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 caf├ęs (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

Mori Girl Challenge: Day 3-5

Have you ever lived in a rural environment? if you have, do you think it influenced your mori-ness? if you never have,  do you think living in a suburban or urban environment influenced your style any?
I have not lived in a rural area. I definitely think my style has been influenced by my urban environment; my city being a "hipster town," so to speak. It's made me open to different styles of fashion, as well as the antique look which I think is a heavy influence on mori kei.
Name 5 things you love about mori girl. 
  1. The magical realms that the mori archetype lives in; a little cottage in an enchanted forest.  
  2. The innocence; being removed from the worries and burdens of an adult world.
  3. Comfortable and (mostly) cheap clothes to wear. (Whereas lolita is much more expensive)
  4. Simplicity, coziness, and warmth of clothing colors.
  5. Mori is such a dreamy lifestyle and it reminds me of Scandinavia; I've been longing to visit there.
Name 5 things you dislike about mori girl.
  1. I don't like getting dirty and I think part of the lifestyle involves forest play, which might mean getting dirty..
  2. I'm not sure how I feel about the fur yet; I know it fits the lifestyle, but I don't want to support fur factories when I purchase fur items, so it's something I have to worry about.
  3. I'm not crazy about Choco and her rules for being a mori girl. I found them useful, but I don't like how she wanted them to be strict.
  4. I have nothing else!

Fall or winter Mori girl ensemble

I put together my first complete mori kei outfit! For the Central Texas Mori Girl craft meet up, I didn't use the scarf and instead wore my dark red wig. I'm looking forward to getting more pieces!

Wig- Ebay
Shawl- Forever 21
Jumper dress- Saint Vincent de Paul (thrift shop)
Linen blouse- Saint Vincent de Paul
Socks- My mum's
Shoes- Keen brand from Whole Earth
Scarf- Forever 21