Style by Claire Lopez

Pleasantly Peasant

Pompoms, embroidery, cheesecloth, and broderie we are looking at you. For this summer is most definitely of the bohemian and peasant variety. Now if you are Kate Moss then this is great for you. But for us mere mortals, it is not always the easiest trend to carry off.

There are in fact two very different types of peasant vibe going on – the Ibiza bohemian and then the more British peasant. So here is how to crack both without looking like you have left your butter churn at home

To channel the party island look you need:

Pompom sandals

This is the easiest way of ticking the boho box with a small nod to the trend.

Try these £51 from Boden.

Or these Leather Tassel Sandals £12-£25 from M&S. They come in two colourways.

For the last word on boho sandals head to Net-a-Porter for Mabu by Maria BK. There are several different tasselled and pompomed options to choose from including these Embellished Leather Platform sandals £170.

And these River Island Pom Pom Espadrille Mules £28 look remarkably similar for a fraction of the price…

Colourful Embroidery and tassels

The easiest way to do this is for your holidays with beachy dresses, tunics and cover ups. Like on this Embroidered Cotton Linen Beach Romper £98 from J Crew. Pricey but pretty perfect.

Smocks and tunics are synonymous with all things boho and this Adanna Crinkle Embroidered Smock Dress now half price at £60 from French Connection  would be great for during the day with flat sandals (just maybe not the above as that might be overkill) or wedge espadrilles for a laid back evening on holiday. It does actually have a waist tie so you can tame the volume should you choose.

I like a bit of neon embroidery for a modern take on a traditional technique, like this Fluro Stitched Shirred Camisole £24 at Topshop. With shorts for the beach, I like. My husband said I looked like a pair of curtains with the giant tasselled cords. What does he know.

For a more sophisticated feel, Mint Velvet has some lovely embroidered tops like this Oyster Embroidered Swing Top £89. Great for a night out with denim/trousers and heels or do a daytime look with flat sandals/ankle boots.

At John Lewis, Max Studio’s Sleeveless Embroidered White Dress £85 is lovely for summer holidays.

Free People is definitely a brand to head to for this type of product and they have so much to choose from. I like this Embroidered Dress £128 with the obligatory peasanty off the shoulder styling.

There is also a black colourway in the sale at £108.


Hush has a couple of more beachy options with the lovely Santorini Dress £69. It comes in two colourways white and pink or a turquoise.

Or this Bondi Beach Dress £25 in the sale.

For a longer length dress, head to Monsoon, the spiritual home of boho on the high street. Their Carmen Embroidered Dress is now £34.50 in the sale.

Otherwise there is the Axa Embroidered Long Sleeve Dress £59. This does not have a lined skirt (why oh why not?) so it’s either for over swimwear or you need to invest in some flesh-coloured underwear (not attractive but does the job).


On the swimwear front, this Salerno Bikini from Boden is a good bet: bottoms £24, top £28 and it also comes in navy if the colour is too much although that is what makes it I think.

On the other side of the peasant coin is a more feminine, girly look characterized by soft stripes mixed with embroidery or just white on white. It feels more traditionally British and harks back to days of yore – or at least it does in my mind.

The Milkmaid Dress

The youthful end of the high street has this nailed and Mango is a good starting point for all things milkmaid – like this Embroidered Panel Dress £59.99.

Topshop is also on the bandwagon with this Stripe Cutwork Frill Smock Dress £48. This is everything about a dress my husband hates – frills and frou frou in one. And while there is something I like about it, I’m not sure I would pull it off in Sainsbury’s. It’s probably an age/lifestyle thing… or maybe just a taste thing!

Zara has taken the trend and made it much more wearable with this Striped and Embroidered Tunic £28 which I would have purchased were it not for the ridiculously long queue. I have a very similar shaped tunic that I bought originally when heavily pregnant but which has subsequently become a holiday favourite for over a bikini. And this would do the same job.

Monsoon’s Blair Cutwork Off the Shoulder Dress £45 is very sweet. Again another unlined number that would be good beach or pool-side.

If you are wanting more upmarket wench-type dressing then Zimmerman on net-a-porter is all over this look: Caravan Crochet Dress £270.

White on white tops

Now the problem with a white peasant top (and there are lots of lovely looking ones to choose from in Zara) is that while your eye is drawn to them, your body certainly won’t be. Because they are unflattering. Plain and simple. Either too short and boxy, or long enough but with so much material through the body and sleeves so as to render your shape indeterminable – in a bad way. It is one of those that works on the blessed tall and slim bunch.

I am still on the hunt for the perfect style but this Embroidered Dotted Mesh £19.99 from Zara is pretty for jeans and shorts and not too poofy. It is also ecru which is much better than white (too harsh and net curtain like) but that said it is probably not ideal for the bigger of bust…

Another option is to take the boho out of broderie with some more modern styling like this Isadora Broderie Top £30 from Boden.

Also with matching skirt £32 in Petite, Regular and Long.

If you aren’t a boho fan, bad news I’m afraid, as it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast and in fact is a big part of all the pre-fall collections.

But for now good news, school’s out tomorrow so happy holidays!



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