What is Urban Boho?

Posted on September 07 2016

What is Urban Boho?

We use the term ‘Urban Boho’ a lot to describe the style and vibe of Chunky Armadillo, but some people ask us What is Urban Boho anyway?  Let’s explore.


Bohemian (Life)Style

The term boho comes from bohemian which refers to an old-fashioned hippie style like you’d see on gypsies and artists from the beat generation. It’s often defined as a care-free or unconventional lifestyle that is unconcerned with social norms or fitting in, but rather geared toward creativity, artistic expression, romantic ideals, and an emotive, flowy, go-with-the-vibe kind of attitude.

boho style clothing boutique

The disheveled artist with a messy look because he’s been smoking hash and working on his novel in the loft.  The starry-eyed hippie girl with dreads and big skirts dancing in the field.  These are the archetypes of the bohemian lifestyle and that eventually informed the ‘boho’ style movement in fashion and the arts.

Boho is your vests and poet shirts on guys, your long skirts and beaded jewelry on gals, and a general sense of messiness to say “i don’t care about looking good for society.”


Enter Urban Boho

The ideals behind urban boho are similar, but more polished.  After the hippie love generation, there was this sense that since “flower power” alone didn’t work to change the world, we all have to go back to working for a living and leading normal lives.  So the urban slant on boho is, yes let’s take all that flowy, hippie, carefree aesthetic that makes us feel creative, artistic, colorful, and vibrant… but let’s polish it up a little, add some grit and attitude, and carry ourselves like we’ve got someplace to go.

It’s very unapologetic for open flair and ballsy self expression, and that’s what we love so much about it here at Chunky Armadillo.

“Stop saying sorry all the time!” say Melanie and Caressa, the visionary women behind the Chunky Armadillo brand.  “Be yourself and let people deal with who you are, you can’t control that.”

A bohemian is open to different people’s arts and cultures and styles.  Not closed minded and stuck up, we’re open to weirdness and personal style.  It’s where comfort and fashion meet, a merger of looking polished and put-together but in a relaxed, easy way.  If it’s not comfy, why bother?  You don’t have to torture yourself to be fashionable and fly.  People always comment on how soft our stuff is, because it doesn’t over do it.  

This urban boho trend is big in certain places around the country, Melanie says. “Any time someone from LA, NY, Nashville, or TX walk in here, they can’t get enough of it.  It’s that culture and attitude they love.”

columbus ohio fashion boutique

We call it Rebel with a Cause.

New boho and Urban boho feel earthy and grounded, instead of head in the clouds and trippin’ out like hippies.  There’s a lot of texture, flowy fabrics, and off-the-shoulder sass, it’s not conservative at all.  It’s a rebellion against straight-laced, uptight mainstream culture but without being alienated from everyday life.  


Motifs & Aesthetic of Urban Boho

Urban boho goes back to that gypsy culture where you’re weird, maybe from the bayou, very soulful and authentic.  “It’s very raw,” say the Hutchins sisters, pointing out all the real leather, fox tails, animal fur, skulls, and taxidermy laying around their shop.  “PETA people think we’re crazy and get offended,” they laugh.  “We don’t care. Just keep doing our thing.”  

Common motifs:  Fringe, flowy fabrics, flared jeans, crochet/knit overlays, bandana scarves, gypsy headbands, lots and lots of layers, and a gypsy approach to big jewelry (and lots of it!).  We’re talking like wear 50 necklaces and 20 rings and some big dangling earrings, girl!  Go beaded, tasseled, waffled, loose, and stretchy.


Speak through Style

Fashion is a form of communication and what we’re saying is let yourself flow, let yourself be free, vibe with the environment.   We’re saying express your unique soul, share that essence with the rest of us to make the world more beautiful and creative and vibrant.  

Kill the boring shit!

Less is not more anymore, people.  More is more!  No more minimalist, please.  Folks, please step it up with the jewelry and layers.  Don’t let that shit sit in the drawer at home, put all of it on and let us see!

“People come in here and they aren’t wearing anything,” Melanie says. “And they leave not wearing anything.  C’mon, please. Stop. Don’t be afraid. Step up your jewelry game, I can’t take it anymore.”

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