Sunday, November 22, 2009

Style Secrets: The Haute Hippie

“Long hair is considered bohemian, which may be why I grew it, but I keep it long because I love the way it feels, part cloak, part fan, part mane, part security blanket.”
Marge Piercy

I find it difficult to understand one who proclaims that they have not been bitten by the bohemian bug. I myself am an individual who has never identified with a certain style of dress; rather, I flit from one look to another, attempting to match my wardrobe to my day to day mood. Even so, I have never been able to resist the lure of the bohemia.

Blame it upon my love of the beatnik way of life. The type of existence marred with endless aimless wandering, and soul-searching; simply seeking a path to follow, but getting lost on various unplanned adventures and journeys along the way. But I digress; we are talking about style here, and that of the bohemian fashion.

The film Almost Famous so perfectly showcased the characteristics of bohemia trends; but please don’t fret darlings, one does not need a stylist to show them the ropes of looking the part of the boho belle. Incorporating slightly slouchy, offbeat fashions into your everyday look is one of the simplest of style tasks you will ever encounter; especially when you know exactly where to start!

Brilliant Bedhead The main thing to remember as you begin your foray into becoming a haute hippie is that to look undone, effortless, and magnificently mussed takes time. While it is your intention to look as if you simply woke up beaming and radiant, in truth, we both know that it doesn’t come naturally. Hair does not look tantalizingly tousled the moment you lift your head from the pillow in the morning, it requires pre-planning. The boho belle is most often seen donning volumized, luscious locks with cascading waves that oftentimes come across looking ever so slightly tangled. Luckily there are two tried and true ways to achieve this style without spending hours using hair products or curling irons:

For Loose Waves - When your hair is damp, scoop it off your neck and tie it into a messy bun. Shake your hair out in the morning, and you’re good to go.
For Tighter Waves - When your hair is damp, part it in the middle, and weave it into two tight braids. In the morning comb it out, and let loose.
Tips - I recommend looser waves for a bohemian look; tighter waves often come across as too diva-inspired, and somewhat unnatural.

Look to Brigitte Bardot, Blake Lively, and Vanessa Hudgens for guidance – their hairstyles simply scream bohemian perfection.

Trinket Trove Whether bohemian is the look I am going for on any particular day or not, I am one who understands the power of the accessory. Accessories, to be completely truthful, can make or break an outfit. They are the backbone to your plain white tee, the main event of your typical jeans, and the crème de la crème to the blank palette you call your ensemble. It was Coco Chanel who said “It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.” Embrace these words, they are a mantra.

The perfect thing about jewelry that spots bohemian styles is the sheer fact that it is inexpensive, for it is typically “fashion” jewelry – this means that you can load up on it at Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and H&M without any worries about breaking your budget. Five items one must have in their possession when channeling their inner boho belle:

Feathers - Some wear them around their neck; I recommend wearing feathers from your ears. Feathered earrings such as Flashback & Freedom’s Peacock Earrings frame the face, and add a very elegant ambiance to the bohemian look. They also serve to elongate the neck, which is always glamorous.

“I’m a girl from a good family who was very well brought up. One day I turned my back on it all and became a bohemian.”
Brigitte Bardot

DIY Bracelets Essentially, you don’t have to DIY them, but many hippie-influenced bracelets are handmade, and look like pieces you crafted while away at summer camp as a child. Braided bracelets made from yarn, string, cord, leather, and hemp are all stunning selections – two that I adore at the moment are Citrine by the Stones’ Braided Bracelet and Kerri Wilder’s Braided Bead Wrap Bracelet. The key is choosing something that is understated and ethereal, yet catches the eye all at once!

Bangles, Bangles, Bangles! Not to be confused with cuffs; bangles are slightly less hefty and an absolute staple in the boho belle’s accessory drawer. Don’t feel the need to stick to one category of bangles. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to haphazardly mix and match sizes and textures in an effort to create a look all your own. Take a cue from Nicole Richie and couple Kenneth Jay Lane ’s Polished Gold Cabochon Bangle with CC Skye’s Cobra Bangles and Gorjana’s Willow Bangles. Think of it this way…the more disorder displayed on your wrist, the better!
Ring Leader Don’t expect to feel bohemian without rings gracing at least seven out of ten fingers. And not any ring will do – big baubles with the power to stop people in their tracks is what you want. Look for pieces that sport large, colorful stones or designs like House of Harlow 1960’s Sunburst Cocktail Ring or Gara Danielle’s Peacock Druzy Ring. Go as far as you can in terms of rings without being uncomfortable.
Head Case To fully embrace your inner boho belle, lose the headband and replace it with a head wrap like Rachel Leigh’s Hippie Chic Headband and Bop Bijoux’s Vintage Braided Headband/Wrap Bracelet. Bohemian style is not bohemian style without a head wrap. Period.

Back to Basics One of the benefits of going boho is that the main staples of your wardrobe are basics – and inexpensive ones at that! You do not rely on jazzy embellishments to keep your style strong; rather, you pay tribute to understated glamour. One of my favorite routes to take is that of the boyfriend style. It works for creating a blissful bohemian ambiance, but should you decide to leave your hippie aspirations behind, the look can easily be transformed into anything you desire. Four items you simply cannot be without:

Boyfriend Jeans You don’t want to go too bulky or baggy, just loose enough where you have room to move around without masking your sassy silhouette. Opt for styles that can be worn long or cuffed to optimize versatility and wear-ability. Rich & Skinny are my favorite when it comes to boyfriend jeans; they offer various washes and textures which make it easy to play with your look and experiment a bit.
V-Necks A slouchy, loose fit is what you’re going for, but too much slouch will make you look sloppy. Bop Basics’ Short Sleeve V Neck Tee is ideal – it allows you to keep your shape while still getting that bohemian vibe. If you’re unsure about sizing remember these two things – go one size up if purchasing a top made for females; if you’re buying a tee made with the body of a boy in mind, buy one size down.

Cut-Off Denim Shorts Any pair of denim shorts will do; but I feel that those with a cut-off look come across as more free-spirited and disorganized than a pristine pair. Meaning, look for denim shorts with slight fraying, or a choppy cut about the hemline, such as Current/Elliott’s The Boyfriend Short. DIY-ing is always an idea, as well. Look for a slightly baggy pair of jeans that you no longer wear, measure, and snip snip!
Cardigans The funny thing about cardigans is that they’re appropriate for any style of dress you deem worthy to accouter yourself in, whether polished or playful. But when going the route of the haute hippie they work wonders for they are completely simple in the sense that you can toss them on over anything. Look for comforting pieces that make you feel cozy and adored like Ever’s Algiers Cocoon Sweater, Catherine Malandrino’s Cardigan Sweater with Draped Neckline, or Theory’s Zuma Cardigan – bits that manage to look as if they are swallowing you whole; but in the most sophisticated of ways.

It’s All in the Bag The bag, like accessories in general, is, in my opinion, the piece de resistance of creating pure bohemian rhapsody in your look. It is this unique piece that will tie everything together, and truly create the haute hippie aesthetic you have in mind. Forgo classic styles in patent leather, and toss black hues to the wayside. Seek out more rustic pieces with long shoulder straps, fringe and/or woven detailing, suede textures, and colors synonymous with nature – brown, taupe, and beige. Ecote’s Suede Patchwork Hobo and JJ Winters’ Suede Fringe Bag are perfect candidates for the task. Just remember that you want something that instantly makes people think of Woodstock, moccasins, and the simplicities of life that often accompanied the hippie/bohemian movement, and splurge accordingly!

“Bohemia is nothing more than the little country in which you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship in it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal archives and treasure and move away beyond the hills.”
O. Henry

No need to tell me where you’re off to kittens; I already know…you’re on your way to transform yourself into a haute and happy hippie no doubt. Have fun!

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Lets Get Ripped and Go to the Aquarium, Daily Makeover, Sweet Fuzz, Huffington Post, Lets Shop, Refinery 29, La Vie Boston, Denimology, and What’s Haute for the pictures.

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