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Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Goodbye Boho

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Surely we have reached Peak Boho. Surely this trend that kicked off in 2002 is on its last faded cheesecloth-covered legs. If I see any more pseudo-gypsies in flowing dresses attempting to typify the lifestyle of free spirits and hippies in the 1960s and 70s by dressing up as someone who looks like a free spirit, I’ll scream.

Floaty dresses don’t make you Boho. And what’s with this stupid shortening of the word anyway? Could no-one manage the whole word? Too hard to text? Clearly the word was smashed along with avocado so it fits neatly on Twitter feeds and sprouted bread.

Being a free spirit shouldn’t be a trend. It’s not a look. If you are dressing ‘like’ a Bohemian, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not one. You’re mainstream. When everyone dresses like a Bohemian, no-one actually is a Bohemian. You’re wearing a uniform. And I think you’ll find that being a proper Bohemian goes a little deeper than just a look.

You might have to live in a yurt and eat your own placenta. Maybe you’ll wear ugly sandals made from car tyres. You might need to practise being unconventional, which is basically not dressing the same as all the other Bohemians. This might take some practice. You will have to come up with your own look. So that’s step one. Step two is to make people hate you.

Generally Bohemians were marginalised, so you might want to practise being unpopular. It’s probably easier than you think. Chances are people already find you annoying, so perhaps you could stop showering and seal the deal. Step three is harder. You have to be political. Practise some unorthodox or anti-establishment political views; these can be expressed through things such as free love. So you do get to root around, so that’s a bonus. And those Boho frocks look like they were made for a beach root. The split up the front offers easy access while the skirt protects one’s genitals from filling with sand.

Oh, and I’m sorry, my Boho sisters, but along with reduced personal hygiene, frugality is also key. Which means that you won’t be able to justify big bucks on your Boho threads. I guess you could shoplift. That would be anti-establishment and frugal.

What I am trying to tell you here is that Bohemian isn’t a look. It’s the practice of an unconventional lifestyle. It’s not dress-ups. It seems ludicrous to spend hundreds of dollars on a look that models itself on thrift-store style. Although it seems the Boho clothing trend is self-fulfilling. Expensive gypsy wear starts to look like thrift gypsy as soon as you get it home. And for fuck’s sake, don’t wash it! Within days of purchase the Boho often disintegrates into the BooHoo. That’s princess gypsy tears when the fabric starts to pull apart.

Some of the Boho is so badly made it falls to pieces the minute it makes contact with human flesh. It really looks better in the shop on a hanger. Or on your computer screen. Or on someone in the 60s. Ironically, Boho is made in sweatshops overseas. For some reason floaty Boho Princesses who frequent organic markets with wicker baskets to purchase their home-crafted produce don’t seem to mind the fact their frock was sewn for a couple of bucks in Asia. That’s Boo Hoo for them and Boho for me!

Although I suspect Boho is almost dead. Boho must be on the way out because now Supre has its own Boho line. What’s next? Rockman’s Boxy Boho for the middle-aged vagabond? Dressing like a fashionable urchin in a frock that looks like a tablecloth that fucked Clint Eastwood is surely done! I’ll be delighted to put that trend to bed. (And it won’t be covered in a ‘handcrafted’ patchwork gypsy shawl.)

Goodbye, Boho weddings. That’s when you spend a fortune to have everything a bit dirty, chipped and broken. A bit like your marriage in 20 years. So what’s next in style trending? Boho weddings are so 2016, I predict a move towards the Hobo wedding. It’s so much more affordable. You can have your reception in the park. And it’s BYO!

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  1. Mandy,
    What you see is money, and with money three girls can be whatever they like.
    Looks like Hollywood or the Bahamas, not anything like here in Australia.

  2. Well said Mandy, the same superficiality exists everywhere, and it’s really sad given the important issues that need addressing both ecologically and socially … the very thing a real bohemian would stand up for, and probably understand what they were talking about too.

    Substance has been replaced by shallow aesthetics.

  3. Very harsh words there Mandy.. this style makes me and a lot of other women feel pretty and maybe boho has changed its meaning.. but maybe you need to see how this style makes a lot of us women feel. I am sick of seeing women dressing up like the kardashians and to be honest I’d rather look like Stevie nicks than every second girl walking down the street. I hope for happiness sake this trend keeps going on..

    • Here is the irony, every second girl walking down the street does look like a diluted version of this – only the fashion label is not ethically sourcing the manufacturing fabric or shipping containers. Trends evolve, enough dreaming and being under a spell, we need discerning active eco warriors now. – less waft and more weave.

    • … part of being free spirited is to live and let live. I have my own style… but I certainly don’t try to look different just to be a real hippie or boho or whatever you want to call it… some of the most truest free spirited people I know look like every day people..they don’t smell, they are… as you call it ‘mainstream’. They don’t feel the need to make themselves look different to make a point. Here… you have completely stereotyped what you think is a true ‘boho’…Either way you look at it… humans are all capable of projecting an image. Do I give a shit how much they choose to pay to have that image? No it’s their choice. If they can afford to pay a boutique Australian designer hundreds of dollars for their organic home made boho range… frikken good luck to them. If they pay big bucks and buy a garment produced in shitty 3rd world conditions… chances are they don’t realise it. I personally feel that the companies are who we should be picking on here… I’m so over ‘think global act local’ how long have we been chanting that one? It’s time for the corporations to get their shit together.
      These people that you have decided to label as somewhat fake bohos don’t have to hold the same values as you. It’s no different to all the fake hippies, even the fake ‘mainstreamers’. Keep the good vibes going I say and stop judging one another by their cover! Let the ‘boho’ live on.

    • I agree! I love boho style clothes. I don’t only own boho…I own all sorts of styles because I AM a free spirit and DONT have to follow ANY trend. I think an attitude like MAndy is using is more of a non free spirit thought then those that choose to wear boho. Be free… Wear whatever the hell you want. You don’t need to please anyone.
      Just as well we all know Mandy is a comedian and her blogs are meant to be funny…… Or we would think she was a snob. Ha ha ha ha… And we all know that is definitely NOT true. Alls cool. ?

    • Yesssss – looking like Stevie Nicks is a solid plan, whether it’s in or out of fashion. Nice piece Mandy, but I concur with this comment – I just feel good rolling around in loose flowy stuff (but, hey I live at the beach and really don’t go anywhere – it’s just for me… (and for the beach rooting with the husband LOL)

  4. I see your point but to be honest, a lot of people who adopt this style are doing the things you’ve said Bohemians do – getting politically active, leading alternative lifestyles, and, yes, even having a romp on the beach. But even if someone is a businesswoman, a soccer Mom, or what have you, dressing a certain way is just an expression of how you feel. Maybe the suburban college age Bohemian style dresser is dreaming of the day she can pack up everything she owns into a van and travel. Maybe the Moms who dress in this style are harkening back to their youth and the freedom they felt. Maybe floaty dresses just make women feel pretty and sometimes they need that. Just because a woman decides to dress in the Bohemian style does not mean she thinks she is Bohemian. Paying exorbitant prices for poorly constructed garments that were made in a sweatshop isn’t cool for anyone to do, Bohemian style or not. I do think its ridiculous that “Boho” brands have capitalized on this trend to the extent that they have and, like you, I don’t understand why the word Bohemian was too much for everyone.

  5. Yep, I agree, the ‘hippie’ uniform is far too expensive and you need a full time job to afford the stuff – especialy if it was made for peanuts in the 3rd world. However if fashion leans towards the ‘hippie’ and unconventional, then hopefully attitudes and behaviours also move in that direction. Gotta be a good thing!! Lets get more people composting, recycling, bringing your own shopping bags and wearing hemp. Lets make it fashionable to consider the lives of the animals we farm to eat, the future of our air, water, reef and forests. Why not encourage people to get in touch with their inner hippie and make the world a more loving, compassionate – and possibly annoying – place! 🙂

  6. Why so bitchy Mandy? I don’t wear a lot of Boho fashion but personally I find it waaaay more attractive than shorts that barely cover your labia. Your “opinion piece” is mean and unnecessarily harsh and you completely missed the point.

  7. OMG you are fantastic this made my morning reading this. Oh I do have a leather bag In Omnia called the Boho but as I am a bit dyslexic I had written on the label HOBO full grain Leather bag!!!!

  8. tons of discarded waste from clothing and fabric every year, naked is so enviromentally low impact
    Bohemia is fasinatiing place

  9. Mandy well said. Babyboomers had to earn their well worn clothes. Torn Jeans patched up over the Years and ripped Pants made into skirts were a necessity to make the garment last longer and ad your own style. Designer Hippies are are soo uncool

  10. Here’s the thing…people get to wear whatever the hell they want to wear! Who cares why they do it! Who cares if they are playing dress ups to a world they may or may not belong to. The only point I agree with you is not supporting products made from sweat shops. Now that is something worthy to get on your soapbox about. Everything else to me in this article is just white noise.

  11. Being a real one means making your own clothes from op shop fabric. Not mass Chinese fashion landfill. So that’s my two bobs worth. Cause that’s all I have.

  12. Never understood how it abbreviated to BOHO and not BOHE? (Hoe?, how-to?, how-not-to?, homeless?, hopeful?)….

    …..No? Potato, pertato. …let call the whole thing off.

  13. My my. Kwite the article. That’s the Boho spelling for “quite” btw. What do you suggest as a style then? We certainly know what you don’t like. Tell us what you do.


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