There's a reason that women's bohemian style pops up in fashion trends every few years: it's edgy, yet feminine, and irresistibly alluring. Musicians like Janis Joplin and Erykah Badu made the style their signature, as have the Olsen twins, Sienna Miller, and Kate Moss, but 2020's bohemians are injecting fresh new energy into the trend. Alongside the usual flounces, ruching, and pleats, this season's key palettes include stunning purples, amethysts, and limes, alongside fall's rusts, ochres, and sage greens.
Feeling the love? Here's how to tap into your free-spirited side and master the bohemian look for women.
The maxi-length pleated dress is the foundation for contemporary women's bohemian style and it looks immediately pulled together for those days when you're in a hurry. An elegant choice for the office, it also segues nicely into playtime with the kids or grabbing a cocktail with friends. Look for dark, rich hues, in floral, animal, or chain motifs. You can mix patterns for a patchwork effect and layer it with an oversized sweater or a faux-fur jacket with a thrift-store vibe.
Call it a balancing of the yin and yang, but the feminine aspect of bohemian style can shine through in traditionally masculine silhouettes. Look for blazers, vests, or jackets in traditional menswear fabrics like pinstripes, houndstooth, and tweed. Balance them out with an ethereal ruffled blouse or a long, flowing skirt.
A chiffon or organza top imbues a bohemian look for women with requisite romance and mystery. Layer a nearly transparent blouse over a solid knit tank or dress for a breezy effect or pair it with bold, bright florals or tie-dye patterns underneath. Today's tunic-length tops can practically stand in for mini-dresses, but you can also wear them with washed-out denim, velvet, or skinny pinstripe trousers.
Dreamy fringe detail is central to women's bohemian style, and this season it adds drama to statement evening pieces like dresses and coats for a full and feathery effect. These designs also play on transparency, shifting with movement to reveal layers beneath the surface. Choose a flirty fringed sweater in bright hues and brighten up a neutral, classic skirt or trousers, or wear it with denim or khaki to up the ante on casual days.
Extra-long-sleeved sweaters with high necks and low hems feel comforting and warm, especially with a hand-knitted or crocheted construction. Wear these with the darkest, sleekest denim for days when you want to look relaxed but sophisticated. Go for a core bohemian look for women by pairing these tops with long, handkerchief-hem print skirts for a Virginia Woolf vibe. For the signature bohemian patchwork effect, opt for sheer layers worked into skirts for a stitched-in, hand-repaired look.
The poncho has always embodied a free-spirited, troubadour aesthetic. Don a long poncho as a substitute for a light fall coat and wear it with ankle-skimming trousers or a soft skirt. A cozy cape or oversized fringed shawl will evoke similar wanderlust-fueled whimsy. Shorter, lighter versions can stand in for a sweater, adding a Southwestern vibe when worn with straight-cut jeans or a suede skirt.
A foray into bohemian fashion for women is often best expressed via accessories. Look for fringed oversized leather or suede shoulder bags, or woven basket styles worn over the elbow. Hoop earrings are a natural pairing with the bohemian look for women but also seek out updated charm bracelets, necklaces, and belts with large, dangling ornaments or buckles designed to draw attention. The thigh-high boot makes a soft return in suede this season, while chunky ankle boots and the classic 1970s clog—in pretty floral prints—lend serious boho credibility. A felt or straw floppy hat will complement all those soft flounces and ruffles, or you can finish the look with flowing, natural hair worn long or tied up with a boho-patterned kerchief, bandana, or headscarf.