Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fairytale Style: Mori Girls

Even though I haven't been called a "girl" in years, I'm pretty sure I'm a Mori Girl.  Mori Girls are girls (and women) who look like they live in the forest--or something like that (mori is the Japanese word for forest).  The style of the Mori Girl--the term originated in Japan, where the trend is prevalent and understandably long-lasting--really goes much further, as you can see, and no one is wearing moss or making leaf vests.

Hello Sandwich led me to this description of what it means to be a Mori Girl.  This excerpt says a lot:

Fashion wise, there is an affinity for floaty a-line dresses, an admiration of lace, puff sleeves, and retro prints, a fussiness over natural materials, and a preference for warm, earthy hues and deep traditional colors like navy, wine red, and forest green. Oft-spotted accessories include leather satchels, fur stoles, tights, round-toed shoes, pocket watches, and handmade jewelry. 

More than meeting a fashion requirement, however, Mori Girls exude a certain aura of a dreamy slow life. Picture them strolling one of Tokyo’s few remaining bohemian neighborhoods, like Shimokitazawa or Koenji, analog SLR camera in hand. Or scribbling in a leather-bound journal from the corner of a café where none of the teacups match (but are served as a matter of course on saucers). It is likely that a number of them can make macaroons from scratch. 

A "dreamy slow life": I love that! Since I've decided to share more about my fascination with (and life in) Japan, I thought I'd share some photos of Mori Girl style, from the June 2009 issue of Spoon, a mook that is highly regarded by many a choosy Mori Girl (click for more detail).

It's funny, because I didn't even know the term "Mori Girl" until after we left Japan!  I have quite a few magazines and mooks showcasing a style I loved for six years before knowing what to call it. Sigh.

So what makes me a Mori Girl?  Here are a few things:
  • I like tea, a lot, and I love hanging out in cafés.
  • Deer, matryoshka, dala, gnomes, mushrooms, rabbits, ladybugs, lotus flowers: these motifs make me happy.
  • I prefer vintage things and natural fibers.
  • I enjoy my own company, maybe a bit too much.
  • I am smitten by the scenery and fresh air of the forest and country, though I usually prefer the amenities of city life: bookstores, museums, trains, quaint shops, food markets...
  • I love clogs, lockets, and wool felt.
  • I sew and embroider, and I love taking photos of just about anything.

It's nice to see that Mori Girl style knows no bounds, age-wise.  Another excerpt from the Fashion Snoops article:

While hardly aggressively counter-culture (appearing instead almost limply indifferent), Mori Girls do posses a certain against-the-grain quality. They make their style choices based on the “atmosphere” of an item, as opposed to its trendiness or brand name value. Consequently they shun conventional fashion magazines and mass-produced items in favor of handmade, original pieces. Quirkiness is important. Age is not. There is nothing in the creed that singles out youth or a particular generational experience. And unlike teenage fashion cults like the Shibuya gyaru (who see many members “graduate”), there is nothing about being a Mori Girl that rebels against growing up.

Lovely! Now, for all things Mori, check out the very cool Mori Girl blog.  There are also some other great, recent posts about Mori Girl style at Oh, Hello There and Daydream Lily. And if you hurry, you can buy a copy of a Mori Girl magazine from Jollygoo's Uguisu shop! You know I had to buy one...


A Whimsical Girl Named Debbie said...

Oooohhh....what a lovely catalog! I just might have to buy one!


Tamanna A. Shaikh said...

Ohh going by that meaning, I would love to call myself a Mori girl too! ;) Cute one!

Short Poems said...

I enjoy your words and the mood and point of your blog :)

Marinela said...

That is definitely me..though I am far from a young girl!

Moose said...

Time to de-lurk because I am a mori Girl too. I love the green skirt on the cover of that spoon book. I am just bought fabric for a skirt is there a chance that there is a more detailed picture of the skirt that you could send me?

talkto me @ samurai

Anonymous said...

all this time, i've been calling that look "comfy". thanks for the correct term, fellow Mori Girl. :)

eurolush said...

I'm pretty sure I just became a Mori Girl after reading this post. Very cute.

joanny said...

Hello Dear Mori Girl

I think you just started a new trend here. An interesting post in many ways. It is a global counter -cultural trend that extends past boundaries of countries. Here I am in the USA and I can say -- lucky for me that it is not exclusive of age--And I am a 'Mori Girl'. the only exception is I do not wear fur collars, just natural fibers cloths.


Meri Wiley said...


I've always loved this style and lifestyle. All the listed items are things I love and the style even conforms for huge people like me, of course a flowy dress on a large woman looks more like a Moo Moo than anything light and whimsical..LOL. However, in my mind, I'm at the age of 17 and still have the body I had back then.....ahhh the joys of dreaming! Thank you for sharing such a lovely little tidbit. How's things in Germany? I used to live in Essen back in the early 80's and haven't been back since.

Have a great week!

jacqueline said...

It's such wonder to read about Mori girls here on your lovely space! I am a mori girl too and i simple adore these mori fasion! I could really relate to your list! We have so much in common. :) Thanks so much for sharing this with us! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to yoU!

Jacqueline said...

Okay...I'm 51 but I just wanna be a Mori Girlie too and I can if I want to! Tee hee! Stopping by tonight before shut eye to say Hi and check up on what you have been up to!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl ;0),

I had never heard of Mori Girls before... but they sound fab!

The Hausfrau said...

Oh, I'm delighted to see that so many of you are fellow Mori Girls!

vmichelle said...

This post took me so pleasantly by surprise yesterday. Funnily enough I happened to get dressed like a Mori girl that morning, totally unaware that Mori girls existed. These little Japanese subcultures are totally fascinating. I was surprised how much I identified with this one, the lifestyle more than the fashion - with the ideas of slow life, thrifting, bookstores and artsiness. Thanks for sharing!

Samurai Mom said...

Hausfrau, did you get my e-mail? I sent one

Lanie said...

LOVE this. so much.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting! I love Mori girls!

Elizabeth Barczynski said...

Thanks for the culture lesson. I need more :) Your blog never fails to satisfy

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