Skip to content

the stylist’s notebook | bohemian rhapsody

23 May 2009

From a darling reader:

Dear La Couturier,
You probably get tons of emails, so thanks for taking to read mine. I love the bohemian chic attire.  It’s fun, it’s fresh, and totally for this summer!  I love how Sienna Miller, and Kate Moss pull it off, but how can I?  You can probably say “Just throw on a embroidered blouse, wide leg jeans, and and a fringe bag” but I want to know more!  I’ve been saving my money, and I’m planning to go shopping really soon, I need your help!  Please help, it would mean a lot.  Btw, I’m on a budget, so anything under $150 bucks is al right with me.


I’ve grown increasingly fond of the bohemian look; whether influenced by the blogosphere’s tendency toward that particular look, or because I am still quite obsessed with the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I shall never know. But I am, at the moment, thoroughly infatuated with all things boho and hippie.

second time in a week - i know, i know. i love it too much, though!

{first things first.}

The effortless, summery look that has become quite coveted since Gucci’s Fall 2008 runway collection, ironically, takes much effort to emulate. The key point, I suppose, is to keep in mind that the overall aesthetics cannot look contrived. A certain degree of being undone intention is what makes the look. But in looking effortless, many interpret that as throwing on whatever. But the true meaning of effortless begs to differ. Meaning: leave your hair au naturel, or in loose waves (which can be easily done). If your hair is naturally straight, curl it with a small-medium barreled curling iron; brush through them lightly. If your hair is wavy (like mine), enhance curls by spraying a bit of product, or simply tying your hair in a messy bun while its damp; let down the next morning.

The same goes for makeup. Natural is the best. Sultrier, nighttime looks are best achieved with smudged kohl liner. The key word  is undone. And unfussy.

{stick with the basics.}

boho basics

When shopping on a budget, to keep in mind the shopping smartly is necessary. As you’ve all heard many a time, investing in basics is key to creating a versatile wardrobe that can be worn numerous ways. More importantly, in this particular case, investing in basics – rather than specific pieces (such as an entire wardrobe dedicated to paisley and florals) – is the foundation for that effortless look without seeming too contrived. Note what the queens of boho/hippie chic all have in common: the loose fitted V-neck tee. Men’s undershirts (tees & tanks), in a size smaller. The mini denim shorts. The boyfriend jeans. Cardigans to throw on. That is what you should focus on.

{accessories are key.}

Accessories are what make the outfit – it is what transforms the entire outfit. The clothes simply exist as a foundation in which to build upon; think of the tee-and-jeans combination as your blank canvas. Add color and personality by way of jewelry, bags, scarves, headwear, eyewear, etc. And since accessories are mere elements of trends/styles, and may come and go, fashion jewelry is perfectly fine – even preferable over fine jewelry. The best places? Vintage/thrift shops: bulk (and authentic to the 60s, 70s) for cheap. Forever 21. H&M. Etc.

boho chic jewelry

With jewelry, the boho chic can cover two extremes: the minimalistic (meaning near none) or the glamorous hippie (think Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie, Ashley Olsen.) Options under $100 can be found at Forever 21, Nordstroms, Topshop & Urban Outfitters. Either way must haves (in my opinion, of course) include:

Stacks of thin bangles. I may be partial, considering that bangles are the only type of bracelet I wear on a daily basis. But stacking thin bangles – plain or with laser engravings & cuts – are so pretty and add lightness to the hippie look. Gold would, perhaps, be more “boho”, but silver ones are equally pretty. Wear them on your wrists or push them near your elbow, a la Nicole Richie. I do suggest investing in good quality ones, but Forever 21 has them quite cheap for a whole lot!
Large bangle. Worn near the elbow. Loooove that look.
Rings. In my opinion, completely crucial. The more, the merrier! But a large, turquoise ring does the trick quite well.
Feather earrings. I find them entirely ethereal and gorgeous; whether it be peacock or a plain, brown feather with gold chains dripping beside it, the look is quite hippie-like. The effect if beautiful – it looks so dainty with hair pulled up or left down.
Minimal necklaces. In my mind, the ideal boho-chic woman focuses entirely on her hands in accessorizing. So skimp the statement necklace and leave it completely un-accessorized. Or, if you must, wear a a long, chain necklace in gold.
Wooden or leather bracelets. Wearing more than one of those beaded wooden bracelets is another option. Such natural materials epitomize the essence of the boho-chic.
Braided bracelet wraps. A la Ettika. Quite the easy DIY, too! Choose your favorite string/ yarn/ cord/ hemp/ leather strips, braid the entire length (length does not matter at all). Add a jump ring (or more) rather randomly on the braid, attach a favorite charm. If it’s longer, simply wrap around your wrist and then tie into a knot.

    boho chic hair

    The head wraps are completely necessary for the quintessential bohemian style. Choosing the type of wrap can create different boho looks: the romantic (Tasha Romantic Flutter Head Wrap, $28), the minimalistic (Double Wrap Braided Headband, $1.50), the natural (Suede Feather Head Wrap, $3.80).

    boho chic bags

    Bags are entirely important in finishing the overrall look; instead of opting for the “classic” handbag, perhaps look for something a bit more unconventional – unique, that is. I’m particularly drawn to bags with long straps that can be worn as a cross-body or shoulder bag. From leather and suede to woven and fringed. Colors? Natural colors, beige, browns, turquoise. Loving:

    The Sak “Eco Harmony” Organic Drawstring Bag: (Nordstroms, sale! $58.90) In dip-dye Gingersnap, the color, pattern, and texture is gorgeous. A beautiful and, of course, eco-friendly hand-crocheted shoulder bag.
    Kimchi Equestrian Fringed Hobo: (Urban Outfitters, sale! $34.99) Fringed perfection. For a lovely, lovely price.
    Suede Fringed Hobo: (Urban Outfitters, sale! $39.99) Another fringed option.
    Suede Fringed Crossbody Bag: (Urban Outfitters, sale! $49.99) Yet another fringed.
    ♥ Kimchi Studded Messenger: (Urban Outfitters, sale! $49.99) Fringed and studded.


      La C.

      54 Comments leave one →
      1. 23 May 2009 11:01 pm

        Words cannot describe how much I adore this post. I too am currently obsessed with the whole bobo/hippie look. I believe that Nicole Richie and Vanessa Hudgens have it down pat. They always look so effortlessly beautiful.

        Like you said, Forever 21 is a fabulous place to buy boho inspired jewelry; and Urban Outfitters has, quite possibly, the most divine selection of hippie bags – fringed perfection! 🙂

      2. 23 May 2009 11:12 pm

        what a great post. you are right about the long necklace.

      3. 23 May 2009 11:48 pm

        love all the basicsu showed;D especially those shorts;)))

      4. 23 May 2009 11:55 pm

        how influential this trend has been! i myself have been styling myself in a more nonchalant kind of way – wavy messy hair, and less eyeliner, more sunkissed look – lots of bangles and rings..lots of jewelry and going more ethnic. lovelovelove it!

      5. 24 May 2009 12:13 am

        yet another lovely and informative post! The hair tip, the basics and accessories you chose are perfect! Thanks for sharing =)

      6. viktoryian permalink
        24 May 2009 12:25 am

        Well, found some interesting stuff over here! Good tips for shopping! 😉

      7. 24 May 2009 1:25 am

        I strive for boho chic every single day!!

        I am so glad you have a post about this. You did a fabulous job with the details.


      8. willykean permalink
        24 May 2009 2:42 am

        I love those Forever 21 bracelets. Very nice jewels!

      9. 24 May 2009 3:13 am

        I love your what to wear posts!

        The picture was of a small bag of candy (mostly chocolate, my favourite ;)) and a movie ticket to Night at the museum 2. We went to see it with my boyfriends son 🙂
        I sent the post from my cell so I didn´t have time to write so much before we had to turn them off 🙂

      10. 24 May 2009 3:42 am

        Hey, great post as always…Have a nice Sunday!
        Lot’s of love Iole

      11. 24 May 2009 3:44 am

        OOOohh!! This is a fabulous post!! 😀
        I looove the boho look~ ;D
        I’ve always been a fan of sling bags and I’m falling in love with all these hairbands 😀 😀

        E> An

      12. 24 May 2009 3:48 am

        This is just fabulous and I wish I owned everything you posted!! Gorgeous xxxx

      13. 24 May 2009 3:57 am

        great tips–I completely agree with your picks and loved drooling over them 🙂

      14. 24 May 2009 4:56 am

        I love that scene in Vicky Cristina Barcelona! Looking forward to seeing summer outfits while it’s winter here 🙂

      15. 24 May 2009 5:56 am

        i want all the jewellery!!!


      16. 24 May 2009 5:56 am

        I would love to be able to wear such laid back beautifully flowing boho creations.. But sadly find myself to uptight.. Hopefully though.. One. day.


        p.s. ATM, I adore wearing Dolce Vita, Miss Dior Cherie and Jean Paul gaultier Classique. Ohh and most frangrances that come in pretty bottles!

      17. 24 May 2009 6:09 am

        What a great tips. J’adore fringe bags. One of my favourite style is bohemian chic… 🙂


      18. 24 May 2009 6:37 am

        Hi there-a lovely post, you’ve picked a great selection of bags and jewellery!

      19. 24 May 2009 7:05 am

        those bangles are sooo cool! 😉

      20. 24 May 2009 7:17 am

        I love this!

      21. 24 May 2009 7:19 am

        Sorry, my comment dissappeared xD This look has grown on me too, especially now that summer is almost here;) Lovely post as always;)

      22. 24 May 2009 7:58 am

        I love this post, my dear, I think I’m going to print it and study it 😀

        You’re so right about the effortlessely look!!!!!!!


      23. 24 May 2009 8:44 am

        I love these kinda bags 🙂 i own this kinda bag and i can’t live without it !
        happy sunday 🙂
        Boubou xx

      24. 24 May 2009 8:54 am

        Ahh! I live in the bohemian look. I suppose it’s the gypsy in me. Bangles are indeed key. (It’s a ledgend among some small children that I was born wearing mine.) Yet don’t forget the full skirt. That, is by far the ultimate staple for any bohemian!
        Thanks for the comment ma cherie!

      25. 24 May 2009 9:05 am

        Head wraps have always looked really stupid on me, so I go for the little braid head band or just really straight hair.
        I saw that peacock bangle when I was in forever 21, and it looks just as good as in the photo, which is rare.
        Nice post, as always. xo d

      26. 24 May 2009 9:27 am

        Fantastic post, darling LaC! Especially loving the jewels!


      27. 24 May 2009 10:32 am

        Another great post from you!! 🙂 I need to try the headwarp thing soon

      28. 24 May 2009 11:15 am

        I love your jewerlly selection!

      29. 24 May 2009 11:50 am

        mmmm, fringed bags and turquoise rings are ALWAYS on my love list. Wonderful post girlie 🙂

      30. 24 May 2009 2:08 pm

        love the boho/hippie look! Its so natural and (like you said) its so unfussy, its beautiful!

        i love the jewelry you posted! that forever 21 peacock bangle! really really want it


      31. 24 May 2009 2:14 pm

        i agree. accessories are definitely important in a bohemian look! 🙂

      32. 24 May 2009 2:22 pm

        love the jewelery!!

      33. 24 May 2009 2:58 pm

        Great post! You always give such thorough advice.

      34. 24 May 2009 3:56 pm

        long live boho!!!

        and it is so nice that juicy is finally doing something right (their jewelry).

      35. 24 May 2009 5:22 pm

        bohemian style is my go-to look for summer! so easy & effortless to throw on! 🙂

        also LOVED vicky cristina barcelona, i was lusting over the clothes as much as javier bardem haha

      36. 24 May 2009 5:35 pm

        Cool post!

        I’m not a really big fan of the whole boho look, but you recommendations were the best. One’s always got to love F21 for affordable stuff!


      37. Debz permalink
        24 May 2009 6:08 pm

        i find my best headbands at this etsy shop .. she has the most adorable ones! great post though..
        always love to your take on certain subjects..

      38. 24 May 2009 6:34 pm

        Fabulous post! I am in love with each earthy jewelry piece posted and those fringe bags… I am on the search for the perfect one and I think one of these might be it!


      39. thebaglady permalink
        24 May 2009 6:55 pm

        An amazingly detailed post!

        I’m beginning to think that you should be a stylist too. Like Rachel Zoe!!!

        There’s so much effort & thought that goes into each post! =]

      40. 24 May 2009 7:23 pm

        Boho is so chic. It does not have to be messy like that grunge look – it can be very sophisticated. Thanks for showing us the way!

      41. sabrina permalink
        24 May 2009 8:19 pm

        Excellent post!
        Seriously, this is by far my favourite post of your blog. I’m sure there’s more to come!

      42. kristine permalink
        24 May 2009 9:45 pm

        i love this look! this was very helpful for me!

      43. 25 May 2009 12:03 am

        What a great suggestion and list! I’m trying to find the perfect fringed bag for summer so those urbanoutfitters pieces are very convenient for me to pick and choose something I like. xxoxooxoxo

      44. 25 May 2009 3:37 am

        love the shopping tips!

      45. becs permalink
        25 May 2009 3:53 am

        Once again, fab tips! You even covered the suitable handbag to complete the look. Love this post since boho-chic is the perfect look for summer!

        xo, Becs

      46. Tamara permalink
        25 May 2009 4:10 am

        I want a fringe bag 🙂 I already have a pair of fringed boots, but it is already kind of hot in here to keep on wearing them!

      47. 25 May 2009 6:35 am

        I love cross body bags because you can have your hands free to do whatever – perfect for a night out dancing!


      48. 25 May 2009 8:08 am

        i’m soooooooo in love…. with your fabulous blog and with vicky christina barcelona, too! received the dvd on friday and the film is too good for words!
        of course your choice of items is AWESOME as always! i’m an admirer of your gorgeous taste!
        have a great day!!

      49. abdcforever permalink
        25 May 2009 11:25 am

        i think ur influencing my style lots.

        i went from teeshirts & nikes to more heels & flats!!

        now i gotta try this!

        thx gurrrrl

      50. 25 May 2009 12:11 pm

        I just wrote a comment(on a private blog) about something being all 1960s essence of /ethos of Indy Freedom. I feel the same about this sort of dressing & love it.

      51. 25 May 2009 12:28 pm

        as always, thanks so much for the comment dear.
        you’re such a great blogger. i am loving the bohemian chic look as well and i think you got the boho basics down pat.

      52. 25 May 2009 1:25 pm

        Thank you so much for this post. I love this look, too. And Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a great movie. 🙂

      53. rossovelvet permalink
        26 May 2009 2:29 pm

        Looooovely list / tips ! You rock, really !

        I also have a trick question for you by the way… I do love 90′ minimalism, absolute minimalism, but at our age, what can we do to recreate that spirit but without seem too overdressed / eccentrical / classic ?

        Hugs !

      54. 26 May 2009 11:51 pm

        Great post…I love your tips!

      Leave a Reply

      Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

      You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

      Google photo

      You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

      Twitter picture

      You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

      Facebook photo

      You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

      Connecting to %s

      %d bloggers like this: