Clothing and Styling Words

amekaji (American casual) - Relaxed style for men involving American casual brands, jeans, and T-shirts rather than European luxury brands.

- A styling strategy where all the items come from affordable brands save for one premier luxury item. This could be a Rolex watch or Dior Homme jacket. Although originally a term used to poke fun at older salarymen, the word now perfectly describes a more realistic guide to luxury for Japanese youth in 2008, compared to the "head-to-toe one designer" aesthetic of the 1980s.

- The wearing and styling of clothing items in a skillful or successful way.

- The careful planning out of a wardrobe to create a distinct outfit every day over a month. Most Japanese fashion magazines give readers a guide to this on a monthly basis, demonstrating how to stretch a small amount of clothes into a large number of possibilities.

onna mote - Meaning "attractive to girls," a recent word that describes styling for women meant to impress female friends rather than possible boyfriends.

o-share - Stylish or trendy. A bit different than "cool," in that one can be o-share just by imitating seasonal trends, not reinterpreting them to one's own unique style.

mohdo (mode) - The Japanese term for "high fashion" — with the emphasis on challenging designer brands and not casual wear or traditional. From the French "mode."

mote-kei - Pronounced moté, mote means "to be attractive to the opposite sex." Mote-kei is the CanCam style overtly focused on attracting men.


ero-kawaii - "Erotic cute." A look that started to become popular around 2004, but still represents a zoning of female fashion in-between the conservative CanCam and gyaru style, as seen in magazine ViVi and lingerie catalog Peach John. Ironically, ero-kawii style is more about female self-confidence than attracting boys.

elekaji - "Elegant casual." A term that magazine Popeye invented to describe young men's mixing of high-end brands with cheap street casual.

gyaru - A Japanese pronounciation of "gal," the gyaru are high-school girls with generally dark skin and a distinct sexy style. They achieved mass popularity in the mid-1990s with thick makeup, tanning salon glow, platform shoes, and miniskirts. They morphed into the more extreme Ganguro dark-skin with white make-up look in the late 1990s, but this has disappeared in recent years. Currently, Gyaru have made a big comeback with a cuter, more simple style as seen in Popteen, although rooted in a female yankii culture.

- Young men in the late 1990s who adopted a male equivalent to gyaru fashion: overly-tanned skin, wildly-colored hair, and tacky clothing. The Tokyo neighborhood in Shibuya has always been their refuge. In recent years, older gyaru have graduated to "O-nii-kei"

- "Princess style," referring to three distinct "princess-y" segments: flashy women who work as "cabaret club" hostesses (aka Koakuma Gyaru of Koakuma Ageha magazine), princess-obsessed members of the outcast "elegant gothic lolita" community, and slightly-uppity members of the Oneekei world.

hosts and hostesses - Male and female members of the demi-monde who serve on rich clients at bars. Although their work is sexually charged, they are not "prostitutes." Large corporations have always been the main patrons of hostess clubs, while hosts tend to serve hostesses and prostitutes rather than wealthy women.

Oniikei - Literally, "Big Brother Style." Graduates of gyaru-o who kept the tans and hair but added a more "wild and sexy" classic masculine style in imitation of hosts.

Oneekei - Literally, "Big Sister Style." Originally used to describe girls who "graduated" out of gyaru style to a more brand-conscious and conservative look, but now used in reference to college girls and office ladies who wear styles advocated in CanCam, JJ, and Ray. They dress specifically to attract rich boys (not necessarily interested in "O-nii-kei" despite the similar name.)

- A term used post-2000 to describe well-dressed boys who work at hair salons in Tokyo's hipper neighborhoods. The fashion is relatively feminine — mixing high-end brands like Maison Martin Margiela and Dior Homme with street casual. The core Salon-kei magazine is Choki Choki, and the Salon-kei hero is Yuya Nara.

yankii - A long-lived visual aesthetic based in rural working-class delinquent style. Although there have been many incarnations since the 1970s, the skin is normally dark and hair is bleached or permed to look tough and rebellious. Yankii style takes elements of hip-hop, right-wing ideology, yakuza mob style, and any other look that is both dangerous and lacking on good taste. Yankiis are generally real delinquents with few opportunities to entire the white-collar workforce - not just a style.