How to Dress Like a Bohemian

By Moira O'Connell

The term "bohemian" has been around for centuries, describing everything from the counterculture of France in the 1800s to the hippies of the 1960s. Bohemian style translates freethinking ideals into a way of dressing. Embracing bold colors and patterns for the purpose of standing out, bohemian looks can be found on the runways and on the street. The boho-chic style of the 21st century adds a modern twist to the classic bohemian look with bright colors, ankle boots and patterned pants. Boho style can add a little rebellion to your wardrobe, all while staying decidedly fashion forward.

Second Annual Baby2Baby Gala - Arrivals
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Actress and designer Nicole Richie is a modern-day boho icon.

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Mix It Up

One of the most recognizable components of bohemian style is the use of bold colors and prints. Ethnic patterns mismatched with paisley or flower prints are purely bohemian. Bohemians embraced earth tones, but a modern twist incorporates jewel tones. Adding texture to your wardrobe is another easy way to go boho. Try layering pieces -- team a long-sleeve shirt with a vest, or tie a unique scarf around your shoulders.

Whimsical Tops

Bohemian tops come in all sizes and styles -- from oversize sweaters to embroidered blouses. Look for comfortable pieces that have a lot of character. Opt for a peasant blouse with beading or detailing or slip on a tunic-style T-shirt or blouse; pair with a chunky sweater for extra texture. Add a fringed kimono or earthy vest to an outfit for an added dose of bohemian influence.

Boho Bottoms

The best thing about bohemian style is that it doesn't follow guidelines -- dress in what makes you comfortable and you're half way there. Bohemian bottoms include maxi skirts and dresses, often made of satin or flowing material. If dresses aren't your thing, find a pair of distressed jeans or a boldly printed pant. You can opt for a wide leg or boot cut, whichever flatters your body type.

Chic Accessories

If you like hats, hoop earrings, headbands or necklaces, you're a boho girl at heart. Bohemian accessories are earthy, chunky and often mismatched. Layer different necklace styles, incorporate beads and feathers, and wear multiple bangles. Don't forget to add a scarf or a wide-brimmed hat to top off an outfit. The more accessories you layer, the better -- and more authentic -- the boho.

Made for Walking

Keep your shoes simple. Opt for a pair of gladiator sandals or a cool pair of boots. Bohemians are known for their transient nature, so comfortable shoes are always best. That doesn't mean you can't rock a heel -- distressed ankle boots with a small heel look great with a maxi skirt or printed jeans. If boots aren't your style, try printed flats or a worn-out pair of sneakers.