Bohemian Prep

You are most welcome to the Wonderful World of The Boh-Preps. A coddled Bohemia for bohemians with manners and literary leanings. Who have the bohemian spirit but lack the unruliness and obstreperous dispositions of bohemians of the past.

preppy hipster

This term is first seen in “The Preppy Handbook” by Lisa Birnbach. This term ironically merges the ‘traditional’ Bohemian as defined by Stover be it “errant spirits” with Birnbach’s concept of Bohemian Prep someone with a “freer spirit.”

Boh-Preps are likely to be named Catherine, Sophia (pronounced like sapphire) or Evelyn. Boys names ranging from Oliver, Sebastian and Jack. Sometimes after a flower like Violet or certain cities like Florence (because that is where Mummy was swept up by Daddy’s guitar-playing in a rustic barn-house restaurant in Tuscany where she was conceived.) Most decisions like spelling choices are dictated by literary heroes for instance it’s not boh-prep to name your son Alan it must be Allen after Ginsberg. Occasionally some odd-ball names like Franny and Zooey because of Salinger. (I really shouldn’t have to explain this to you.)

Likely to listen to Gainsbourg on Sunday afternoons. Not afraid to admit our shallow leanings and not everything we like has to be sophisticated we are dilettantes much like our cousins Nouveau Bohemians alas we do not necessarily have their funds. We may be as educated as Preppies though channel it into the arts and culture. Boh-Preps are unlikely to be doctors or engineers. Life’s too short to be conventional.

As cultured as we may be we are not materialistic because we adore Kerouac so much and are always a sucker for a Beat Bohemian. It’s not our fault those wayward bartenders-guitarist-starving artist types are so cute! Minimalism is likely to be a phase you have wandered into. Naturally, it didn’t last long as you have a fondness for antiques, flea markets and err… Rodeo Drive. We are a contradiction in terms.

We are likely to wear what can only be described as a Blue Shirt Lullaby. Pale blue shirt, skinny jeans navy or black with white tennis shoes and a Nehru Blazer (again navy or black.) Blazers are usually collarless because we like to be rebellious and it annoys our Preppy cousins! Both sexes will own and often wear a navy and white (breton) striped shirt.

We only wear cotton like our cousin The Preppies and like them share the ethos that style must be effortless and tailored.

If you’re a bit rebellious you’re likely to pop on your brown fedora. 

Handbags are always tan leather.

Breton stripes are a wardrobe staple paired with a navy cardigan if its chilly. Sometimes sporting a beanie. Oooo especially if it has a fur pom pom! Long sleeved crew neck tops in winter in either navy, grey, white or black. With a long skirt, don’t be surprised if it’s down to the ankles we like to be covered up. Modesty is a style virtue. Men will pair up a long sleeved top or shirt with cinos in navy or beige. In the summer months we might wear a polo shirt, ladies wear with a long skirt, never with trousers.

We like to vacation by the sea, the only festivals we attend are literature one as music ones are too vulgar these days i.e. celebrity-filled thus attracting philistines. Hobbies include writing poetry and essays on obscure topics, painting, flirting with artists (or Professors), searching for first editions, gallivanting around European museums and making baklava from scratch.

Often found in the countryside on weekends picking wildflowers and petting squirrels, may stay in the city and hog a coffee table for half the day on their own or with loquacious pals. Typically has a longstanding artsy or community-based project to complete like a novel, learning braille or setting up a workshop series to help troubled teens heal through art.

Like our conformist cousins The Preppies we feel a great amount of duty and responsibility so are likely to volunteer in some capacity. Finally, like our 2nd cousins the Hippie’s we feel a desire to change the world in some small way.

Leave a comment if you are a Boh-Prep – we need to unite and connect our tribe!

Lord of Bohemia: Melvyn Bragg

This month’s selection is a very dear figure who really touches my heart. Lord Bragg is a beloved British UK broadcaster,  Novelist and reigning Arts doyen.

He’s had a staggering career and many struggles which is why I’m so fond of him, if anybody takes a moment to uncover his past you can’t helped but be moved by him. From humble roots he began as a trainee for the BBC and went on has very candidly discussed his struggles with depression and was a former President of Mental Health Charity MIND.

If you ever get a chance I would highly recommend you watch the talk between Lord Bragg and Joanna Lumley. I bought this series on DVD as individual full episodes cannot be found online. Get yours here. I watched this a couple years ago when things were pretty horrific for me and it always gave me hope that someone who was struggling the way I was not only found relief in the arts but made a career out of it. Rarely would I say someone as a person is admirable but Lord Bragg truly is. When I decided to write about Melvyn on my site I started to cry like Kim Kardashian ugly tears crying that’s how big of an impact he has on me….

Bragg’s article on The Telegraph: British Culture may be our great new industry

“Snobbery still exists, but it is comical or pathetic and no longer has a cutting edge.”

“How would you really describe yourself? I suggest it might be through the type of music you like, the sport you follow, the radio station you listen to, the authors you read, the ballet or the opera or theatre you go to, the soaps or the galleries – or a mix of all. The old snakeskin of class falls away when we look at what we really do, or are given half the chance to be as we really want to be.”


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