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Mori Kei: A Style for the Forest-Dweller

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Non-binary. Practicing Witch. Avid Booklover. Cat Afficianado. Coffee Drinker. Lover of Dark Fashion. Seamstress. Writer.


What Is Mori Kei?

Mori Kei (which translates to Forest Style) is an alternative fashion with its roots (haha) in the Japanese street fashion scene. First emerging in the early 2000s, Mori has branched out across the globe and been embraced by many nature lovers with a flair for whimsical fashion. Early enthusiasts of the style used thrifted and handmade pieces to create their look, but now Mori Kei retailers exist online catering to this exclusive style.


Defining Features

The essential elements of a Mori Kei look are cozy layers, soft fabrics that drape well, earthy and forest-like colors, and accessories that would not be out of place on a woodsman: warm scarves, hats, gloves, and sturdy boots, etc.

Most Mori Kei outfits feature lacy dresses or tops in soft hues like cream, beige, light greens, or pastel colors. These are usually layered with longer, tiered skirts in gentle floral prints, browns, plaids, etc. Oversized cardigans, vests, or crocheted shawls are added for visual interest. Long stockings or lacy socks are often paired with boots or mules in earth tones.

Mori Kei adherents usually wear their hair in long and natural styles, but it isn't uncommon to see short hair, wigs, or unnatural colors either. Accessories run the gamut from forest themed jewelry to tattered scarves and fingerless gloves.

Overall, the goal is to look like you live in a quiet cottage in the woods and prefer the company of woodland creatures to people!


How to Get the Look

If you are interested in trying out Mori Kei for yourself or perhaps simply want to incorporate more layers into your daily style, keep these tips in mind:

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  • Thrift stores are your best friend: you can cheaply find great DIY items like old lace dresses that can be modified, doilies to add to existing garments, and a whole range of vintage pieces.
  • Oversized cardigans and sweaters in soft browns, beiges, greens, and other woodsy colors are a great addition and can be worn with long skirts or even a pair of jeans.
  • Long summer dresses with tiered skirts or lacy details can be worn on their own with a few pieces of forest jewelry or layered up.
  • A variety of skirts in varying lengths, bonus points if they have pockets!
  • Knit or crochet hats, scarves, and gloves for the colder months.
  • A pair of used boots or mules, with a low heel and in earth tones.
  • Lace shawls, flower hairpieces, or faux fur.

There are no real hard and fast rules to achieving a Mori Kei look, so feel free to experiment with colors, layers, and themes.


For the Boy-Folk

Never fear though, there is also a less traditionally feminine version for the boys and androgynous folks out there. Mori Kei works well with trousers as well, and these can probably be easier to find in thrift stores.

The goal is again to keep with the layering and forest hues.

Where to Buy?

To find pieces for this look:

  • Thrift stores like Goodwill and Savers will have pieces that work on their own or could be customized.
  • DIY your own stuff if you're good with a sewing machine.
  • Etsy and eBay have a lot of secondhand items from Asian brands.

© 2016 Michaela


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 08, 2016:

Beautiful styles!

Litany Notch from South UK on March 08, 2016:

Very pretty - love this style!

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