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“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.
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.
If you’re not feeling the graffiti-covered tailoring seen on the SS15 runways at Dior, or Burberry’s fully printed jacket with matching accessories, why not get started with a simple printed 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.
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.
It’s Saint Laurent once again leading the movement for SS15, although Prada’s smooth leather coat in tan leather dips into the trend just as well.
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.
Although Prada and Fendi showed us this season’s best sandals, the high street is filled with more affordable versions – a good call for those who aren’t yet fully committed to the aesthetic.
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.