Style Inspiration: Haute Bohemian

outfit with soft silhouettes, simple but interesting shapes

This outfit was inspired a woman I spotted in Beverly Hills last week. I’d guess her age at anywhere between late 60’s and 70’s. Her wavy silver hair was cut in a blunt, chin-length bob. All of the pieces in her outfit were simple and fluid but with interesting shapes and textures. Everything was a little bit oversized, yet due to the softness of the fabrics didn’t look boxy or bulky. She was not tall, but had wonderful presence. She stood out (in a good way) among all of the skinny-jean-clad people around her. I’ve ranted before about how the word “chic” is overused, but in this case I’m going there. She was utterly chic.

I’m pretty sure the pants she was wearing were these. The blouse was something silky, no collar, in ivory. In place of the cardigan I’ve shown above, she had a satin kimono-style jacket (solid, no print, worn open) that I’m almost certain was vintage. I’ve searched online for days trying to find something similar with an image I could use for the collage, with no luck. She wore a few pieces of bold, interesting jewelry, and rust colored ankle boots with a slim shaft.

Above: nails | rings | bag | sweater | top (similar) | necklace |
pants (similar) | fragrance | bracelet | bracelet | boots

Her outfit was different without looking like a costume, elegant but easy, bohemian but modern. It hit me right where I live, and has given me some ideas for looks I want to try.

What styles have you been inspired to try after admiring them on someone else?

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31 Comments

  1. March 13, 2017 / 3:49 am

    She sounds marvelous. It’s so worthwhile to invest in beautiful fabrics.
    I saw a woman in her mid-60s, I’d guess, at the market in a short pencil skirt (a little above the knee) with yellow, white and black horizontal stripes, a yellow leather motorcycle jacket, black tights and black oxfords with thick soles (flat). She looked fantastic and thanks to the flats walked with a nimbleness that outdid many younger people at the market.
    Completely different shape than what you describe, but it shows that each woman has found what works for her.

  2. Nancy
    March 13, 2017 / 3:52 am

    This is not bohemian but looking for an item and not sure where to post? Our son is getting married and i am looking for a sheer organza type coat/jacket to go over a black sheath dress for the rehearsal dinner. I have the perfect one in peach for another event (by Ssra Campbell) but cannot find a black one. Any suggestions or links to one at a reasonable price?

  3. Jaye Coker
    March 13, 2017 / 6:01 am

    I have the EF lantern ankle pants and love how they can add a little extra edge to an outfit and still look classic. A soft loose look is my preferred silhouette. I’m still working on accessorizing though because I’ve never worn much jewelry except a wedding band and maybe some earrings. I look forward to seeing your jewelry statements and hope to learn how to put a better look together.

  4. Beverly
    March 13, 2017 / 6:25 am

    For the kimono, check out Anthropologie, Chicos, Macy’s and Nordstrom online. I’m thinking about one at Anthropologie but am not sure I can wear the color it comes in.

    • Susan B
      March 13, 2017 / 6:40 am

      Hi Beverly, thanks! All have some nice kimonos, but all prints, no solids.

  5. Pam
    March 13, 2017 / 7:30 am

    I’ve never been great at putting together a “look” for myself without getting inspiration from someone else first. Styling myself was far easier when I was younger and thin. With post menopausal changes in my body, I was at a loss for quite a while – experimented constantly and gave away a fortune in clothes that didn’t work for me to charitable groups. Susan, when I came across your blog one day, your words and looks really resonated with me. Over the past few years, you’ve enabled me to successfully envision & develop great looks for myself, using your examples. So incredibly helpful and inspiring!!

  6. March 13, 2017 / 8:11 am

    Eileen Fisher has some great kimono-style jackets. I purchased one last year in denim, and love it with slim black pants…. But I hadn’t thought to wear it with lantern ankle pants. I have a pair of lantern ankle pants (very similar to the EF pair) made by Simply — which are even more fluid and easy to wear. Thanks for the idea of pairing them with the kimono jacket!

    P.S. Are you familiar with Simply?

    • Susan B
      March 13, 2017 / 8:17 am

      Hi Cindy, I’m not familiar with Sympli but will check them out; thanks for the tip!

      • March 13, 2017 / 8:46 am

        Since you travel so often, I think you’d find their pieces very packable and easy. They work well with Eileen Fisher styles, too. Here’s the link to their site: http://www.sympli.com

  7. March 13, 2017 / 8:13 am

    P.S. I made an error on the spelling for the Sympli clothing line — Sorry about that!

  8. JoAnn Blecker
    March 13, 2017 / 8:19 am

    Great style!! I could live in that outfit!!!

  9. Margaret
    March 13, 2017 / 8:30 am

    I’m a sixty-something ordained minister, and wear the Eileen Fisher lantern pant for church/social occasions that do not call for a robe. They are flattering because they’re not too baggy but offer a little flow and movement. They look great with all length jackets/sweaters and booties. Chic but not flashy or trendy: I highly recommend them!

  10. March 13, 2017 / 8:47 am

    An inspiring post, Susan, and I think you’ve just helped me decide on what to put in my travel carry on for Thursday , so big thanks go to you!
    You described the lady’s outfit so well. It’s rude to photo someone in the street but I lucked out twice last year. A girl I admired on a French street later sang in the town square so I felt it was OK to photograph a street performer. And in Copenhagen my friend and I plucked up courage to ask a girl where she bought her dress (Mads Norgaard). We went to the shop; we bought nothing but my husband came out of there with a new jumper. And they say we women are shopoholics!

  11. Sarah Harvey
    March 13, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Lovely!! And my age! So was her kimono style jacket in gray (as represented in your photo)? I have a beautiful black silk kimono jacket from a Japanese store in Healdsburg–I just realized I should be wearing it!! I need to get an ivory colored silk top probably…..

  12. Cynthia
    March 13, 2017 / 9:59 am

    Have you looked into lingerie/robes for a solid kimono jacket?

  13. marsha calhoun
    March 13, 2017 / 10:07 am

    This post reminded me so much of an old friend (a spectacularly thoughtful one) who always word the most beautiful kimono jackets; I believe she made them herself, and I have never forgotten how simply and perfectly chic she looked wherever she was – it is so nice to be remembering her again!

  14. Laura
    March 13, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Silk kimonos without a print are indeed hard to find! I was looking last week and ended up finding an Equipment one on clearance but it wasn’t quite like the one you described. But during my search I found this one that might be closer to the fabulous woman that you saw.
    Halston Satin Back Crepe Kimono Wrap

    • Susan B
      March 13, 2017 / 11:00 am

      Hi Laura, yes, it was similar to that one, though in a rust color. Nice! Wouldn’t you know Halston would have something silky? 😉

  15. March 13, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Haute Bohemian. What a wonderful way to capture a personalized and eclectic style that is nevertheless chic! She sounds fabulous.

  16. Joanna
    March 13, 2017 / 11:47 am

    The outfit you describe certainly made a statement. I admire those brave enough to step out in a magnificent outfit and wear it so well. It takes a certain personality to carry it with confidence and the lady you spoke of, had it in spades.

  17. March 13, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I wish you had snapped a photo of her.. She sounds fabulous! Thanks for the suggestions above I am going to check them out.

  18. Kathy
    March 13, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    As always, Susan, I enjoyed reading your post today. I found the EF lantern pant (although they’re not referred to as such) at Century 21’s website, for any readers interested. Click on “women”, then “new arrivals”. They are $139.99, a bit less than the link you shared. What a unique, classic black pant! wwwc21stores.com.

    • Susan B
      March 13, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Hi Kathy, thanks! These seem to be the silk version (the ones I linked to are washable stretch crepe) so that price is a good one. For anyone interested, here’s a link: Eileen Fisher Silk Lantern Pants.

  19. Kathy
    March 13, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Sorry – forgot the “dot” after www in my previous comment.

  20. Kay
    March 13, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    This is me. I have a couple of pairs of EF lantern pants, and I wear them with kimono-type jackets and tops. I like the over-sized, softer look.

  21. Cathy D.
    March 13, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    Susan, I love this post. It’s a good example of what makes your blog so interesting, and so useful. The words “simple” and “fluid” jumped out at me, and I’m going to think of them when shopping. I loved the fact that most of the look (including the hair) is cool, but with warm tan boots and some gold touches in the jewelry… a beautiful contrast. It takes time, effort and money to find clothes of this caliber, but it is so worth the effort.

  22. Belinda Manley
    March 14, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Would you describe what you consider BOHO. Only the jewelry and embroidered toppers/kimono speak that to me. Is it a shape? A fabric? Or is what you are showing a more elegant version than what I picture when I hear the word? I sit at your feet to learn! Haha

    • Susan B
      March 14, 2017 / 1:28 pm

      Hi Belinda, I think what strikes me as “bohemian” about this look is the softness and fluidity of it, as opposed to something more tailored, structured and classic. Perhaps there’s a better descriptor, but I haven’t come up with one.

  23. March 14, 2017 / 8:24 am

    This post was really inspiring! Your blog is where I come to look for inspiration and I’ve learned a lot here.

  24. Jude
    April 5, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    There is a satin kimono in grey on the Boohoo website. Not sure if this is what you are describing Susan. It is cheap price but I ordered it to see what it is. Sale etc. Looks pretty. Will see when it gets here. Go to Boohoo who just bought Nasty gal by the way. Search Rebecca satin Kimono. Curious if this was similiar to what you are descrbing here.
    Best
    Jude

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