In the fashion world, we hear many times that the boho style is back and the hippie style was revived on runways and in the streets. These two trends, while similar, are often mistaken and mixed – and while nobody says it is wrong, true boho style lovers and veritable hippie fashionistas frown upon the common confusion made between these two dressing styles. Today we will take a closer look at each one of these unusual and free-spirited types of fashion and emphasize their similarities and their differences.
When you talk about fashion, there are basic things that you want to wear or clothes that you want to mix together. These clothes will basically end up in the casual type category. Thus, nobody would automatically traverse a hippie or bohemian style, except of course, if you are to go to a themed party. Thus, there are also people who actually wear these types of fashion on a day to day basis. You might often wonder why this is. It is basically not normal, but they seem to enjoy flaunting what they wear. Where do they get their inspiration from, then? And what are the differences between bohemian and hippie fashion?
Both the boho fashion and the hippie style are old styles emerging in the past and getting a modern revival once in a while. However, they originate from different places (from a geographic point of view and a philosophical one as well).
The hippie fashion is clearly political-driven. The original hippies, promoting a unisex attire, bright colours, flared jeans, sandals, long hair, and coloured strands of beads were indeed fighting the establishment, propelling a handful of radical ideas. Their attire was a statement in and out of itself, a label of unity, harmony, and affiliation to a common cause and view on life.
The boho style has its origin in a completely different part of the world and doesn’t stem from a political statement, but an aesthetic one. While the boho fashion found some of its roots in the hippie movement, it highlighted a particular lifestyle and personality more, and more women embraced. The boho style is far from being unisex – on the contrary, it praises femininity, a particular type of decadent sophistication and a plethora of specific boho elements that make any woman stand out of the crowd. Being more focused on the aesthetic side of things than the political one, the boho fashion transcended history and turned into an iconic feminine style.
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The History of Bohemian Fashion vs. Hippie Clothing
Boho fashion first started gaining traction in late 19th Century Europe, not necessarily with the intent to be fashionable, but more to make a bold artistic statement and to relish in imaginative freedom. It was—and still is—a means of unabashed self-expression for a lot of people, but now boho fashion also places a great focus on social and environmental consciousness as well.
Hippie clothing styles, on the other hand, were born with a different intent in mind. Starting in the early to mid-1960s, the youth of that era took it upon themselves to protest everything they thought was wrong in the world. It began with the Vietnam War. From that sense of angst, aggression, and anti-establishment sentiments, a new counterculture came into being. Characterized by baggy, loose-fitting clothing; long, shaggy hair; flower headbands; patchwork designs; and ripped jeans, hippie styles were more about purposefully not fitting into social norms and making a strong anti-establishment statement about how disenfranchised people felt than simply artistic expression—although, that was a part of it.
A hippie (sometimes spelled hippy) is a member of the counterculture of the 1960s, originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word hippie came from hipster and was used to describe beatniks who moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The term hippie first found popularity in San Francisco with Herb Caen, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
The origins of the terms hip and hep are uncertain. By the 1940s, both had become part of African American jive slang and meant “sophisticated; currently fashionable; fully up-to-date”. The Beats adopted the term hip, and early hippies inherited the language and countercultural values of the Beat Generation. Hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and many used drugs such as marijuana, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness.
In 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and Monterey Pop Festival
Popularized hippie culture, leading to the Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda and gathered at Avándaro, while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa. In the United Kingdom in 1970, many gathered at the gigantic Isle of Wight Festival with a crowd of around 400,000 people. In later years, mobile “peace convoys” of New Age travelers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge and elsewhere. In Australia, hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass. “Piedra Roja Festival”, a major hippie event in Chile, was held in 1970. Hippie and psychedelic culture influenced the 1960s and early 1970s young culture in Iron Curtain countries in Eastern Europe (see Mánička). Hippie fashion and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, mainstream society has assimilated many aspects of hippie culture. The religious and cultural diversity the hippies espoused has gained widespread acceptance, and their pop versions of Eastern philosophy and Asian spiritual concepts have reached a larger audience.
Hippie and the Beatles
Hippie fashion, on the other note, is said to have had been influenced by the Beatles, primarily the “Swinging London.” Hippie, like Bohemian, is an ancient type of fashion. However, it does not entail a fashionable form of mixing and matching like the former, because hippie is to be free from everything. You get to wear flowers because you want to be yourself. You have no care in the world, and thus, you just want to enjoy every bit that life has to offer.
As you may have noticed, most hipsters are people who are happy go lucky. So you can say that hippie, as of today, can still be considered as a lifestyle.
Hippie, as a form of fashion, is a form of freedom to some people. People who wear hippie clothes get to be individualistic or unique on their own terms and thus feel happy about it.
This just goes to show that Bohemian and hippie are not the same fashion-wise, but as a lifestyle they are. It is a representation of the past that made this world what it is right now—freedom to some people and a beautiful way of interpreting a life well-lived.
Hippies thrived on the rejection of the establishment of corporate culture and conservative values. The hippie fashion itself is old-fashioned and politically driven. Originally the hippies promoted flared jeans, unisex attire, and cored strands of beads, long hair, sandals, and bright colours. Hippies propelled radical ideas.
Their attires had a variety of symbols, including harmony, unity, and affiliation to a certain common way of life. The hippie movement also settled on rejecting conformity. The fashion staples they had, including bold patterns, intricate patterns, tie-dye, headpiece, accessories, and patchwork formed a strong representation of their economic, social, and political values.
Boho Chic fashion
The term Chic means elegant or stylish. It was copied from the Frenchmen in the 19th Century. “Boho Chic” is used to describe a certain style that includes ethnic-inspired accessories, natural-looking hair and make-up, vintage, and flowy clothing. The ‘Boho Chic’ phrase gained its popularity in 2002 when Laura Demasi, an Australian journalist, used the phrase to describe the electric gypsy look that was centred in vogue during that time period. Since Laura Demasi article which has been in existence for two years, Boho Chic still remained to be a popular style.
The term Bohemian itself stands for one with unconventional or informal social habits. In general, boho-chic fashion is comfortable, unconventional, laid back, and self-expressive. Bohemians are more of free-spirited and don’t dress to conform but to please themselves. Also, one does not need to be rebellious to employ the Bohemian style. You just need to be self-expressive, laid back, and creative.
Inasmuch as Hippie style and boho share some common traits, boho style promotes a romantic look and wonderer like lifestyle. Both hippie and boho styles aim to delink from mainstream fashion.
Unlike hippie, the Boho style has no political origins. It, however, stems from an aesthetic origin. Even though some of the Boho fashion roots can be linked to the hippie fashion, its personality and lifestyle have been embraced by women in a huge way. It supports femininity and therefore, far from being unisex.
The boho style has its major foundation of staple elements which bring out the boho look in a unique way when combined in a fashion-aware and feminine manner. This look can be easily pulled by an independent, unconventional, free-spirited, and a life-loving woman with the help of mandatory elements including a general laid-back appearance, natural, free-flowing feminine fabrics, specific accessories, and specific outfit designs.
Most people are drawn to the hippie and Boho designs. Maybe it is just a trend, or perhaps the society is shifting to what unites and connects them back to nature.
Rules Versus No Rules at All
While one of the greatest similarities of the boho and the hippie style is that they both aim for independence from the mainstream fashion, one of their major differences is represented by the specific set of rules (or the complete lack thereof) which make the foundation of the two styles. To be more specific, the hippie movement rejected conformity. Their fashion staples (tie-dye, bold and intricate patterns, patchwork, headpieces, and accessories) were highly symbolic for the social, political and economic views they shared.
Bohemian is now known to be a popular fashion category. Its revolution still does not change its ethnicity, though, because Bohemian is a form of fashion that puts up vintage clothes and mixes them up together.
Hippie, like Bohemian, is an ancient type of fashion. However, it does not entail a fashionable form of mixing and matching like the former, because hippie is to be free from everything. People who wear them get to be individualistic or unique on their own terms, and thus feel happy about it.
The boho style, on the other hand, is built on staple elements which create the boho look when put together in a highly feminine and fashion-aware manner. The boho look can be easily achieved nowadays by any free-spirited, independent, life-loving and unconventional woman with the help of these mandatory elements:
- Natural, free-flowing feminine fabrics: silk, lace, chiffon, organza, velvet, suede, leather, cotton, wool and mohair, among others.
- Natural, earthy colours and hues: all shades of brown, olive, reds, pinks, aqua blues, greens, soft and sweet pastels, colour-blocked orange and tangerine, etc.
- Specific outfit designs: one of the most appraised boho elements is the Bardot boho dress, a staple of femininity, accompanied by maxi skirts and flowing summer dresses, long crocheted cardigans and vests, off-shoulder tops and slouchy blouses, flared blouse sleeves and flared jeans or trousers,
- A general laidback appearance: the boho style emphasizes on relaxation – you can wear layers upon layers of sheer and see-through fabrics, slouchy clothes and slouchy distressed ankle boots, gladiator sandals mixed with midi or maxi dresses and skirt, crocheted or knitted shawls and ponchos, and so on.
- Specific accessories: the boho style and the hippie style probably share the most similarities: both fashion types emphasize on the presence of headpieces and of layered bracelets and necklaces, stacked beads strands and rings, massive, chunky and brightly coloured jewellery in rhinestones, metals, beads, wood and so on.
In conclusion, while the boho and the hippie style do share common traits, the first promotes a romantic, wanderer look and lifestyle, matching any age and personality.