How to dress up like a Harajuku girl

Recently my friends had a Japanese themed party to celebrate their engagement (it happened in Japan). At first I was like OMG best theme ever. But the more I thought about it, the harder it was! It’s actually a very vague theme, because there are SO many options. My attitude to fancy dress parties is that you should go as something that people will recognize, but something that’s not the immediate choice. I also think you should always put in 120% effort to your outfit, including make-up and hair. What’s the point in doing it at all, if you don’t go all out!

For the Japanese party I debated going as various animated characters, at one point I was even about to make a Pocky or Milky costume. As usual, time ran away so I decided to go as a Harajuku girl – I originally thought that maybe it was a bit too obvious, but it was actually quite a hard costume to pull together. Maybe harder than making a costume! There were so many parts to it..

For inspiration, I trawled Pinterest for days, which you can see on my Japanese themed board. Search terms like ‘Decora Girl’, ‘Pastel Goth’, ‘Fairy Kei’ became commonplace. As well as looking up classic Fruits magazine and book images.

Above: Image sources on my Pinterest here & here.

The approach I took was to go as colourful, pastel and plastic as possible!
So here’s how I found my outfit…

Wig: eBay has the biggest selection for the cheapest prices. I think this purple one was about £7, and was actually a ‘Katy Perry’ wig.

Hair barettes: I already had a load of plastic hair barettes from my Courtney Love loving days of trying to dress like a 90’s riot grrl. I also found a local shop for afro hair in Dalston that sold these plastic clips too. So it’s worth checking out places like that! I think a pack was about £1.50 each.

Bracelets: I made all these bracelets myself. Again, the local afro hair store was amazing for plastic beads (for hair braiding) but I fashioned them into bracelets. I bought elastic from eBay, and a couple of other colourful heart shaped beads. Beads were around £1 a pack, and eBay is dirt cheap for bracelet making stuff.

Shirt: The shirt is from Forever 21 and was about £13. I wanted something that looked a little bit ‘school girly’ as a lot of Harajuku girls dress a bit like that. When I saw this I thought it was perfect.

Skirt: It was actually a nightmare to find a good ‘tacky’ looking patterned skirt that wasn’t totally hideous. I bought a pink one from Forever 21 but it was so grim and probably not bright enough. In a panic the day before the party I headed to both Beyond Retro stores in East London. I picked up this (rather Caribbean? looking) skirt for around £15. I was scared it wouldn’t work. But I think it did in the end?!

Socks: They are just standard school girl knee high cotton socks. Marks and Spencer usually sell them, often Topshop sell lots of similar style of socks too.

Shoes: I bought these purple jelly sandals with a glittery platform from New Look in the sale for under a tenner.

Cat bag: I felt the outfit needed something cute and animal-y, so something cat related seemed perfect. This bag was a total steal on eBay for £7. This is the seller I used.

Brooch and necklace: The plastic polar bear brooch is OLD and it was from Lady Luck Rules or Tatty Divine (i think? – It was a gift!) – you can get lots of similar style ones from Tatty Divine.
Necklace was super old from Topshop. I’m certain you can find loads of stuff like this cheap on eBay or local charity shops.

Make up & nails: I bought tons of face jewels from eBay. I searched ‘face gems’, ‘face jewels’, ‘diamante self adhesive’. Packs of them are around £1. I used fake eyelashes from Boots own brand, the nails were glue on from Elegant Touch – also at Boots. There are so many amazing tacky glue on nails in the world! I used Barry M shimmer dust in a pink glitter for my eyes, with a touch of winged eyeliner. I used MAC Dolly Mix blusher for a candy pink blush.

And there it is! I thought this could be a fun post to share re: how I found and put together my outfit, as well as the inspiration I used.

What will you be dressing up as for Halloween? I guess that’s my next fancy dress project…!

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