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Girls of the Forest

Women Drawn to Rustic Fashions


A magazine featuring mori girls.

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Mori girl fashion. (C)ASCII MEDIA WORKS Inc.

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The phenomenon of mori girl (forest girls) is becoming the talk of the town. Mori girls favor loose-fitting clothes, particularly dresses, typically made of natural materials and in naturalistic colors like white or cream. This gentle style is winning the hearts of young women seeking comfort in a restless age.

"Forest Girls" DefinedMori girls are so called because they look as though they would be very much at home in the woods. Basic to the style is a layered look making use of items with an airy feel - such as A-line dresses, long and tiered skirts, and flowing cardigans - made of cotton, wool yarn, and other natural materials. White and cream are favorite colors. Added to these basic items are tights, flat shoes, and cotton tote bags or tanned-leather shoulder bags, often complemented by wavy medium-length hair. The overall effect is soft and relaxed. This style is being embraced primarily by women in their twenties.

The term mori girl is thought to have come from the name of a community launched in August 2006 on Mixi, a Japanese social networking service. Since then, it has spread far beyond the online community into the real world. It is gradually becoming a household word as the style is featured in fashion magazines, made the subject of specialized magazines, and increasingly seen in the streets.

While there are several accepted definitions of mori girls, they are basically fond of loose-fitting dresses; clothes that appear natural in style but have a bit of a twist; folkloric clothes; deep hues such as wine red, forest green, dark blue, and brown; fluffy knit and fur caps; ponchos and boleros; leather bags; small cross-body bags; animal and sweets motifs; checks, polka dots, and classic floral prints; lace; tights and leggings; footwear with rounded toes; and scarves and stoles, which they wrap around their necks several times. Mori girls like going on walks with camera in hand, doing fancywork, and visiting cafes and zakkaya (knick-knack stores).

All in all, the impression is light and feathery. But the mori girl is more than just a fashion trend. It is almost a way of life, with the mori girl mentality pervading everything from hobby and home decor preferences to values and lifestyles.


Mori girl style. (C)ASCII MEDIA WORKS Inc.

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True ColorsThe mori girl style does not seek to be attractive to men, unlike the mote (popularity-boosting) fashion that was big around the first half of the decade. It is also in stark contrast to the currently popular miniskirts, minidresses, and other "body-conscious" styles that accentuate feminine curves. What is it about the mori girl look that appeals to young women today?

Mori girls say they enjoy putting together fashions that stand apart from the latest trends advertised in magazines and on TV, such as by finding dresses at vintage clothes stores and making their own scrunchies and accessories. They love the comfort of natural materials, and there is softness and warmth in the styles they seek.

Grounded in a clear philosophy of wearing easygoing and cozy clothes, the forest-girl lifestyle is attracting a widening circle of women who prefer to dress in styles that accord with their pace of life and their natural selves rather than following transient fashion trends. (February 2010)

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