Boho-chic past and present

AUTHORED BY: Magdalena Arbat-Pennington, Magdalena Images


Billie 4162 Tennyson Street in the Denver Highlands

Insypre Boutique 171 Detroit Street in Cherry Creek North, 4170 Tennyson Street in the Denver Highlands, 8441 S. Yosemite Street, Suite #1 in Lone Tree, 8501 W Bowles Avenue #1060 in Littleton and 1810 30th Street in Boulder

Fifth and Maple Use code "Denverboho" for 10% off and free shipping.

This content was created by a Denver Style Magazine Contributor. The opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of Denver Style Magazine.



When I got on Instagram and reviewed my feed, I started to see tons of photos of bohemian, hippie looking clothing and sunny photos I was really drawn to. Boho-chic, hippie, bohemian, it seemed these terms were used interchangeably. A look that felt very familiar and from the past, but with a new flair. I felt most attracted to the feeds with sunny photos of girls and women in movement wearing boho-chic looks. The clothes looked relaxed, fun, colorful, feminine but still edgy and the women and girls who wore them had attitude. They wore hats, lots of jewelry, had messy hair and didn't always smile, but if they did they were mostly laughing, jumping or running. Always on the move move move! It suddenly came to me that one reason many of these looks were frequently photographed in movement is the same reason I ask my customers not to wear loose dresses or tops to their senior photos. When standing or sitting still, they didn't always photograph as well and could be taken for maternity wear.

I’m feminine and strong, and I don’t need to show cleavage and wear tight skirts and heels to get attention.

But to me the attraction and trend went deeper than that. Without wearing a masculine suit, short hair, shoulder pads and flats, it still had a subliminal feminist message. It said, I'm feminine and strong, and I don't need to show cleavage and wear tight skirts and heels to get attention. I'm interested in the environment, our planet, my friends and family, job, music, keeping my body healthy and strong, and I'm working toward my goals. My clothes show I'm an individual and creative, my hair is loose and shiny, my clothes and shoes are comfortable as I'm going places. Look at my face when talking to me, I have things to say and do!

Since I didn't know exactly what boho-chic meant, I looked it up. I summarize and quote parts of Wikipedia: "Boho-chic is a style of fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences. Features include floaty skirts, notably long ones, furry gilets, embroidered tunics, cropped jackets, large faux-coin belts, large sunglasses, loose jumpers, sheepskin boots and cowboy boots, baggy cardigans, hobo bags and leggings. Many elements of boho-chic became popular in the late 1960s, date back much further, for example, with pre-Raphaelite women of the mid-to-late 19th century." Other terms for boho-chic include "ashcan chic", "bobo chic", "hobo-grunge" and "luxe grunge". Personally, I love boho-chic because it suits any body shape, age and occasion! I bought myself a dress that I wore to my kid's very hot field day and loved it! Much more comfortable and pretty than the tight jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirt I'd worn the year before. I then wore the same dress to a party, just took off sunhat, put on more jewelry and platform sandals.

I decided to write this post on boho-chic and organize and photograph a fashion shoot in Morrison using local girls and boutiques! It seemed more personal to use local boutiques than large retail stores, and thought collaborating could be more useful to all. Plus, the girls were all really excited and it helps me to photograph them once before their senior photos. I picked Morrison as I wanted to depict Colorado, great view of the mountains, and lots of long sunset backlighting at the end.

I've always loved the Berkley area as it seems quaint and can find parking. Plus love shoots there as it's got colorful murals, easy parking, and is closeby (finding color in Denver is tough). Everyone at Insypre was helpful and nice! And the woman in charge of getting the looks together and approving this was open and enthusiastic and I loved that! When I went to pick up the clothes, they gave me a lot of useful information on current trends and trends coming soon. Keep an eye out for cactus inspired jewelry and corduroy paperboy hats. They told me Insypre is an environmentally friendly company, so hats, jackets, necklaces and trim are faux suede, felt and faux leather. Plus, many looks are less expensive than their competitors and they keep everything in the store under $100. They carry Flying Monkey jeans and Billabong among other cool brands. The looks they loaned us included a lace top with cami, flare dark jeans from Flying Monkey, top made into a dress by popular demand, vegan leather jacket, ruffle winged sleeve dress with cute cord waist, felt hats and necklaces made of faux leather and recycled materials.

Billie had original and unique clothes that I really liked. Brittany, co-owner and curator told me Billie started off as a pop up shop, that everything in the shop is hand-selected by them, and we chatted about how the Berkley area is thriving. She told me boho-chic just felt right in Colorado, with it's free spirit and outdoorsy feel. Perfect for a Red Rocks concert or city event. Without knowing her, she seemed to have just the right Colorado vibe. One of their most popular dresses is the wrap dress as it cinches at the smallest part of the waist and flatters and wraps the female body. We photographed a beautiful gold wrap dress with intricate embroidered flowers in pastel tones, lined through mid-thigh and with a high/low hem. Also a Lovestitch satin blue challis cocoon dress with pockets and adjustable straps, one of the most popular silhouettes they've ever sold as it's flattering to everyone and can be worn belted too for another look. And lastly a modern boho blouse with oversized tiered sleeves, off the shoulder and with bohemian embroidery which is super popular this summer and among my teenage customers! She refers to the comfy Banjara jeans as pajama jeans as they're so soft and comfy!

For Fifth and Maple, we photographed a red floral chic maxi dress that is really pretty and comfortable! With a natural waistline and ankle-length, can be worn year-round, super versatile and made of easy care materials. Plus a boho split leg maxi in earthy turquoise and beige tones, with button-down closure, ankle-length, with great movement and super versatile.

The photoshoot was spectacular! Morrison was gorgeous with its green tall grass and beautiful view of the mountains. All of the girls who modeled the clothes were adorable and rocked the outfits!

I now know a lot more about boho-chic and why I'm drawn to it. Plus, I now own five maxi-dresses, cool necklaces, a hat, and am ready for the summer!