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A brief history on the Bourgeois Style
Today’s post, as the title suggests, is all about the Bourgeois style. The Bourgeois as a word is French and according to the Cambridge Dictionary it means “belonging to or typical of the middle class (=a social group between the rich and the poor)”. Well, the bourgeois style originated back in the 19th century France to describe a way of life and not just the way people dressed. The middle class was living a comfortable life, they didn’t participate in any manual labor and they adopted a sophisticated style to show their position in society through their clothes.
As time passed and our society evolved with woman taking things into their own hands, living their lives outside of a set of rules enforced by men the bourgeois woman refused to change. They became associated with a sense of conventional believes, they averted anything new and wished to remain in the past.
That’s how bourgeois became something bad. The once sophisticated style that gave them their social status, something they were proud of, ended up being the thing that kept them from adapting to the new society standards.
A change in the meaning of bourgeois
So why would you want to wear such a trend? Because I’m not done with the history lesson.
The bourgeois woman may have been slow to accept certain changes but they did accept them. The fashion scene is an ever changing industry and as our (and the French) society evolved so did fashion. Women became independent; we demanded and won our right to be independent. We ditched the lady-like dresses, the high collars and the midi skirts in favor of…whatever we wanted. Of course, things didn’t happen overnight but they happened.
Nothing stays the same for long and that was also true for the bourgeois style. Two major contributors for this change was films who portrayed the bourgeois woman as no longer boring but someone who may appear stuck up in public but had an interesting private life. The second, was fashion houses like Hermes and Celine, they made the bourgeois style trendy again to the modern French woman in the 70s.
The Bourgois style today
As I like to think trends usually comes full circle. After experiencing a decade full of big trends like animal prints, neon and maximalism in general the fashion industry decided it was time to change direction. Over the last few years we have seen a rise in minimalism, a turn toward basic pieces and capsule wardrobes.
Again, Celine lead the way for bourgeois style and this time they weren’t alone. Burberry, Tod’s and Fendi are some of the houses that brought the bourgeois style back in fashion.
The good news is that you probably already own some of the pieces necessary to create the perfect bourgeois outfit. A classic button down or a high collared shirt or a tie neck blouse would make a great base.
Now you can get creative with the bottom part. A pleated skirt or a pair of wide leg pants pairs with leather boots makes for the perfect combination. Bonus points if you go for plaid. In addition, you can always opt for a midi, leather skirt or a pair of culottes.
Dresses, of course, are always an option in midi lengths and high collars. Opt for something modest but trendy to be in league with the bourgeois style.
Blazers, black or in plaid, cardigan and trench coats are great pieces of outwear to incorporate in your outfits. Just make sure you don’t go overboard!
What to wear
Still not sure what to wear? Here are some pieces to give you some inspiration!
Shirt: Brooks Brothers
Handbag: Michael Kors