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Discovering Your Harajuka Fashion Style - Free Lesson

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Harajuku isn't its own style, but rather a popular meeting ground in Japan for a number of street styles. It can have a playful, colorful mix of girly and punk styles popular among Japanese teenagers. This street style originated from a postwar combination of American and Japanese culture and formed around the Harajuku district in Shibuya, Japan. Harajuku style is a term popularized in the West. To dress 'harajuku style', find the Japanese street style you wish to pursue and explore the substyles within. With proper research, you can customize your outfit, and make your hair and makeup just as eye-catching as your clothes.

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Look into Lolita if you love Victorian- and Rococo-inspired fashion. These styles feature feminine, elaborate elements such as lace, pin-tucks, corsets, full skirts, headdresses, petticoats, and knee-length stockings. There are three main styles of Lolita (Gothic, Classic and Sweet), though are also many more subtypes that you can look into.

  • Classic Lolita delves into more vintage Victorian and Rococo prints, with mature colors, pleats and pin tucks, and floral or damask prints. It's a good starting point for those new to the fashion, as it's more subtle than some other Lolita styles.
  • Gothic Lolita incorporates a darker look and feel, with some visual-kei influence. It has a strong emphasis on elegance, with dark colors and lace. Common Gothic Lolita themes include crosses, graveyards, skulls and dark imagery.
  • Sweet Lolita is punctuated with bright, colorful patterns and themes. It has more of an emphasis on frill, lace, and pastels, with more cupcake-style petticoats (as opposed to the A-line petticoats more common in Classic and Gothic fashions).


Dress in the Decora or Kawaii styles if you love bright colors. The Decora substyle incorporates cartoon characters motifs, lots of plastic toys and accessories, clashing patterns, vivid colors, and lots of flamboyance. The Kawaii style is even more childlike and playful, modeled after cute anime characters.
  • For a classic Decora outfit, wear a neon tutu, a t-shirt with a cartoon character, striped stockings, a stuffed animal backpack, lots of colorful hair clips, and some neon bangle bracelets.
  • To dress in the Kawaii style, you could wear a pastel babydoll dress, pastel tights, a soft cardigan, platform heels, a cute purse, and a bow in your hair.


Dress in the Visual Kei style for a more punk-rock look. Visual Kei is an androgynous look, inspired by the glam rock, goth, and punk movements. Some key elements are dark makeup, extreme hairstyles, and loose black clothing.

  • For a Visual Kei outfit, try wearing black-and-white striped pants, a loose black jacket, black boots, some black belts and chains, and a spiky scene hairstyle. If you want you can even get a pair of platforms.


Dress in the Ganguro style for an extreme California girl look. This style is characterized by deep fake tans and platinum hair as well as white highlighter and face jewels. Ganguro clothing is a mix of beach wear and Valley Girl style, with lots of bold floral prints, leis, tank tops, and bright colors.

  • To try the Ganguro style, wear a bright pink sleeveless dress, a Hawaiian-print kimono wrap, lots of bright leis, a big flower in your hair, some rhinestones around your eyes, and platform heels. Makeup is key to this style, so wear heavy, deeply tanned foundation, dark eye makeup, and white highlighter.


Create your own Harajuku style. Harajuku style is anything that protests mainstream fashion, so the possibilities are endless. If you aren't drawn to any of the popular substyles, make up your own by wearing whatever you want. But remember it shouldn't be offensive and layering really help build a look. See what i did there- Build a look, No okay-

You could create an outfit by drawing elements that you like from the other substyles, such as the pastel colors from Kawaii style, a Sweet Lolita corset, a spiky Visual Kei hairstyle, and the floral accessories from Ganguro style.


Layer clothes to achieve a true Harajuku look. Layering is a hallmark of Harajuku style and allows you to mix and match a wide variety of styles.

  • Try layering tank tops and shirts, sweaters with vests and jackets, or dresses with leggings.
  • Ruffled dresses are also a popular way to give the illusion of a layered look.


Combine styles and trends. Harajuku style often mixes other popular fashion trends such as punk, goth, school uniform, and designer clothing.[6]

  • Try pairing some athletic tights with a white school uniform-style collared shirt to get the mixed style effect.
  • Harajuku also focuses on a clash between traditional Japanese attire, such as kimonos and geta sandals, and Western clothing. Try incorporating elements of both, such as a classic kimono with American-style patches or pins.


Experiment with color. Try mixing clashing colors, dressing in all neon, or layering shades of the same color. You could also choose to go colorless and wear all black.

  • You could wear a Decora-inspired mix of bright, clashing colors by mixing colorful patterns and neon statement pieces.
  • For a monochromatic Sweet Lolita look, you could wear a ruffled dress, stockings, and a cardigan all in shades of soft pink.


Wear some eye-catching shoes to go with your outfit. Harajuku-style shoes can range from platform heels to sneakers to heels. Shoes can be used to express as much personality as your outfit. Try some sneakers with a thick platform, delicate Mary Jane-style heels with little bows, or some spiked black boots.


Customize your clothing. Embroider your own designs, cut your own jagged hemlines, add ribbons and jewels, and even make your own clothes. Customizing will allow you to express your individuality and add even more detail to your outfit.

  • Buy secondhand clothing to experiment with customization. This will make your clothes even more one-of-a-kind and lower the cost of your project.


Choose loud and colorful accessories. Harajuku accessories should stand out in a crowd. Try to find bright, unique pieces such as a colorful hat, a neon necklace, or a furry purse that looks like your favorite cartoon character.

  • Your accessories don't have to match your outfit--clashing colors and patterns are acceptable and even encouraged in the Harajuku style.


Accessorize your outfit from head to toe. Objects that create sound, such as bells or metal jewelry, are sometimes used to add an extra dimension to the outfit. This is especially popular in the Decora style. Wear lots of chains, metal bangle bracelets, or clip some bells in your hair to create sound when you walk.

  • Pile on the accessories. In the Harajuku style, excess is key so the more accessories, the better! Add all kinds of jewelry, hair accessories, purses, hats, and headdresses to make your outfit even louder and more unique.


Draw inspiration from your substyle. Look to the roots of your favorite Harajuku substyle for accessory inspiration. You could explore the time period or geographic location associated with your substyle to find accessories.

  • For example, you could draw from the Victorian period and the Lolita style by accessorizing with headdresses, parasols, and bows.
  • Explore Ganguro's Californian style by accessorizing with woven purses, flowers, beach hats, and baseball caps.


Dye your hair different colors. In Harajuku style, any color goes! Dye your hair in a vivid, eye-catching color like pink, blue, or orange. You could also try an ombré mix of several colors for even more creative flair.


Be creative with your hairstyle. Harajuku's spirit of individuality carries through to hairstyles as well. To achieve the look you want, you could also add hair extensions or spray-dye your hair with temporary colors.

  • Do your hair in an attention-grabbing style, such as a spiky cut or a pair of high side buns.
  • For a more Kawaii style, wear some cute pigtails or full bangs.


Do dramatic, theatrical makeup. Whether cutesy or dark, your makeup should be as eye-catching as your outfit. Your makeup may differ based on your favorite substyle, but you should generally avoid natural makeup and aim for a more theatrical look.

  • Cutesy substyles like Kawaii and Decora favor pink cheeks, round eyes, and pink lips.
  • Edgier substyles such as Visual Kei and Gothic Lolita usually go for dark lipsticks, dramatic eyeshadow, and extremely thick lashes.