Trendwatching: Mori Gyaru

Let’s take a look at the new Mori Gyaru trend and see how to make it work for you through clothes and hair. :cheery:

Mori Girl (森ガール) is an on-line rising fashion trend. It’s general essence is how a girl living in the forest would look. So there’s an emphasis on ethnic, homespun, loose, casual. Mori Girl according to wikipedia started with the 2006 mixi page and slowing gaining popularity in 2008. The magazine Spoon even put out a lookbook all about Mori Girl. The Mori Girl look started to be worn around places such as Koenji and Daikanyama in 2008 and now is becoming a Harajuku look as well.

I can attest to the Mori Girl look popping up in Koenji, since I lived there in 2008. I know those who study Japanese fashion think Spank is a largely Koenji thing, but actually it’s much more Mori Girl and V-kei around that area. :o (Mori Girl images from here)

The Mori mixi community created a wonderful list of what makes Mori Girl style and the Mori Girl live journal community translated it here.

Mori Girl vs Mori Gyaru

Now some gal models are taking Mori Girl (森ガール) and making it Mori Gyaru (森ギャル).

In the April issue of Popteen Yui Kanno (結以菅野) talked about how her summer style would be more Mori Gyaru.

Mori Girl with a GAL twist!
Yui-chan’s selected recipe for Mori Gyaru!

Recipe 1: Use white, beige and brown combined! Those 3 colors are very natural colors.

Recipe 2: Wear a vest and a stole to overlap! Layering is a very Mori feeling!

Recipe 3: A cardigan and a skirt that are long! A Long x Long Mix! A long look has a lot of impact. An I-line shape is very Mori Gyaru.

Recipe 4: Perfection is a loose silhouette!

Recipe 5: Natural Fabrics like All Cotton is a Mori Match!

Recipe 6: Hair Styles should have a natural and artless look! Mori Hair is super relaxed. More like a gaijin’s style on how it’s a natural and relaxed wave. (note: Jelly also favors this look, Maya Mori does it often, they also had a section on it so it’s not only Mori)

I point these rules out and Yui’s style to give more info on Mori Gyaru, but personally I feel her take on it is too much Mori and not enough Gyaru. So let’s look at some other ways to try the Mori Gyaru look.

Rin’s Mori Gyaru

Back in Rin’s top 10 she listed Mori Girl as one of her faves, but she made it much more Mori Gyaru. She says “Mori is Natural but let’s not forget to raise it up”. She puns it with the word Moru (盛る) which is the term a lot of gal magazines use, as in the bible of Gal Mori (ギャル盛り).

I really like her fashion choices of this of keeping the skirt short, and staying with gal brands. Yui’s looks had some gal brands in it, but often she stuck with non gal brands.

Yumetenbou’s Mori Girl

Yumetenbou decided to put together looks that were Mori Gyaru. Lots of cute looks and cheap items.

I feel they pull off a very successful Mori Gyaru look. Especially in their promo shot. The natural large curls look very Mori yet still Gyaru.

Mori Gyaru trends to follow

If you like the look of Mori Gyaru here are a few trends and items to incorporate into your look.

1. Flower Prints
2. Cotton
3. Denim items
4. CanCan Hats in Natural colors
6. Floral accessories
7. Cotton berets
8. Maxi dresses
9. Lace
10. Loose Cardigans
11. Small ribbons

I know many will think Liz Lisa’s current collection is very Mori, but at the same time it’s not because there are so many Western aspects. It’s important to stay away from Western when working a Mori Gyaru look.

Let’s do Mori Gyaru

I dredged my closet and combined two outfits that echo the Mori Gyaru look.

Poncho: One*Spo
Scarf: La Foret store
Skirt: ANAP Chille
Pumps: Bonita

Here’s a shot of all the nice textures working together. The sheer lace of my skirt, the delicate chiffon of my scarf and the nubblyness of my poncho. Working texture instead of color is very Mori.

A bit more color to this one, but still staying simple and organic looking.

Dress: Rose Fan Fan
Vest: Rose Fan Fan
Belt Necklace: Rose Fan Fan
Scarf: La Foret
Boots: eBay

Close-up prints of flowers and lace.

Mori gal loves details so I added a thin beaded belt as a necklace and kept the ends under my scarf. Lots of beige textures.

So even though we’re staying with some Mori Girl rules, Mori Gyaru breaks others by wearing heels and short skirts. I am sure my tan sticks out a bit too :wink: I also tried to stick with 109 brands except for my scarf. :o

Mori Hair

One of the points I really liked in the Popteen pages was Mori Gyaru hair. Braiding is a very natural pretty way to add interest to your hair. If you need braiding inspiration: read an early article of mine on the bang braid and the Momoeri braid

But I really loved the little tiny bows and braids in Popteen so let’s do that.

Start with a gaijin wave.

Okay I am a gaijin: check!

I let my hair wave naturally: check! :roll:

Then I made little beige ribbon bows on blonde bobby pins (blonde bobby pins OMG genius! :oops: )

Then I simply french braided a section of my hair and put them in. I was in a hurry, it took 3 minutes tops :wink:

If you need more Mori Gyaru hair help or even other hair help, the ever fabulous bloomzy blogged some here. She coincidentally is the FHF on SaraMari’s blog. Two of my favorite bloggers combine together, it’s wonderful. Go check both out :up:

I’m curious how the Mori Gyaru trend will evolve and last. It’s not exactly my style, but it’s fun to switch into.


  1. Linnie
    April 2, 2010 / 7:53 pm

    I love both Mori Girl and Gyaru, so Mori Gyaru is perfect for me!

    CanCan hats seem really similar to “boater” hats to me…maybe they could be a good substitute?

    Also, your first “texture shot” is amazing. I liked your hair example too. Is it harder to do a french braid there (in the center of the head) than in the back? Or does it just matter how much hair you have to work with?

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:44 pm

      I am not sure on the specifications. The type of hats I’ve seen come out in the US recently remind me of CanCan hats, but they have a wider brim. All of them seem a bit off. If you find one that’s not though, best of luck to you :-D

      I think it was really easy to do a side braid. I do have thick hair, but it’s pretty simple and super quick :oops:

  2. April 2, 2010 / 8:31 pm

    As always, a fabulously informative post! I love that you included pictures of your own hair and coordinates for this. It’s always great to see magazine trends put into action on real people and not models.

    Even though I probably won’t be trying this look myself—way too many ruffles and pale neutrals for my taste—it seems like something other Western gals could pull off pretty well. When I was browsing Wet Seal’s site for other stuff, I noticed they have a ton of pieces right now that would work for mori gyaru. It’s like floral/beige/crochet/knit bomb exploded over there! 8D

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:46 pm

      LOL wow and Wet Seal has been this neon electro thing. Such a change!

      I’m always hesitant to post coordinates especially of a style I’m not comfortable with but felt the post would be without the “in practice” and just be theory if I didn’t try :^_^;;:

  3. April 2, 2010 / 8:55 pm

    I am loving this look! It gives me a great new way to work some of my new summer pieces that I got to work with other Gyaru trends. I am also excited to try and make a Lolita/Mori crossover outfit. Mori just looks soo comfy, and I love the first outfit you posted of yourself

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:47 pm

      Mori Lolita would be interesting. I was reading the Mori Gal LJ community and it seems a few had come to Mori from Lolita because of the practicality of Mori. :oops:

  4. April 2, 2010 / 9:51 pm

    I’m hoping to add more pastels to my wardrobe so I can dress like this for Summer/Spring. Right now my closet is full of bright pinks and whatnot. ^^;

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:48 pm

      As a monotone and Agejo living winter gal, I agree it’s admittedly a bit hard to digest all this lace. But hey change is fun and it’s fun to shop for :-D

  5. April 3, 2010 / 12:07 am

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :peer: :korila: :rila: :hearts:


    I have loved Mori for years (since it came out) but I have ALWAYS ADMIRED GAL!

    I did not know, I could not know, I COULD DO BOTH!!!!!!

    FUGDETYGHGHJKJHGHJKLJHGFDSDFG…This seriously made my day,…you made my weekend, I am just DELIGHTED! I am weeping tears of joy!

    Thank You Mitsu for bringing the news about Mori Gal, I am motivated to push my gal know and become the #1 Gaijin Mori Gal!!! :love: :note:

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:49 pm

      LOL well none us can be #1, it just causes too much pushing and shoving. I’d love to see a group of Mori Gals and see how everyone interpreted the blend :korila:

  6. April 3, 2010 / 12:14 am

    I don’t know why but I just don’t see it working… I feel like Mori Girl and Gal should be separate because I feel Mori Girl is suppose to be this simple loose layered shy cottony look while gal is more sexy, confident and in your face with over the top make-up and hair.
    And I just can’t stand anymore flower prints, ahhhhhh!

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:53 pm

      I can see where you’re coming from and I appreciate that you have a really strong sense of gal as a fashion. Although I do think both sexy and in your face are often taken out of the equation where gal fashion is concerned. w*c has bent gal, as did amekaji, and mannish Backs. I’m always excited to see if something can change gal, because change is what has kept gal relevant for so long. :-D

      This is not exactly what I’d chose it to go for, but I’m curious to see if another model or brand will step up and really blend the two together. :stars:

  7. April 3, 2010 / 1:10 am

    hell! mori gyaru is the same as bohemian for me =~ but moar pastels than the brownishes. i would say mori gal is a “sub-style” for bohemian.

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:54 pm

      That’s an interesting take on it. I’m curious how much boho comes out this season. 2008 was its height where everyone was a hippie chic, but it’s rather died off. I quite liked it though and still enjoy the pieces I bought from that summer :wink:

      • April 5, 2010 / 12:41 pm

        Yeah… I pretty like mori girl style! It’s freshy look! And knowing gals are geting into it does make me feel glad! I’m not a boho fan because of all the havy hippie look o.o~ so now i can think about it!

  8. April 3, 2010 / 1:52 am

    the Mori gyaru trend is such a fantastic fusion of gal style with mori style. I have been a lover of both styles so this is the perfect balance of both.

    Cute ribbons that you made for ur hair, and I agree, blonde bobby pins are such a great invention, no more yucky black pins on light-cloured hair.

    I’m so sad that Yui is graduating from Popteen, she’s one of my favourite models…. hopefully she’ll appear more in Popsister.

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:56 pm

      I’ve heard rumors Yui is heading that way. I liked her, too. Really I appreciate Popteen not become a land of cloned Kumickys so anything that can stop that would be great. I like Kumicky, but… I don’t need to see 10 of her in an issue 8)

      LOL I can’t believe blonde bobby pins hadn’t happened sooner. OMG they rock though :-D

  9. April 3, 2010 / 2:17 am

    Some of the country elements like the florals and lace are cute, but overall I don’t this look is something I would wear or like very much.

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:57 pm

      Yeah I’d rather interpret the items I put together in a different way as well. Mori does seem a bit of a difficult blend, but who knows maybe a new designer will say differently soon :wink:

  10. April 3, 2010 / 3:19 am

    love love love your blog!
    now im tempted to try our mori gyaru style!

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 8:59 pm

      Go for it! I’m so jealous you got to Hakone, how nice. Following you, love all your Japan pics :oops:

  11. April 3, 2010 / 6:18 am

    I quite like Mori Girl but for me it’s more of a ‘I like seeing it on other people’ thing – if that makes any sense.
    I love the natural sweet-ness of it, but it’s not for me.

    Although I do like the Mori Gal aspects popping up, but I agree with you that Yui doesn’t help it transcend too well.

    I can’t believe you got your hair to do that and look so good in 3 minutes!! Jealous~
    Also love your outfits, bang on trend XD

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:01 pm

      I agree. I’d like to see even more variety in gal and if Mori is part of that I’m game. But as for me taking it on more of a daily basis, ehhhh it just doesn’t seem “fun” yanno :roll: I prefer a bit more a playful style :-D

      LOL I promise my hair isn’t that good, it is quite messy in the braid, but oh well. Sometimes time and hair don’t work on the same clock :roll:

  12. Suyin
    April 3, 2010 / 9:13 am

    Thank-you for posting this!

    I really like this style, it seams like it will be perfect for Summer! :hearts2:

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:02 pm

      Happy to do so! :-D

  13. April 3, 2010 / 9:52 am

    I linked you up in a short post –

    Loving Mori Gyaru. I have been tripping over Mori Girl for a while..and this is so perfect I think I might cry.

    I really want to get a Maxi Dress, but I’m not very tall…maybe you could do a post about maxi dress styles and body types?

    Love your blog (: <3

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:06 pm

      Thanks for the link :up:

      Hmmm I think Maxi dresses rock on short people because you can wear heels and look so statuesque without having to show people you’re in heels. Those with long seams separating panels create length. Mermaid hems also look fabulous on everyone (those with a high front and low back often found on halter maxis).

      As for doing an article, hmmm I’ll see but I do not claim to be the master of any body type, even my own :-D

  14. April 3, 2010 / 10:15 am

    I agree with Caroline. Actually I don’t think these two styles work well together, if there are too many mori elements it doesn’t look gal, and its also easy to make it look not mori at all.

    Yui-chan does the best I think, but it doesn’t really look mori or gal. And Yumetenbo’s is the worst imo, it just looks like romantic/western gal.

    Well actually Mori Girl has really been diluted over the past year or so, and I guess this is the natural progression. I’ve never been a mori girl, this is just what I have observed as a bystander.

    Anyhow, you look very lovely. The flowy light colored clothing suits you well, and I like your hair style it looks so soft and feminine.

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:08 pm

      I feel like if I could combined Yumetenbou’s first picture of soft long hair with, Rin’s short skirt, with Yui’s layering skills that might be the best synthesis.

      I think the problem right now is there is no brand working specifically on Mori Gyaru so there’s no designer trying to blend the two perfectly.

      We’ll see how both gal and Mori evolve this year, either they’ll get closer together or farther apart :rila: :star2:

  15. April 3, 2010 / 11:15 am

    I love this post, but, then again, I love all your posts! Your mori gyaru outfit is sooo cute! I love the boots with it, it looks so sexy, too. I also really appreciate how you translated the Mori Girl into Mori Gyaru, because anything is possible with gal!

    I sent some blogroll love your way: & on my tumblr.

    I really love your blog, I know I said so on twitter, but you’re just so good about keeping it up to date. & I love the Japan history & culture posts, too. ^_^ Have a fun weekend!

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:09 pm

      Thanks for the blogroll love and lovely words :bear: I’ll try my hardest to do more :stepup:

  16. April 3, 2010 / 2:37 pm

    SO much love for your hair in the final pic!
    Those bows are lovely too! :wink:

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:10 pm

      Hehehee thank you although my hair’s natural wave is a battle I usually go against :cheery:

  17. April 3, 2010 / 3:54 pm

    It’s really funny you brought this up because I wanted to try a look that incorporated gal and mori style for a while but… i got beat to it!

  18. Cecilia
    April 3, 2010 / 4:47 pm

    hmmm lots of lace but what about knits?

    • Mitsu
      April 3, 2010 / 9:11 pm

      Knits are not the biggest within Mori since most knits are tightly woven and machine done. I think it’s harder to incorporate them. Knitted items though are always great as Yui shows :-D

  19. Angel
    April 3, 2010 / 9:09 pm

    Cute! I really love Mori kei style! :D
    I would love the sweetness of Lolita w/ the natural and layered look of Lolita! :D

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:10 pm

      MoriLolita would be cool! A lot of girls seem to be trying to do this blend on the MoriGal lj community.

  20. April 4, 2010 / 4:23 am

    Awwr you pull it off so well and I really love the mix of textures, I think a lot of people forget that textures can really make an outfit.

    I prefer the more Rin mori gyaru approach to the top images, mainly because the overly long stuff makes me look a midget :P

    Awesome post.

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:11 pm

      I prefer Rin to well just about anything! But I agree I think this long stuff is making people look a little overwhelmed by their clothing and not simply wearing it.

      I admit I often don’t think about texture, but it is fun buying a piece that just has a certain pleasing feel to it :-D

  21. April 4, 2010 / 7:18 am

    Mori style seems really sweet… almost too sweet for my tastes, haha :love: But you pull it off well!
    I agree that Yui’s take on it seems more like it would fit in with Spoon magazine & not Popteen, whereas Rin’s is a lot more fun & agejo. The Yumetenbou items are really cute too~ I could see myself wearing a couple :hearts2:

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:13 pm

      LOL too sweet for mine as well. It’s fun for like once a month, but yeah I couldn’t wear it all the time I’d think “I’m not this girl!” :^_^;;:

      I got my Yume order settled, will blog on quality when I can or just msg you about it :wink:

  22. April 4, 2010 / 7:32 am

    how cute!!

    i love your dress!!
    i love both yui’s and rin’s mori style!
    yui is lovelier while rin is cuter!!

    and yours is… PRETTY!!!
    your hairstyle is very cute!!

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:14 pm

      Awwwh thank you for the excitedly lovely words :-D I agree maybe it’s a taste of lovely vs cute :stars:

  23. April 4, 2010 / 9:27 am

    I’ve fancied mori for a while now and been flirting with it a bit, since I love the comfiness(and layering/nuances) of it, but I’m not overly keen on the mori concept of makeup and lenghts in the clothing, so I guess I have from time to time been doing something along the lines of mori gyaru.. It’s a good combination, atleast for me!
    Great to see some inspiration, especially with hair since I have no imagination with it x_x;

  24. April 4, 2010 / 9:36 am

    Oh, but still, Yumetenbou’s take on it just feels like average Liz Lisa clothing. They’ve always been on the romantic side of the gyaru (atleast for the time I’ve been eyeing them), and whilst it might look a tad bit mori, it doesn’t really give the .. punch?
    And the outfit with the denim jacket with ribbons.. Mori? Where? She has huge pouff hair and ribbons and roses alá Jesus Diamante, it doesn’t feel very foresty.

    The Popteen model really captured it I think, she did the layering, the colors, and blended it balanced enough with gal. Yumetenbous version doesn’t really have that, the only thing is the roseprint, and that’s what pretty much everone’s doing this spring, mori or not. But yeah, the promoshot looks great, but I think that’s probably cause you don’t see the clothing, haha.

    Okay, I’ll stop being cynic and serioussounding now. 8)

    Big respect on your outfits, and hair! Looks really great, loving the textures! The scarf is to die for btw :D

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:17 pm

      I agree absolutely. I think it was the promo shot that won me. That was the hair I’d love to see on a Mori Gyaru and that color seems absolutely perfect for it as well. The outfits in the other Yume pic, I think they were trying to fit their already made designs into a hip word at the moment. 8)

      I think Yui dressed too long and that just doesn’t echo the playfulness of gal. Maybe shorter versions might gal it up?

      Thank you! It was an impulse buy years ago and I’m so happy I was impulsive :cheery:

  25. April 4, 2010 / 10:56 am

    Waaah, I love love love mori gyaru. It’s so pretty!! I agree that Yui isn’t really adding enough gyaru into her mori gyaru, but she still looks awesome!

    Also, I love your mori gyaru coordinates and hair styles! So gorgeous :mrgreen:

    • Mitsu
      April 4, 2010 / 10:18 pm

      I agree. She really excelled in hair in those, it drew me I think more than the clothes :!:

      Thank you :love:

  26. blot
    April 4, 2010 / 10:44 pm

    I love mori gal! Mori girl is gorgeous but too “old bag lady” for me and lolita can be too OTT sometimes, so mori gal is definitely the perfect in-between :hearts:

  27. April 6, 2010 / 8:39 am

    Aww, I love this style! It looks kind of romantic to me, nad it’s so cute :stars:

  28. April 12, 2010 / 11:58 am

    Very enlightening! Thanks for explaining the nuances of mori gyaru.

  29. March 16, 2011 / 3:07 am

    The yumetenbo and popteen scans look himekaji.

    Anyway, I really like both Gyaru and Mori Girl!

  30. Caitlin Anne
    December 10, 2011 / 7:52 am

    I love mori gyaru! It has such a cute and vintagey feel to it. * The lace makes it so feminine and sweet. This look is soft and not “over the top”. Definitely a look I can do here in the New Jersey (state I live in within the USA) !! Love this style! :D I wish there was a store here I could buy these exact clothes at.

    • Caitlin Anne
      December 10, 2011 / 7:54 am

      Oh … An the nori girl is very much like nori gyaru… Both are soft, sweet, and super feminine! Too cute!!!

      • Caitlin Anne
        December 10, 2011 / 7:56 am

        *mori. (sorry, this iPod keeps “fixing” my words)

  31. June 16, 2013 / 4:00 pm

    I love this look! It’s so cute!! Any way to do this with pants?? I’m not very much of a skirt person Dx

  32. Elise
    February 18, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    I always love Mori Kei, that is the best description for me but recently I been admiring the Himekaji fashion and I always wondered how to mix those two styles together. BAM! There is Mori Gyuru! Thanks for you post

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