What does Boho even mean? Boho is a shortened version of Bohemian. As with many things I love, the Boho movement has roots in art history. After the French Revolution the way an artist made a living changed drastically, the previous system of patronage disappeared. A further separation of the caste system was in place and artist moved down rather than up in the social strata. The upper middle class or bourgeois were typically business owners and merchants, selling paintings and those who sold paintings were beneath them in their mind. Those that were considered bohemian thought the bourgeois were a bit uppity and typically didn’t agree with the morality, politics or social moires of the bourgeois. The term bohemian then was given to a ‘citizen of the world’ to whom sensual and artistic necessities were primordial, and to whom norms and traditions of bourgeois society seem frivolous, arbitrary, and hypocritical, they were usually laid back, unconventional and highly expressive.
The bohemian lifestyle was living on ones own terms. Other characteristics were; work was an expression of self, rather than for making money. Work as we know it today was seen as slavery.They had a creative outlet that, in an ideal case, was their source of income too. A bohemian followed their own idea of art, community, politics and style. Extravagance and distinct visual differentiation in clothing, home, relationships, all that could be seen, was (on purpose) visually estranged from the bourgeois. Money/Sucess was not important. Everything that is valued as a success by society is relativized by the bohemians. Basically it is an attitude rather than any connection to a fashion or decorating “movement”.