by other cultures was often a way of appearing non-conventional but it was also a way of being decorative without spending a lot of money.  Hand crafted and slightly rustic items appeal to me, but many are still a bit pricey for me.  I buy things second hand that are cast offs from other people's travels but try to avoid a globetrotting wanderer sort of look.    I look for locally handcrafted jewelry pieces and vintage or antique pieces and mix them with simple wood beads. I am crazy for Celtic jewelry and given my ancestry I think I am entitled to wear it.

Here's another picture for those of you who were patient. Sorry it is a bit dark.  You were just waiting for more pictures of me, weren't you?  This is very casual at home boho.  The linen tunic was once black but I bleached it to brown which I prefer.  The jeans are cropped at ankle length which I don't really like so I prefer to roll them up.  I think this goes back to the days when most jeans were too short for me and looked cropped even though cropped was not fashionable.   The casual cotton cardigan is a favourite and if you think it is still bulky and big you haven't seen what I used to wear.  It was white but I dyed it to my favourite plum-rose colour.


26 comments:

  1. I love the boho look. I sometimes, a bit more frequently than I care to admit refer to it as the hobo look. My daughters love to correct me. I guess what I like most about this type of style is the textures of the fabrics and the casualness of the look. I also like the embellishment aspect of this look. I sometimes think that this style pairs well with elements of the equestrian style as well.
    I think the girl with the teal gauze is a subset which I call the "sexy ingenue" boho look.
    I think it is fine to wear fabrics and clothing that can be cultural specific. I lived in Africa I think it is fine for me to wear African print pants even though I am a Caucasian person. I think that it is a way to honor the culture. I love Native American jewelery as well as I also love different European types of styles and clothing items. I just stay away from religiously associated clothing. I think wearing those for style would be disrespectful.
    I like the thought of overdying some of my clothing. I think I might come up with something useful out of something not useful. Your dying efforts have come out great. I love this series and have learned a lot thanks for taking the time to share your insights.

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    1. LOL-at the hobo look! I am sure it often looks like that. I think it is fine for anybody to where whatever they want to. It has become increasingly controversial when designers use or imitate prints and designs from other cultures but I think that nobody really owns a design. If I use too much of one particular look from a culture I am not really connected to in some way it just feels wrong for me personally. I am not saying it is wrong for other people. :-)

      Thanks for all of your kind comments and for reading all of my posts. I am glad you enjoyed them. xoxoox

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  3. I love the whole bellbottom thing and always have. It's hard for me to find them in long lengths though. Love that blue lace dress! If that style dress looked good on my body I'd wear it to my daughter's wedding. It looks very flattering on you. Nice job on the dye job and a great idea!

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    1. Some brands offer different leg lengths and some just make them longer so people can wear them with heels. This seems to me to be an improvement since the 70s and 80s when jeans were frequently too short for me. Thanks for the vote of confidence about the blue lace dress. I haven't given up on it yet. ;-) xoxo

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  4. I like the boho style and it definitely suits you. X

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie. It feels right so I think that helps it to look right. xoxo

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  5. very interesting approach!, I also like that so-called-boho style, but for me it's just the way I'm used to do casual, peasant blouses, embroideries, pendants, maxi dresses, tye&dye..., but I do it my way, as you also do!, I think everybody can take whatever they like and ignore the rest. I'm a huge fan of 80's, but don't love everything from this era.
    I like how a dress over jeans looks on you, and also like your muted tones subtle combo, you rock them!
    besos

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for you encouraging comments! I agree about taking what you like and ignoring the rest, though sometimes we are stuck with what is available to us. I remember mostly bright colours and plastic costume jewelry in the eighties. Living in a small town means the selections in second hand shops are quite slim too. The most frustrating thing about second hand shopping is finding something you love but not in your size. xoxo

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  6. Rhoda! I loved how she'd wear scarves on her head. Do you remember her job? She was a window-decorator.

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    1. Yes, I remember thinking that was the coolest job ever. I also remember when she decided to become an interior decorator and she redid Lou Grant's place and it was such a disaster-all ultra modern and white and so not suited to him. xoxo

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  7. I love your version of boho! You look comfortable and cool and approachable. The idea that only tiny pretty girls wearing short shorts and lace tops is real boho is silly. I love Rhoda - and now I'll be checking netflix to see if I can binge watch. I thought she was the coolest person on television when I was a kid.
    I'm really enjoying your style journey. I kind of am wanting to fly up and hug you for being an inspiration.

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    1. Thanks, Bobbi. I have no objection to hugs but I suggest you wait until the weather gets better! ;-) I laughed at your description of tiny pretty girls in short shorts and lace tops because that is exactly what is all over the internet if you google search boho. xoxo

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  8. I am the one who was waiting to see photos of you, and here you are - wahoo! I actually like the first look, the lace is pretty, colors are great together and on you, and I too wore similar looks in the past - dresses over jeans plus a long cardi. It looks dressed up, but not forced. I like baggy "boyfriend" cardies too, in fact one of my latest outfits was with such a cardi (I might post it later). The last look is very comfy and stylish too. You are relaxed and at ease with yourself, and that's very, very cool! I'm impressed how fine-tuning your choices of clothes and style for yourself are.

    Hope you have some sunshine in your beautiful artistic home! Love xxxx

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    1. Okay, so there are a couple votes for that blue dress. Perhaps I will hang onto it. LOL Fine tuning things, examining them and wanting to understand is a very Shawna thing. I get really uncomfortable if I feel I do not know enough about something I want to understand. I have to admit that physics is a bit more challenging for me than my own personal style though that doesn't stop me from reading about it. Just be glad I don't blog about it LOL. xoxoxo

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  9. you´r doing it very well lately :-) all the bleaching/dyeing has payed out! next you will make a seed chain for necklace ;-)
    european boho is not so much about tex-mex and such - it´s more mille fleur dresses, sheep fur, eastern european folk art and a bit turn of the century mens clothes. lace up boots, any vintage hats, shawls, shawls and more shawls. doctor bags. old paste/rhinestone jewelry. which i like much more, especially because the california/arizona/new mexican style simply is to flimsy for our climate and looks a bit wrong in central european environment.
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks Beate. I actually already have a seed chain necklace but of course I need more! I do prefer the European boho which is probably why I also love the Victorian-influenced lagenlook. I love Ivey Abitz designs and as a little girl I always wanted a carpet bag. I love Tex-mex food but not the clothing. LOL xoxoxo

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  11. Hi Shawna!
    I like to say my style is classic with a touch of quirky and boho. Being in California, the bohemian look seems to be a part of our natural DNA...the Mexican and Native American influences are engrained in us. And Coachella, well, let's just say Coachella is like the biggest thing since sliced bread. Have I ever gone? No, I'm not into that type of scene. I prefer not to run around all day in dirt and use portable toilets - YUCK!

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  12. Like Beate, I think of a more European peasant style when I hear the term boho, a Seventies earthy hippy sort of look. Elements of this, I like; all together, it can feel a bit much. The colours, fabrics and textures you mentioned in your boho list are all lovely, although I don't possess anything made from corduroy, and plaits are not something I can do!
    I very much like the blue lace dress, and I think you would look fantastic in it without layering it over jeans! Go for it! xxx

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  13. Don't get rid of the dress ... it looks gorgeous with jeans!!!!!

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  14. I can't tell you how many times my feet got soaking wet because of my love for flares. As far as I can remember, I've loved flares since my early teens (I'm 29 so that's nineties when they weren't even in). My mother used to make ordinary jeans flare by inserting some fabric into them.

    Anyhow, I think I know what you mean by having different ideas about boho as the rest of the world. Personally, that first outfit feels very boho to me. I love to wear dresses over jeans. It makes me feel very feminine and still quite relaxed. I think jeans are a good piece to balance something out. I often opt for them when I want to wear something a bit different...them or a pencil skirt...though why I need to wear a pencil skirt with everything is a whole new subject.

    From the things you listed you like about boho, embroidery is what I prefer the most...I make my own embroidery, even if it is a lot of work...in some ways for me embroidery is like painting.

    To conclude, I love both outfits, but the first one is my fav...let's call it a barefoot princess.

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    1. I have always wanted to embroider but never tried it. I do not know what is stopping me really. I like hand needle work but am a bit intimidated by it. Time to get over that and you will be my inspiration! Barefoot princess sounds good to me! xoxo

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  15. I live in Scotland so wet jean bottoms are just part of life, especially if you live in flares/bootcuts like I do. I enjoyed this post very much, I'm a new blogger and the thought of fashion post is something I think I could only do with a semblance of irony/humour! I'm kind of a Pinterest addict and fall down fashion rabbit holes too, where skinny 16 year old's in "boho" outfits are numerous and not particularly realistic (I.e. pants-less)! I really liked the last outfit because you made things that didn't work more you by dyeing them - that would never have occurred to me as I'm not remotely crafty but I'm quite tempted to give it a go now! I really love the dreamcatcher necklace and floaty Californian vibe of your post, my Mom lived in San Francisco in the 60's and I've always related to that era fashion wise the most!

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  16. What can I say? You are too funny and too awesome. That's why you're The Director!

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