Japanese Fashion Trends

Naima T. Fleming
Fashion boutique in Tokyo, Japan

Among the world of fashion, Japan ranks as one of the most influential countries. With just a few inspirational cues from some of the most popular street style subculture groups, you can implement any look that most resonates with your personality.

Mori Girl

In Japan, the Mori Girl is similar to the Bohemian fashionista of Western culture. The word "mori" means forest in Japanese, and women whose style is aligned with this category wear medium to heavyweight layered, earth-toned garments. To accessorize the comfortable, simple, and nature-inspired style of the Mori girl, flower crowns are common, and footwear preferences are flat shoes and boots.

According to Japanesestreets.com, the Mori style was created in 2006 on Japan's largest social network called Mixi, by a young lady with the username of 'choco.' To create a Mori girl-inspired outfit, here are some fashionable finds:

  • This corduroy ruffled jumper dress by Fancy Show is a loose fitting, layering must-have for creating a Mori girl look. It's available in M through XL in camel and navy for around $22.
  • A cardigan to layer over your dress is another element of style that can help create your Mori look. Available in grayish-blue, orange-brown, off-white, and light khaki, this cardigan designed by Cordio costs around $23 and could coordinate nicely with the jumper. It comes in one-size-fits-most.
  • For your casual and relaxed Mori girl outfit, these flat Modern Graceful shoes are available in sizes 6 through 8, come in brown, black, white, and light brown, and cost around $39.
Mori Girl

Lolita

The Lolita trend first became a part of the Japanese street style culture during the 1970s, according to Vice.com. Throughout the years, the popularity of the Lolita has continued to grow. It now has its own organization - the Japan Lolita Association, which was founded in 2013 as an effort to spread the fashion and culture globally. The Lolita style of dress can be described as Edwardian and Victorian-inspired.

Wondering how to create a Lolita style outfit? Think Marie Antoinette with hair bows, knee-high socks, platform shoes, and a soft whimsical handbag that resembles a stuffed animal. Here are a few selections to pull a Lolita outfit together.

  • The Fairy Rose Princess Dress on Angelic Pretty costs around $450 and comes in a pink floral Victorian-inspired silhouette. It's available in one size that fits up to a 29.5-inch waist and 36-inch bust.
  • A bag fit for a Lolita is this Bunny Bag, available at Lolita Show in apricot, white, or black for around $40.
  • The Kawaii Lace Princess boots have a flat heel and stop at the knee. Available in black, red, brown, and beige, the boots cost around $52. The shoe sizes are available in 23 - 24.5 cm (6 through 8).
Lolita fashion on two teenage girls in Tokyo, Harajuku station

Visual-Kei

Globally, the music scene often exudes fashion influence on its audiences. In Japan, the Visual-Kei first came about during the 1980s when it was introduced by Japanese bands such as D'erlanger, X Japan, Color, and Bick-Tick, as reported on the Rebels Market blog.

Those who wear the Visual-Kei style are often seen as rebelling against traditional conservative looks. The Visual-Kei has a unique fashion style that is part rock and part gothic, and may include multiple piercings, dark lipstick, and heavily contoured makeup. To wear a Visual-Kei outfit, try items like the following:

  • Check out the Chic Rock Runway Armor corset lace up vegan faux leather pleather pants, which are available in black in sizes S through 2XL for around $78 at Rebels Market.
  • Add a vampy goth touch with the stand-collar bishop sleeve blouse in black by Metamorphose at TokyoRebel.com. It comes in one-size-fits-most and costs around $154.
  • A hot pair of gloves would be a nice touch for this look, such as these genuine leather lambskin rocker-style fingerless gloves. They are available at Rebels Market for around $30 and come in one-size-fits-most.
Visual-Kei

Decora

For those who prefer to wear the Japanese trend Decora, fun is the name of the dressing game. The term Decora originated from the word "decoration" and has been popular since the 90s. Decora was first inspired by cartoon characters from the 80s. The trend is also often called "Decora-chan," which is said to come from the Japanese pop idol Tomoe Shinohara, according to JPinfo.com.

Those interested in wearing the Decora look will need to go all out with colors, clothing, and accessories as decorative as possible. A Decora outfit could consist of a shirt, a hoodie, a tutu skirt, arm warmers and loads of ornate accessories. Here are some selections to consider:

  • A colorful hoodie, such as this ACDC Rag Melty Live zip-up jacket. It has multiple eye-catching colors and comes in one-size-fits-most for just under $50 at Cutesy Kink.
  • A delightfully decorative headband such as this fake food sample egg and bacon headband for about $119 at Japantrendshop.com would make a whimsical touch to your outfit.
  • This full floral lace skirt from the Syndromestore.com is the right touch for a lighthearted and fun Decora look. The style costs around $30 and fits waist sizes up to 31.5 inches.

French Toast

Despite what some people may assume, not everyone in Japan dresses in bold clothing. Among the various vibrant trends in Japan there is the French Toast style, which alludes to casual normcore outfits. According to lerablog.org, Japanese magazine CanCam made headlines with the term "French Toast Girl" in 2014.

A French Toast girl prefers minimally chic clothing that is practical. To pull together an outfit like a French Toast girl, simply coordinate basic fashion staples and classic shoes in neutral colors.

  • A classic striped shirt such as this one by A.L.C. at Nordstrom can be paired with jeans, pants, or a skirt. The shirt costs about $175 and comes in sizes XS through L.
  • Every French Toast-inspired woman should have a pair of basic black pants in her closet. These Sloan Skinny-Fit pants from Banana Republic cost about $88 and are available in sizes 00 through 14.
  • A laid-back casual outfit must have a simple shoe to complete the look. The black pointed toe faux suede flat shoes at hikoreanfashion.com cost just under $29 (sizes 5.5 through 7.5) and are timeless.
Two young Japanese women are walking

Have Fun With Japanese Trends

For years, Japanese fashion trends have been influential to fashion enthusiasts around the globe. Whether you want mimic your favorite street style completely, or just accent your style with a Japanese trend, it's simple to do. Japanese style is unique, with a bold flair unlike any other, and you can have fun trying out some of the most popular looks.

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Japanese Fashion Trends