Japan is home to a great number of diverse fashion styles that make shopping a special experience in itself. But, have you ever wondered which style would suit you?
The colorful decora, the sweet lolita, or maybe darker styles like visual kei? Read on to find out everything about Japanese fashion substyles.
Are you a girly girl? Do you like the “fake” look that includes bleached hair, heavy make-up, and tan skin? Do you have hours to get ready and make sure your hair, makeup, and fashion accessories are “on fleek”?
This style requires effort since it includes hair extensions, fake nails, and heavy makeup.
Ganguro have light hair, sometimes with neon streaks. The make-up on the lips and around the eyes is typically white, and sometimes stickers and colorful gems are added to the cheeks.
Ganguro girls almost look like a caricature of the girls from the show “Jersey shore.” One of the most famous ganguro girls was Buriteri.
Do you like the schoolgirl look?
Kogal means 'high school girl' and the style is characterized by the use of the school uniforms.
Kogal includes less effort than gyaru and some other Japanese fashion styles, as the makeup is more toned-down and the hair can be in natural colors (but is sometimes dyed blond). However, keep in mind that most Japanese fashion styles include kawaii hair! A famous Kogal is Hiromi.
If you are feminine and glamorous but ganguro seems too much for you, why not try Gyaru?
This style also requires some time and effort, since it includes wearing fake lashes, extensions, high-heels, and a lot of jewelry. Think surfer girl style and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Women often dye their hair blonde (or buy wigs), tan themselves, and makeup is often dramatic with black eyeliner, fake eyelashes, and a thick foundation. This style is usually also very expensive since girls wear accessories like designer bags and jewelry. Although gyaru accessorize more than other subcultures, the accessories never overwhelm the outfit.
Gyaru also has a lifestyle attached to the subculture. It focuses on materialism, such as having the newest phones, reading fashion magazines, and also hanging out with other gyarus. The face of gyaru fashion would be Rola.
Are you a hopeless romantic?
Do you like cute cabins in the woods with little gardens and enjoy reading fairy tales? If so, Mori Kei might be right for you!
The Japanese word Mori means 'forest' which is also the idea behind this subculture. Their accessories and clothing are loose-fitting and layered and look like something you can find in a grandmother's closet.
Since the main idea is to look as if you have been wandering in the forest, Mori girls appear earthy, natural, and airy and may be the easiest one to pull off of the styles on this list. They usually wear very little make-up, except for a blushed cheek and natural hair, sometimes with accessories such as flowers and bows.
The original Mori girl was Choco.
Are you interested in a bit of glam rock? Main components to visual kei look include theatrical costumes, wild teased hairstyles, androgyny, and flamboyant makeup, so this won’t be an easy task.
Visual kei may be similar to a rocker or punk look anywhere else in the world, however, it takes more work. Many people believe that this style is similar to the Scene or emo subcultures. The band that is mostly similar to Visual kei style would be Motley Crue.
The focus here is on the big, teased hairstyle. Makeup is worn by both genders, but it’s not overwhelming. It usually includes pale skin and dark eyes.
The pioneer of visual kei was X Japan.
Do you still enjoy looking at vintage dolls or collecting them?
Then you might like Dolly Kei. Ranging from cute to creepy, Dolly Kei style mimics antique dolls with vintage or vintage-inspired clothing. From lace and light beiges to black and jewel tones, Dolly Kei has an abundance of looks.
This look is fairly easy to achieve. Similar to Mori Kei, hair and makeup are almost always simple. You can wear heavy blushes and thick eyelashes, but it’s not necessary.
However, his style includes complex accessories, some might say it’s the focus of a dolly Kei outfit.
Do you like visual kei, but find it too dark for your taste? Are you a positive and optimistic person?
Oshare Kei is the “cheerful” version of Visual Kei. Oshare Kei focuses on mixing shapes, patterns, and vibrant colors to create a shocking effect similar to Visual kei, but a little less gloomy. It’s a style similar to the mid-2000’ scene kids’ look. This look takes a little effort, as it includes heavy eyeliner and colored contact lenses, but it’s more toned-down than decora.
A famous Oshare Kei band is An Cafe.
Do you still enjoy fairy tales? Then Fairy Kei might be perfect for you.
This fashion style is all about whimsical pastels and everything that is good and pure in this world. The style includes tutus, big bows, stuffed animals, and other cutesy things. Hair is also usually dyed a pastel color. The makeup is mostly simple, with accentuated big doll eyes, a little blush, and lip gloss.
Fairy Kei is also focused on fairy tales but is more colorful than the Mori Kei toned-down look. However, although Fairy Kei use similar colors to sweet lolita, the style is much more casual.
Fairy Kei followers also accessorize heavily, though not as heavy as decora.
Do you love colors and bold fashion? Do you always look at the bright side of things?
If you like having fun and don't take yourself too seriously, you might want to try decora. Decora is all about bold bright clothing and statement accessories. People who wear the Decora style can be recognized by the huge amount of bows and hair clips placed in the fringe.
This style includes many-layered accessories such as hair barrettes, bracelets, necklaces, and even toys, which are usually playful and bright. This look is similar to the outfits that were popular among candy ravers in the 1990's and 2000's. You can also choose from different subcultures.
Pink decora is pink-centric, Lolita decora is innocent and youthful, often wearing cartoon characters and tutus, and dark decora wears the same kind of accessories only in darker colors.
The makeup is usually minimal, but accessories like crystals, glitter, and stickers can be added to the face. The hair can be dyed in bright colors, or natural. The decora style clothes could be classified as "normal" and what makes the whole style is the effort you need to put in the huge amount of accessories they wear.
However, don’t be fooled by the number of accessories, decora people don’t just randomly put them on! The whole point is to express your individuality with accessories, and that takes time.
Kurebayashi is a model and singer who is well-known for her decora fashion.
Are you fascinated with the Victorian and Edwardian eras?
Then lolita might be perfect for you. Although it’s the most popular Japanese street style, it’s also the hardest to pull off, as it includes so many details, starting from clothing. It includes petticoats, bloomers, big skirts, stockings, and corsets. Accessories include headdresses, hats, bows, gloves, and parasols.
And don’t forget the hair and makeup! Hair should be curled and can be worn in pigtails, buns, or a ponytail. Makeup is pretty natural for sweet lolita, but a bit more dramatic for gothic lolita.
Of course, as with all the above-mentioned styles, you can also wear a wig if it’s easier for you. If you are a jeans and a Tee kind of girl, this style is definitely not for you.
Misako Aoki is the queen of lolita fashion today.