You saw it for the first time and were fascinated with the colors, the pieces and the buzz. You researched and found out that this is not your regular fashion but is actually a call for freedom of expression, of going against the norm, of being able to wear whatever you want and of being confident.
And now you are intrigued and might find yourself wondering how do I dress in a true Harajuku fashion?
Before giving you simple tips on how to dress the Harajuku fashion, it is important to remember that it’s all about having fun and being you. It’s not about what the others might think or what they might say. If you want to dress outrageously, go ahead. If you are channeling out your inner 5-year old self, do it. The best thing about this fashion style is that it has no boundaries, no standards and has set no borders. It’s all about you and your individuality (and that could be anything!) Everything you want to be, Harajuku fashion got you.
If you want to learn in an in-depth manner about the Harajuku fashion and its different styles, you can go ahead and read What is the Harajuku Fashion Style: All You Need to Know.
Even though the Harajuku fashion, as mentioned, is free for all sorts of individuality, as a beginner, it might be a head-scratching moment on where to truly start. Here are 10 tips that might help you get started with your journey to the Harajuku fashion!
1. Find your style
The Harajuku fashion has a variety of styles to choose from. They have the cosplay or costume play where you personify your favorite characters from different platforms such as manga/comics, movies and games among others. Another fashion style is the Lolita which is heavily inspired by Victorian dresses so if you are a fan of dreamy and fairytale-like dresses, Lolita fashion style might be the one for you.
Do note though that with Harajuku fashion, you are not bound by any style. It’s really more like creating your own style. So if you’ve searched the internet and roamed the streets of Harajuku but not really finding your style in the existing ones, you don’t need to worry. The fact that you are on your way to create your own style already makes you a part of the famous Harajuku fashion style.
2. Layering it all up
In the Harajuku fashion, it is always encouraged to go the extra mile. And what better way than to do this? It’s by wearing different outfits simultaneously. Why don’t you throw in an extra shirt underneath that long-sleeved button up? Or wear extra leggings on top of your short skirt? If it makes you comfortable, go ahead. If you want to do it, the Harajuku fashion style will give you an extra push to do just that. The more, the better!
3. Mix and Match
For mainstream fashion, it might be difficult to even mix different patterns in one outfit or even different colors. If we do try, it will take courage to venture into that kind of experiment. But with the Harajuku fashion, the possibilities are endless. Wear that striped shirt with polka dot pants or wear different colored socks! It’s all up to you. Want to wear different colored platform shoes? No worries and just make sure you are comfortable while roaming the streets.
Let’s admit it, certain colors and patterns do not look good together and if you are in the mainstream fashion world, you would be probably be criticized but that doesn’t matter in Harajuku. Once again, it’s all about being you. If you want that uncanny match, don’t worry. You’ll fit in just fine.
4. Accessorizing the Harajuku way
If we are talking about accessories, I have one thing to tell you. Go all out! It is highly encouraged in the Harajuku fashion world that you go over the top with your accessories. You want that big neon hat? Wear it. Or how about multiple plastic necklaces to channel your outer childish whims? Go ahead. Colorful beaded bracelets, big and colorful ribbon for your pigtails and even fill your hair with dramatic hair clips.
Even though your accessories doesn’t match your clothes, they might even worlds apart and will clash in all aspects, but this is definitely acceptable and even highly encourage in the Harajuku fashion.
5. Go crazy with the shoes
Another fun thing about the Harajuku fashion is the shoes. Before discussing all crazy things about the shoes in the Harajuku fashion, do remember that no matter how excited you are in experimenting and trying out all different fashion trends, your comfort and safety should be your top most priority. If high shoes are uncomfortable to wear or dangerous at that moment, there are still loads of different options for you to choose.
Your shoes could come directly from the store or better, you can customize it to your heart’s content. You can purchase different kinds of trinkets and patches and decorate your shoes to match your fashion for the day. Other trendy shoes in the Harajuku fashion world as well are shoes of different colors. You can tie dye your shoes and wear different colored pastel ones.
6. Dramatic Make-up
Other than your clothes and shoes, one of the factors that completes the look is your visual and face make-up. Just like all the other aspects of Harajuku fashion, there’s no specific standards of what you can do with your make-up. They do have one thing to say though: Make it dramatic.
Overly caked and theatrical make-up is very common on the streets of Harajuku. For the mainstream fashion world, you might get weird looks if your blush or eyeshadow is excessively done but not in the world of Harajuku fashion.
You can caked your face with pure white powder and no one will bat an eye. You might want your eyeliner extra darker and longer, no worries, go ahead and do it. If that is your own way of expressing your fashion, Harajuku Station welcomes you.
7. Style that hair
Just like everything else in this fascinating fashion style, the things you can do with your hair if you’re in the Harajuku fashion world is endless. All things Harajuku fashion is, as you’ve probably noticed, overstressed and overemphasize. The hair is, of course, not any different. Roam the streets of Harajuku and it’s no longer surprising that you’ll see a half-blonde and half-black styled hair.
If you don’t want to compromise the health and quality of your hair, wigs are your best friends. You could do a lot more with wigs than your real hair so individuals who are invested in the Harajuku fashion will have a whole collection of different types of wigs of various colors and hair length.
And hear this, you might find this a bit uncanny but this is a trend in Harajuku fashion. Have you ever seen a hair filled with hair clips? Not yet? Well, you’re in for a shock. It is a craze in Harajuku to fill your hair with different types of decorated hair clips.
8. A peace between the traditional and modern
If you’re looking for a place where traditional and modern clothes clash in a good way, the streets of Harajuku station is a good place to start. Harajuku fashionistas love putting a twist to everything and of course, traditional attire is not an exception.
In Harajuku, you might see the traditional kimono being matched with high platform shoes instead of the usual traditional Japanese footwear or boots or a kimono with a twist of Lolita effect such as shortening the length to medium and partnering it with a thigh-high patterns socks. One word, amazing!
9. Make it your own
If it’s anything related to fashion, you might think that a large sum of money is needed. This is of course how it is embedded to us by commercially made clothes. But another good thing about the Harajuku fashion is since it is your style, no big brands can ever dictate you to buy their overly charged clothes. Since it is your style, you are more than free to thrift and even sew your own clothes!
See that pretty fabric your mother has put away? Sketch and imagine the pieces you can do it while also incorporating your own sense of fashion. One thing I’ve noticed with sewing one’s own clothes is how satisfying it is to look fabulous and exceptional at a very low price.
10. Go all out and have fun
In the mainstream fashion world that you see in Instagrams, televisions, commercials, and trendy clothes worn by celebrities and influencers, you might be a little pressured trying to fit in. Not all of these clothes that are being endorsed by big brands are everyone’s cup of tea. If you did join in the fad and have only been doing it because everyone else is, you might have been repressing yourself of your real fashion, of the real you.
That is why people flocked into Harajuku Station. Some, because it is a place where they can wear whatever they want and won’t be criticized and called out. While others are fascinated. Fascinated that in the world where a celebrity’s fashion is everyone else's fashion, there exists a space and culture where everyone is unique and free to wear whatever they want.