How to wear Visual Kei clothing

visual kei

Visual Kei clothing ideas for those who love this under-the-radar Japanese fashion style. Wear VeeKay so YOU are wearing the clothes. Don’t let them wear you!

The biggest problem in Visual Kei is adressing the part. Because Visual Kei clothing has minimal style rules, and because there are very few VK shops in western countries, many international fans are scratching their heads trying to figure out what they’re meant to wear.

Fear not, mooks: First, check out our general guide to Visual Kei fashion and Visual Kei bands. Then read on for a few basic hints on how to adopt this japanese fashion and choose clothing that works for you.

For Visual Kei clothing, you DON’T need Japanese clothing brands.

Sure, there are many well-known Japanese clothing brands such as Sex Pot Revenge, h.Naoto, and Algonquins. However, there’s no need to spend all your cash on international brands. Mix and match what you already have and accessorize with chains, arm warmers, cuffs, bracelets, goggles, and even handcuffs if you dare. You can even test your sewing skills and DIY it!

In fact, let’s repeat that. Japanese Visual Kei clothing brands are utterly wonderful, and power to you if you buy that h.Naoto dress / frock coat of your dreams. But Visual Kei can be worked with just a few cheap accessories available much closer to home:

Visual Kei clothing accessories

  • Biker chains
  • Arm warmers
  • Cuffs
  • Bracelets (lots of them. Studded works well)
  • Goggles
  • Handcuffs
  • Buckles / straps (Buy one pair of punk trousers and wear / customise them to death)
  • Rags. Rags are cheap and amazing. Just rip up old clothes and tie them about yourself. Tie them round your face to hide your nose (um, nose-sock? There’s no doubt a better name for it). Tie them round your wrist. If you can guarantee looking more like Alice Nine than Rambo, tie them round your forehead. Tie them round your leg for that Mad Max / wounded tribal warrior from the future look. Honestly, you can’t get cheaper and more Visual Kei than rags.

Visual Kei clothing basics: Work a tee and jeans

Want to explore Visual Kei clothing but not sure where to start? Start off small and build big. Initially, try something basic like a graphic tee and jeans. Customize them with a few oddities such as arm warmers and scarves. Add more accessories over time until you’ve mastered a full VK look. You can also start with two basic colours such as black and another colour, and continue adding either more colours, or more items in the same colours gradually.

Remember, with Visual Kei clothing you can always start simply and build up. That’s the cheap and flexible way to do it.

Use your favourite J-Rocker’s style as a template

Try to base your style on your favourite J-Rocker or J-Rock band. One of the easiest ways to dress in the Visual Kei style is to use a J-Rocker’s attire as a reference for your look.

  • Elegant Visual Kei clothing ideas – Mana and Kozi of Malice Mizer, ex-member Kaya of Schwarz Stein, or Kamijo of Versailles
  • Punk Rock Visual Kei clothing ideas – Miyavi
  • Casual Kei clothing ideas – Arimura Ryutaro of Plastic Tree (Yes. Hard to believe, since VK is so over-the-top, but Visual Kei clothing does also come in a toned-down format).

Choose your Visual Kei subculture well, grasshopper!

Visual Kei is very eccentric and androgynous. It’s a crowded and full style, so it incorporates all fashions. Some examples are Naitomea, The Gazette, and Miyavi.

Oshare Kei is more colorful and brighter then Visual Kei, but still follows the basic hair and makeup rules. When dressing this way, try fun and bright colors, and use as little black as possible. Some examples are Takeru of SuG, Bou, Miku, and Kanon of An Café, and Maya and Aiji of LM.C.

Kote Kote-Kei is the older version of Visual Kei, back when Visual Kei first began. It’s very detailed and usually consists of crosses, blood, and roses. You can use any colors, as long as it stays more on the dark side. It’s also a good idea to get a few treasures from vintage stores. Some examples are Malice Mizer or Dir en Grey when they first began.

Eroguro Kei this sub-genre looks more as if a J-Rocker came out of a horror movie! It has more of an erotic and grotesque look, hence the name. It usually uses tonnes of fake blood and restriction-inspired items. Some good Eroguru Kei clothing references are MUCC Merry and Cali=Gari.

Angura Kei is more of a traditional version of Visual Kei, using kimonos and other traditional attire. Kagrra is a good example.

Casual Kei is the more subtle form of Visual Kei. Very basic and subtle, and goes for a more natural appearance. Some examples are Alice Nine and Plastic Tree.