Monday, September 20, 2010

Bitches Throwdown: Pirate Does Boho

Fleetwood Mac: the quintessential boho band, famous both for their style and their substance.

According to Wikipedia, Bohemianism has its roots in gypsy culture. The bohemians were artistic free spirits: writers, musicians, artists. Hippies. As a fashion style, Bohemian is what you would call the look worn by Stevie Nicks, or Joan Baez, or Jane Birkin. These are people that some of our readers will no doubt never have heard of, but trust me when I say they were ├╝ber cool way-back-when.

Even though the style icons for boho were in their heyday at least 20 years ago, the look has never really completely disappeared from the sartorial scene. In fact, every year designers tackle the trend in a fresh new way.

Gucci was just one of many designers who reinterpreted the boho trend a few winters back.

Looking through the Lucky Style book, the essential pieces include boot cut trousers, peasant blouses, flowy tunics, vests, and floaty dresses. Pieces such as vintage denim jeans with boot cut legs and wrap sweaters can be paired with salvaged army jackets and wedge heels. The jewelry is usually gold-toned and organic, often with an ethnic look. Prints are ethnic and colorful. The ultimate chic pieces back in the day might have included a white, gauzy tunic, or a crocheted slip dress. Or a crocheted bikini.

Yeah, Bohemian is about as far away from my day-to-day look as I could be asked to get. My initial survey through my closet found no floaty anything. Fitted, I got. Modern I got. Peasant blouses? Tunics? Not a one. And I have absolutely zero earrings made from feathers.

So, I re-channeled my efforts. On Moi's suggestion, I hummed some Stevie Nicks and asked myself, what would happen if Janis Joplin came back from the dead and invaded my closet? What would she pick to wear from my wardrobe, and how would she wear it?

Outfit attempt number one emerged:

BCBG Wrap Sweater, black camisole, leaf-print scarf, boot-cut fitted khaki trousers, BCBG leather and chain t-strap heels.

In theory, all the elements are here—I have some leather, I have boot-cut, I have some organic print thing. I have a wrap sweater. Sadly, it's just a little too modern in cut—the wrap sweater is too short. Iconic boho wrap sweaters are all-engulfing, like something you could sleep in whilst living out of your car, or something you could hide a friend in, should you need to sneak a buddy in to a concert. Unfortunately, the colors in my outfit aren't ethnic enough. And none of it smells like patchouli.

Back I dive into my closet.

My inner Stevie Nicks takes over: Stand back! I need a little sympathy . . . stand back! and outfit option 2 comes out of the closet:

Vintage boot-cut Lucky denim jeans, Moschino floaty print top, army-style Mossimo khaki jacket, BCBG leather and chain t-strap heels.

My girls look confused: why is mommy putting all her clothes on the floor?

This outfit is a little better—it's part army surplus and part rebel. It's not quite right though. The khaki in my floaty top actually matches the khaki jacket. I'm getting the idea from the look in the Lucky guide that the colors in the look are normally earth tones, and any matching is usually an accident. This outfit looks too good—it looks matchy-matchy—and that's just not done!

Back to the closet with Stevie: Give to me your leather, take from me my lace . . .

Floaty orange/coral Banana Republic dress, brown floaty scarf, BCBG leather and chain heels

My girls are now helping, but since they're too young to know what "hippie" means, they're shooting in the dark.

Option 3 has got floaty and it's got color. It's a solid color, however—no ethnic print. Perhaps if I douse the whole thing in bong-water it might work, but as it is, it's a little too clean.

My inner Stevie wasn't really pulling together anything quite right, so I channeled some inner Janis Joplin. Here is what I actually wore. Yes, outside and in public:

Oh lord, won't you buy me a color TV . . .

Jeans: Lucky vintage boot cut, which I tripped on all day long. Thin and soft, these jeans are tightly fitted and ride low through the hips, flaring wide from the knee, and 100 percent Bohemian. I never knew how perfectly hippie they were until I wore them this way.

Top: Silk BCBG camisole lurking in the shadows of my closet. The lavender silk is a little bit modern in color, but makes up for it with an empire waist, a very boho cut.

Vest: Black velvet military vest from the Gap. The most perfectest boho accessory in my closet, this velvety piece would probably also work great with a peasant blouse, if I owned such a thing.

Shoes: Cow-print t-strap flat sandals, Steve Madden. I forgot just how popular this style of sandal was back in the day: All the good earth children had t-strap sandals straight from India, to wear with their peasant skirts and tunic tops.

Jewelry: Giant beaded boho earrings gifted from Moi herself, gold tone locket, and a big silver cuff stolen from my own mother from back in her hippie days—an authentic piece of hippi-nalia!

Did I feel like I was in costume? Yes, a little. But no one asked any awkward questions, since these were all clearly my own clothes. Plus, it was only one day, so not a big deal. Not once was I asked where the Phish concert was.

Going into my own closet with a fresh pair of eyes (WWSND?) was a very refreshing experience. It was fun to pair things in a way I hadn't thought of before, and trying on a look I hadn't done. Am I now a boho expert? Not really. I do have a certain lack of Bohemian gear in my closet. But I do have a fresh appreciation for floaty peasant blouses and tunics.

Will I start dressing boho every day? Probably not—but I got real value out of seeing my wardrobe through someone else's eyes. That Stevie Nicks does have a good sense for a feminine look.

Next up: Moi does Gamine, and we discuss the pronunciation of this French word. Is it Gah-Mean? Gay-Mine? Gammon? This and other questions answered in the Bitches next post.

4 comments:

moi said...

Good on ya for back burner-ing your arty, euro chic and grabbing this challenge by its buckskin fringe. I think your last look definitely hits closest to the boho mark and I love that you paired it with the funky Mee-ah-mee earrings. Fun fact about Jane Birkin. Her daughter, Charolotte Gainsbourg, is considered the epitome of modern-day gamine. Which I now have to literally tackle, because I'm about as close to gamine as you are to Joplin.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I confess that I cannot think of Stevie Nicks without thinking of the artist who specializes in art featuring Stevie Nicks. For a fee, she will do a "fantasy" painting of your face with Stevie - she'll even paint it on your favourite tambourine

http://www.johannas-art.com/JM.htm

Athena Misty, aka "GeekGirl" said...

Not only is the lavender not really hippie, but the lavender silk isn't really hippieish, in my HO. Where is the tie dye? Where are the beads? Where are the tiny tinted glasses?

Pamela said...

It's gah-meen.

I really think you need Boho Redux with that outfit only swap the cami for the printed thing. And toss on a scarf of some sort - wrapped around your head gypsy style.

You must embrace your inner hippie - I think you are still fighting it a bit.

Oh - you wanted to look fashionable? Well - there's your problem. Embrace humility and give us a peek at some serious Boho. Won't even ask you to leave the house in it.