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What is a Boho Skirt?

By Susan Grindstaff
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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A boho skirt is a type of skirt that became popular during the 1960s and is usually a component of hippie fashion. These skirts are usually long and flowing and are often made using calico fabric. The boho skirt in many ways resembles prairie skirts that were worn during the early 1800s. Prairie skirts were often made of homespun cotton or cotton feed sacks. In those days, feed sacks were highly valued because they were printed in small floral patterns, and prairie women often recycled the feed sacks into blouses and skirts.

Bohemian fashion was an important part of the hippie culture, and the boho skirt was considered essential to the overall look. Though a boho skirt can be made using any type of lightweight fabric, calico is one of the more popular choices. Calico is a type of soft cotton fabric that is printed using very small floral designs. Calico is also used in creating quilt tops and blouses.

The length of a boho skirt is usually well below the knee, sometimes coming all the way down to the ankle. In some instances, a bohemian skirt is constructed using gathered tiers. This type of boho skirt is sometimes referred to as a peasant skirt or gypsy skirt, and may contain as many as a dozen tiers.

Sometimes boho skirts are constructed using tiers made from various color fabrics and prints. This type of boho skirt is sometimes called a patchwork skirt. The first tier, which begins at the waistline, will be joined to a second tier that is slightly wider and of a contrasting color and print. The wider second strip is gathered to fit the width of the first strip. This process is repeated all the way down the skirt until the desired length is achieved.

Bohemian style skirts are often worn with embroidered vests and loose peasant style tops. Large, floppy hats are also considered a good fashion complement to the boho look. Boho skirts are usually worn with sandals or boots, depending on the season.

It is often possible to find an authentic boho skirt by browsing estate sales and vintage clothing shops, but a true vintage skirt will likely be expensive. Retail clothing stores carry wide selections of reproduction skirts that are usually much more affordable. People who are familiar with sewing might want to consider making their own bohemian skirt. Patterns are available through most pattern companies, and many are designed with beginners in mind.

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Discussion Comments

By seag47 — On Mar 17, 2012

Boho patchwork skirts don't have to be made in straight sections. I have seen some very creative ones, and my friend owns an extremely unique one.

She got it from a dressmaker who specializes in boho style. The skirt is made from pieces of corduroy, and it is super colorful.

The large background piece is dark blue. On the front and back of the skirt is a huge diamond shape constructed of different colors. Three-inch diamond outlines start with magenta on the outer edge and go through a series of colors until the solid middle section is reached.

This skirt cost $150 because of the skill and time put into making it. Patchwork does require talent and attention to detail.

By wavy58 — On Mar 16, 2012

@OeKc05 – I think that is one major weakness of boho tiered skirts. That's why I stick to the ones made from one long piece of fabric.

I love the skirts that start with one color at the waist and fade into another in the middle, then transition to a different color near the end. To me, this look is very boho.

I have a naturally crinkly skirt like this that is heavy enough to withstand the gentle cycle. It starts out yellow, then fades to red and brown. It's the perfect autumn skirt, and it looks great with boots and sandals.

By OeKc05 — On Mar 15, 2012

My favorite long boho skirt reminded me of the bottom half of a wedding dress. It was off-white and fluffy because of the layers used to make it.

The hem of each layer was jagged and full of eyelets. The front of the skirt was shorter than the sides and back, so there was nothing uniform about this skirt. I think that's what made it so boho.

The only problem I had with this skirt was that it didn't last very long. The material it was made of was so thin and crinkly that it began to unravel and shrink up over time.

By cloudel — On Mar 15, 2012

I love boho gypsy skirts. I bought several of them in the early 2000s, and they seem to be sticking around in retail stores.

My favorite was a sea-green tiered skirt. It only came down just below my knees, and I could twirl it so easily. It had three tiers, each lying on top of the other.

This particular skirt had a silky liner in the same shade. This kept it from being too transparent, and it also added a little warmth to the thin material.

Something about wearing tiered skirts makes me feel glamorous and carefree. They are very summery and lightweight, so I don't feel encumbered by my clothing at all.

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