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What is Seiso?

Seiso (清楚) is a more codified style but also more of a feeling. The kanji itself meaning “neat and clean” or “polished”. It’s a fashion style that also has its origins in Akamojikei magazines. It’s a style for both youth and young adults, the age range being around 16-35. Its exact history isn’t well known because “polished” has been a concept since there’s been clothing and many of the brands supporting it have been around for a long time. However the look as it is codified now started around 2006.

Seiso is for girls and women who want to look cute yet in a clean style. The style doesn’t really look at the opposite sex as a starting point (unlike Motekei or Akamojikei). Instead it’s about your own look of polish and feeling feminine. It’s a very popular style especially with young girls. The youth magazines that support it selling very well (Seventeen and Popteen).

 


 

Seiso vs. Otona Kawaii

Seiso is similar to Otona Kawaii, however it’s not Otona Kawaii. Otona Kawaii focuses on a softer look and less tailored.

fint Seiso vs. Otona Kawaii

A great example are these Fint (brand post 1 | 2 ) coordinates. A shop staff on their blog put together two coordinates featuring the same skirt. To the left is her Seiso coordinate and the right is her Otona Kawaii coordinate. With Seiso the hair is simple and the outfit is smooth to the body.

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Seiso vs. Otona Kawaii

Similar length and cut hair but different styles. To the left is very Seiso hair. Smooth, girly, polished.  No curl or bottom curl is more popular than all throughout curl. Side parted bangs are very common. To the right is Otona Kawaii hair with volume and softness and a light messiness.

Makeup tends to be pretty similar between both trends with a soft natural feeling, although Seiso wearing less is better.


Breaking down Seiso

Unlike say gyaru or lolita you won’t see magazines saying “Top 10 Seiso Coordinates” instead it’s more of a feeling of “that’s really Seiso” or Seiso-kei (清楚系). Girls often won’t say they’re this style, but instead will say an outfit or hairstyle is “Seiso” or they like to dress in a polished fashion. The more common term for girls who follow this style is “Seiso Joshi” (清楚女子).

Seiso is often called “Retro Kawaii” in magazines. It’s also a term used to describe Idol-kei, especially AKB48′s rival Nogizaka46 (乃木坂46).

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Nogizaka46 in very smooth “polished” hair.

 

Seiso themes:

A big word I like to use to describe the style is tailored. If the outfit looks girly yet tailored, than chances are its this style.

Common themes no matter the season are:

Hair – black or brown hair, bottom undercurl or straight hair with bangs,

Make-up – simple natural make-up

Colors – neutral tones especially browns, whites and beiges, use of one pastel, pinks, preppy colors such as red, navy and green. In the coordinates you’ll see there’s not a lot of black, instead navy or grey is a more common color.

Coordinate themes – a trad jacket over a onepiece, a cardigan or knit set, flared not tight skirt, blouses instead of t-shirts, tailored instead of casual.

Seiso magazines :

Seiso magazines are varied because it’s a youth and adult fashion look: Seventeen and Popteen are youth fashion magazines. More and Mina are both older magazines. All magazines listed above do not just feature Seiso style. I chronicled Popteen’s move to SeisoGyaru previously here.

Seiso brands:

Rope, Earth Music Ecology, Nice Claup, Fint, Allamanda by INGNI, Lowry’s Farm, Mystic, Axes Femmes, Mysty Woman, Apuweiser-Riche, Minirdees, Amavel. Sweet gyaru brands such as Ank Rouge and Ingni can also be worn more Seiso.


Shop Staff Coordinates in Seiso Style

All of the coordinates shown are by shop staff who titled their looks Seiso.

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Fint shop staff in the same onepiece.

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MystyWoman (left) and Earth Music Ecology (right) shop staff

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EHyphen World Gallery (left) and Lodispotto (right) wearing neat-and-clean items

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Two Nice Claup shop staff

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Classic Seiso hair: straight with a curl

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Ank Rouge Director Okarie posted her summer Seiso coordinate.

Style points to note: simple beiges and whites, hair half up, straight hair with side fringe

Although all the coordinates feature shorter skirts or ones right above the knee with the maxi and flare skirt trends of this season expect to see longer skirt coordinates. However they will probably be paired with a tailored blouse and the same simple hair.

Seiso Coordinates

Thanks to Coordisnap there’s over 1,000 posts of Seiso coordinates by everyday girls.

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This is all from summer so you can see there’s more of a summer silhouette, but the look remains similar. You can see most of the girls have smooth, straight semi-long dark hair. That’s the default Seiso hair for everyday girls who aren’t shop staff, but highschool or college age.

With Larme-kei emerging a lot of the youth brands of Seiso are starting to cater towards it. However most of the outfits in Larme magazine aren’t Seiso even if some of the Seiso brands are in Larme, it’s all about styling and color choices. Again the keys for this look are simple, tailored with smooth hair which isn’t Larme style.


More resources?

Hair – A link of Seiso hairstyles tagged by hairstylists on Kirei Style

Adult Seiso – Here’s a good Naver of adult Seiso coordinates: http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2139096041313775401

An amusing article about a girl who won the Love SunShine Gyaru model competition last year who turned Seiso

This was a Japanese Fashion University post. Want to learn more in depth about Japanese fashion? Click here.

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Two shop staff from Dazzlin and EHyphen Gallery last Spring I forgot to post with wonderfully girly outfits that fit the current Larme/Sweet month this blog is. I’m so behind on shop staff so in between Larme series and Japanese terms and finishing up the hair salon series I’ll be shop staff posting and trendcasting. The blog is picking up speed so please stayed tuned!

Dazzlin in Tachikawa Lumine

This cute Dazzlin shop staff just had to be snapped. I took her shots at Tachikawa Lumine along with the Secret Honey shop staff. It’s so rare I talk about Dazzlin (previous post in 2011) but with shop staff as charming as this I should talk about them more.

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 Classic Dazzlin, youthful girly and stylish. They’ve gone so retro lately and their cute silhouettes are adorable. I absolutely love her ash blonde hair combined with her dark circle lens contacts. The contrast makes her look so striking. What a cutey!


EHyphen Gallery at Hep 5 Osaka

I didn’t intend to go into EHyphen Gallery at the cute Hep 5 Osaka and get anything but with their Bon Bon line  just booming I couldn’t resist.

The craziness of Hello Kitty possibly yet maybe not being a human ringing in my brain, but Hello Kitty will always be queen. Hello Kitty has done a lot of clothing collaborations especially with gyaru brands and has her own store in Shibuya 109 with Club KT.

So while it’s over saturated any Hello Kitty is fine with me! (upcoming Hello Kitty pop-up cafe in Tokyo post too)

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Just like EHyphen to do such cute yet casual style. I regret not buying that dress because it looks really comfortable. I also like how she paired it with some mannish hiking boots to make the outfit look not to overly girly. EHyphen girls are always so casual cute.

Want to see more EHyphen Gallery? Check out other shop staff photos and the Bon Bon intro here

Want to see more Dazzlin? Check out a few posts about the brand here

Need more Japanese shop staffs? Approaching 120 shop staff photos

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sweetmagazine-covers

 

Sweet Magazine Introduction

Since I’ve decided to talk about Japanese women’s popular fashion it’d be crazy of me to ignore Sweet magazine. By a landslide Sweet magazine is the best selling women’s magazine in Japan. Sweet (スウィート website) magazine started in 1999 is published by Takara Jimasha (株式会社宝島社). It costs 760 yen currently and comes with a present each issue. The magazine has ruled female tastes since 2010 and shows no signs of stopping.

Sweet magazine’s motto is “28 歳、一生”女の子”宣言” 28 is still a girl! Or often “一生女の子宣言” meaning I’m a girl for my whole life. It was founded on an Otona Kawaii base and still reigns as the queen of Otona Kawaii.

Otona Kawaii simply means adult cute and is a style format of casual girly looks that aren’t too youthful nor are they too sexy or conservative. The motekei / Otona Kawaii overlap is pretty strong. However Otona Kawaii mentality comes from “self” wanting to look cute for yourself, not to please another. Full description coming up in Japanese fashion terms part 2.

Sweet magazine represents what is most popular in mainstream Japanese women’s fashion. It’s targeted towards 25-30 range, but in reality it has a huge readership from 18 years to late 30s.

 

Sweet Magazine Chief models:

The chief models for Sweet magazine are well known beyond just the magazine. They appear on tv commercials, variety shows, dramas and product placements.

Rola – ローラ – 24 year old – former Vivi model, style maven, and big seller (English article on her)
Saeko – 紗栄子 – 27 year old – model and talent, previously married to Yu Darvish
Hinano Yoshikawa – 吉川ひなの – 34 year old – longtime model

and recently graduated Rinka – 梨花 – 41 year old – model / icon

Their supporting cast of models features mostly women in their late 20s (Alice, Kana Ooya) and early 30s (Coco Kinoshita).

 

#Treatyoself
The real motto of the magazine should be “Treat Yo Self!” because it claims to be for women in their 20s and 30s who aren’t afraid to spend a little. Since women are getting married later and later in Japan its led to an independence of women post college and before marriage that are living for themselves. This is the magazine capitalizing on this popular group of women.   The magazine almost completely ignores the working side of 25 year old life and onwards as if Sweet provides the distraction of work wear and life.

 

Parks-and-rec-treat-yo-self

 


 

 

Post Gal magazine group

Sweet has also been labeled with a group of magazines as Post Gal (ポストギャル). The others being Vivi, Glamorous, Gossips and Glitter. The readers of these magazines enjoy copying the styles inside the magazines and don’t mind following trends. Their goal is to dress Otona Kawaii and stylish. Their friends dress similarly. Their focus in more on girlfriends, not boys (not motekei). The magazines often feature half models (half Japanese half another race), such as Rola (Sweet) and Fujii Lena (Vivi) and the readers are dedicated fans of these exclusive models. They’re also interested in celebrities overseas and their style. Magazines such as Sweet and Vivi also bring in young girls as readers.

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Sweet using overseas celebrities showing off the crossbody mini-bag trend


Sweet Magazine contents and High-Medium Mix

Sweet and Vivi magazines have similar layouts and brands shared. Sweet focuses on a bit more girly and more mid-brand overseas brands.

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Sweet like Vivi magazine often starts out with a fashion story spread featuring former gyaru icon 36 year old Jpop singer Namie Amuro. While Vivi features other former gyaru icon 35 year old Jpop singer Ayumi Hamasaki.  Namie Amuro is often seen gracing covers and spreads inside Sweet.

High-Mid Style

Sweet’s fashion focus can be titled a High-Mid Otona Kawaii style

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Sweet’s tribute to the season’s collection of high brand accessories by Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu and YSL usually in each issue. High brand shoes and bags often take the first few pages of the magazine.

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The magazine also focuses on overseas brands that are mid-range priced. Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe, 3.1 by Phillip Lim, Jill by Jill Stuart

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These are then mixed with popular mid-range 20s-30s Japanese brands like Snidel, GVGV, Mercury Duo, and Rose Bud.

This mix isn’t really traditional high-low with a Chanel tossed over a Forever 21 top, instead it’s living your life on a 20-30 year old budget of nicer things. #treatyoself

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Sweet occasionally does budget sections, but they’re not the main focus of the magazine.

Sweet Trendcasting

Sweet magazine uses two ways to trendcast for upcoming seasons.

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The traditional Japanese magazine way of showing it on a model.

Sweet’s forecast of this year’s fall trends: check aka plaid and gingham

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The overseas style of showing runway collections like they did for their Spring trendcast.

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Sweet also is traditonally Japanese in the way it does street snaps. It dokusha models (reader models) for their street snap of floral print.

Sweet Make-up and Hairstyles

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Sweet make-up for an office style that is still “Otona Kawaii”

Just like Sweet magazine’s High-medium approach to clothing the same price range for make-up. They also use a mix of overseas and Japanese brands for make-up.

Overseas brands such as MAC, Chanel, Dior

But also Japanese brands like Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée, Visala, and Majolica Majorca.

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Compared to gyaru magazines their hair and make-up tips are quite simple and they focus more on quality of product and small steps.

Eyelashes are occasional, but eyelash extensions are also very common for readers.


Sweet Theme and Layout

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A collection of Sweet magazine covers from a recent event.

Sweet isn’t Akamojikei or Motekei

Sweet has gone against the Akamoji-kei magazine trend that was extremely popular especially around 2007. Unlike the Motekei boom that made CanCam and others rise to fame in the 2005-2008, Sweet isn’t about that.

CanCam has often been thought of as a magazine to read in your college years as you make the ascent into womanhood and catching your husband. How to look attractive doing so. What’s the best way to be conservative and just pretty enough. That concept feels more and more outdated which is one of the reasons Akamojikei readership dropped (along with the abandonment of popular models).

Sweet instead has subtly captured the market instead in two ways:  I think Sweet has captured the problematic thoughts of many 25-40 year olds. What is adulthood? How can I still enjoy myself? When does cuteness stop? The magazine has also tapped into the joy of being 25-40. Buying what you want, taking vacations, getting your own place, answering only to yourself. Compared to Akamojikei, Postgal magazines are outright feminist.

Sweet’s layout focuses on clean

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Sweet focuses rarely on a background if it ever has any. Instead the layout is a lot of white and crisp photos of the clothing. If there’s a background, the clothing makes a large appearance. The pages are mostly white and English often used as a decoration as much as a font.


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 Sweet’s own reasons for being number 1

Sweet’s readership has steadily grown in the 2000s. In 2008 it was 11th best selling and moved to the best selling in 2010.

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Sweet’s unbelieveable rocket ascent to the top

Sweet publishers thinks this success is for several reasons.

1. They had a popular bus tour that went from bookstore to bookstore to get people and booksellers hyped about the magazine. Which made many booksellers place “Sweet” in front of others”. Publishers in Japan have a 12cm rule which means magazines stacked up around each other you will only see 12cm and above so you should concentrate on that (see picture below). Instead Sweet’s publisher wanted to move the whole magazine to the front of the buyer’s view and focus on making sure that happened in bookstores across Japan.

2. They lowered the cost of the magazine and replaced the revenue with more ads and product tie-ins inside.

3. They include special freebies inside each edition. One notable one was a face roller supposedly retailing at 2,900 yen, far above the 700 yen price of the magazine. They had to do two reprints of that issue. The YSL pouch sold 100,000 issues and the kitson bag sold 150,000 issues.

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Inside a Kobe bookstore. Japanese publishers of magazines not in front only have 12cm to sell you on their magazine.

 

source: yoshimoto news | keieikikaku-shitsu/ | ifs | livedoor


 

Sweet has stayed number one magazine for 2 years and while that title can easily fall, its sister magazine for older women “In Red” is the second best selling magazine right now so the style is showing no signs of slowing down. However with the recent departure of superstar Rinka, it’ll be interesting to see how Rola, Saeko and Hinano hold down the fort.

On a side note: I’ve decided to lump these all together in the gyaru university tag. And expand it further just to a Japanese fashion university. Need more Japanese fashion learning? Head onto the Japanese Fashion University tag.  :up:

 

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Honey Salon by Foppish (ハニー サロン バイ フォピッシュ) is an Otona Kawaii brand producing original capsule items. Honey Salon was created in 1996, and in 2000 they opened their first select shop in Harajuku La Foret. The designer and creator is Chiba Hana (formally as Chiba Masae 千葉雅江). It’s heavily featured in Larme Magazine and brands itself as “Adult Kitsch“. Honey Salon’s sister brand is LilLilly.

Honey Salon by foppish details:
katakana: ハニー サロン バイ フォピッシュ
style: adult cute
since: 1996/2000 (first store)
magazines found in: Cutie, Larme, Sweet
designer: Chiba Hana blog
website: http://honey-salon.com/
webstore: http://store.honey-salon.com/
number of stores: 3 with items in select shops. La Foret Harajuku, Shinjuku Lumine EST and Yokohama JoinUs

 


 

Honey Salon for 2014 AW

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Most of these items are already up for sale on their webstore. It’s a girly mix of winter pastel and traditional winter black, white, red. Trends to note: sweater set-up, chunky crystal parts, milky pastels, organza, sheer arms. Navy is a huge trend and selling out across most Japanese fashion when the color choice is offered. While there is a midi skirt trend going on in Japanese fashion not one yet in Honey Salon keeping with the traditional Otona Kawaii silhouette.


 

 

Trendwatching: Celestial items

A big trend especially in the Larme-type brands will be celestial items. Moon and star earrings, prints on dresses (see above), and moons and stars on shoes and such. I do think a big reason these are popular is the new series of Sailor Moon.

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This is the celestial accessory print Honey Salon has done for dresses, pouches and iPhone cases.

It was part of a collaboration with Gizmobies (iPhone cover maker) and Larme Magazine 

Here all the Gizmobies x Larme x Brands covers.


Honey Salon Accessories

Honey Salon is well known for its bags and shoes. You can see why below.

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Rabbit shoes! I want that whole damn outfit. There’s already a wait list for them.

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Full on Otona Kawaii look. Their scarf has a removable collar to wear as a light Fall transition over.

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Again chunky crystal is really big, especially for the Otona Kawaii brands. I also think it’ll trickle to Oneegyaru and Neogal brands in their own way.

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Black and white shoes are my crack so I really love the tailored girliness of these.

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Honey Salon does lots of collaborations (Hello Kitty, Disney, and others) but this time they did Sailor Moon, complete with tights! Still on sale in their webstore.


Honey Salon Shop Staff

Honey Salon shop staff post their coordinates to one central blog http://ameblo.jp/honey-salon-by-foppish here’s how they’re styling themselves for 2014AW.

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Currently all the girls seem to be loving red, black and white. Looking forward to their pastel outfits.

As I said early this brand is often in Larme magazine. Before I begin part two of the Larme Magazine talks I’ll be doing a few brand discussions of ones I don’t usually talk about so you can learn more about the brands before I show how they are in the magazine. So maybe you can consider these Larme Magazine talks part 2a, part 2b and such?  :cat2:

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