If you roam the streets of Harajuku, with its ultimately diverse fashion subculture, you can expect either a group or an individual with lightly dyed hair, heavy makeup, and provocative outfit. This is another one of Harajuku fashion’s eccentric subculture called the “gyaru.”
The term gyaru is derived from the English word “gal.” The said fashion subculture was believed to have been inspired by the 1970’s American action drama series called Baywatch and was heavily influenced by Pamela Anderson’s character in the said series. This particular fashion trend is said to be considered as a rebellion against the time when Japanese women has specific beauty standards, of pale skin and dark hair, and are expected to be housewives.
One substyle under the gyaru fashion subculture is the hime gyaru or in English, princess gal. This is considered to be the over-the-top and most expensive style out of all the subcultures of gyaru, mainly because it is deemed essential to purchase clothes from well-known brands such as Princess Melody and MA*RS.
Gyaru who are enthusiasts of this style, and true to its name, dresses pretty much like a princess. Pastel, but mostly in pink, dresses, and skirt, littered with laces and bows and princessy icons such as rose patterns, rosettes, pearl, and crown motifs are the most common indicator of gyaru fashion. Like the main gyaru style, hime gyaru’s hair is still either lightly dyed, styled, and crimped in a bouffant, curled or into the next level of wigs and extensions. Nails are long and heavily decorated, same goes for cellular phones.
This fashion trend can be very exaggerated. Abundant frills and bows, humongous hair, and excessive makeup. They are over the line but they are a princess in their own way. However, the hime gyaru fashion trend is not for everyone and if it’s not the hair, then it’s the makeup. For those who are not fond of the whole hime gyaru look but really wants the princess concept, the said fashion actually has a toned down version and a lighter alternative. And it’s called himekaji.
What is Himekaji?
Himekaji is translated as casual princess. It’s everything hime gyaru but moderate and significantly toned down. This fashion style is also frequently used by hime gyaru who are opting for a more casual and comfortable look.
This style’s characteristics are very similar to its parent and sister trend, except for very minor differences. The hair is still bleached blonde or light brown shades, is still usually curled but it can either be long or short and most of time, himekaji enthusiasts forgoes the humongous bouffant hair and prefers their curls simply worn down.
The clothes are still prominently pink and still consists of the common and usual patterns such as roses and hearts, but accents like bows and frills are naturally played down. There are less accessories than the usual hime gyaru and the nails are still long but not as decorated as its sister trend. If it is, it is not as exaggerated and excessive.
And like Hime gyaru, there are also associated brands with the fashion style where enthusiasts often shop for their clothes and accessories. One of the famous and well-known brands for himekaji is called Liz Lisa, which is an online store that has clothes, shoes, hats and accessories related to kawaii and princess concepts. I had a look at the shop and I must say, you are going to combust about how cute and girly all the items are. It is really no wonder why it is so distinguished within the hime gyaru and himekaji community.
The Himekaji Fashion
The whole aura of himekaji is all about looking sweet and cute. From the hair, the makeup, and most especially, the clothes. The himekaji fashion is not a difficult one to scour and style. Since it is mostly casual princess outfits, a frilly pastel dress, along with a few accessories and the right match for shoes, can surely pass as himekaji fashion.
To make it easier for you to join in the himekaji trend, here are a few guidelines on what to look for in clothes that himekaji enthusiasts usually wear.
The most common are probably dresses, blouses or skirts that are in pastel and light neutral colors such as dusty pink, beige, baby blue, and whites. The most distinguishable clothing details are usually frills, bows, ruffles, flowers, and ribbon, littered throughout the piece of clothing in a natural and subdued manner. This is one of the key differences of himekaji from its sister, hime gyaru. The details and guidelines might be the same but for himekaji, remember, it’s all about casualness and toning down from excessiveness.
Other details that might be commonly found in himekaji clothing are ribbon ties from the back that help cinch and emphasize the waist, corset or lace-up dresses and jumper skirts. Another one that might be a very minor detail but still would fit the himekaji style are sailor collars and knitted cardigans. Clothes with pastel-colored checkered or plaid patterns are also a hit with this fashion. As well as, matching tops and bottoms.
Of course, all of the things mentioned are just the basics and are the most commonly found details in himekaji fashion and what I would like to suggest if you are just starting out. As time goes by, you’ll be able to find it easier to mix and match outfits and might even find one new particular detail that will fit the casual princess fashion.
Himekaji in 2020
Lizzie from hellolizziebee.com has a dedicated blog post, discussing the thin line between a real himekaju gyaru and a Liz Lisa Girl. She said in her post,
“Okay, I’m being dramatic – there are himekaji out there, but only a handful of himekaji gyaru. I never thought I’d have to place himekaji and gyaru side-by-side as himekaji is a gyaru brand, but the gyaru side of it has drifted off into the larme-kei/kawaii realm. The dramatic gyaru makeup has been replaced with little to no makeup. It’s been so long since any gyaru were wearing himekaji that it’s like a forgotten era.”
Lizzie also mentioned that in the gyaru timeline, himekaji was the first fashion style to go. The reason mainly because the cute and princess appearance that himekaji offers became popular outside the gyaru subculture. With its rising fame, stores like Liz Lisa and Ank Rogue toned down from catering only gyaru and has expanded outside the said subculture, eventually giving birth to Liz Lisa Girl. Lizzie stressed that himekaji gyaru was suddenly associated with a normal person wearing Liz Lisa clothes instead of an actual gyaru wearing Liz Lisa clothing.
That was an incredibly thin line, I agree and I can sense Lizzie’s frustration from the blog post alone. If you want to read her whole blog post, I highly suggest you do to get a whole glimpse and get the idea from an authentic gyaru who has practiced and love the subculture wholly.
And that’s the whole guide to the Himekaji fashion! Do you like this particular fashion style? Because I do! Let us know in the comments below!