Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guide to Mori Kei {Forest girl style}

UPDATED 100414

So today I thought I'd do a little guide to the mori girl lifestyle and wardrobe! This is mostly for my lovely friends on the  Central Texas Mori Girl facebook group (Shout out ^o^), but I hope this will help educate the masses!


You might have asked, "What does mori mean anyway?" I will tell you! It's Japanese for forest, so mori + kei (style) = forest style.

Firstly, once you start getting into the logistics of mori kei, you might hear the name, Choco, quite frequently. "Who is Choco?" She wrote the book (literally) on mori kei and is the founder of the official mori girl online community. Choco also created the official rules to qualify for being a mori girl (As a bonus, here's some unofficial rules for mori boys that I found!). While I don't agree that there should be rules to any fashion style, they are very helpful to understand mori lifestyle, fashion, and the mori archetype, which I will refer to frequently throughout my blog. I'll be referencing these rules throughout this tutorial.

At the time Choco's rules were written, mori and what I interpret as natural kei were still one and the same. Lately, they've begun to branch out their own ways and are slightly different now. This post will be more of a combination of the two to stay true to mori's original meaning, but I will distinguish some differences. If you want to learn more about the difference between natural and mori kei and my modern interpretation, check out this post. Let's get started!

Please keep in mind that I'm describing the typical, archetype mori girl and that there are no rules that you need to follow :)

❁ L i f e s t y l e
An archetype mori girl lives in a little cottage or cabin in an enchanted forest or perhaps a cozy little Scandinavian apartment (54). She can be found visiting cozy cafés (46); bookstores (50); furniture stores (51); vintage (20), variety (48), and oddities shops when out in town. In the forest, she'd most likely be frolicking or hobbying. Her hobbies include collecting things (49), taking pictures (47), gardening, reading, and crafting (52) (sewing, making flower crowns, crochet, painting).

Autumn and winter are the most ideal seasons for mori girls (53). It's something about the chill of the air and the crunch of colored leaves beneath her feet, or maybe it's the warmth of all the extra layers of clothes and scarves she gets to wear.

Mori girls also enjoy fairy tales (37), whether it's reading them in books, daydreaming, or becoming their own fairytale.

Natural kei is most commonly described as living on the edge of the forest and venturing into it, while mori girls live in the forest and can be seen as a forest spirit. Either way, I think the lifestyles are very similar. If we want to get more specific, for example, a natural girl might live in the cozy Scandinavian apartment while a mori girl might live in an overgrown cottage in the middle of the woods.

❁ P e r s o n a l i t y
A mori girl has a soft mood (57) and is uncomplicated (58) as well as laid-back (59). Of course, no one should change their personality to fit this archetype, but I find these qualities to be something that anyone should try taking on, just because of how healthy they are for the spirit. There is a simplicity and innocence to the mori girl persona that distracts from the worries and stresses of adulthood that I find very calming on the mind.

Without saying that mori girls are antisocial, they are so dream-like that they're in their own world and are happy to enjoy their own company. From the most popular photoshoots and most popular mori models, you'll rarely see multiple girls together; they're usually on their own in a forest, daydreaming or playing.

❁ F a s h i o n
The fashion is so specific that I'm gonna give in and do categorized bullets. I hope you aren't intimidated! Remember that these are only general ideas to help you find your mori style.

 Loose fitting and smock-like dresses and blouses (9)
⚘  Dresses and skirts are the most important pieces to wear (1, 2)
⚘  Ponchos, boleros, oversized sweaters, cardigans, shawls, to keep yourself warm and add layering. (16)

⚘  Be particular about your fabrics and patterns. (5)
⚘  Linen, crotchet/knit, lace, and fur are ideal fabrics to have in your wardrobe. (14, 27)
⚘  Warm colors are the best. Typically, the base of your outfits should be cremes and beiges, then have other pieces in the colors of burgundy*, dark green*, navy*, and brown. I think the spring is a good time to pull out those pastels- lavender, mint, and peach (closer to cult party kei if you add pastels). There is a subcategory of mori called dark mori, in which case the cremes and beiges can be substituted for blacks and grays. (11, 12)
⚘  Designs featuring animals, sweets, plaid, polka dots, or vintage flowers are preferable (23-26).*
*I think these are closer to natural kei.

⚘  Slightly quirky and whimsical but natural (even ethnic)- add your own style to your outfits. (2, 3, 6)
⚘ Comfort is a mori girl's main priority! Think girly, childish, and comfy. (8, 42)

⚘  Layer, layer, layer, layer . It seems to me that the street fashion of mori kei takes on even more, fluffier layers. (35) Not necessarily practical for forest adventuring, but this begins to show the distinction between street mori and more of a natural, "earth child" mori. Here is a helpful mini tutorial on layering.
⚘  Nothing flashy, too sweet, bright/neon colors, (3, 10)

Bertha Louse Designs
Fluffy fur or knitted hats and earmuffs to keep your ears warm in the winter and fall! (14, 15)
 I usually see large shoulder bags or small cross body purses on mori gals; try a small fur cross body bag (preferably faux, please)!
Gold accessories are preferred over silver. I'd even add that brass or copper is better; it adds to the antique, oddities look. (19)
This goes with lifestyle as well, but lots of antique accessories and even clothing are a must. Try finding a pocket watch or a long necklace with a large object on it, like a magnifying class. (20-22)
 Shoes should be flat soled and closed toed, preferably round toe. (29-31) 
One great way to add to the layering effect is to add tights, leggings, or slouchy socks. (28)
Large, comfy scarves or shawls. (33)

Makeup and beauty
Short nails are the way to go- they're most comfortable and convenient. (13)
Complexion is pale skin with round, rosy cheeks from playing outside in the cold. Of course don't go dying your skin or anything! Just take care of your skin; wear sunscreen and drink lots of water for a healthy glow. (38, 55)
Loose perm or wavy hair. Choco recommends bob cut with straight bangs or straight bangs with a long, loose perm. Brown seems to be the most popular hair color for mori girls, followed by strawberry blonde and black. (39-41)
Perfume should be faint and not overpowering, preferably floral. (56)
Since mori is all about looking and being natural, I'd recommend not putting on heavy makeup and take the opportunity to embrace your natural, beautiful self. ♥ I'm thinking about doing a makeup tutorial, so let me know in the comments if you'd like to see it!

❁ S h o p s
From my own experience, the best thing you can do is go to your local thrift store and you should be able to find many items there. Most of my own mori clothes come from thrift stores, then Anthropologie, then Forever 21.

Update: For beginners, I recommend this taobao shop, Forest Girl Fans, because they have a lot of basic pieces for very cheap.

If you want to go ahead and purchase specifically mori kei online, here are some great shops! I will keep this updated as best I can.

English websites
Favorite One
Spring Days
Wonder Rocket
Asian iCandy

Etsy shops
Bertha Louise Designs
Deadly Mori Girl
          Baby Yaga Fashion

         Khe Green


         Resting Petals

         Milky Moon

        Flash and Trash

Japanese websites
Wonder Rocket
Carolina Glaser
Fur Fur {official} {zozo
Franche Lippe {official} {zozo}


Chinese taobao shops
Taobaoring shopping service  
Forest girl fans
Lost Cat in The Forest
Maggie Z


Lazy Cat


  1. I was looking and looking for mori girl clothes shops, and here they are listed. Thank you!

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful for you ! :D

  2. I adore Mori Girl style. Great links especially for the Etsy shops.

  3. I love the clothing, I just think the whole mindset is really dumb. Instead of girls who just want to go around shopping all day (which is what a city girl would do), mori girls should be survivalists who are resourceful and know a lot about nature and camping. They should also be contributers to society and should want to stand up for the environment and be active protestors of forest cutting because umm I don't know they live in a FOREST?! Where does a forrest child even get a camera? And how does she afford all this furniture and antique books? Does she work? What kind of job does she have? I would think a national forrest or a state forrest guide. Or a river rafting guide. I feel like mori girls could be so much cooler than this ditzy shopaholic who buys furniture that is supposedly going to fit in her tiny log cabin. I LOVE the clothes. I just wish the personality was a little more epic and adventurous.

    1. Chill out.....it's just meant to be fun...quit being so critical...if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all...what if someone was as critical about your life, criticizing what you wear, or how you live or keep house...you wouldn't like it so much...so please keep you negative opinions to your self, constructive criticism helps...being just plain rude doesn't benefit anyone...including your self.

    2. Thanks, Angela! I appreciate the support ♡. Kindness is always the way to go.
      Also Holly, I think you do raise a few good points, BUT I think it's also important to remember that mori kei is a style of clothing inspired by this archetype, it's typically not so much of a lifestyle, at least in Harajuku fashion. However, I do have a mori friend that I know is more of a forest child than the typical Harajuku mori girl. Remember that the majority of girls who dress in mori kei live in big cities in Japan, and shop in Harajuku, being fashion-forward and not necessarily nature-forward. But that's just because it's a style of clothing in origin. I think I'll do a blog post about this soon :3

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Dear Miss Kellie: Thank you so very much for featuring my little etsy.com shop Bertha Louise Designs!!!! I adore Mori Girl fashions, and have added many items to my shop recently in that theme....including some lovely little bloomers!!! Dolly Kei, Mori Girl in theme. Since I have rediscovered these lovely Victorian based fashions I have gone nuts recreating them for myself, my daughter, her friends and my lovely etsy customers. Please come and visit my facebook page and my etsy shop, and know that you and your lovely blog followers are welcome to use my 10% off coupon code, BERTHA, any time!!! Much love, hugs and Mori Girl kisses!!! ~~Angela~~

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Angela ^___^ Also thank you for your lovely discount offer-- I'm going to contact your etsy shop about something as well ;3

  5. oh~~~ I love the shops that you recommended in taobao

    thank you so much!!!~~~~~ :')

  6. Dear Miss Kellie: I wanted to share with you that I recently was honored with a visit from one of your blogger friends. She came by my little shop on etsy and purchased a sweet little Mori Girl necklace. Thank you so very much for your lovely blog .... I always find it so full of wonderful photography and information! I was so thrilled when I learned that she had found out about me and my shop through your blog and well.... I wanted to express my appreciation! Thank you so very much and have a wonderful weekend! Yours very truly, ~~Angela~~ Bertha Louise Designs https://www.etsy.com/shop/BerthaLouiseDesigns?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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  10. Dear Miss Kellie :
    Thank you for this lovely information I really needed! I have always like Mori fashion I just never knew what it was called until recently.
    I actually have a question to ask, if you don't mind.

    I am a guy and I was wondering if you had any idea of how to dress Mori boy? I have always had an androgynous look, from my teens to my adult life. I wanna try Mori, but when I research Mori boy it's often more grungy than the sweet that I like so Idk if I should just adapt Mori girl to me personally?
    Thank you for your time and great Mori style! :)

    1. Hi, I'm also a guy and I'm inspired by this style as well, I think the second image is perfect to be adapted to a mele, with the hat and the cardigan, very boho, to an extent, love the boots too.


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  13. thank you for this post :-)
    I was looking for more ideas and tips..
    Planning to try mori....


  14. where exactly was mori kei founded? im writing a research paper on it and i would like to know :D

    1. Mori kei was founded online on mixi in 2006 and in Harajuku, Tokyo with the Wonder Rocket store in 2007.

  15. I've been quite boyish for a while now but have recently started accepting dresses & skirts into my wardrobe. My sister (who is very girly) was delighted in my change & went crazy choosing dresses for me saying I'd look good in something cute. But I found my preferences were very much different as I liked simpler clothes that allowed me freedom of movement. Then I found the Mori girl style & I fell in love with it. The clothing looks extremely comfortable & it will allow me to incorporate my vast collection of necklaces which keeps growing every time I go out. It will take time but I am definitely going to use this style. Thank you for the post. It has helped me gain a much better understanding of Mori style :)

  16. You know, I've always really loved the mori girl style, and I've searched countless shops, but... Are there any shops that have Mori-esque clothing that cater to the bigger girls out there? I'm a bit taller and heavier than I'd like to be, and there's no way I could ever fit into tiny Asian clothes even if I lost some weight. :/
    Any ideas?

    1. I don't wear much that qualifies as mori, so I'm not sure if I'll be helpful, but I also don't fit japanese size clothing due to large bust and wide shoulders. What I do is that I look at the pieces of clothing worn in the style and try to find close matches in local stores. Just a couple weeks ago I have bought a long crochet vest and a crochet shawl/wrap from the summer clearance sales for very little money. I have also been lucky in a second hand store once and got a perfect-for-mori layered patchwork dress. Mix and match what you can use! I wish you luck finding something nice and fun searching ♥

  17. great article! Very informative, thanks for the post!
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  18. I really like the mori kei style, my closet is full of pastel colored dresses and cardigans. But time and time again I find that the inclusion of fur in this style is very much against the soft persona of a mori girl. Especially when one finds out that anal electrocution and gassing are common ways to kill the animals without staining their fur with blood :*(
    I would assume they'd be friends with the fury creatures.But thanks for the guide!

  19. Fake fur is a thing, and being like a forest creature is not as scary as you would think.

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  29. Thank you for this great post! I just discovered mori style as a "real thing". I read about it in the Faerie Handbook and realized it fits my secret wishes and dreams to a T! I'm so glad to read there are so many others with my interests and things I love. The best "rule" in the Faerie Handbook is the last one that states you can be a Mori style girl/lady at any age! Yes! My interests and items I love have never changed since a girl and I'm quite old now but it just fits me perfectly. Thank you.

  30. I love your blog and want to say that while my "girlhood" days are also long gone, I have thought like this, lived like this and dressed like this my whole life. And through the years I have been described as an "old hippie", "looking like a "bag lady" and a "mountain witch" to name a few. Although all of you are young and beautiful, remember being a Mori girl is not about age but about attitude. Thank you Candace for mentioning the Faerie Handbook, it is a wonderful and insightful read. And like Candace, it's wonderful to know we are "real" and have a legit style and can say "hey, go google it". Love the blog, keep up the good work!!!

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