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Plus Size Boho Chic: 16 Essentials for Hippie Women of All Ages

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

floral plus size mini dress tunic fat women large sizeA 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.

plus size bohemian clothing style fashion

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.hippy boho kimono blanket poncho

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.

embroidery hippie boho kurti tunics women

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.

hippie jackets for large women

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.

read about plus size boho

Shoes for Johnny Was Dress?

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:

What Kind of Boots to Wear with Boho Dresses?

Baroque Fashion Trend for Women over 50

Boho Chic Hippie Clothes - Plus Size Maxi Dresses

Why Boho Chic Will Never Die

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.

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or give us a Google Plus. Note: As always, I am not paid by any of these companies to promote their products.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. kay kerns

    Yes this style of dressing is comfortable and fun nice work!

    • Tina-Boomerina


      Glad you like the article. I tried to wear classic tailored clothing for years but I looked like a stuffed goose... even when I was skinny. I think I was a gypsy in my last life... or some kind of Victorian Steampunk person.

      Tina Boomerina

  2. Carol Halll

    Love the bobo fashions pse advise wherei an get them in SouthAfrica prevent import the,to sell here thank you

    • Tina-Boomerina


      Most of the clothing photos on my site are from companies in the UK. I don't know anything about importing into South Africa. If you put your cursor over a photo, the caption will pop up and you can find the name of the company. Then, you must google that company and go to their page about delivery, which will tell you where they ship internationally.

      I wish I knew more about importing and exporting.
      Tina Boomerina

  3. Tina-Boomerina


    I just typed "Asos International Shipping" into the Google search box and it took me to a page that says they ship to South Africa. I think you can do something similar with any company... such as "Nordstrom International Shipping". I will send you some links.

    Tina ps If you want larger sizes, you should look for "plus" clothing or "Asos Curve" or something like that.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Carol, I should do an article about how to find out if a store ships to a foreign country. I would start with a cheap product from Asos and see if it gets there because I know there have been issues with South Africa in the past. However, it looks like these stores ship to South Africa: Asos.co.uk or Asos.com, Debenhams, House of Fraser and River Island (might be affiliated with Asos... I'm not from the UK, Nordstrom.com, Macys.com, and probably M&S... though I will double check and send you a link if I find it.


      • Tina-Boomerina

        Carol, I've sent you some links and I've told you how to contact people on a site. Let me know if you need more help. Personally, I would try ordering some very inexpensive item on Asos and see if it arrives before ordering something expensive. However, I've never been to South Africa and I don't know if there will be any difficulties with delivery.

  4. Linda Renz

    where can I get the blue shirt in the middle pic under #1? This is why I dont like pintrest, lots to see but hard to find

    • Tina-Boomerina


      It took me a while, but I finally found it. I'll send you a link and I hope you'll tell your friends about my website or post this article on Facebook to help me out.

      I spent a fair amount of time, but I finally located the top in the outlet section of LaRedoute.

      I knew the top was there SOMEWHERE because I just saw it a few days ago. Fortunately, I know how the French think because I'm married to a frog. hahaha


  5. Geraldine Brayger

    You don't say where the items of clothes are from :(

    • Tina-Boomerina


      If you put your cursor over the photo, a caption will pop up. I have been putting a list at the bottom of most newer articles. If you are not seeing a caption, just ask me where something is from and I will email you.

  6. Tina-Boomerina

    ps I have to run, but I will add a list to this article when I can.

  7. Kathy

    Am hoping to find similar in USA.
    Thanks for your article.

  8. Alplily

    Hi there... I learned about Johnny Was here, and found a blue Johnny Was Collection Rose Garden Dress on eBay for a really reasonable price. I intend to wear it to a dressier business casual work gala dinner (note that I am the event planner and will be on my feet for hours) AND to a wedding. Can you recommend shoes?

    • Tina-Boomerina


      I try not to do too many links in the comment section, so I put a small copy of the photo (above) near the bottom of the article... the dress is titled "Shoes for Johnny Was Dress?"

      I'm sure that rich blue dress is beautiful on you. And, I like it with beige/nude shoes, just like it's shown in the picture. However, you need something more comfortable.

      IMO, you can go with a boho flat or bootie or shoe... or you can let the dress take center stage and wear a neutral shoe of any kind that isn't too formal... like don't wear a closed-to pump... it would be too tailored.

      Let me see what I can find... I'll be right back.

      Ok, I'm going to show you my go-to sandals (very neutral and versatile) that look too high to wear, but are very comfortable (to me). These Onex sandals are soft and lightweight, but wear them beforehand around the house to make sure you can function in them. (If you're doing a lot of fast walking or running down stairs, you may need a shoe with a strap that goes around the heel.) Onex has other sandals and a pair of flats like this one, but the style in this link is the shoe I wear when I can't find anything else... or when I'm in a hurry:


      This shoe is almost not even there... it's just an imaginary shoe that no one notices. This shoe always goes in my suitcase... just in case I need it. I have a medium-wide foot, but this only comes in M (medium width). I think my sandals are the platinum color but they are reasonably neutral. You want to stay in the beige family or some kind of earth-tone brown. Something like the Onex Nu Bronze color would work but not the white... and I'm not sure about the blue.

      This is a little tricky because I'm trying to find ONE pair of shoes that will go with a lacy boho dress (casual, fun), can be worn to a business function (more formal, higher heel), needs to function at a wedding (comfort and movement), all while keeping the price within a reasonable range. Have I got your requirements straight? If you can afford Cole Haan Air anything, it would take care of the comfort... but the price is usually steep.

      If you don't want the most neutral shoe in the world, you could wear a flat, fringed sandal or something tan with a boho feel... like a strappy gladiator.

      And, I don't know your age or your shoe size or anything, but I'll give Nordstrom's a try... of course the first, all-purpose, strappy flat that I really like is almost $400 (AGL)... I'll keep looking... if you find a flat, embellished thong (with beads or something) in a neutral color, it might work... don't get gladiators with narrow straps (they can cut into your skin)... I'm not sure if you need a flat, but these kinds of sandals might be multifunctional... although I'm not sure how dressy you need to be for the work thing or the wedding:


      https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014741594610/ maybe the metallic - (or some kind of neutral gladiator style... I can find the perfect shoe if you want to spend over $500 and hobble around all night)

      wait... this one gets better reviews: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014741594621/

      a flat (or whatever) fringed sandal would also work. I'm just trying to give you basic ideas.

      If you can do heels:

      I like the Southwester geometric pattern with the lacy crochet of the dress: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014741594638/

      Here's a flat with a similar feel: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014741594655/

      Something insanely simple (but hip) might work: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014741594718/ (I know these are plain, but I think the most important thing is that you find shoes that don't hurt. Heck, Birkenstocks are back in style...)

      I don't know if you're old and have issues with your feet or you're young and can wear 4" heels. I also don't know what part of the country you're from. So... if you can find something simple and neutral, but hip and different, that's how I would go. Make sure to google "comfort" sandals... and I would lean towards ethnic and funky instead of business-like and formal. I personally think that wedges are easier to walk in than heels (in most cases... but you know your balance and your feet).

      I would NOT go prissy and girly to match the dress. I would not try to match the blue... too hard. That dress doesn't need much embellishment (unless you're like me and you like to overdo things).

      Remember... I'm not a fashion expert... I'm just a typical shopper living within an average budget. You may find something better than what I've put in this list of links... which I could not avoid.


      • Alplily

        Thank you so much for the effort your put into this. You have opened my eyes to possibilities I had not considered. I had actually been looking at pumps (which just didn't seem quite right!), and possibly trying to match the funkiness of the dress (fail). I like the idea of a neutral color a lot, as it will help make my legs look longer and will let the dress take center stage (and the labradorite jewelry I made myself).

        I live high in the Colorado Rockies, so formal wear and business casual run the gamut. I am 49, 5'4", size 16 and getting smaller with oodles of exercise, blue eyes, blonde going silver, legs are on the shorter side (sigh). I am OK with lower, stable heels (often wear suede Dansko Mary-Jane pumps for business). I am generally a jeans, crisp shirt, nice jewelry (or boho-ish top), and Frye boots kind of girl. Hardly ever wear makeup. Have fantasies of being the Sundance Catalog's first short, pudgy model. ;-)

        Again, many thanks.

        • Tina-Boomerina


          Sundance Catalog NEEDS a short, pudgy model... I wonder what beige cowboy boots (or cowboy ankle booties) would look like with that dress. I've seen several women with short, flippy skirts and neutral cowboy boots in Europe (Paris and Venice... a few years back)... so it's the trend!

          If you have some broken in (or whatever) cowboy boots, you should try the dress on with your favorite old funky boots. I don't know if they would be right for business casual... but that's the kind of thing I might wear. You could certainly wear cowboy boots with that dress for most things (running around in the daytime, going out to a club, flirting with the guy down the street). Your cute jewelry will probably make it dressy enough for any event.

          Johnny Was is an LA company... and lots of their styles are Southwestern/Mexican/Santa Fe-ish.

          I have short legs, too. The only reason I'm not into cowboy boots is because I like more height... I would wear stilts if I wouldn't fall on my ass. Well, now that I'm living in Bend, Oregon (Colorado-lite and kind of up in the mountains... sort of), I will be getting some kind of cowgirl boots... hopefully with medium-high heels.

          Anyway, you can totally take that Johnny Was dress into Sundance-Catalog territory. I saw some Johnny Was things on Sundance a few years ago. You can wear anything "Western-ish" or "hippie-ish" with that dress. Sundance may give you ideas for shoes if tan boots or booties don't work.


  9. Tina-Boomerina


    ps I'm trying to find shoes that you will actually wear that won't hurt. If you want to spend more money or you want "party" shoes... the sky's the limit. I don't know if you're more Beverly Hills or more Little Hippie House on the Prairie.

    I think the dress will stand on its own. That's why I tried to find comfy shoes with a casual edge. It may not be what you're looking for... but I'd go for something simple and funky like Kork-Ease flatforms to the sky... but if you have to do a lot of walking for the job, you might land on your asssss.

    Funky trumps pretty with Johnny Was. Wear some flat Minnetonka mocs or gladiators that buckle up to your knee... just don't go cutesy.

    Hope this makes sense. I'm typing as fast as I can. Out of time. No chance to spell check. T

  10. Jill Aaron

    There's just no substitute for Free People. Unfortunately, most of their clothes are too small, too sheer, too short or too low. It's no use praying for them to make clothes for fat, middle-aged me. How is it that in a world where I feel like someone is trying to rip me off every minute, no clothing company wants my money?

    • Tina-Boomerina


      Free people has astoundingly beautiful styles. I wish they made clothing in larger sizes. Even their handbags are sometimes too petite next to my middle-aged frame.

      I know EXACTLY how you feel about clothing companies! I would love to find mid-priced boho stuff in my size. Every few months I write about the fact that no one seems to want my money.

      What I wouldn't do for an embroidered wool coat or long jacket in a size 14-16 or 16-18 (or probably an 18 in a skinny-chick designer brand). Do they expect us to stay home all winter because we have nothing to wear?

      I would LOVE to find more sources for good stuff!

      I am willing to pay $600 - $1000 (once in my life) for a truly groovy wool coat with Russian/Bohemian embroidery or cool appliques. Where can I find something like that?

      Hey, Chinese manufacturers... I refuse to pay $4000 for really high -nd designer coats... and they wouldn't fit anyway... but I know you can make the style I want in a plus size for the price I want. Please make plus sized wool coats like this for fall 2016/winter 2017!

      Do a google search for Legends of the Forest boiled wool coat at Sundance.com. That's the kind of thing you should be designing for fall.

      And, Jill, thanks for your comment.