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History of Boho Style (Part II)

Part I of our look into bohemian style first took us to ancient Bohemia, and then turned to Bohemianism as a movement in Europe beginning in the early 19th century – a trip through history that reveals the former actually has little to do with the latter beyond the name.

As we continue to explore bohemian style, we pick up the tale when the look, thought and culture began to arrive on American shores in the mid-19th century.

American Bohemians  

Boho style may be trending now, but it’s been around for a long, long time. Or, more specifically, the philosophy was introduced fairly early in America’s history.

Knowing a thing or two about how trends migrate, it would come as no surprise to historians that the term “bohemian” first began to circulate in the U.S. among world travelers and journalists who had spent time abroad. In fact, the word became synonymous with news writers before it was more widely adopted by artists of all stripes.  

Eventually, the term evolved to describe anyone with artistic leanings who eschewed the trappings of conventional society, and from there it entered mainstream culture by way of America’s Beat generation of the 50s and the hippies of the 60s – counterculture movements not unlike those in Paris that birthed Bohemianism in the first place.

Bohemian Style Today

In 2016, boho style can be seen in fashion, furnishings and interior decor. The style is captured in colors, mixed textures and bold patterns, with free-spirited designs inspired by the nomadic cultures that crisscross Europe and North Africa.

A purist will tell you that true boho style can’t be contrived, because the essence of it stems from a capricious attitude toward conventional appeal. In other words, the very definition of bohemian style is its lack of definition.

But, there’s always a point at which nonconformity BECOMES the style, and therein lies the enduring beauty of boho – on some level, boldness and color speaks to the rebel in all of us. 

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