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The Zen of Urban Boho

What is urban boho?

Think jeans rather than beaded sarongs; boots rather than hessian sandals; power-play rather than flower-play; edgy hats rather than feather head-dresses. Less floaty/flouncy and more form/function...

Think wearing contemporary fashion staples without compromising the individuality of your unique style by adding artisan urban boho jewellery and accessories.  Welcome to the must-have fashion trend that is urban boho.

Urban boho perfected - the urban boho necklace finishes this outfit beautifully

Nobody does urban boho better than Alessandra Ambrosio. Her turquoise urban boho necklace and stacked bracelets set off the go-anywhere boots and denim shorts beautifully. 

Boho fashion was never going to go away. It's just too popular, and its values are now so relevant to the major issues of our time. Earth-consciousness, sustainability, recycling, eco choices, and most importantly the freedom of expression in how we present ourselves to the world.

Never fear boho lovers - the boho spirit is a forever classic. It's just moved to a new location.

Once a staple of hippie gatherings and festivals, boho has moved into the city.  And with that shift it has evolved in style - a look we call urban boho. It’s edgier, more streamlined, and certainly more versatile. Urban boho is the new fashion classic that can take you from the office to the airport to the fanciest gathering in your calendar. A word that comes up a lot in describing urban boho is ‘attitude.’ What that means is a sense of independence, of standing apart from the crowd and expressing your own fashion ethos.

Romee Strijd showcases urban boho with camo pants and boots but wearing urban boho jewellery to stamp the look as her own. (Photo courtesy Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

Urban boho showcased by Romee Strijd : camo pants, combat boots with urban boho stacked bracelets to stamp the look her own (Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

What is the zen of urban boho?

Nobody (except maybe Buddhist monks) knows exactly what zen means, and how on earth it might apply to fashion. But get down to the basics, and zen simply seeks the answer to the question:  “What are you?” Simple, huh? Or maybe not.

Sure, on a spiritual level it will probably take you years of meditation to find out, but hey, this is fashion, and I’m taking a short-cut. Buddhism believes that in this world everyone searches for happiness 'outside', but nobody understands their true self inside.

Maybe so, but how about understanding your true self ‘outside’. Okay, such thinking would get me kicked out of an ashram, but seriously - have you ever asked yourself: What is the 'real' me?  Maybe what's 'on the outside', expresses what you are 'on the inside'. And I’m pretty sure I’m not far off the mark when I say inside every woman slumbers a powerful, freedom-loving, unique being yearning for self-expression and independence. So go express it, girl! Get it out there. Be proud of your difference. Sure, you have to survive in the modern world, work in an office perhaps, but you can do it without losing your zen. How? Maybe for you the answer is urban boho.

Urban boho is the zen of a new generation. It accommodates new fashion trends, but holds true to boho values ever more relevant to our times. You don’t have to look like you’ve just stepped out of a 1960s hippie commune to reveal your wild, free spirit and your respect for earth-centric practices. Yep, urban boho is a win-win style of having your cake and eating it too. Fly free, run wild, and express your natural uniqueness. The possibilities are endless!

Urban boho jewellery combined with go-anywhere wardrobe staples

Here's a great collection of everyday wardrobe staples given the free-spirit look with urban boho jewellery. (Photo courtesty

Urban boho moves into the city 

Urban boho gives a subtle nod to the underpinnings of traditional boho, and uses all the elements we’ve come to love. City girls have taken the spirit and added the urban boho edge. This evolution is particularly obvious in urban boho jewellery.The flowers and vintage headdresses have been replaced with city slick urban boho pieces. But urban boho girls are always open to the vibrant trends of other cultures. They just cherry-pick the very best of boho jewellery. Nor have they forgotten the heritage of boho. Maybe the flower-power hippie chick just isn’t a winner in the urban world - but the spirit that motivated her sense of fashion freedom certainly is. Urban boho never conforms to the mainstream - it brings the unique into the mainstream.

For example, maybe you never thought a LBD could ever have an boho edge - think again. The Tear leather wrap below, a classic example of urban boho jewellery,  is stylish enough to wear to a glam premier, but has all the components of  a true boho necklace: aged leather, artisan handmade metal, and chunks of Arizona turquoise.

Urban boho jewellery that takes you from festival to cocktail party.

The versatility of The Tear leather necklace is typical of the wear-it-anywhere urban boho jewellery style.

Boho jewellery has always used organic elements in jewellery, and preferred the handmade to the factory made. Urban boho jewellery uses the same elements, but streamlines them to suit city and office environments. The 'Little Big Horn' bone crescent collection is urban boho jewellery which uses sustainable buffalo bone sourced in Bali, yet combined with artisan gold and silver and its structural minimalist form, has a totally urban boho look. The effect is polished, but the inspiration is earth-based. The delicate chain crescent pendant and earrings are a perfect example of modern, office-appropriate urban boho jewellery.

Bone horn crescent pendant and earrings with sterling silver and gold-fill

An elegant ivory or black moon-shaped hand-carved buffalo bone crescent hangs from delicate satellite chains in vermeil gold or sterling silver. Matching earrings are also available.

How to ‘do’ urban boho

The trick is to grasp the essence of boho, and adapt, accessorise and experiment. Be open to new combinations. Explore your wardrobe with a fresh eye.

Urban boho retains the gorgeous aspects of traditional boho - the lacey off the shoulder top, the flowing freedom of embroidered materials, the silver and turquoise, the fringes and tassels - but restructures them into conspicuously modern fashion forms.

The free-spirit remains, that ‘just threw it together this morning’ effortless look, but it is grittier, more structured, more suited to practical modern life.  Sure, there’s been a shift in focus. The optimism of an earlier generation has had to come to grips with the realities of the new world - but the attitude has never changed.

Urban boho is sending the same distinct message - I will not conform to what you want me to be, I am free and wild and powerful, I am an original and I am unique. I respect and honour the earth, and sustainability of the planet is paramount. This is the zen of urban boho.  So combine tribal elements ( a flowing midi) with a snappy white tank top and leather jacket, and add an urban boho wrap necklace or artisan earrings. Or stack on those gyspy boho necklaces, but sharpen the look with skinny jeans and suede boots. A faux leopard jacket would finish off the look beautifully. 

Accessories and urban boho jewellery are the secret 

Alessandro Ambrosio gives us her hot tip to achieving the perfect urban boho look. "I like to layer jewellery, and that's the main reason I designed a lot of simple pieces that you can combine together. Also, if you are wearing a simple outfit, it is great to combine it with a statement piece." 

Alessandra Ambrosio with her collection of statement urban boho jewellery pieces to lift a simple outfit

Alessandra Ambrosio with her collection of statement urban boho jewellery to give oomph to the simplest outfit (Image source Getty/Mike Windle)

You can transform your boho faves into an office-friendly urban boho look with the addition of a stylish sleek bag or elegant stacked shoes. Or start with your wardrobe basics, and add your favourite urban boho accessories and jewellery. Daniela Dallavalle (below) adds urban boho jewellery to high blue pumps and a leather jacket - a totally unexpected combination that has the wow factor in spades.
Urban boho touches elevate this outfit to a unique statement of personal style.

Can aqua high pumps, a vintage dress and leather jacket work with urban boho jewellery? Hell yes! Urban boho touches elevate this outfit to a unique statement of personal style. (Daniela Dallavalle Pinterest.)

At Her Lovely Bones we have dozens of urban boho pieces including necklaces, (including chokers, wrap necklaces and pendants), earrings and bracelets. Check them out - we'll be very surprised if you don't find something that expresses your personal style and transforms your basic wardrobe pieces into something unique.