By Kelly Kreuscher
Last week, I began a series of blogs that takes a deeper look into where we find inspiration for our style here at L. Royalty. Today we will be learning about the Decora fashion movement. Like Lolita fashion, this style comes out of Harajuku Japan. This neighborhood in Tokyo is known to be one of the biggest places for fashion, especially out-there styles like Lolita or Decora. The word “Decora” is a shortened version of the word “Decorated”, which refers to the multitude of colors and accessories worn in Decora.
Where Lolita was modeled after Victorian and Rococo fashions, Decora was inspired by 80’s cartoon characters. Both styles have a playful, childlike feel, while still being extremely different. An early inspiration for the style was pop star Tomoe Shinohara, who performed in what would now be considered Decora-style outfits
For many that wear it, the subculture represents a sort of rebellion against the fast-paced, work-driven lifestyle in Japanese society. It takes them back to simpler times with bright colors, childlike accessories, and simply having fun with what you’re wearing. It’s often described as being “kawaii” the Japanese word for cute.
One of the most striking things about this style are all the accessories one wears with it, especially in their hair. Lots of barrettes placed all over the bangs are one of the hallmarks of the style, along with pigtails, bows, or other hairpieces.
Another element of the style are face accessories.In Decora, any number of fun items can be worn on the face. This includes bandaids, stickers, and colorful shapes. You might see the occasional touch of bright eyeliner or pair of false lashes, but makeup is usually kept minimalist in Decora.
One of the most important parts of the look is layering. Wearing lots of articles of clothing at once allows for even more bright colors and funky patterns. For example, a Decora girl might wear tights, socks, legwarmers, and a fun pair of sneakers all at once. Tops can be worn with another shirt layered underneath and a jacket over top.
The final element to an outfit would be a ton of great accessories to go with it. This is essential to the decora girl style. They pile what seems like hundreds of bracelets, necklaces, and rings on. Many wear pop culture merchandise, such as Pokemon and Sanrio, or other kinds of plastic toys to contribute to the element of childlike playfulness.
In Japan, there is a uniform for almost every occasion, including work and school. Decora gives the people that wear it an opportunity to try something fun and different, and to break free from the social norms. Decora gives you the freedom to wear the things you love however you’d like, and you can do something different every day. Like Lolita, this style requires a lot of commitment. Putting on dozens of barrettes, plastic rings and big necklaces, along with many layers of clothing, means getting dressed in the morning could take two or three hours. Decora girls are willing to spend all this time and money to dress in the style because they find it empowering and uplifting.
If you want to learn more, I enjoyed this Refinery29 video, What Harajuku Girls Really Look Like. My favorite part was getting to watch a Harajuku girl get dressed in the style, as well as seeing how people in this style stand out in public. This Style Guide is also an interesting breakdown of Decora’s different elements. To see more of the Harajuku aesthetic in pop culture, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a Japanese pop star who tours worldwide, and whose PonPonPon music video has many decora girl elements to it.