Friday, May 26, 2017

Bohemian rhapsody

"So plant your own gardens and decorate your soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers." ~Jorge Luis Borges

Sleeve detail, Johnny Was tunic / Cindy La Ferle
Boho chic is back in a big way this spring and I couldn't be happier. I've always been drawn to richly embroidered clothing and accessories with a global twist. Growing up in the '60s and '70s, I made needlework samplers as gifts for my mother and often wore romantic, poet-sleeved Gunne Sax dresses by Jessica McClintock. I embroidered and appliquéd my jeans, pillowcases, and anything else in need of embellishment. 

Much later, I grew to appreciate the sleek minimalism and neutral palette of clothing designers Eileen Fisher and Donna Karan, but still kept a soft spot in my heart (and a place in my attic) for my embroidered hippie clothes. 

Wearing Gunne Sax in my grad portrait, 1972
With that introduction, I hardly need to explain my obsession with Johnny Was, the California clothing company named for the line in the old Bob Marley reggae tune, "Johnny was a good man...."

Johnny Was revives the boho spirit of my youth -- but with a modern interpretation. As the company explains on its website, Johnny Was designers draw their inspiration "from anything that is beautiful, genuine, and just a little bit special; a timeless piece of art, or the luxurious hand-stitching on a vintage dress, or the simplicity of vibrant bougainvillea." 

My newest Johnny Was tunic / Cindy La Ferle 
Cindy La Ferle

Johnny Was tunics and kimonos are collectible and classic, always perfect with white jeans and sandals in the summer. But if you want to avoid the aging hippie look, the trick to wearing boho is to limit your outfit to one striking embroidered piece and keep everything else simple. For instance, the vintage Moroccan shoulder bag I purchased on my Detroit shopping spree last week will be worn with a simple black sundress -- to allow it stand out on its own.   

I first spotted my deep blue peacock tunic (above) in Robert Redford's Sundance Catalog, and found myself humming "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" for the rest of the day. I was lucky enough to find it on sale earlier this month at D.K. Boutique in St. Joseph (MI). Here in Royal Oak, you'll find other beautiful Johnny Was tunics at Studio Sandra. Or visit the Johnny Was website to browse the current catalog.

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