Fairy Kei Japanese Fashion style guide
Fairy Kei fashion guide: Pinkly Ever After, 80s Cuties, Unicorn Shop… Where to buy Fairy Kei fashion online and DIY fashion tips… 80s rainbow pastel unicorns unite!
How did Fairy Kei happen?
One beautiful evening at a party in a glittery pink fairytale castle where the sweetest candy and slightly more psychospangly delights were freely offered all the gorgeously dressed guests, Cyndi Lauper and Sayuri Tavuchi met among the fluffy pillows of “the macaroon room”. Sugar-addled and cuddly, they were soon joined by a bunch of sweet lolis… and the meeting, fueled by candy and love, stretched into the wee hours of the night. Thus, Fairy Kei was born.
Or maybe some Japanese girls liked both the 80’s and their country’s general kawaiiness, and decided to create something new with that in mind. But that origin story isn’t as fun as the first one.
Remember the 80’s
After all, Fairy Kei is heavily inspired by 1980’s pop style. Perhaps you weren’t old enough to really remember this style while it was all the rage. Maybe there’s someone you can ask? Otherwise, the internet is there to help you. Just try to not get too frightened by what you might find.
Fairy Kei is a Japanese style, so think of the children. Yes, finally someone thinks of the children, eh?
Cartoons and other forms of childhood imagery are very popular among Fairy Kei girls. Examples include Carebears, (the old) My Little Pony, Popples and Barbie. You have lots of DIY possibilities here! Why not get crafty and make a bracelet out of small Pony toys, or a hair clip with tiny Carebears on? The possibilities are endless. Or, at least, they are plentiful, pastel and kawaii. Good enough.
A Pastel Rainbow
As you’ve no doubt recognised by now, pastel is a must for Fairy Kei. Pastels of any shade will work, especially themed with white or the occasional bright fluorescent.
Try to avoid dark colours whenever possible.
Fabric patterns? Polka dots, thin stripes or small patterns such as hearts, rainbows or shooting stars are very popular. So are bigger prints, especially of the cartoon motifs mentioned in the previous section. Who’d have guessed?
The Fairy Kei silhouette is a lot more relaxed than, say, loli. However, the bright tulle petticoat rules supreme. Other short-to-medium length poofy skirts work as well, but you’ll rarely see a Fairy Kei girl in trousers. Bloomers, however, have been known to happen occasionally. Colourful tights with cute patterns, loose, often long tops (think of the oversized sweaters worn in… yes, you guessed it, the 80’s.) and all kinds of t-shirts that match the colour/pattern theme work perfectly. Over that, cardigans or cute hoodies (maybe with a cartoon print?) will keep you warm.
On your feet, to tie in with the casual theme, try a pair of pastel-coloured trainers; the bigger the sole, the better. The flat shoes lolis call “tea parties” are popular too (Try an*tai*na or Secret Shop if you can’t afford brand ones. These flat shoes come in many colours and go with everything. Or just any cute ballet flats will do.
As long as it’s dreamy, cute, colourful and casual in a quirky way, Fairy Kei girls dig it!
Accessor-ize, Accessor-ize, Baby!
It’s the accessories that do it. No, really.
Fairy Kei girls wear tons of them. Necklaces, bracelets, arm warmers and leg warmers, brooches and lots of lots of hair accessories. Many accessories are plastic, in the colours and motifs typical of the style. Often, accessories are huge. Fairy Kei girls have even been known to take plushies or plastic toys and attach chains to wear them as necklaces or pin them to their clothing!
Bows of all kinds are a welcome addition to any Fairy Kei outfit, and they go everywhere. Especially big chiffon or tulle bows, worn in the hair.
A fun thing about Fairy Kei is that you’re encouraged to wear huge, funky glasses in bright colours and with cabochons or crystals glued to them. Or just pretty sunglasses in cute shapes.
For bags, a cartoon-print backpack (I have a pink one with Marie from Aristocats on it!) is great. Or just a plain pastel one. Or… who can resist those cute object-shaped ones from Angelic Pretty, Loris, Lace Residence or Swimmer?
A close-up of a Fairy Kei girl’s cute, decorated skirt from Tokyofashion.com
It’s in your haaaair, on your faaace!
Fairy Kei hairstyles, like all the other elements, areinspired by the 80’s. And how did women wear their hair back then? HUGE.
Now, modern Fairy Kei girls like to tone the “enormous head-eating monster hair” thing down a little, but a little bit of spray and teasing, just to get volume, never hurt anyone. A favourite hairstyle among Fairy Kei girls is the high side pony (with a bow in it, of course. Duh.) The general twintails, pigtails, high buns or just long, flowing, elegant locks work just fine.
Japanese Fairy Kei girls usually don’t dye their hair fancy, awesome, alternative colours, but it has been known to happen. And the choice is, of course, usually some sort of pastel.
As for makeup; There is not a big emphasis on that in Fairy Kei (boo hoo!), but a shimmering pink lipgloss and a touch of eyeshadow to pick up one of the lesser-used colours in your outfit never goes wrong. And why not a layer of sparkly, shimmery nail polish?
Pictured: Kumamiki, Tokyofashion.com
So, how to get all these awesome items?
Second hand stores are always a good idea for anything even remotely retro/vintage-like. And while something cute and pastel enough might be somewhat difficult to find in a Western second hand store, you can always take those things that aren’t quite Fairy Kei yet, and have yourself a merry little fashion modification/repurposing party!
Some Fairy Kei DIY fashion ideas:
- Screenprint pics and motifs on fabric, cut them out and gluing them to shirts and dresses. Maybe with a lace border?
- Sew or glue little beads and crystals to a hair scrunchie.
- Making small bows is easy, and can be done with many materials and with cute little charms or beads sewn on them. Depending on what you glue to the backs, these can be brooches, hair clips, anything!
- Crystals, lace- and chiffon frills and beads can go on everything.
- Put little bows, or even cute, tiny plushies on your shoes.
- Get some pastel or fluorescent-coloured pearls and beads and make your own bracelets and necklaces!
For the Boys
Don’t let an unimportant little thing like gender stop you from dressing how you want!
If you happen to be male, or just generally uncomfortable in skirts and dresses, why not try a pair of those cute culotte trousers that are so popular among Kodonas and Oujis? Get a pair in white or pastel, and a cute T-shirt or sweater. Sew some lace, bows or beads on, and take hair inspiration from 80’s dudes like David Bowie, or do a Visual Kei-inspired mullet. Pastel trainer shoes are pretty much unisex (at least in Japan) and there they come in men’s sizes too.
Where to buy Fairy Kei fashion online
Some of these might not ship internationally and will thus require a Shopping Service…
- Spank!– Initially a second hand store; the original source of Fairy Kei.
- Nile Perch – One of the most popular Fairy Kei brands in Japan.
- Milklim – Also very pastel-y and popular. Cute prints!
- 80’s Cuties – International community for the buying and selling of Fairy Kei and Fairyable clothing, accessories and decoration.
- Pinkly Ever After – western indie brand, selling cute dresses, tutus and accessories.
- Unicorns’ Shop – cute accessories, harnesses and undies.
- ManiaQ – Popular Japanese brand, lots of tights and accessories.
- Chocomint look under “New Accessory”) – Many kawaii girls’ first choice for all sorts of cute accessories. Huge selection.
- Cute Can Kill – All sorts of pastel accessories.
Now, dress up in your brightest, funkiest Fairy Kei wear… and go forth and make the world a cuter place!