How To Dress Boho Style And Not Look Too Hippie

If you think of yourself as a bit of a gypsy, then Boho fashion is the perfect way to express your earthy, artsy personality.

Boho chic was all the rage in the ’60s and early ’70s and has seen a revival in the last few years because of celebrities like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, and the Olsen Twins. They’ve embraced this natural look and added their own touch of glitz and glam for a more hippie-luxe look.

No question, boho is fun to wear, but how do you style it without looking like you’re stuck in the ’70s? Here’s how to dress boho style without looking like an old hippie.

Boho style - Colorful Poncho

1. Choose Free and Flowy Fabrics 

Comfortable, loose-fitting, flowy fabrics are part of the boho clothing, so an easy way to get the look is to wear a flowy scarf top.

You’ll look more boho-chic than old hippie if you focus on two things: quality and size. The chicest scarf tops are made from high-quality, luxurious fabrics. Chose one that is silky smooth, or chiffon-like or made of relaxed linen, and that is well finished at the edges. If your top is too rough, too flimsy, or too sheer, it will look cheap.

Also, loose is good, but when a scarf top is too voluminous or extra-long, it can look like you are wearing a tablecloth.

This scarf top is an excellent example of a beautiful boho-chic scarf top. It’s on the elegant side, and the  V-neckline is very flattering for a couple of reasons: 1) showing some skin is youthful, and 2) the V-neck draws your eye downward through along the center of the body, making you look long and lean. I also think this scarf top is beautiful because of the asymmetrical cut. It’s longer at the back and sides giving the top a more artsy look.

The scarf top is just one carefree style. Here are some more Bohemian tops. Also, check out my favorite type – the peasant style top. 


2. Wear Flared Jeans

A well-fitting pair of flared jeans in soft faded denim color, or in white, is very west coast, very boho clothing . They look super chic with a luxurious flowy scarf top, a tunic, or boho peasant top.

Bootcut or skinnies are fine too, but if you really want that retro note- a cool pair of flares is the way to go. The bonus? Flares are great when you want to balance out wider hips.


boho look - print dress

3. Have Fun with Funky Prints

Boho outfit is all about artistic expression and involves lots of funky prints that are wild, colorful, and free-flowing.

When you want to embrace your boho side, look for pieces that showcase eye-catching prints in multiple colors. This fabulous swirl print dress has a fun boho vibe. I’ve elevated the look with a sophisticated clutch and patent leather sandals to appear more modern and boho-chic.


Modern Boho Attire - Off the Shoulder Maxi

4. Try a Maxi Dress 

There’s no better way to look boho than with a pretty maxi. This mixed print dress with the ruffle hem is a classic boho chic style. The off the shoulder neckline, bell sleeves, and suede block heel pumps move us into the present by aligning with current trends. A chic white bag with a structured shape gives this outfit more of an Haute-hippie rather than a hippie-dippie feel.


5. Mix Prints

The best way to express your inner gypsy (I know you’re in there somewhere ) is to mix two prints. Small florals are sweet, feminine, and super boho fashion. They look beautiful combined with a geometric print within the fabric ( see maxi dress above). You can also mix prints in the same outfit. For example, mix a floral top with a paisley print skirt.



boho outfits - Jumpsuit Trend

6. Layer Your Clothes

Do you watch the Netflix series Grace and Frankie? I do, and I find I am often fascinated by the way Lily Tomlin’s character, Frankie, dresses on the show. Her style personality is definitely boho and funky. It always involves a lot of layering.

A natural-looking, textured jacket, vest, or long cardigan worn over something like a wide leg halter jumpsuit, is an excellent way to look more boho. Strappy sandals or multiple necklaces and bracelets can also add layers.

One caution here: Too many layers or wearing too much “stuff” can make you look disheveled. This is a risk you run with the boho outfit, so don’t overlayer. Keep things clean and classy with just a nod to boho layering.


7. Embrace Earth Tones

Natural colors are also a key element of the boho-chic style. If you don’t care for loud colors, then you’ll love the quiet greens, gold, browns, tan, rust, taupes,  blues that are synonymous with this earthy style of dressing. Natural colored leather accessories are the perfect complement to these shades. High-quality leather in modern shapes keeps it chic.


8.  Add a Touch of Fringe

Fringe is fun, fringe is flirty, and fringe is a big part of the boho look. A fringe cardigan, a cute bag with a touch of fringe, or some statement sandals with fringe accents, or even fringe earrings are a great way to add a little boho to your look. To keep it classy, not trashy, and very now, stick to less fringe than more.


boho chic style - Print Palazzo Pants

9. Have Fun with Palazzo Pants

Wide, flowy palazzo pants that swish as you walk are so Haute-hippie! You can wear them the ‘traditional way – with a white tank and jean jacket for an easy summer look – or you can ‘funk them up’ with something like this split linen asymmetrical tunic I’m showing above.

One of the things I like about this loose-over-loose look is that it is comfy and forgiving when hiding your tummy is important to you. And let’s face it, when you’re over 40, it’s important to a lot of us! LOL!

I do recommend that you give your outfit some structure to keep it from veering into the sloppy territory, and you can do that easily with shoes and a bag that has a little structure. A circle bag is perfect. In a natural straw weave, it’s the it bag for spring and looks right at home with this relaxed outfit.


Boho style - crochet top

10. Express Yourself with Artsy Accessories

Large standout pieces of handmade jewelry in natural materials like leather, turquoise, beads, and precious stones bring this look to life. Hoop earrings and long funky pendants are classic boho fashion: the more unique the piece, the better. Don’t be shy about size or mixing and matching styles and colors. Boho chick style is eclectic.

Crocheted, tie-dyed, and handcrafted items or accessories with an ethnic vibe are right on too!  A floppy felt hat is the ultimate accessory when it comes to boho attire.

Are you a boho babe, or would you like to try it out? Have you seen the way I added a Boho touch to a pair of classic shorts? Check out my Boho-lite summer outfit!

Join the Conversation

19 thoughts on “How To Dress Boho Style And Not Look Too Hippie

  1. Hi there, love this article!

    I love having a unique artsy wardrobe and that scarf print top would be a perfect addition!
    Where can I find that beautiful scarf print top or what brand is it? It is just gorgeous!

  2. Hi, great article! I love Boho clothing and all of the outfits and tips you put together, I’ll keep the article to refer to as I don’t want to look sloppy. I was going to ask if you could do another for fall and saw in one of the comments that you may have your stylist put together some fall outfit, so looking forward to that, thank you !

  3. Great article – just want to say that I really am an old hippie, or flower child as I prefer to call it, and I love to dress this way. I work at home, and as a writer and artist I feel this style expresses who I am. And my family love it, too. I’d say, if this is your taste, go ahead and wear whatever you want and feel good in, even if it’s not conventional fashion.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, It’s great that you are able to identify your style. A lot of women struggle with that. It’s so important that your inner essence match your outer way of dressing and it sounds like you have achieved that perfect balance! Here’s another great article on boho attire if you would like to read more:
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Peace, love and good vibes flower child!

  4. I absolutely love the boho clothing but I always feel like I end up looking like I’m wearing my daughter’s clothes. These are some great tips.

    Where can I find the white slides in the boho look #1?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  5. Hi,
    Well, I did live through the 60’s-70’s, and dressed mostly in a bohemian style. I’ve lived a life (lucky me) as an artist and have always embraced a style that is a little edgy (loved and lived in Betsy Johnson during the 80’s.) Now that I’m in my 60’s (and still looking fit and good, btw), I love some of the new Boho styles coming out from companies such as Free People. What do you think I can wear at this age, in a non-business environment; how far can I go with this at my age? I love the long floral dresses with low boots, long tunic tops over dark skinny jeans, etc.

  6. Hi,
    love boho style tops, without frill and without too many colours. So I look for one colour in various tones on a background of white. Then I wear a comfortable soft fabric pant. I am looking for a soft fabric pant in a pale colour – rather than my usual boring black. What look could be put together for me. I am 5ft 7inches, and I have a big tummy. Bit awkward!

  7. I love Boho clothing without ANY hippie elements, but with natural textiles (cotton, silk, linen) with lots of color. I’m convinced that this style only exists in my head. I love exotic looks but not overdone like wearing a whole salwar kameez (I used to when I was young though) but with beads, scarves, bracelets and earrings with a little sparkle. My favorite outfit might be some well fitting straight leg jeans with some nice wedges, a fabulous tunic and appropriate accessories. I am brown-skinned and have neat layered locs. Any pointing in the direction of pulling this together in real life is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I’m not a boho gal. It’s just not me, but I really appreciate a well pulled together boho look. What you are describing sounds wonderful. I can just see it, and judging by your lovely photo you’d look fab in this exotic look. I will have one of our stylists put together some classy boho looks this fall to inspire, so watch for these. Cheers, Deborah

  8. I love boho. I fear looking like I’m wearing a costume so I am still learning to push my own boundaries a little but I am not restricted by any work wardrobe requirements and actually live a fairly bohemian lifestyle anyhow. I feel that the idea of boho is very influenced by California, with cowboy boots and a hippie vibe, and yet there is much more to being a bohemian, creative and unconventional person than just dressing like a hippie. I love earth tones but look better in jewel tones. I prefer natural fibres but sometimes something I like comes in polyester and I capitulate. I buy a lot of things second hand.

  9. This is how I dress. Now a professional but spent my 20s as a true bohemian. I stay true to my roots.

    One thing though for us younger “over 40s”. Our boho incorporates more black. The 80s and 90s boho attire (especially “grunge”) were full of black. I love long maxi dresses in black, floral patterns. Like I wore in my 20s.

  10. I love Boho, especially unique art jewelry and accessories. I wear mine against a simply backdrop of black clothing, which works since I have red hair. The jewelry is the centerpiece. Thanks for your wonderful fashion site. I love it.

    1. I love the Chic Boho style. I love artsy earrings and necklaces and brighter colors. I didn’t go thru the hippie phrase the first time in the 60’s so maybe that is why I like it better now…….alittle more refined and not sloppy. I am petite , 5’0″ and 98 lbs so am always trying to stretch my inches and look stylish also. The pallazo pants work if I wear a tall heel underneath and the maxi dresses do too if you take to alterations and have it perfectly sized. So glad I tried them.

      1. I love boho as well. It took me a while to realize that this was actually the style in which I felt most like me. It began two years ago when I cut my hair into a tiny afro and then embraced dreadlocks. I wear a lot of black with my boho as well, tribal prints and jeans. I express my artistic side more in the cuts and texture of my clothing, for instance asymmetric tops, crotchet, etc. I wear mostly solids, and prints primarily in skirts or tunics. Occasionally I wear an African inspired head wrap. I am also an avid collector of bold, unusual jewelry but I never wear more than three pieces at once. It actually looks a lot less conservative than I’m making it sound! Cheers!

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