I enjoy the boho chic Free People aesthetic. I think they do it well, maybe better than any other brand at the moment, and certainly they are consistent.
Their weakness is doing it a little too well; a few too many embellishments and tatters where a rustic simplicity (a garment that feels more authentically vintage and less stylized, which most of these do not) would serve better. This sometimes takes the charm away, I find. They’ve tried to make each item of clothing convey the whole concept (this is more than most garments can handle, I say, though I appreciate the vision) such that many feel ready-made, and so a bit devoid of personality. Like a box cake. Whereas I like bohemian looks best when they feel a bit weird and cobbled together, where any given piece of the ensemble would be, in isolation, relatively unremarkable, and it is the person who imposes a bohemian structure on the elements. [Actually, replace each instance of ‘bohemian’ in that last sentence with any aesthetic, and that’s what I like in the case of that aesthetic.] Some of the pieces are comically expensive, too, given the vibe.
That said, I like a number of their offerings (i.e. some of the simpler tops and dresses, their skinny leggings, and their boot selection), and I really like their most recent campaign [for the March 2014 catalogue] with model Erin Wasson.
I like her face so much, it’s an appealing combination of delicate, angular, and wholesome (this is maybe just the level brows and the round lips?), with the strange, compelling potential to look almost feral.
Long, loose dresses, sheer textures, cut-outs, lacing, and plenty of skin peeking through, stacked bracelets, leather, lace, and beading, BOOTS…I’m getting some good ideas here. Her messy-chic hair is great, too.
images via Free People (click link to see the whole campaign)