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10 Important Fashion Lessons We Can Learn From Anime

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The Anime Gallery

It’s an age old question I have always asked myself: is Japan fashionable because of anime or is anime fashionable because of Japan? This thought haunts me at night – I prefer my version to the famous “chicken or egg” question.

If you have been living under a rock and/or in some sort of alternate dimension, then you don’t know that Japan is probably one of the most cutting edge fashionable first world countries out there. There are entire subcultures wrapped up in the identities of the way people dress, from Lolita to Decora to Fairy Kei to Shibuya girl. This concise and amazing obsession with style has transcended to their greatest export since Sashimi: anime. As a wee one learning to dress myself, I “closet cosplayed” constantly – putting together emulations of my favorite character’s outfits from thrift stores and department store racks. And now I have a fairly popular fashion blog – because I learned how to dress myself from anime characters.

With that in mind, there are some really good fashion DOs you can learn from those of the big eyed animated persuasion…

1. Colored Hair is Always Better

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DeviantArt user xXmariisa23Xx

In the world of anime, any hair color is possible. Kids pop out into the world bright eyed and bushy tailed with purple peach fuzz adorning their little noggins. Since most heroes and heroines in anime have outrageously colored hair, I have surmised over the years that if you have colored hair you are therefore the most fashionable and awesome. Think about it: The Sailor Scouts? Awesome. Hatsune Miku and co.? Awesome. SAIYANS TURNING SUPER SAIYAN? AWESOME!!! If the fact that you get epic powers and strengths when your hair turns an unnatural color isn’t the perfect way to prove my point, then I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately I recently had to chop off my beautiful full head of purple hair because I got a little (ahem) overzealous with the bleaching process. So make sure to anime your hair responsibly! Don’t murder it like I did! But if you think you can handle that… get to stripping those hair follicles! We must populate the world with candy haired cuties.

2. Schoolgirl Outfits (Seifuku) Are the Cutest Thing on the Planet

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Anime: K-On!

It’s standard schoolgirl wear in Japan to be adorned in a cuter than life uniform (even in the real non anime world! Squee!) and anime always takes it one step further by not only giving girls the QTest seifuku ever, but oftentimes by giving them MAGICAL, colorful qt seifuku. I own about seven “in real life.” No, seriously, it’s a bit of a problem.

There are several ways to go about acquiring yourself a precious seifuku: Rob a Japanese schoolgirl. Rob a Japanese schoolgirl cosplayer. Rob a cosplay store.
But if theft isn’t really your thing, you can go the NORMAL route. The Internet is rife with adorable seifuku – even in fun prints like galaxy! A good resource is ebay, or storenvy – websites that bring in a lot of product from Japan and China. Alternatively, since pretty much every schoolgirl in an anime wears a seifuku, just shop for cosplay and wear it on the daily (I am so guilty of doing this)! Or you can be like me and just make a billion sailor collars with different fabrics and just wear them over the top of t-shirts like kawaii necklaces.

3. Giant Robots Are Big in Milan This Year

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Looking to make a splash on the runway this year? Well, strap yourself into a giant robot and work it, girl! I mean, how are those waifish models supposed to compare to your hulking mass of metal? Make an entrance by SMASHING THROUGH the back wall of the runway. Push those pesky models out of the way with one fell swoop of your giant arm. Revel in the looks on the faces of the old rich attendees in the front row as you show them fashion like they’ve never seen it before.

There is such beauty in the lines of a Gundam or a mecha. The technology dazzles and delights, as the heat emitted from your inevitable jetpacks sizzle off everyone’s hair and give the models free leg shaves. And the best part is that you can give your robot snazzy paintjobs (mine would be pink with rhinestones, tehe!) and decorate the INSIDE of the cockpit where you reside so snug and fashionably.

4. Most Eyelashes = Best Eyelashes

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Love–Wing on DeviantArt

Stacks on stacks on stacks: that is how many pairs of false eyelashes you need to be wearing. Because if you don’t have giant anime eyeballs, how are you going to turn on CUTE-U BEAMU DESUUUUUUUU!!?

I get my eyelashes in bulk from Daiso, which is – you guessed it – a Japanese store. Everything there is not only intensely kawaii but only costs $1.50, so I bring home armloads of eyelashes on a frequent basis. When applying eyelashes, I generally go by the rule of thumb that it’s never enough unless you can barely open your eyelids.Worried about driving because your eyes feel so heavy? GOOD. THAT’S KAWAII.

5. Eye Patches/Masks are Cool

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The male version of the above fashion rule about eyelashes is similar: eyepatches or masks make you so. darn. cool. You go from the dorky dude to brooding antihero in about two seconds. How did you get that eye patch? Is the mask hiding some dirty secret or scar? Ohhh, you’re so mysterious! Excuse me while I swoon.

Just make sure you’re picking out the right mask for your persona. You don’t want some ridiculous jester mask if you’re going to be angsty and contemplative, just like you don’t want a simple masquerade mask unless you’re going to show up places with roses and top hats and capes and woo magical girls.


6. Underboob is Hotter Than Cleavage

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Anime: Kill La Kill

Cleavage is SO played out. We’re bored of it: and why wouldn’t we be? It’s essentially a butt. Except on your chest. But luckily, anime is here to save the day with… UNDERBOOB! This can be accomplished by strapping your assets into a bra that is too small, or cutting all of your shirts way too short.

Some benefits of underboob: you can get a super sick tat on your sternum and people will be looking down there, anyway. Good air flow for these really hot summer days. Nipple slips are exponentially less likely. You can discreetly dab away your underboob sweat without putting your hands up your shirt. Food can’t food into your boobs as easily. And it’s just awesome, duh.

7. Thigh High Socks MAKE an Outfit

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It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing – if you add thigh highs to it it enhances the fashion/kawaii factor by 100. Skirt? Thigh highs. Shorts? Thigh highs. Robot suit? Thigh highs? Seifuku? DEFINITELY THIGH HIGHS.

Here are some things I have learned over the years as a girl with thunder thighs who also wants to be the kawaii queen: Unless you’re super tiny, never order thigh highs from eBay – they all come from China and so will only fit a pinky finger. They’re gonna slide down, and it’s gonna be annoying, so invest in some heavy duty double sided tape. If tape’s not your thing, add some garters onto those bad boys and up the sexy factor. Thigh highs are adorable with literally any shoe – except that one.

8. If You’re Going to Have Accessories, Make Sure They’re Magical

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Look Human

Who wants a normal locket when you can have a MAGICAL one that gives you the abilities to fight evil space aliens? No one, that’s who. Not only is it TOTALLY pass?, but that’s just not very magical girl of you. You don’t want to be a non magical girl, do you? That’s what I thought.

Some tips for finding magical jewelry and accessories: pull Band-aids off of the heads of cats. Wander around your neighborhood being cute and yelling “I want to sign a magical contract!”. Sign a magical contract. Pet and talk to every single cute and weird looking animal you see. Every time you see a heart shaped locket or a fancy compact, scream “MOON PRISM POWER MAKE UP!” and see what happens.

9. Giant Weapons Take an Outfit From Zero to Ten

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Who cares about purses or tiny dogs or ties? No, these days it’s ALL about your giant weapon: the bigger the better. Have an old battle axe laying around? Start carrying that around with you. How about a bazooka you pulled off of an old tank on the family farm? Yep. A gun that makes your arms hurt when you hold it up? That one. A giant parasol that turns into a demon when you’re confronted with danger? Yes please (also, where did you get that? I’ve been looking for one). A sword so large you can fell entire villages of children in one swoop? STRAP IT ON.

After all, you never know when you’re going to need to look good AND blow up a building full of mutant alien rats who are hungry for schoolgirl flesh. It’s important to be prepared. So next time you’re leaving the house, repeat to yourself: “Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Phone? Check. Giant weapon? CHECK.”

10. If You’re a Cat Girl, You Win at Life

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The ultimate fashion statement: being half adorable cat. Because while there’s parts of fashion that are all about standing out and being unique and controversial, there is nothing more universally loved than a cat. I mean, they basically run the Internet – that’s how powerful they are. No, I’m serious: if you haven’t noticed that the iIternet is like 90% cats, you need to rethink things.

You can emulate this look “IRL” with pointy fangs, plush paw mittens, a jingling bell collar, a fun tail and a pair of cat ears (preferably Nekomimis – they move with your brain waves!). Jump around and say “nyaaaa~” a lot, and you are officially the most fashionable/adorable/annoying cat girl of all time. Neko-chan!

There you have it – the top 10 fashion lessons from anime. Did I miss any? Do you have any tips of your own?

Previously by Molly McIsaac:

Cosplayers AREN’T Ruining Conventions. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

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