One substyle of the Japanese Gyaru street fashion is the Hime Gyaru or Princess Gal. It is considered to be the most expensive and flamboyant type of Gyaru, mostly because it includes brand names such as MA*RS and Princess Melody.
Hime Gyaru enthusiasts dress just like princesses, in pastel colors (mostly pink), with lace, frills, bows, and various royal symbols such as crowns, pearls, and rosettes. Hime Gyaru’s hair is also dyed a lighter color, curled, and styled in a bouffant. The nails are long and heavily decorated, and so are the mobile phones. The makeup is also heavy.
However, this look is not for everyone, and if you are not into the whole princessy thing but would still like to look regal, there is actually a lighter version of this style.
Is Himekaji Japanese Street Fashion?
Himekaji is the substyle of Japanese street style Gyaru, and means "Casual Princess". It is the more casual version of Hime Gyaru as it includes less upkeep. It is very similar to Roma Gyaru, but has its differences, for example, more lace and more pink color.
The style is often confused with Hime Gyaru, but it can be considered its own style. You can also often see Hime Gyaru girls wearing Himekaji for more casual occasions.
Himekaji is the toned-down version of Hime Gyaru - imagine something a princess would wear when she’s “off-duty”.
However, because Himekaji is still a substyle of Gyaru, some common Gyaru rules also apply here:
- Clothes that flatter the figure
- Tendency to be outside of the mainstream fashion
- Boots and heels that elongate the legs
Some main characteristics of the Himekaji style are:
- Hair is usually dyed blond or light brown
- Hair is curled, often worn down, and can be longer or shorter (without the huge bouffant hairstyle)
- Most coordinates feature something pink
- Light-colored outfits with florals, mostly roses of medium size (not too small and not too big)
- Lace, bow, and ruffle details
- Sailor collars
- Comfy but flattering outfits
- Lace-up corset details
- Emphasis on the waist area, ribbon tie backs
- Suspender skirts or jumper skirts
- Setups (matching tops and bottoms)
- Faux fur details and pom pom details
- Knits and cardigans
- Gold accessories and accents
- Not as many accessories as Hime Gyaru
- Nails are long, but not excessively decorated
- Hearts and roses are common patterns
These are just a few guidelines when starting with Himekaji, but don’t feel limited by them! Once you get comfortable, you will be able to recognize more items that could work with the Himekaji style. For example, pants are not on this list, because they are a bit harder to coordinate than a floral skirt for example, but later on in your Himekaji journey, you may also start wearing them.
You should generally avoid black. Although it can be seen, Himekaji usually doesn’t include black too much.
The whole concept of Himekaji is to look innocent and cute through distinct styling of makeup, the hair, and especially clothes. Since it's mostly casual, the Himekaji style is not too difficult to achieve. For example, a frilly pastel dress, with a few accessories and the right shoes, can pass as a Himekaji coordinate.
Start with a dress, a blouse, or a skirt in a pastel color such as blue, lilac, white or pink. The frilly details may be the same as for the Hime Gyaru look, but remember, it's all about toning down these elements.
Some other details that are common for the Himekaji look are ribbon ties that help cinch the waist and lace-up corset details on dresses and skirts. Knitted cardigans and sailor collars are also popular. Pastel-colored checkered clothes can also be seen, as well as matching tops and bottoms.
Just like Hime Gyaru, Himekaji is still popular today, both as its own style and as a part of the Hime Gyaru fashion style. This is not just because the existing Hime Gyaru still wear Himekaji clothes, but also that there are more clothes accessible for girls looking to start getting into the Himekaji style. The fashion, just like Hime Gyaru, hasn’t changed much in terms of patterns and colors since its origins.
What Is Roma-Gyaru?
Roma Gyaru is also a substyle of the Gyaru street style. It means “Romantic Gal” and while it has many similarities with the Himekaji fashion style, it is its own style. The colors are more subtle, and the common patterns are plaid, polka dots, and flowers. The style is very relaxed and is usually considered one of the more casual Gyaru substyles.
Roma Gyaru Main Characteristics:
- Plaid, gingham, floral, and polka dot prints
- Lace can also be found, but not as much as on Hime clothing items
- Hair is usually dyed a natural color from medium blond to dark brown
- Hair is curly and worn down or in an updo
- Simple Gyaru-like makeup
- Boots and heels with knee-high socks are often worn
- Nails are french-manicured or just plain
- Cuteness and comfort are the focus
Roma Gyaru Today
Roma Gyaru has always been one of the lesser-known Japanese street styles, however, it still has a solid following by some Gyaru girls. It is often worn together with Himekaji and the two styles are often mixed. Just like Bohemian Gyaru, the style can be worn only on occasion, rather than committing to it completely.
Also Read: WHAT JAPANESE FASHION ARE YOU? [10 STYLES TO TRY!]
What are some Himekaji brands?
Just as Hime Gyaru have their preferred brands, so do the Himekaji girls. Just to give you an idea of what Himekaji looks like, the most popular Himekaji brands are Liz Lisa and Ank Rouge.
In time, these stores have toned down their style from catering to only Gyaru girls, to catering to everyone. These gave birth to the “Liz Lisa Girl.” Himekaji was suddenly associated with a normal person wearing Liz Lisa clothes, instead of a Gyaru wearing Liz Lisa clothes. Most of these clothes are mainstream Himekaji and you shouldn’t have a hard time creating coordinates with items from these stores. As mentioned earlier however, you can make your own Himekaji style from non-Himekaji brands and there are many stores that have clothes suitable for putting together your outfit.
That being said, you don't have to buy brand-name clothes to have Himekaji coordinates, it’s just much easier if you do because they have been designed with these Japanese fashion styles in mind. Also, just because you have brand-name clothes, doesn't mean that they have to be considered Gyaru. The clothes from other Japanese brands that were not mentioned here can also be considered Himekaji. It’s usually not about what you buy, but how you style it.
Where can you buy Himekaji clothes outside of Japan?
There is no one-stop-shop where you can buy all the Himekaji items that you need for a good coordinate. The only one-stop shops are the aforementioned Japanese Himekaji style brand stores.
It’s not very easy to find Himekaji-style clothes internationally, so you need to know exactly what you're looking for, for example, a floral skirt, a lace blouse, Mary Janes, etc. It’s quite difficult because these clothes are usually styled for the Western market, and not for the Himekaji style.
For example, places like Forever 21 can have Himekaji-style clothes if you coordinate them carefully. Local boutiques and small thrift stores are also good places to look. The items of course won't be exactly the same, especially the dresses, but you are also going to pay less than for a brand name. You also probably won't find something interesting every time you go shopping, but that's part of the challenge when buying Japanese clothes outside Japan.
On the other hand, you can find shoes and socks that go well with the Himekaji style in many different stores. They may not have the cute little details that Japanese shoes and socks have, but you can find, for example, classic Mary Janes in most stores. Socks are definitely an important element of the Himekaji outfit, that sets it apart from the Western street style outfits.
Remember, these are just the basics of the Himekaji style, but just like with every other street style, you will learn to follow your instincts in time and create your own Himekaji coordinates. Have fun exploring your own take on this fun and unique Japanese fashion style!
If you are interested in reading about other Japanese fashion styles, be sure to check out our articles on Traditional Japanese fashion and Visual Kei fashion.