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7 Myths About Modern Bohemians

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,

If you're reading this then you, like most people, are trying to figure out what on earth a bohemian is. So before I get started attempting to straighten out the facts and figures, allow me to share with you this excerpt from the Wikipedia article, Bohemianism, to help you better understand the history of modern bohemianism as we know it today:

"Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.
This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.
Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—voluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème (literally "high Bohemia").
The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, Romani neighborhoods. Bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who were mistakenly thought to have reached France in the 15th century via Bohemia (the western part of modern Czech Republic)..."
Wikipedia, Bohemianism

I have found that those who already have an idea of what bohemianism is have been a little misguided by the portrayal of stereotypical absinthe drinking, velvet and fringe wearing bohemians in movies and books. Today's melding of the hippie and bohemian subculture is throwing people off as well so I'd like to take a moment to straighten out a few misconceptions you might have about modern bohemians. Enjoy!

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,



1. Bohemians are Hippies

It's kind of the other way. From the late 1800s to the 1940s, bohemians slowly evolved into what was known as "hipsters" who then evolved into the "beatniks" of the 1950s and 1960s. Many beatniks traveled the world and favored Asian countries such as India and Morocco. They came back to the US bringing with them Eastern ethnic clothing, art, ideologies and religion. Thus another bohemian movement was born but these bohemians were referred to as "hippies".  

Fast forward to today, and bohemians and hippies have branched off into two separate subcultures that can easily be combined into a subculture all its own with the people referring to themselves and hippie bohemian or boho hippie. They most likely have the crunchy and groovy tendencies of a hippie with the romantic and hedonistic qualities of a bohemian. 

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,
A bohemian man would never be caught in a field of sunflowers as the dew from the leaves
 might damage his vintage red suede loafers he just recently found at the flea market for $5.





2. The Bohemian Motto is "Truth, Beauty, Freedom & Love".

Nope. Many millennials' first view of bohemianism was in Baz Luhrmann's hit musical, Moulin Rouge - myself included. The words "Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love" are on the outside of the DVD, in the soundtracks CD insert  and Ewan McGregor's character, Christian, states at the beginning of the movie:

I first came to Paris one year ago. It was 1899, the summer of love. I knew nothing of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler or Satine. The world had been swept up in the Bohemian revolution and I had traveled from London to be a part of it. On a hill near Paris, was the village of Montmartre. It was not what my father had said. But the center of the Bohemian world. Musicians, painters, writers. They were known as the children of the revolution. Yes! I had come to live a penniless existence. I had come to write about truth, beauty, freedom and at which I believed above all things, love. 

The movie was amazing, bohemianism was portrayed as an ideal lifestyle and the phrase "Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love" resonated with many young people who adopted it as their own personal motto. 



3. All Bohemians Drink Absinthe.

I'm pretty sure that at some point every bohemian has drank absinthe or has explored the idea of drinking absinthe... just like any other liquor. It's not the magical concoction that everyone thinks it is and it never was. It was simply a flavorful, green liquor.  (Don't quote me on this, as this is my recollection from a documentary I watched several months ago). In the early 20th century, absinthe got a bad rap as being dangerous because French bootleggers were making it cheaply and using toxic substances to give it it's distinct green color which in turn would make people ill. Absinthe does contain thujone which i high doses can cause erratic behavior, but you would get alcohol poisoning before feeling its effects.

Absinthe is not the preferred choice of modern bohemians as it too expensive to be drank regularly by people of average income.  If there was a preferred choice of alcohol for bohemians, it would most likely be red wine - any kind. Cheap, expensive, grudgingly in a box or in a jug; it doesn't matter. Just give them some dang wine.

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,
Absinthe is pretty great though. Did you know it still states the same without the
fancy water drip and sugar cube? You can literally just stir the sugar and water right in there
with a regular old spoon. Not as romantic, but still.... ain't nobody got time for that.




4. All Bohemians are Poor.

Most bohemians are entirely too hedonistic to allow themselves to be the starving artist type. They're crafty and clever and will definitely find a way to make money somehow before getting to the point of starving. There are plenty of rich bohemians out there and some are absolutely swimming in money because of their talents. Some notable rich and successful modern bohemians are: Johnny Depp, Iris ApfelHelena Bonham Carter, and Steven Tyler.

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,





5. All Bohemians are Painters, Musicians, and Poets.

Bohemians MUST expressive themselves in some way artistically. That s a huge part of what makes them bohemians! BUT that doesn't necessarily mean they all express themselves through paintings, music and poetry. Bohemians also express themselves with fashion, performance arts, pottery, interior design, event planning, architecture, landscaping and in any form of art you can possibly imagine.

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,




6. Bohemians Shop at Free People and Anthropologie.

Unless these said bohemians are raking in the dough, then probably not. A bohemian would probably faint at the sight of the price tags on those garments and home decor. As variety is the spice of life, Bohemians value quantity over quality and would rather spend $100 on ten dresses at a thrift store, than $100 on one. The items at Free People and Anthropologie are very beautiful, but knock-offs and the original ethnic or vintage style can be found on eBay, Etsy and thrift stores for WAY less! Bohemians are very frugal and they know that you don't have to go broke to get what you want!

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,



7. Coachella is a Bohemian Festival.

Nay. And again to you I say, nay.
Coachella is a weekend music and arts festival held annually in Indio, California. It features big name mainstream bands and performers that most bohemians have probably never even heard of. A bohemian might go for the art, but with general admission going for $399 plus an optional shuttle pass for an extra $75 according to this Forbes article, it is very unlikely that a bohemian would want to spend that kind of money just to see art and listen to music they don't like. So why do people dress like bohemians at Coachella? Probably for the same reason why people wear costumes to renaissance faires and comic conventions - simply to dress up in something fun and unique in an environment where it's completely acceptable to do so.

What is a bohemian? What is bohemianism? What is bohemian style? Bohemian definition, bohemian clothing, bohemian theme, what is boho style home decor, what is boho theme, boho chic style guide, boho chic meaning, what is boho furniture, boho chic decor, define bohemian, bohemian subculture,


So, that's it for right now! Do you feel enlightened?
I'll probably add more myths if you guys have any questions or comments or think I left anything out.


Pin to share please :)

If you'd like to know more about the bohemian lifestyle and the history of bohemians, check out my reading recommendations below! 






3 comments:

  1. I heard that Absinthe got a bad rap from wine makers back in the day because it was cheaper than wine. But, what do I know

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're right! Wine makers were super jealous and they were able to really kick up their anti-absinthe campaign of sorts when the fake absinthe started making folks a little sick and because some dude killed his wife after drinking absinthe (and a buttload of brandy with it and was a known alky) so in turn... Down with absinthe!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this! I run an herb shop and travel selling my herbal wares and code myself bohemian even though I don't have "time" (or money, ha) to deck myself outy in (adorable, I'll add, I like the style) stereotypical "hippie" or "bohemian" attire. It's more than the clothes, that's what the Coachella kids don't get. Like you narrowed it down, it's about living for your art and expression even if it's not the norm, brings ridicule/ostracism, or is extremely difficult to make a living from.

    Great convo you started here :)

    ReplyDelete

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