Japanese Fashion

By Thanh Kim Huynh

Fashion is a must-to-be-mentioned in Japanese pop culture due to its tremendous contribution in enabling people showing their individual identity and characteristics, which is a very important part of Japanese pop culture. Appearing to surpass Paris and become the “Fashion Capital“, Japanese pop culture fashion is considered to decide the latest trend for the rest of the world like many websites have praised it so far. Not only is it famous for designer clothes with elegant and charming designs but also does it amaze the world with its street fashion of free style known as the Harajuku style. With its various types from Lolita, Visual Kei, Kawaii to Cosplay, Harajuku is strongly spreading Japanese pop culture with an unbelievable speed.


The name “Harajuku” is originally from a name of a train station in Tokyo where the surroundings’ fashion has evolved vibrantly into a unique culture of wild and innovative style thanks to the cultural mix between the local people and the soldiers from World War II. Nowadays, the area with numerous boutique shops and fashion stores is a place for Japanese youth to express themselves with their new fashion invention on every Sunday, especially at Omotesanto, one of the area’s busiest streets.


Harajuku is adapted by teenagers and young adults. The principles of Harajuku style are very dynamic yet simple. One just needs to be mix and match everything from designer garments, casual clothes, self-made clothes to used clothes with an accompany of variety of accessories to become a Harajuku girl or boy as long as they can reflect their self-identity through, feel comfortable and confident with their costumes.



Lolita (link) is a fashion subculture having its clothes based on dress styles of Victoria and the Rocco period. The whole costume includes knee length skirt or dress with a ‘cupcake’ shape assisted by petticoats accompanied by blouses, knee high socks or stockings and headdresses. The very first Lolita fashion brands, such as Angelic Pretty and Pink House, were originated in Japan in the late 1970s before it the trend eventually reached Tokyo and become a booming phenomenon in Japanese pop culture. Since then, the fashion trend has been popularized all over the world with prominent sub styles such as Gothic Lolita, Classic Lolita, Sweet Lolita and many more.

Gothic Lolita style is distinguished by its uses of dark colors in clothing and make-up. Accessories like religious symbols, jewelry with crosses, or scary shapes like coffins or bats also help signal the style.

SOURCE: Wikipeadia

Sweet Lolita style is recognized by the sweet colors, such as pink, peach or Pearl, for make-up and dresses. Costumes of this style are particularly childlike and focus on the fantasy features of Lolita fashion.

Source: wikipeadia

Classic Lolita is Lolita of mature and sophisticated style due to the use of small, charming patterns, more muted colors.

And many more sub Lolita styles, such as Princess Lolita, Ōji Lolita (Boystyle), Sailor Lolita.

Source: wikipeadia

Visual Kei

Visual Kei is the kind of on-stage fashion style originating from musicians, especially rock, and punk artists. They wear weird and eye-catching clothes and make-up while teasing their hair to the point that it amazes the imagination of anyone.

Source: Mooky chick


People follow this style mix and match anything that are perceived as “cute” to form their costumes as “Kawaii” means “Cute” in Japanese. Accessories and clothes with bright and lovely colors are particularly important to create the necessary “cuteness” in this fashion trend.

Source: Harajuku Style

Source: Mooky chick


Cosplay is a combination of “costume” and “role playing”, indicating a fashion style in which people dress up like their favorite characters in mangas-Japanese picture comics, anime- Japanese animation, and games. However, different from some people scared of being criticized, Japanese cosplay without worries and they actually have many areas and festivals in which they can cosplay and show off their loves for their favorite characters.

Source: animania

The 20 Best Party Outfits In Pop Culture History

It’s almost summertime and the world is opening up, which means that we’re all wearing less and going out more, literally. Chances are you and your wardrobe could use a little refresh — maybe even its own little makeover montage. Sweatpants have been our savior over the past year, but it’s time to make room for some pizzazz, especially with all the parties, reunions, get-togethers, karaoke fests, and shindigs on the horizon. But where to even start?

It may seem overwhelming to curate your own going-out wardrobe, but it might be easier than you think. In fact, you might even find your own style muse within hands reach, like in your Netflix queue. After all, anyone who’s ever tried to replicate an outfit they’ve seen in a movie knows that the best places to find sartorial inspiration lie just within the silver screen. (Thank you, costume designers!)

From Cher Horowitz’s Clueless-famous Alaïa party dress to Nomi Malone’s “Versayce” looks in Showgirls, there are plenty of pop culture fashion icons to inspire your own going-out wardrobe. There’s gotta be a bigger purpose to all that binge-watching we do, right?

Ahead, find 20 of the best party outfits from our favorite movies and TV shows so you’ll be ready for all the heavy clambakes you’re getting invited to. (Clueless reference, duh!)

Clueless: Cher and Dionne’s “Val Party” Looks

There are a plethora of stunning outfits in Clueless, but it makes the most sense to celebrate the looks that Cher and Dionne wear when they actually go to a party. Cher plays “Suck and Blow” with her friends in her iconic red Alaïa dress (before she gets robbed and is forced to lie down on it), while Dionne looks fabulous in a Dolce & Gabbana floral crop top that matches the ribbons in her braids. The bell sleeves on Di’s top are perfect for the ’70s-inspired trend currently happening.

Euphoria: Maddy’s Winter Formal Outfit

I don’t know about you, but my winter formal dress looked nothing like the one Euphoria’s resident style icon, Maddy Perez, wore. The two-piece sparkly mesh outfit, which features a halter top with an O-ring, looks more suited for the club than a high school dance, so we give props to Maddy for not getting sent home. The show’s costume designer found inspiration for the look from an interesting source: Rose McGowan’s “naked dress” at the 1998 MTV VMAs.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion: Romy and Michele’s Reunion Dresses

When Romy and Michele tossed their “businesswoman special” outfits aside for holographic spandex minis, it became a moment that would live long inside of our memories. The blue and pink dresses are ideal garments for an adventurous night out, especially if it involves an impromptu dance to “Time After Time.” Costume designer Mona May had planned to put Michele in a hand-painted chiffon gown, but Lisa Kudrow suggested she match Mira Sorvino’s look instead. Brilliant!

Hulton Archive/Moviepix/Getty Images

Legally Blonde: Elle Woods’ Playboy Bunny Suit

Sure, Elle may have been tricked into wearing a costume — specifically, a Playboy bunny suit — to a Harvard party, but she looked better than anyone else there. (I’m still haunted by the stuffy turtleneck and sweater Selma Blair’s character wore in the scene, honestly.) A bunny suit might not be typical going-out garb, but if you feel compelled to wear it through the Taco Bell drive-thru, I’ll gladly co-sign.

Mean Girls: Cady’s Party Mini Dress

After dethroning Regina George as queen of The Plastics, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) throws a house party during which she plans to steal Regina’s man. Her strapless satin dress is simple yet makes a statement, which is that you can wear pink on other days besides Wednesday. If you plan to copy this, you can pick up a replica at Underground Costumes. (Just don’t wear it with visible red bra straps, like Cady did.)


Waiting To Exhale: Robin’s White Cutout Dress

Robin (Lela Rochon) was dragged to a sketchy party by her date, but her outfit more than made up for it. Her white dress featured knotted midriff cutouts, an ideal look for a pool party or a beachside getup. Basically, it’s our summer dress dream.


Uptown Girls: Molly’s Sequin Flower Dress

In the beginning of Uptown Girls, Molly (Brittany Murphy, RIP) quickly throws together her birthday outfit, which consists of a sequin nude gown with pink and green floral appliques. But the genius accessory that she DIYs in seconds — a mini lampshade fashioned into a barrette — deserves its own applause. It shows that you can create a whimsical, unique look out of anything.

K C Bailey/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock

10 Things I Hate About You: Bianca’s Prom Look

In this ’90s teen classic, Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) took a creative and modern twist (for that time, but also now) for her prom look. She pairs a pink crop top with a tulle skirt — a sweet look that proves separates can totally work for fancy occasions.

Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images

Hustlers: Destiny’s “Sexy” Choker Look

The red satin cap-sleeved dress that Destiny (Constance Wu) wears is a solid party look, but don’t discount that “SEXY” choker. Oversized word jewelry may be tacky to some people, but in the age of maximalism and general IDGAF-ness, we should simply be wearing more of it!


Showgirls: Nomi Malone’s “Versayce” Outfits

‘Twas not Aristotle who said, “It’s a Versayce.” It was Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) who unforgettably uttered (read: butchered) the design icon’s namesake in the B-movie classic Showgirls. Doesn’t matter, though, because she looked incredible in both of her “Versayce” looks. The metallic skirt suit (which was also worn by Brandy on the ’90s red carpet) is something that lives in my mind rent-free.


Boomerang: Jacqueline’s Classic Black Velvet Gown

A black velvet dress with a slip and a sweetheart bust is a classic party gown style that also evokes a retro-inspired Hollywood siren style, and bad*ss Jacqueline (Robin Givens) in Boomerang pulls it off like no other. The pearl jewelry and the red lip? Timeless.

Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty Images

13 Going On 30: Jenna Rink’s “Thriller” Dress

The Versace dress Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) wears to her magazine’s party is definitely one of the most iconic 2000s movie looks. The bright colors, the playful cutouts, and the oversized butterfly necklace is something that we should all be wearing this year because it’s just so fun. While the actual Versace dress was never mass produced, thankfully, there are costumers who make replicas of it on Etsy.

Tracy Bennett/Columbia Tri Star/Kobal/Shutterstock

Never Been Kissed: The Barbie Costumes

They may technically be costumes, but the Barbie-inspired outfits that resident mean girls, Kirsten, Kristin, and Gibby (Jessica Alba, Marley Shelton, Jordan Ladd) wear to prom (unplanned, apparently) are summer outfit goals. The flamboyant headpieces and supersized earrings take these looks to another level.

Coyote Ugly: Violet (And The Rest Of The Bar)’s Low-Waisted Looks

Now that low-waisted flared pants are back, let’s hope that suede crop tops are to follow. Why? Because you’ll be able to get your Coyote Ugly on. Plus, it’s the perfect look to karaoke “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” in.


Josie And The Pussycats: Josie’s Blue Robe

Fur-trimmed (and preferably faux) everything is super hot right now, so let’s celebrate an often overlooked fur outfit icon: Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook) of Josie and the Pussycats. There’s a lot of leopard print in this movie, of course, but her all-blue outfit, complete with floor-length fur robe is the cherry on top. It’s a real entrance-making piece, hint hint.


The Sweetest Thing: The Girls’ Clubwear

For even more low-waist love, take some inspiration from the club outfits Cameron Diaz, Selma Blair, and Christina Applegate wore in 2002’s The Sweetest Thing. Satin flares, suede halter tops, leopard print lip dresses... I’m screaming at the early aughts fabulousness. (On another note, wasn’t Cameron Diaz the queen of the low-waisted pant?!)

Suzanne Tenner/Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock

Uncut Gems: Julia’s Neon Glow Crop Top

If you want the ultimate party look, find something that glows in the dark. Julia Fox’s white crop top and Christian Lacroix python pants look for the club scene in Uncut Gems was sort of a happy accident. Costume designer Miyako Bellizzi told NYLON that the ’70-inspired top was custom-built with a shiny white fabric and was pulled together after she cinched it with one of her hoop earrings. Once the lights went off and her outfit became illuminated, that was the moment. (And maybe the most iconic blacklight scene since 1998’s Belly.)


Party Girl: Mary’s Blue Gloves

Parker Posey has always been a fashion icon, but Mary, her Party Girl character, should be referenced as much as Cher Horowitz, in my opinion. A club-kid-turned librarian, Mary works all kinds of note-worthy looks, but there’s just something about the film’s satin blue glove moment. Maybe it’s because it’s the scene where three of the film’s most memorable lines are said. Then again, long evening gloves are poised to make a comeback (thanks in part to Bridgerton).


Insecure: Issa’s Impress-Her-Ex Dress

Issa Rae wears a lot of cute looks in the hit HBO series, but this black-and-white cutout dress in Season 2 is a favorite. After an outfit montage where she tries on different looks, she decides on this dress to wear to a party she throws (to low-key impress her ex who never comes). Show up at your own possible-ex-will-be-there party in a similar style (jug of cheap wine is optional).

The Nanny: Fran’s Turnt Up LBD

It’s almost impossible to choose just one outfit of Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) to discuss. But maybe it’s best to go with a classic LBD for a Nanny-inspired party look. The thing is, Fran can manage to turn up anything, even the simplest ensemble. Not only does the bodycon silhouette on this dress look amazing on her, but her signature heart-shaped Moschino bag elevates the entire look, making it funky and fun. The Fran Fine lesson? Make a simple look more going out-friendly by jazzing it up with outlandish accessories.

The hottest trend on TikTok? In-depth analysis.

Akili Moree loves a good mystery. Nothing triggers his curiosity more than the social media presence of celebrities, influencers, and major brands. What, he wonders, are these posts and their aesthetics trying to subtly (or not so subtly) convey? What do these online personas reveal? Under the username @cozyakili, Moree, a Northwestern University junior, has cultivated a budding reputation on TikTok as a shrewd commentator on culture and celebrity.

One of Moree’s most-viewed videos explores the notion of “poverty cosplay,” or wealthy people’s adoption of working-class aesthetics and attitudes. He points to Kim Kardashian’s post of Ye and her son Saint in a dark, sparsely decorated apartment; Timothée Chalamet’s photo of a Cup Noodles meal; and Golden Goose’s new-but-dirty shoe design as examples.

These TikToks are akin to an informal crash course on Instagram semiotics. They typically abide by an analogous visual format: screenshots of posts from recognizable figures, overlaid with a line of bold sans-serif text and Moree’s talking head. It’s his ability to concisely define enigmatic online phenomena, from “casual Instagram” to “vibe shifts,” that captivates viewers. Moree tries to offer what he calls “an objective opinion” in his videos, while fully acknowledging that the notion of objectivity is contrary to personal opinion.

This style of commentary is gaining prominence among TikTok creators — influencers, trend forecasters, armchair media pundits, and celebrity analysts, to name a few. These “analysis creators” are a marked departure from the earliest days of the app when content was short, simple, and straightforward. Dance challenges, theatrical lip-syncs, and quippy comedy bits were once all condensed into 15-second clips. There was literally no time for theorizing. As TikTok allowed users to upload lengthier videos (now up to 10 minutes long), its algorithmic preferences have also shifted.

“We’re starting to see a distinction between the creators who know how to edit and keep their audience engaged, versus those who got lucky off of TikTok’s algorithm,” said Alessandro Bogliari, CEO of the Influencer Marketing Factory, an agency that connects brands to creators. “It used to be that you just had to dance or lip-sync really well for 30 seconds. That’s no longer enough.”

My For You page has of late become a conveyor belt of analysis and commentary videos seeking to summarize, predict, or investigate the zeitgeist. They are a fraction of the length of YouTube video essays but constructed with a similar critical and intellectual bent. These ideas are not always groundbreaking or original, and the quippy and digestible presentation style is uniquely suitable for an audience with a limited attention span. This content is not limited to TikTok, of course. Analysis creators have expanded to podcasts, newsletters, and even video essays. Consider it the opposite of pathos-posting, or posting solely based on the emotional resonance of a topic. Instead, these formulated theories are crafted with a careful analytical approach and delivered with some removed authority from the subject matter.

Take, for example, the West Elm Caleb debacle in late January that led to a viral blitz of social media outrage. The incident involved a 25-year-old man named Caleb, who was accused by various TikTok users of serially dating multiple women in New York City — which, mind you, is not a crime, but a romantically dubious and shady endeavor. While many people hopped on the Caleb cancellation train, some saw the opportunity to provide level-headed commentary on the unfolding mess. Rayne Fisher-Quann, a 20-year-old culture critic and writer, outlined the viral condemnation of Caleb and its feminist implications in a 2,000-word newsletter, while documenting her brainstorm and writing process via TikTok.

This type of meta-commentary allows creators to engage with — and reap the benefits of — online discourse without setting off opinion-laden landmines. The ideological crux of such content is logic (or the guise of it, at least) and evidence-based observation, rather than unfiltered hot takes. Depending on the topic at hand, creators also don’t have to divulge much detail about their personal lives or moral beliefs. It instead becomes an avenue to demonstrate one’s intellectual authenticity or observational authority. It is an unofficial pipeline to thought-influencing that has given rise to a cottage industry of informal TikTok commentators and influencer-like analysts. The platform’s interface already encourages this participatory exchange, wherein users riff off existing theories and observations to form their own conclusions.

“When you’re on TikTok, you don’t want to see news anchors or expert sources explaining a situation,” said Sam Ayele, an internet meme researcher and PhD student at the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca in Italy. “You want to hear different opinions from sources you can trust and relate to. I think TikTok users like to live vicariously through the perspectives and experiences of others.”

Many factors may have contributed to this pivot: an adverse reaction to the mindless doom-scroll, the urge to make sense of current events, and the ever-increasing, muddied pace of the news cycle and online discourse that powers the attention economy. Ayele points to the drama-laden breakdown of beauty YouTube as a case study for this shift in audience interest, which coincided with the rise of skin care influencer Hyram Yarbro, whose approach is entertaining, relatively noncontroversial, and informational.

“I think TikTok users like to live vicariously through the perspectives and experiences of others”

Social norms have also shifted. Compulsive, self-entitled posting sprees are now more widely frowned upon, even as a coping mechanism to global disaster and tragedy. (See: a recent Atlantic article with the headline “You Don’t Need To Post About Every Tragedy.”) Audiences seem to expect a value-add to what they consume — content that doesn’t singularly revolve around the creator, but engages with and elucidates the world writ large.

Analysis videos satisfy that itch on an intellectual and potentially neurological level. Humans’ brains, some more so than others, have a tendency to derive meaning or see connections and patterns in events where there may be none. We are, as Katy Waldman has written in Slate, “keen to organize jumbled sensory inputs into meaningful data.”

As the public grows more attuned to the kayfabe of celebrity and fame, pop culture and media commentators have naturally thrived in this space. “There is a seductive quality to making connections about things, especially with topics or celebrities that people already care about,” said MJ Corey, the psychotherapist behind Kardashian Kolloquium, a digital compendium on the Kardashians. “Making connections feels really good. It can give you a dopamine rush.”

Corey began synthesizing her Kardashian-related research and observations on Instagram in 2018. She maintains that she was never a fan, but became an engrossed observer of the show and the family’s uncanny behaviors. When she joined TikTok in 2021, her accounts started to gain a shocking amount of traction. Her timing coincided with the Kardashians’ heightened media activity, stemming from the show’s final season and the divorce proceedings between Kim and Kanye West.

“People want to find meaning in the runoff that mass media throws at us, and this trend of intellectual analysis is important,” Corey said. “bell hooks taught us that with her cultural criticism. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that analysis can masquerade as a seemingly more moral or righteous way to engage with pop culture.”

“People want to find meaning in the runoff that mass media throws at us”

When discussing pop culture, fashion, or social media, the stakes seem much lower for entry and even error. Some creators attempt to detach themselves from their analyses while limiting how much they share about their offline lives. “It’s a means of cultivating a personal brand without having to go the typical influencer route with sharing your outfit or meals of the day,” said Biz Sherbert, a writer and host of Nymphet Alumni, a podcast that analyzes internet-based aesthetics. For Sherbert, who has created fashion TikToks as @bimbotheory, the format allowed her to identify and riff on trends without centering her personality or style.

These topics have also long been disregarded as frivolous and feminized, and assumed to have less direct bearing on people’s lives than, say, politics or personal finance. To that end, the application of academic language and highbrow concepts helps elevate the pop culture discourse, imbuing it with seemingly greater significance.

Corey often references published academic studies, media theory, and criticism to validate her assertions, like works by Jean Baudrillard, Marshall McLuhan, and other contemporary researchers and critics. Her goal, she said, “is to proceed with intellectual integrity” and prioritize a research-oriented approach. “It can be empowering and fun to reclaim academic language, but it’s important to recognize that certain words have context, history, and meaning,” Corey said. “We should be wary of undermining that cultural authority.”

With more creators producing this type of content, Corey has seen more “camp interpretations of theory,” wherein users and creators are casually deploying academic phrases in all sorts of contexts, even fashioning their own buzzwords. These terms aren’t always academic; some are borrowed from advertisers, marketers, and even therapists (which is uniquely concerning).

“There’s something very attractive about these exotic-sounding terms that creators use when talking about pop culture,” Sherbert said. “These words are fun and smart to toss around. They add to that visual picture in your head of an idea or a trend.”

Phrases like “hyperreality” and “domestic cozy” offer textual specificity to vague, previously nameless phenomena that users have experienced or witnessed online. This practice is more common among consumer-oriented trend forecasters and fashion analysts, who are in the habit of identifying new fads and styles. Still, Corey is wary of the potential for over-interpretation — the tendency to inject meaning or narrative into events where there are none. Creators are constantly under pressure to churn out content, and that impulse can beget theories that are not well-researched, thoughtfully produced, or factual.

“There is a fine line between critical thinking and conspiratorial thinking,” Corey said. “I try to be mindful of that.” In reality, it’s more of a slippery slope, as certain analytical skills or traits are often deployed to give backbone to unsubstantiated theories and opinions. This sort of thinking is common within fandoms and insular online communities who blindly “stan,” or support, certain figures. Taylor Swift fans, for example, are notorious for concocting theories about hidden messages and clues in her lyrics, music videos, and promotional materials, but these conspiratorial observations are rarely considered nefarious.

Moree thinks that’s an important distinction. “There is actual misinformation that can cause direct violence against a group of people, or lead people to do or believe things that are unhealthy or harmful,” he said. “With celebrities, most of the things I discuss are my own personal theories, even though I try to back them up with facts or evidence. Sometimes I’m wrong, and I’m not afraid to admit that.”

Analysis creators straddle the boundaries of an expert figure with the bedside manner of a trusted friend. Their work is a lo-fi performance of knowingness that has newfound relevance in an oversaturated media environment. Some of the best creators are informational synthesizers, able “to stylishly cut through an infinite and rambling internet freighted with big ideas,” as Safy-Hallan Farah wrote in TechCrunch, turning “this abundance of information into something generative rather than overwhelming.”

This ability can be commercially beneficial, especially for creators who are established in a subculture or niche. For example, Luke Meagher of Haute le Mode, who is known for his well-informed and highly opinionated high-fashion roasts, was sponsored by Valentino last July to create a TikTok explainer on its haute couture collection. Meagher, whose main platform is YouTube, often presents his opinions alongside tidbits of fashion history, so the informative nature of the Valentino ad didn’t seem as jarring.

Still, an inherent tension remains. Detachment from the subject at hand becomes nearly impossible when a creator’s face is superimposed onto the corner of a video. The creator, as a result, is perceived as a personality, no matter how objective they try to appear. Moree says he wants to sound as “nonjudgmental and precise as possible” with his tone and words, and uses the common “we” so as to not alienate his viewers. Corey withholds any personal opinions she might have about the Kardashians from her audience, and attempts to maintain a journalistic-like neutrality toward the family. But not all creators abide by Moree’s and Corey’s self-imposed ethics: Some videos are word-for-word recitations of published articles without clear citations or neatly paraphrased summaries of Wikipedia entries.

“We’re starting to see creators copy this style of content without doing in-depth research or fact checks,” said Bogliari, the Influencer Marketing Factory CEO. “Even though they are coming across as more objective, the impulse is still there for creators to feed into the discourse. Ultimately, it becomes just another trend.”

Such is the mimetic nature of TikTok, which replicates a once-novel thing over and over until it devolves into a farcical fad. There is no shortage of events for users to opine about online when “the entire universe comes to unfold arbitrarily on your domestic screen,” to quote Baudrillard. And so, any engaged user can easily don the hat of an amateur commentator to profess their ideas and interpretations. As more people hop onto the commentary bandwagon, analysis videos might soon follow the tired trajectory of all TikTok trends. The space could become saturated by all kinds of creators, clamoring to be heard above the noise. “Speech is free perhaps,” wrote Baudrillard, “but I am less free than before.”

We claim to dread the discourse, but we still tune in anyway. Maybe all that can be done, to maintain a modicum of sanity on the internet, is to derive meaning from this never-ending content mill. What that meaning is will be up for analysis.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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