Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Otome kei


It's become rather clear lately that my style has drifted more towards otome fashion. In fact, I made a list of all the dresses I've bought since January and they've all been Emily Temple cute or Leur Getter. I've hardly even look on the Angelic Pretty website or tags on secondhand sites. None of the new AP releases have really sparked in me any desire to buy them (yet!) and the secondhand prices seem a little exorbitant to me. I don't plan to rid my wardrobe completely of lolita since I still love the lolita aesthetic wholeheartedly. But I have noticed that I'm starting to move away from the over the top look and preferring to wear something that's still cute but much more casual.


The term 'otome-kei' translates as 'young lady style' and though I don't believe it's restricting the age or gender who should wear it, I think it's a pretty good description of the basis of the style. Otome kei refers to a style that is quirky, fun and youthful yet not so childish! Its aesthetic is feminine but not in a romantic or princess-y sense. Unlike lolita fashion whose roots are deeply entrenched in Victorian era fashion and the opulence of the Rococo period, otome kei doesn't have that historical tie. To me, this style has developed more organically (with a sprinkle of inspiration from the 1950's) which would explain why there aren't as many strict 'rules' to the fashion.

I've seen a lot of people interchange the terms otome kei and casual lolita, or even those who use the term otome kei when referring to something I would identify as lolita fashion. Often the two fashion styles are grouped together, but I think they're related like sisters rather than being one and the same. Otome kei is like the older sister who still retains her unique style with an individual and original flair.


You'll notice in otome style that very colourful and unconventional colour schemes are central to the style. The cut of the dresses are usually toned down and there's infinitely less use of excessive lace and frill when compared to lolita. Many themes are shared between lolita and otome style but it's the execution of the design that set otome kei apart.





Take these two gorgeous dresses as an example: On the left is Angelic Pretty's Musee du Chocolat JSK and the right pictures Emily Temple Cute's Chocolate and Rabbit NOP. The theme of both dresses is similar - chocolate! But in lolita fashion, the print is much more extravagant. The border print is bigger (4 different chocolate frames) and has more little details (all over cream and cake pattern) whereas ETC's border print is a simple repeating one (rabbit, cupcake, spoon) on a simple striped background. AP has all sorts of lace, ribbons, chain and tassel trims and details while the otome kei dress has zero lace, one small bow and some tiny pompom trim. Not to mention the grey colourway of the ETC dress is something you might never see in lolita fashion.

Likewise when coordinating an otome kei outfit, quirky coloured or patterned simpler cardigans should be favoured over lacy, frilly boleros. Opting for parkas, cutsews and simple blouses make for a more casual feeling in the outfit than the ruffly lolita blouses. Keeping hair accessories simpler with cute hats, understated bows or small clips are more otome kei than head-eating bows or over the top flowers or headpieces. The style is more mature and less extravagant with a smaller dress pan too which makes it really easy and fun to wear more often. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my thoughts and opinions of otome kei. If you have other questions or comments relating to the otome kei or what I've said, please drop me a message or comment because I could really go on and on about it!

7 comments:

  1. This was a great write-up about otome kei. I really liked the specific dress comparison of otome and lolita styles.

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    1. Ah thanks! I thought the comparison helped understand the differences too ^^

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  2. I love this post, it's exactly how I feel about the style as well. :) I shared a link to this on my otome kei blog on tumblr I hope that's ok!

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    1. Ah wow, I am happy you were able to understand what I wrote and that you agreed with it. I'd be honoured to feature on you tumblr blog. <3

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  3. Ah, thank you so much. I'm about to join the navy, so Lolita is not very practical for me right now. However Otome Kei is looking like a nice compromise.

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    1. Ah, I hope you'll enjoy wearing otome style! :D I have a close friend who was in the navy for a few years back. She's also wears lolita and otome style. So I definitely think you can have both worlds~ All the best in the navy, dear! <3<3

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  4. It's my idea about otome kei too. I like this style a lot <3

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