“I’m a girl from a good family who was very well brought up. One day I turned my back on it all and became a bohemian,” once said Brigitte Bardot.
Though the flaxen-haired bombshell shunned the middle class conventions of mid-century France, her sentiment stands when it comes to matters of men’s style .
After many seasons devoted to all things preppy, prim and proper, fashion’s pendulum is swinging back towards weathered denim, sandals, cotton tunics, braided leather belts and other ‘hippie’ stalwarts for spring/summer.
It isn’t easy to give in to such free-spirited ways of thinking (and dressing for that matter) when your day job requires a stuffy suit and tie. Nonetheless, there’s ample opportunity – if only during off-duty hours – to trial the more insouciant look that’s trending right now, whether you’re taking inspiration from 1960s beatniks, 1970s-era hippies, 1980s New Romantics or the 1990s grunge scene.
Here are some key ways to add a bohemian touch to your wardrobe that don’t require you committing to wearing flowers in your hair:
Lighten Up On The Denim Front
Harking back to authentic bohemian style means swapping your deep indigo selvedge for something several shades lighter.
This season, try investing in a classic pair of light wash jeans, in shades from mid-blue (as seen at Prada) to faded blue (as shown by Dior Homme). If you aren’t precious about your denim, giving your raw, dark jeans a couple of good 60 degree washes will also do the trick.
In addition, keep your eye out for distressed detailing and rips that epitomise a relaxed, devil-may-care attitude.
- Allsaints Anhu Iggy Jeans
- Nudie Jeans Steady Eddie In Blonde Slubs
- Topman Light Wash Classic Skinny Fit Jeans
- Wrangler Jeans Bryson Skinny Fit The Angler Light Wash
- Cheap Monday Tight Jeans Skinny Fit In Stonewash Blue
- He By Mango Slim-fit Light Wash Jan Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Light Wash Steve Jeans
- River Island Light Wash Dylan Slim Jeans
- Saint Laurent Skinny-leg Stretch-cotton Jeans
- Reiss Southland Light Straight-fit Jeans Light Blue
- Ami Slim-fit Washed-denim Jeans
- Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans
Work Some Art Into Your Attire
Hand-painted details, inscriptions, messages and graphics – from the literal to the abstract – all have a place in bohemian style.
- He By Mango Paisley Modal-blend Scarf
- Vivienne Westwood Scribble Orb Silk Scarf
- Ted Baker Dazzys Graphic Floral Scarf
- Alexander Mcqueen Abstract Print Scarf
- Burberry Prorsum Typographic-print Cashmere Scarf
- He By Mango Paisley Cotton Scarf
- Etro Windowpane-check And Paisley-print Modal And Wool-blend Scarf
- Etro Paisley-print Wool And Silk-blend Scarf
- Junya Watanabe Printed Cotton And Linen-blend Scarf
Swap Your Striped Shirt For Something Floral
Nothing says free-spirited like a floral shirt, while nothing says corporate like a striped shirt, so it makes sense to switch it up.
Instead of that same old striped style you pair with chinos for an off-duty weekend look, why not try a Liberty print version this summer? Or consider paisley, as seen at Saint Laurent. Keep it relaxed and mellow when it comes to styling – that means no cufflinks, collar stiffeners or any other trappings of the bourgeois menswear wardrobe.
- He By Mango Slim-fit Floral-print Shirt
- Pull&bear Shirt With Floral Skull Print
- Sisley Shirt With All Over Floral Print
- Allsaints Chesaw Shirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Floral-print Shirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Tropical-print Shirt
- Reiss Bondi Dark Bloom Shirt Black
- Burberry London Southbrook Geometric Floral-print Shirt
- Liberty Print Mens Pink Phoebe Print Cotton Shirt
- Nn.07 New Derek Floral-print Cotton-chambray Shirt
- Saint Laurent Stand-collar Paisley-print Silk Shirt
- Incotex Ween Slim-fit Paisley-print Cotton Shirt
Suede Is The New Leather
A suede jacket, particularly one in shades from tan to dark brown, is SS15’s coolest cover up option.
Just make sure the design fits with the colour choice – opt for cropped blazers or worker silhouettes rather than elasticised bombers or biker styles, which tend to look best in black.
- Edwin Sueded Jacket Panhead 2 Pocket
- He By Mango Buttoned Suede Jacket
- Asos Suede Western Jacket
- Allsaints Ocarno Suede Jacket
- Allsaints Ocarno Suede Jacket
- The Kooples Zip Jacket In Lambskin Suede
- Saint Laurent Slim-fit Suede Jacket
- Sandro Suede Jacket
- Oliver Spencer Suede Shirt Jacket
Swap Trainers For Leather Sandals
They’re not suitable until the weather really warms up, and it takes a good bit of confidence to team them with jeans, but if you manage this one, then you will nail that sense of bohemian nonchalance.
- Selected Homme Courtney Sliders In Brown
- Jerusalem Sandals Golan Sandals
- He By Mango Leather Sandals
- Asos Sandals In Leather
- Asos Sandals In Leather With Cross Over Strap
- Aldo Alaydia Leather Sandals
- Ted Baker Casspor Printed Sandals
- Aldo Runako
- Allsaints Shaw Sandal
- Opera Darte Terni Bi-strap Leather Sandals
- Kurt Geiger Keldy Leather Sandals
- A.p.c. Crepe-sole Leather Sandals
Style Yourself Like You Don’t Care
This is paramount to pulling off bohemian style convincingly, and probably the most difficult aspect to master.
Untucking your shirt, letting a scarf drape loosely around your shoulders, wearing relaxed-cut tailoring, going sockless, or even skipping (certain) steps of your grooming routine (not shaving, for example) will help you develop that artfully dishevelled look.
Also key is ensuring you don’t look too coordinated or put-together, even if some of you might feel a bit of an anarchist by doing so.
Do A 180 With Your Accessories
You want to accessorise this aesthetic with jewellery (leather/beaded bracelets and pendants rather than cufflinks), a slouchy leather/canvas bag instead of a structured briefcase, loafers rather than monk-straps or brogues, a neckerchief instead of your usual tie, a simple gold chain instead of a statement wristwatch, etc.
As a rule of thumb, if it looks straight-laced then it’s best left at home.
- Icon Brand Multi Necklace
- Simon Carter Semi Precious Bracelet Pack
- Topman Burgundy Paisley Print Bandana
- Icon Brand Good Ship Venus Ring
- Icon Brand Wild At Heart Necklace In Black
- Topman Black And White Houndstooth Bandana
- Ted Baker Treebee Woven Leather Bracelet
- Allsaints Bronson Fedora
- Asos Leather Duffel Bag In Black With Zip Front
- Luis Morais Madurai Gold And Glass Bead Bracelet Set Of 3
- Seven London Leather-detail Silver Band Ring
- Topman Burgundy Pork Pie Hat
Nothing Says ‘Carefree’ Like Non-Ironed Clothes
We know this probably goes against everything you’ve ever been told about dressing well, but a lightly creased cotton or linen shirt has its place in a bohemian wardrobe.
Admittedly, this only really works for casual shirts, so don’t forgo ironing your office wear just yet.
Image: Scotch & Soda
Look For Alternatives Outside The High Street
You’ll likely have gathered that traipsing the road less travelled is at the core of the classically bohemian look, so no more relying on the high street for a wardrobe overhaul.
Instead, rifle through the rails of thrift and vintage shops in search of old pieces ready to be dusted off and given an all-new lease of life. Finding a beautifully worn denim shirt for the price of a sandwich or rediscovering a belt you haven’t worn since your late teens comes highly recommended.
Don’t sweat it if you feel this aesthetic isn’t for you. Jared Leto, a true 21st century bohemian, grew up as one: “I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theatre. We celebrated creative experience and creative expression. We didn’t try and curtail it and stunt any of that kind of growth.”
If you, on the other hand, are a semi-detached and day job type of guy, trying to pull off every aspect of this look probably won’t feel natural or come across as congruent. Instead, incorporate some of the style’s subtler markers – and make sure to pass on the eyeliner.
While sharp tailoring and sports-inspired looks are cornerstones of any contemporary menswear wardrobe, there’s something to be said for letting it all hang out this season – figuratively speaking.
Any pointers on pulling the boho look off with aplomb? Share your tips – and the love – below.