Plus Size Boho Chic: 16 Essentials for Hippie Women of All Ages
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
A lot of skinny women love wearing boho fashions (think Nicole Richie), but as far as I’m concerned hippie chic is absolute heaven for plus-size women who are sizes 12 or 14 or 16 and up. Why? Because bohemian clothing is stretchy, floaty, drapey, and gorgeous. Also, there are no rules for boho, so you can adapt styles to flatter your body.
Here are some basic bohemian essentials that larger women should try to find in plus sizes.
1. Folkloric Floral Tops and Dresses: Back in the 60s and 70s, one of the cutest trends was the folklore flowered dress. You can find lots of flower-child goodies in plus sizes, but to get the right type of folk print or embellishment read more about folkloric fashion for all ages.
2. Long Hippie Boho Dresses: The best hippie dresses are usually mid calf, ankle length or longer, and they look best when they are somewhat loose and they flare out from the hips... think of a gypsy skirt. The whole point of wearing boho is to wear loose fitting, comfy clothes (or sometimes pairing tighter clothes with loose items). If you can find a long dress with gypsy-skirted tiers, you will wear it forever... or for as long as it fits. And, long, plain dresses in the right fabrics for fall and winter or for spring and summer are absolute boho essentials.
3. Plus Size Gypsy Skirts: Any long comfortable skirt is a boho necessity, but if you can find a nice full skirt with tiers or ruffles, get it. You'll wear it. Find something with an elastic or drawstring waist for comfort... then take belly dancing lessons just for the fun of it.
4. Gauzey Embellished Tops and Dresses: Look for beaded or sequined embellishments on floaty items with drapey sleeves or poet sleeves. You can wear sheer tops over camis in summer or you can pair them with sweaters when it's cold outside. Hey, you can also wear gauzey tops or dresses over long tank dresses on cruises.
5. Paisley or Indian Inspired Prints: You can find plus size paisley prints online, but you should also check import shops to see if they have your size... or if their bangles are big enough for your wrists.
6. Plus Size Boho Kimonos: You should always be on the lookout for cool wraps and kimonos. Not only do they work well with Gatsby flapper styles, but they are totally boho, baby. Those of us who were hippies in the, gasp, 60s used to look for old kimonos and lingerie robes from the 20s, 30s, and 40s in Goodwill types of stores. (ps Festival shorts are for kids under 30-ish.)
7. Large Blanket Ponchos: Capes and ponchos are perfect for wearing over your boho duds when you don't know what else will look right. Wear these over everything from long skirts to bellbottom jeans. Then stuff your poncho into your duffle bag when you're on the move... hitching a ride in your college roommate's Prius or hitching a ride on your friend's Gulfstream.
8. Embroidered Kurtis (Kurta) Style Tops: It's best if you can find actual handmade items, but this is the real world, so you'll probably end up with machine-made clothing. Look for Kurtis with a real Morroccan pattern and a groovy Middle Eastern feel to it.
9. Anything with Shisha Embroidery: Shisha is a type of mirror embroidery work (see above photo on right) that has been used on folk clothing in India, the Middle East, and Indonesia for centuries. You can find Shisha work on tops, dresses, and accessories, such as handbags and scarves. Very cool. You'll get extra Boho Brownie Points for mirrored items.
10. Aztec or Navaho Designs: Any clothing or accessories with a Southwestern feel will look perfect with all your hippie duds... even most florals. Add a few pieces of turquoise jewelry for a bit of heavenly desert perfection.
11. Psychedelic Florals: Check out the middle photo above for a fab example of a beautiful, colorful, 60s-flowered sweater coat that will jazz up everything from jeans to Plain-Jane dresses.
12. Jean Jackets and Denim Vests: Anything denim is groovy, but one jacket that is sure to blend with all your other boho looks is a denim jacket. Go to vintage shops and look for old jean jackets that are beat to s**t. Try the men's sections of thrift stores for larger sizes.
13. Plus Flared or Bellbottom Jeans: I mostly wear jeggings tucked into boots, but many pear-shaped women swear by bellbottoms to balance out their lower proportions. It's not easy to find real plus-sized bellbottoms these days, but you might try vintage men's jeans from the 70s... or add inserts (of flowered material) along the outside seams of bootcut jeans - to make the jean bottoms into larger bells.
14: Plus-Sized Cotton Wide-Leg Pants: If you're lucky, you can find those crinkly cotton or linen drawstring pants like we used to wear with Kurtis in the 60s. Natural fabric is best if you live in a hot climate, but anything wide and comfortable will be fine with your favorite long tunics.
15: Plus Clothing with Fringe: Jackets, vests, purses, and wraps with tassels or fringe will have that cool hippie festival feel. Wear sparingly if you were a hippie the first time around.
16: Crochet or Macrame Details: Tops, dresses, and just about anything with macrame/crochet edging or crocheted-lace embellishments will have a great boho vibe. An open crocheted vest or jacket gives a beautiful peek-a-boo, casual look.
Other boho details to look for in plus-sized clothing include tie dye fabric (keep this on the elegant side), vintage evening gowns to wear in the daytime (or dresses that are just copies of 40s glamour), anything Mexican or ethnic, and big chandelier earrings and huge bangles that won't get lost on your large frame. It's so much fun to reinvent yourself as a boho gypsy because bohemian style was absolutely created for plus-size women.
Great Websites with Boho Stuff:
Here are my favorite sites. I'm a high-end hippie, but sometimes I luck out and get something fab on one of the discount sites that advertises online. I look best when I mix cheap and expensive, real turquoise with plastic turquoise, etc. That way, it's harder to tell that I'm faking it a bit.
Brands to try:
- Johnny Was Plus Size. Expensive but freaking worth every penny. Check out sales. I've found better plus size here than the JW site.
- Jean Jackets at Old Navy. Why spend a ton? It's a freaking jean jacket.
- Joe Browns at Marisota. His stuff is like a cheaper version of Johnny Was. It's very San Fran in the summer of love.
And you should check out my other article about gypsy skirts and dresses for plus sizes. Of course, you already know about St. Vincent's and Goodwill. If you're a boho hippie, you're totally into that. Just elbow your way past the hipsters.
More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:
Photo Credits: Prshots.com. (Unfortunately, the fashions are from previous seasons. Fortunately, each website often carries similar styles each spring or fall.)
- Main Photo: Simply Be 2011.
- Folkloric Flowered Hippie Dress: Asos Curve.
- Boho Chic Hippie Plus Size Clothes: Asos Curve, LaRedoute (2).
- Hippie Poncho Cape or Kimono: Asos Curve, Simply Be (plus sizes)
- Plus Size Embroidered Kurtas: Simply Be, LongTallSally.
- Boho Jackets Plus Size: LaRedoute (2), Bon prix.
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