Wanderlust Japan > Culture > You’re Going Out Wearing That?! The Japanese “it girl”

You’re Going Out Wearing That?! The Japanese “it girl”

Every country has an image of the “it girl,” the sexy, stylish girl that young girls long to be. Japan, a country that is known for its unique fashion, is no different in this respect. In fact, the “it girl” of the moment is usually an extremely specific image….


(It seems funny that I am writing about this today, because anyone that knows me personally knows that I am not a fashion/make up girl….)


But yes, I am going to attempt to write about young Japanese girl’s fashion…


In the 70s and the 80s, young women started working, and with this came the advent of people trying to sell to all these young girls with money. Various fashion magazines popped up and told people what was the “in” look and usually gave this look a unique name.

Fast forward through that period to the 90s…(because I don’t really have any thoughts on fashion before…except I think this happened then)




One major fashion influence to young women in the 90s was Namie Amuro, a pop star. These were girls that dressed in the Amuro-style: a mini skirt, died long hair, and slightly tanned skin.


This was around the time when “gyaru” started getting used in the mainstream to describe these young ladies who went around in heavier make-up, more elaborate hair and mini skirts.


Many younger school girls looked up to the aesthetic. They were called “Kogyaru” (little gyaru). High school girls are generally not allowed to dye their hair light and wear such heavy make-up (so this was a bit of a rebellious look) . The “loose socks” (socks that were about 90-120 cm long) look was also incredibly popular at this time. The socks were heavy and could not stay up by themselves so girls needed to buy “sock glue” to keep the socks up.


 Contrast becomes a fashion trend


From this “gyaru” culture came a sub-culture of trying to tan or paint your skin darker and then bleaching your hair to try and bring about some over-the-top contrast. This was the “ganguro” look.


In the late 90s, the ganguro look evolved even further to include the practice of wearing brighter, flashier clothing and trying to accentuate one’s features by highlighting part of oneself with white make up.

These were called “yamamba gyaru.” They became pretty famous abroad as well because of how striking they looked.



With the change into the new millennium, came an age of new idols and trend-setters. Ayumi Hamasaki, another Japanese pop singer, came into the scene with light hair and light skin. This set the stage for a new type of “gyaru,” “shiro gyaru” (meaning “white gyaru”).


The main difference was these girls would not try and get themselves tanned or made-up to be darker, but instead would put on sunscreen and try to keep as white as possible.


This is when the “gyaru” image started to get a bit of a “sweeter” image.



The rise of the hostess….


Around 2006, in the magazine “Ko-akuma Ageha” was extremely popular and brought the fashion styling of hostesses to something mainstream (“hostesses! are women who work at bars or nightclubs and entertain men by drinking and chatting with them).


These girls (of course) had their own name, “agejyo.”



Some main characteristics of the “agejyo” are over-the -top (literally) hair, make up mainly focusing on the eyes, and overall a more refined look. 

The “agejyo” also came to media attention when there was a survey conducted with groups of elementary school children. Upon asking little girls what they wanted to be when they grow-up, the overwhelming response was “hostess.” Younger girls started wearing make-up and flashier clothing to get closer to the dream.

 This style is definitely very alive today, just stroll down any street with a visible hostess club and you are bound to see some very tall hair.


“Himegyaru” is what you get when you try and take the “sexy” out of “agejyo” and replace it with all the girly trappings of sweet lolita fashion. 

Did that make any sense to you? It’s okay, I understand, this is confusing and irrelevant to the vast majority of people.

Anyway, this too is currently a thing.



What trends should I look out for now??


I would have to say the “rabbit face.”

Because not only do I love rabbits but rabbit face is a thing.


A girl with a case of “rabbit face.” ↑


Rabbit face is attained by making your eyes look a bit droopier and rounded, putting blush low on your cheeks, and probably by looking like this most of the time:



↑ my rabbit, also sporting the “rabbit face” look.


I hope you now feel a little closer to fashion trends in Japan now.






July 11  Category:Culture 

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