Intro to Otome Fashion

Welcome to the world of fashion in Japan. Japan is known for being the pushing power of fashion trends around the world. You will find some fashion trends that take months or years to reach the rest of the world. When it comes to Japanese fashion, I’m sure many of you think of the vibrant subcultures, such as gyaru or lolita. However, there’s a lot more to J-fashion than that. Today we would like to introduce you all to Otome, a style that was created in Japan during the ’70s.

Last month, we helped Merrybelle (a popular Japanese Otome-kei brand) partner up with the fabulous J-fashion YouTuber Lovely Lor. In the video below, Lor styles Merrybelle’s popular Secret Garden JSK dress in many different ways and gives you lots of tips on what is Otome and what isn’t. If you’re interested in Otome-kei, then it’s a must watch.

What is Otome Fashion?

Otome is commonly worn in Japan but does not yet have a large following abroad. Otome means “Maiden” in Japanese and is influenced by the 1960s British Mod scene. The dresses & skirts usually have a bright cute but elegant pattern on them and can be quite short in length (due to the 1960s mini skirt influence.) There are no limits for this fashion style, use bold colors, mismatch your patterns and draw fake freckles.

Otome fashion

How does it differ from Lolita Fashion?

Lolita and Otome fashion often gets mixed up, but with these simple tips, you won’t get them mixed up again. Otome girls usually keep their makeup and hair simple with accessories and vibrancy kept to the minimum. They typically wear mary janes or oxford shoes, but unlike lolita, there are no rules, and you don’t always need to wear a dress. The only rule is to look cute, so if you look cute you’re ready to go!

differences between otome and lolita


What fashion brands are considered Otome Kei fashion?

A lot of the most famous Lolita brands also stock Otome Kei clothes, here are some of the most popular brands: Emily Temple Cute, Merrybelle, Jane Marple, Milk, Axes Femme, F.I.N.T, and Olive Des Olive. Buying  Otome-kei to start your Otome wardrobe or to purchase new pieces for your existing wardrobe can be quite pricey. We recommend that you buy some of your clothes second-hand to save money. Japanese people usually take outstanding care of their belongings so even if it’s second-hand it typically good as new; however, we always recommend you to check the condition of the item before purchasing. With our go-to second-hand store Maiden Clothing, you can get all the best Otome and Lolita brands for ⅓ of the price. Skip the middle man and buy directly from Japan to get the best deals and the latest releases.


Recommended Otome Brands


Merrybelle ootdMerrybelle has a vision of transforming people’s dreams into unique and beautiful dreams. Some of their previous collections were inspired by Mermaids, Alice in Wonderland, Secret Gardens, etc. Everything Merrybelle produces is designed, created, dyed and sewn in Japan; this helps to explain the price of some of their garments. Although their dresses and other items may seem a bit pricey at first, for the material and skills it takes to make the clothes it is worth it.

Shop Merrybelle


Jane MarpleJane Marple Otome clothing

Jane Marple started in 1985 in a tiny shop by a park in Tokyo. The owners were cherishing in imagination and creativity which encouraged them to keep making the cutest collections. There shop expanded from there and now is sold around the world. As you can see from the outfits displayed in the pictures above, Jane Marple focuses on vintage inspired  looks that follow the Otome-kei guidelines

Shop Jane Marple


Milk Japan's Otome clothing
Milk clothing is considered to be one of the oldest and original shops in Harajuku, one of Tokyo’s most famous fashion districts. Like the name suggests Milk offers a lot of pastel colored clothing. Most of the clothes are inspired by the 1960s and sometimes incorporate pretty flower or fruit prints. If you’re into pastel colors, love frills and ribbons then this is a brand for you.

Shop Milk


Axes FemmeAxes Femme Otome style

Axes Femme is heavily influenced by what they call the “Golden Age” of Paris where people dressed up elegantly. They compare their clothes to artworks like Toulouse-Lautrec, with beautifully frilly hems decorated with lace and embroidery. Axes Femme is cute but subtle perfect for everyday wear to work or hanging out with your friends on the weekend.

Shop Axes Femme


We hope this blog post helped you to see the differences between otome-kei and lolita fashion and helped you find some new brands that you may not have heard of before. If you need any help finding Japanese clothing from Japan, do not fret we are here to help you. We can help you find anything you’re looking for free.

Are you looking for more J-fashion clothing?

With help from ZenMarket, you can order from virtually any Japanese online store (with a few exceptions), and we will deliver to almost anywhere in the world! Check out our J-fashion page down below.
ZenMarket J-fashion page

About ZenMarket Japan

Most Japanese online retailers don’t ship internationally, but we solve this problem. We buy, consolidate and send Japanese goods to your address. Our goal is to make purchasing Japanese goods online as smooth as possible. We have integrated the most prominent Japanese online shopping websites: Rakuten, Amazon, and Yahoo! Auctions. You can also make purchases from any other Japanese online shop or auction with us. Just add an item URL from the desired product page to the cart and place the order.

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Article| 04/03/2019 | Fashion