PRIORITISING THE NATURAL LOOK: THE MORI GIRL SUBCULTURE

Whenever I switch on the T.V., log in to social media, or actually go out, all I see are girls with caked make up, packed foundation, flaking powder, surreal coloured lips and huge fake eyelashes. Everyone wants to grab everyone’s attention, be it by wearing a super-tight pair of mono shorts, bleached hair extensions, or enormous plastic sunglasses.

How tiring.

I love being well-turned out myself, however, while seeing people wearing sloppy clothes and messy hair is definitely not attractive, meeting up with individuals who look like a crayola factory gone wrong seriously makes me doubt they ever actually look in a mirror. Are these today’s standards of beauty? Why paste layer upon layer of primer, concealer, foundation, powder, mattifier, and blush, in an effort to look natural, when in reality all you end up looking like is a fake porcelain doll? No one’s perfect, and no matter how much we try to powder away our skin’s oily shine, hide those pimples, and smooth out tiny pesky wrinkles, they’ll always resurface in the end.

That’s why discovering what is known as the Mori Girl Kei was such a refreshing change, as well as a pleasant surprise. The Mori Girl style is a fashion subculture which originates from Japan, and which literally translates to ‘forest girl’. The word moiri means ‘forest’, while kei means ‘style’ or ‘fashion’. The whole concept revolves around the idea of looking natural, earthy and comfortable, while at the same time projecting an aura of sensible girlishness and a return to nature.

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Mori girls generally wear loose dresses in earth-tones, like brown, white, cream, grey, ivory, green or yellow. Vintage-inspired dresses are popular, as well as lace, shawls and floral motifs. Layering is very important, as it gives depth and texture, as well as creating a flowing and airy feel. Dresses and skirts are the main pieces of the style, but blouses and sweaters are also incorporated. The texture is very important, as most Mori girls wear knits, lace, gossamer, and cotton. Wearing long skirts under short dresses, or scarves and shawls over layers of sweaters and skirts, together with long strings of beads or lacy gloves, is a staple of this style.

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The Mori girl is not body conscious. This means that clothing is not fitted or body-hugging, but quite loose. With the layering and the much sought after A-line silhouette, all these factors contribute to give the whole ensemble a certain whimsical volume.

Hair can be of any style, as long as it looks natural. Generally, floral headpieces, ribbons, vintage headbands, braids, and quirky beanies are perfect to enhance this look. The jewellery worn is usually delicate and tiny, with an emphasis on the vintage or classic look. Make up is very natural and light, mostly using a neutral and pastel colour palette.

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The handbag is an important part of the ensemble. This is usually a defining piece, drawing attention to the Mori girl’s own character and quirky attitude. Generally, bags in the shape of animals, made out of clashing patches of material, leather satchels or natural fibres, are donned.

No pinching stiletto shoes, no heavy make up, no bulging boobs or fake witch-like nails. The Mori Girl style is easy-going, yet pleasing to the eye. With her frilly skirts and coloured socks, she floats around as though searching for her forest, fairy-like in her simplicity.