A moment of triumph for my 18-year old self this week. Back in 2004, I would eagerly await the arrival of Grazia in the shops each week so that I could nab a copy and see what Sienna Miller was up to. Or to be precise, what she was wearing. Fast forward to now and I am not only working for Grazia, but here, writing about what Sienna Miller was wearing back in 2004 for the latest instalment in our Fash Back series.
I’d like to think that my tastes have evolved in the past 16 years, but Sienna’s early Noughties style continues to captivate me. And I’m not the only one. She was the woman we all wanted to dress like back then – and as the tidal wave of coin belts and gladiator sandals, peasant skirts and smocks which quickly flooded the high-street proved – we made a good stab at trying (goodness knows I did, my favourite look at the time was a skirt worn as a dress, sandals that laced up to the knee and bangles pushed up to my shoulders).
Today the words ‘boho luxe’, the fashion moment of which Sienna was reluctantly anointed the patron saint, must feel like a millstone – or, you know, a particularly heavy tasseled necklace – around her neck. As with so many trends, we killed it in our eagerness to copy it (the success of a trend or piece is often its death knell). What felt like a defiant, free-spirited, individual look soon became tired thanks to its ubiquity. Eventually, we all moved on.
But this summer, perhaps it’s time for a bohemian reboot. After all, with so many of us still effectively house-bound, aren’t you craving the sartorial wanderlust imparted by embellishment and embroidery? Don’t you need the giddy joy of flippy skirts and the comfort of shrugged-off-the-shoulders cardigans in your life? Surely you’re ready to rebel against all this rigidity and dive into anything-goes eclecticism? If you are, then Sienna is your girl.
The pieces from the golden 2003-2005 era to takeaway now, then. Embroidered waistcoats and jackets are an easy way to update jeans and T-shirt. Grecian draping feels equally parts empowered and ethereal. Beaded bags, chunky gold jewellery and floppy hats will all bring a barefoot glamour to even the most downplayed look. Don’t want to buy anything new? Simply wear your hair tousled at every opportunity. You never, ever want to look too 'done'.
The truth, however, is that there really aren’t any rules to nailing the Sienna look (‘I get sad looking back and seeing these pre-social-media days, where people were wild and reckless, and nothing was contrived or over-thought,' she told Grazia in 2019. 'There were these original moments in fashion – even though they didn’t feel it at the time’). This is about dressing for yourself. What I love about her get-ups from this area were that they were a complete rejection of obviously ‘sexy’ style. Sure, she is astonishingly pretty, but you never got the impression she was playing up to it. To wear a loose-fit dress over jeans tucked-into cowboy boots in the antithesis of dressing for the male gaze; no woman ever put on a pair of Uggs in a bid to get laid.
Allow me to dish out one final word of advice: vintage. The appeal of the boho-luxe look was in the buffet of references Sienna drew from – a belt from Marrakech here, a Balenciaga bag there, a Portobello Market steal mixed with off-the-runway Chloé. If you want to avoid looking like you’re in Coachella cosplay, don’t wear a ‘total look’ from anywhere. Mix it up, have fun, and hope that lockdown clear out unearths a few gems from 2004. Get it right and this time we might not kill boho.