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The Difference Between the Bohemian and Gypsy Fashion Styles

Bohemian and gypsy fashion are often thought of as being a counterculture to mainstream sensibilities. While this is true for the most part, it’s also assuming that the two countercultures are one and the same. While both have a vast cultural history and implications in their own rights, they’re quite unique constructs that are at times in opposition to one another both culturally speaking and in terms of style. 


Often lauded as offering an expected free-spirited alternative to mainstream culture and styles—which is often considered confining—Bohemian and gypsy fashion styles have their own unique stories to tell. 

What Is Bohemian Fashion Style?

To truly understand where the concept of Bohemian fashion style comes from, a brief foray into the past is required. Centered around the notion of being a free thinker and idealistic individual with admirable artistic capabilities, Bohemian culture and lifestyles are typically unconventional by nature. Bohemians don’t conform to societal norms and expectations and their style along with their free-spirited nature is a reflection of that. 
Coined sometime in the late-19th century the term Bohemian is derived from the French term “bohemien”, which was used to describe Romani gypsies who originated from the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. These people were often viewed as being subversive nomads who refused to adhere to societal norms of settling down in one location and raising families the conventional way.
As a result, Bohemian fashion style typically draws inspiration from a wide range of cultural influences and is usually made of natural materials that are derived from the Earth. Clothing is usually loosely fitted and made from light, airy materials like cotton or linen for ultimate comfort. Despite having a long, illustrious history that’s rooted in Celtic culture, Bohemian fashion style flourished and was popularized with the insurgence of the hippie culture of the 1960s.  

Identifying Features of Gypsy Fashion Style 

Gypsy style, on the other hand, is often characterized in pop culture with long, brightly coloured and loosely fitted flowy skirts adorned with gold or silver jangly jewels. Much like the Bohemian fashion style, gypsy fashion also has unique historical roots. Gypsies, who are historically referred to as The Romanis or The Roma, originally came from northwest India, but were forced to migrate with the arrival of Arabic tribes sometime around 800 to 1000 AD. 
Eventually making their way to east Asia, eastern Europe, England, and even North America, these nomadic subgroups are the ancestors of modern-day gypsies. Not only were they social outcasts who were often persecuted for their lifestyle, but their frilly and fringe-laden clothing and gaudy gold and silver accessories were often considered to be at odds with modern European society. The Banjara people (an Indian tribe in Rajasthan) still have strong cultural connections with the Roma people and it’s speculated that the Roma started their journey from Rajasthan.

Which One Suits You Better?

Both the Bohemian and gypsy fashion style have vast and noteworthy cultural histories. Both embody the individualist and creative spirit that exists in all of us. Many internationally acclaimed Roma/Gypsy artists are well-established and celebrated for their contributions to the world. This free-spirited, always on-a-move culture, as well as primitive connection with earth that embodies the bohemian spirit has changed mainstream culture immensely. Whichever one you identify with the most on a cultural and spiritual level is the one that suits you best. 
Whether you’re looking for Bohemian style for women or gypsy boho fashion online, Woodstock Lodge is sure to have a clothing item or accessory that speaks to your nonconformist artistic soul. Get in touch with us today to learn more or peruse our website to check out some of our products!
  • November 07, 2019
  • Mrityunjay Awasthy