Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mori Kei Wardrobe: ESSENTIALS



While Mori seems to be one of the most flexible styles of Japanese fashion, there is a structure to the archetype mori ensemble that will help you with creating coords. If you want to refresh on what Mori Kei is and where to buy clothes, check out my post here. Let's look into it!

Firstly, I'll refer to four sub-genres of mori. These are not official sub-genres, only ones that I will use. Lolita x mori crossover, cult party x mori crossover, otome kei x mori crossover, and mori that emphasizes whimsy.
Lolita and whimsy, I think, is mostly self explanatory, but it'll become more obvious as I go on. Cult party is a Japanese style that's very hard to describe, though it's very similar to mori, almost like mori x fairy kei x lolita. Otome kei is also very hard to describe and I think the best way is that it's more grown up, pretty, and classic; kind of like a grown up version of hime kei. I consider Fairy Emily to be an otome mori and she is one of my style inspirations! These other lifestyles and styles of dress can be seen mixed in with mori quite often and I'll point out tips for each of these styles.

On a side note, there is only one "official" sub-genre of mori that I know of and that's dark mori. Dark mori is mostly the same as mori, though you should swap out most neutrals colors for black, gray, and dark brown. I won't be talking about it in this tutorial simply because all you need to do is change the colors.

EDIT: Natural kei is actually a very close cousin or sister of mori kei and a lot of the pieces in this post are natural kei. I think when I was saying otome kei, that's closest to natural kei. Here's a recent post about the difference between natural and mori.

TL;DR The most important thing to remember about mori is that the style is very customized, personal, and is centered around your preference. While there are many different ways to interpret mori kei's wide range of color schemes, patterns, and styles, there are basic types of pieces for the mori wardrobe.

⚘ Base dress 


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The base dress is a simple, minimalist piece; it will be the piece that makes up your main composition. Remember that mori is all about layering, so you'll be able to put some things beneath it and some things on top of it. Since it's the base for your coords and each coord will be different based on your other pieces, you will probably only need one or two of these dresses. Base dresses should be in muted colors.

To the left is a very basic, simple mori coord. You can see that her base dress is the dress on TOP (of course that's not always the case). It's been layered with a petticoat underneath and a mid-length sleeve shirt. I think that this ensemble is closer to the traditional foresty mori kei. For otome and lolita mori, try to find dresses that are more shapely. Dark What's great about base dresses is that they don't have to be long; petticoats and other skirts will give them more length.
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⚘ Petticoat 

If your background or interest is mostly in lolita, this concept may be a little different for you! Lolita petticoats are typically meant to give volume to dress skirts to make them poofy. Mori kei petticoats, however, are usually simply to add more layers or length. I think typically in Japanese street fashion, you might see more girls wearing a poofy petticoat instead, making the look more of a mori x cult party  or mori x lolita crossover. Petticoats are usually lacy and in shades of creams and whites.


⚘ Fancy Dress 

Your fancy dress can be worn as a layer over the base dress, or under a cardigan, or over a blouse, or with a petticoat, or with leggings, or just by itself! This dress typically will have more color, patterns, or print, definitely with a sense of quirky whimsy. This is an opportunity to implement other styles and for your personal taste to shine through! If you want to do a lolita x mori crossover, try a JSK. If you want to stick with more natural mori, pick a dress that has more detail, lace, ruffles, or embroidery. You should have at least 2-5 depending on how much you integrate mori into your lifestyle. Sleeveless, short sleeve, or long sleeve; anything will work! Try to have several sleeve lengths to mix it up.
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⚘ Skirt ⚘

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Why are skirts important? Because they can replace petticoats (or be used with them for extra layers)! Skirts can be worn with blouses, under dresses, and under long shirts. There are three different types of skirts I recommend owning!

You should have probably two skirts similar to a petticoat; lacy, neutral colors, and long. This will be ideal for layering beneath other pieces. 

Second kind of skirt is one that you can tuck a shirt into. If you want to implement lolita or otome kei, I recommend getting a high waisted skirt. This should be in colors other than tan/beige/off-white/white/neutrals. 

The third kind of skirt should be something quirky- usually this is a quilt pattern skirt, or a long jean skirt with embroidery, also in colors other than neutral.


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⚘ Oversized  shirt 

Long shirts can have a similar effect of dresses when paired with a petticoat or skirt. They can also be worn with pants, or shorts and tights. I recommend owning 2-3. Mostly this depends on how foresty you want your coords to be vs how otome kei you want.  If you want your coords to be more natural, go with 3 because heavy, loose layers will be your friend. If you want more otome mori kei, one or two is enough because you can stock up on blouses instead.

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⚘ Blouse ⚘

You will definitely want to have at least one collared, white blouse that can be worn under a cardigan and at least one colored blouse. If you are going for otome mori, try to get two of each. Blouses will be more shapely to your body, be button up, have lace decoration, and chiffon, or anything you think that looks pretty! Lolitas, this is where the clothing you already own should work!
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You should also get one, maybe two shirts to wear underneath your shorter sleeve dresses and oversized shorter sleeve shirts. This should be fitted. Linen or waffle knit make nice fabrics for undershirts! Typically they'll be solid colors or a very small pattern. Half or 3/4 sleeves are ideal. Undershirts can be in any mori color, but usually not pastels; beige/off-white or darker colors are best. I don't have links to where to buy this kind online because it's a simple piece that you should be able to get anywhere. I'm talking about your basic somewhat long sleeve plain shirt. 


 ⚘ Outerwear ⚘

I know you've been waiting for this one! Mori gals are pretty famous for their cardigans, sweaters, and coats. These are, in fact, the three main categories of our outerwear. 

Cardigans should be fitted and will look lovely with those fitted, collared blouses, something a mori girl would wear when she ventures into the city for shopping or for special occasions. Own at least two and for otome mori, probably 3 or 4.

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Sweaters should be oversized and cozy; you can even knit or crochet them yourself! These are best worn lounging about in your cottage on a rainy day. You'll want to own 2-3!

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Vests will also help complete your outfit. Many vests will be made of corduroy, lace, or fur.

The best thing about outerwear is that these pieces can be any foresty color! Button up, zip up, open, or pullover, anything goes. If you own a button up dress, you can also unbutton it and wear it over your ensemble if you're short on money. Cult party moris could use one of those long, sheer robe things that I don't know the name for. A shawl will also make your mori coord more lacy, cozy, and homey and it's something that you can knit or crochet by hand!






⚘ Socks & Tights ⚘

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Yes, socks and tights are super important. They can really complete a mori outfit. For socks, you'll want a pair that go up to your calves that you can bunch down at your shoe to look baggy (beige and a colored pair). You'll also want a pair of knee or thigh highs, maybe with a thicker, knitted texture. A third type of socks to have are ones that have lace around the cuff and will peep above your shoe.

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As for tights, you'll want something floral and light colored. Leggings can be darker because the material is usually thicker and warmer and better for colder weather. Leg warmers will also make an excellent addition to your wardrobe! Otome and cult party mori will probably just want light colored tights, but more whimsical, foresty ensembles should have colored, heavier leggings.

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⚘ Shoes ⚘

The characteristic mori shoe: brown, round toe! This is a must to own, any kind of round toed shoe and I literally mean any kind of shoe with a round toe. Also a pair of oxfords and lace up boots will really help your mori shoe collection. Remember that comfort is priority and most mori shoes should feel like something you could spend a lot of time wearing and not feel uncomfortable. Otomi and lolita moris, however, might want a pair of cute heels. Unless you're going for dark mori, I'd stay away from black shoes.

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⚘ Purse ⚘

I've seen mori girls toting all kinds of bags. Large bags, small bags, over the shoulder, across the body, usually something relatively flat, not fat, thick bags. If I had to pick one type of bag that's the most common and the most essential to your wardrobe, I'd say a small leather bag with a long strap (most small bags or clutches will come with a strap).
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Here you might have to think about, again, what kind of mori you're going for. A girl straight out of the woods is more likely to have a quilted bag she made herself than an Angelic Pretty biscuit purse, right? Purses and bags can be a way to add whimsy and quirk to your ensemble or sweet charm for lolitas.

On a budget

How about if you're on a low budget? Or don't know what pieces to start with? Here's my list of the items in order of importance that you should purchase in order to start having a complete outfit as soon as you can afford it.

  1. Base dress
  2. Petticoat (pretty much you've got a coord now!)
  3. Shoes & Socks
  4. Skirt
  5. Blouse
  6. Purse (you've got at least 3 different outfit combinations now!)
  7. Outerwear (cardigan or sweater; a jacket isn't as essential)
  8. Oversized shirt
  9. Fancy dress
  10. Outerwear (vest or another cardigan or sweater)
  11. Tights or leggings
  12. Jacket
~❁~
I hope this tutorial was helpful to you! I'd love to hear your comments about things you'd like me to do a tutorial on and any feedback or questions you have. 

God bless!

Miss Kellie

6 comments:

  1. This is perfect :) All of the Mori staples in one blog post!

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  2. This post is wonderful........Indeed I am splendid to read this.........Thank you for sharing
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  3. Thank you so much for existing! I'm trying to debut in college as someone who wears cute clothes and makeup and the like. I've always admired the adorable mori girl style, and your blog is helping me break away from my jeans and hoodie "style' I wear now :)

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  4. I love your post, I left my lolita years long ago because I think I'm too old fot that, but this whole idea of Dark Mori Girl is kind of a thing that I could get used to, comfortable, sober and a little bit mature (just a little).
    So thanks for the info, greetings from México!!!

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  5. want to open mori kei fashion stuff in my country. this is really helping me a lot. thank you so much.
    *i'm sorry for my bad english.

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  6. That's awesome it makes me feel so much more confident to try it out !! Thank you. Would be nice to have a few links to shops too :-)

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