Through the eyes of an outsider, Bohemia is often introduced as a modification of the hippie style. Or a root word for the ever-captivating “boho bag”. But more than the all-around scarves and fringe purses, bohemianism is much much deeper. Those who are urged to know more of this kind of flavor is then exposed to webs of subculture and connotations.
In a nutshell, a Bohemian is a person living an unconventional lifestyle. He or she is in close ties with bohemians alike who are usually living up their artistic, literary, musical, adventurous, and other alternative passions. Although it has spread across the globe more than a hundred years ago, it has become an inviting lifestyle option for its hip, liberating, yet profound approach to the new generation.
Evoking the essence of philosophy, spirituality, and mythology, Bohemianism is more than the individual’s pursuit of self-expression, it also opens up pathways to showcase each person’s impact to the world. They believe that if one “jumps onto life’s pages in full color”, he or she can leave a mark in history that in some way could nourish our home.
Doing Things the Bohemian Way
A festival girl wearing a flower crown and a brown boho bag may seem as a Bohemian nowadays, but if she is living a conventional life then she may not be as she dresses to be. It takes more than a caftan and a fringe handbag to crown one as a true Bohemian. Eccentric attitudes, beliefs, and actions that don’t conform to society are established early on.
It started in Paris, France in the 19th century. Impoverished litterateurs and artists were inspired by the roving Romani people (from Bohemia in Central Europe) who are considered outsiders because of their unorthodox way of living. Dressed in lax clothing in natural fibers, Romani gypsies showcase a freer attitude including unhygienic habits and fidelity, but bear an esoteric purpose. French revolutionists adapted the title and the sense of individualism and created a romanticized version of Bohemians.
How Bohemians Lived
Just like the liberating aesthetics of a maxi dress, and the lax utility of leather fringe purses and boho gypsy bags, Bohemians are free individuals who simply don’t care about what other people think. They nourish their artistic lives, putting self-expression atop material cravings such as wealth and reputation. Their anti-establishment belief was conveyed through free love, living with only the basics, and sometimes even below the poverty line.
They rejected the bourgeois and lived a contrasting lifestyle; having little material wealth and bearing no permanent residence; liberating themselves with alcohol, drugs, and open sexual relations; and living their artistic pursuits even if they don’t earn anything from it.
Being a Bohemian in the Digital Age
The felt hat, the fringe boots, the boho crossbody bag, the caftan, the colorful poncho, and the brown boho purse can be adapted and revived forever, but the Bohemian spirit in this digital age might be harder to find. Nowadays, artists and poets who live in the bohemian state of mind disturb the high society’s view on “art”. They are often penniless as they live outside the nine-to-five box. They delve into the avant-garde, the strange, the eccentric, and all kinds of bizarre to shake the world and open its borders.
Living a Bohemian lifestyle today is not really a style. It’s a way of life.