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Bohemian rhapsody

Written by Helene Pilhage


Posted on July 10 2015

Boho. Boho chic. Boho luxe. Boho style. There seems to be a lot of hoo-ha about boho, right? But what is the boho look all about and how can I make it work for me?

The boho style is influenced largely by – you guessed it – bohemian trends.”Bohemian” comes to us from the French bohémien which refers to the original travelers and refugees from Central Europe or Bohemia. These people were often referred to also as "gypsies" - another term that has entered the contemporary fashion lexicon. What the word "bohemian" has really come to mean in a modern sense is unconventional, free-spirited, artistic, wordly, and creative. It has distinctly romantic associations – think of the pre-Raphelites, for example – and while the life of a Romany gyspy might have been a hard one indeed, now your average boho babe is more likely to be sauntering the streets of Soho, Brunswick, or Darlinghurst, than trudging a dusty road with a caravan!

Romany & Spanish "bohemians"

Speaking of boho babes, the poster girls for the contemporary boho trend have undoubtedly been Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. All those fashion It girls who lounge their languid way through summer music festivals ? Well girls, Sienna and Kate did it first, and, some would argue, did it best !

Think fringed hems, wide brimmed felt hats, floaty dresses, crochet gilets, lace camis, leggings, layers, layers and more layers, hard edged leather matched with light-as-air silk, rough and ready denim paired with pretty-as-can-be broderie anglaise, and all topped off by a an insouciant, devil-may-care attitude.

Kate, Sienna, Kendall - the boho It girls of today

Well that's all very well, I hear you say, but if the boho recipe is two parts gypsy plus two parts hippy plus one part folk princess plus one part poetess/singer/songwriter, plus a splash of rock chick, a dash of vagabond and a sprinkling of supermodel, where does that leave me? With plenty of options is the answer! You don’t have to incorporate every single boho element into your outfit in order to enjoy the style. In fact, doing so is kind of overkill and should be left to the high priestesses of boho style only (i.e. Kate & Sienna & co.). The best thing you can do is just take a couple of ingredients and mix them in with your own look.

 A few tips to start with:

A good pair of versatile ankle boots and a fabulous fringed hand bag can be a great investment and will see you through every season’s incarnation of your boho look. Wood, leather, metal, and suede accessories are great to have on hand and work beautifully with the earthy, “close to nature” aesthetic of the boho style.

Now onto the clothes:

The Kaja collection has plenty of subtle boho elements to play with – start with a tunic featuring folk inspired embroidery, wear it over jeans, add a fringed leather bag and your favourite ankle boots and you’ll be boho-ing with the best of them! Or take one of our longer dresses, add a casually knotted leather belt , a stack of wooden and metal bangles and you’re all set for a weekend of cafe hopping and art gallery wandering. Every boho girl has a go-to peasant top which can be easily paired with jeans and some dangly earrings for a romantic everyday style. A pretty slip dress can be incorporated in a multitude of ways and we love it with a cheeky cropped denim jacket, ankle boots, and bright accessories. If it’s chilly layer it over jeans, add a long line cardy, and a wide brimmed hat. Because boho loves layers, it’s the perfect trans-seasonal style!

Ok, so let’s just recap by busting a couple of boho myths:

Myth: you have to be young to pull off the look. No, no, no! If you try to copy Kendall Jenner’s look then yes, it’s not going to work. But if you incorporate boho elements into your existing look then you can definitely make it work for you.

Myth: won’t I just look like a disheveled hippie? Ha! Well yes, if you insist on wearing every single boho related item you can get your hands on! But again, the secret is just to work in a couple of ingredients – a touch of lace and a floaty tunic, a feather pendant and a wide brimmed felt hat, a fringed leather bag and a stack of jangly bangles. Think hippie luxe, not hippy dippy!

The boho style ingredient list – remember, use sparingly! Do not over season!

  • Lace, crochet, embroidery
  • Folk and ethnic inspired embellishments
  • Broderie anglaise
  • Fringes
  • Wood, metal, leather & denim accents
  • Layers, layers, layers
  • Underwear as outerwear (slips and camis, NOT undies and bras!)
  • Dangly earrings and jangly bangles
  • Feathers (please be restrained – only Stevie Nicks can pull off the full feathered look!)
  • Natural fibres and floaty fabrics
  • Scarves
  • Felt hats
  • Gilets or waistcoats

Now off you go to cook your boho look!





  • This is such a whizz bang article! I love it! So helpful and so entertaining!!

    Posted by Rob Cassidy | July 13, 2015
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