How to Be a Mori Girl (Forest Girl)

Four Parts:ClothingMakeup and hairAccessoriesLifestyle

Mori Girl kei, is a Japanese fashion style created in 2007. Mori means "forest" in Japanese, and "kei" means style or fashion. Just because the style often is called "mori girl," doesn't mean that it's a girl-only fashion. Many boys and even gender neutral people feel at home in this style. The concept of mori is to represent "a girl who looks like she is living in the forest," and the goal is to look natural and earthy, which is typically achieved by layering at least two or three items to get a soft and slightly billowy silhouette. Hagu from the 2006 movie Honey & Clover is said to be an influence to the style, and the real-life archetype of Mori kei is the actress Yu Aoi, who had the role of Hagu. Mori fashion has developed not only as a style but as a lifestyle as well! Although Mori kei is natural, it does not mean it is simple––it does have a little bit of complexity to it.

Part 1

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    Wear clothes of earthy tones. Dresses and skirts are the main pieces of the style, but blouses and sweaters are also incorporated. The texture is very important, as most Mori girls wear knits, lace, gossamer, and cotton. Don't forget to layer; some girls wear long skirts under short dresses, or scarves and shawls over layers of sweaters and skirts.
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    Pick the right colors. Earth tone colors such as antique white, white, off-white, beige, brown, mauve, gray and ivory are popular with Mori girls. In addition, you can wear colors such as mustard, dark blue, bordeaux and dark green. Mostly use colors that you could find in a forest - keep the colors natural and calm.
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    Pick the right shape. Clothing of the Mori girl is not body conscious. This means nothing fitted or that hugs the body. Instead of a S-M, pick an L-XL. Don't forget to layer your clothing. This will create a natural volume as well.
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    Layer the clothing. Most Mori girl outfits have an element of layering to them. Layering can often be more difficult to pull off because it's easy to over-complicate it. Keep it simple. Start off by layering a dress with a skirt or layering two shirts. Layering does not mean you have to have many items on you. Remember that each layer should be partially visible and is adding to your outfit.
    • Mori girl is all about looking like you actually live in the forest, so you would probably want to keep cozy, right? To help achieve this cozy look, try layering tights, tall, scrunched wool socks, and granny boots or flats.

Part 2
Makeup and hair

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    Do your hair in Mori girl style. Mori girl hair can be airy, straight, wavy, braided or put up. Just keep it natural. You can use lace or string to put into your hair. Flowers and berries are popular hair accessories.
    • Hair can be any style, as long as it looks natural. Waves, braids, buns, or low pigtails accessorized with flowers or lace are popular but work with your hair's natural texture and color, as this whole style focuses on looking natural and healthy.
    • No blow-dryer fried hair or white blonde dyes.
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    Keep the makeup natural as possible - nothing heavy. Keep your eyeshadow in earthy tones. Perhaps don't wear any makeup at all. Keep your skin clean. Natural oil shampoos are great if you are into that.
    • Have rosy cheeks. Mori girls love nice round rosy cheeks. Use a red or pink blush for this look. A nice, muted pink color applied on the apples of your cheeks works best. Or, you can opt for a natural looking cheek.
      Image titled Be a Mori Girl (Forest Girl) Step 5
    • Try to keep the look fresh-faced and natural. Use a good liquid foundation or BB cream, then set it with powder to give your skin a natural glow.
    • Do not wear circle lenses, unlike most Harajuku styles which idealize those big doe eyes. Just use a little mascara, or a white, brown, or pink eyeshadow if you have to wear any.
    • Keep your nails short, clean, and glossy, or paint them a pale pink or pearl color.
    • Try wearing a tinted lip balm instead of lipstick, as balm gives a more natural finish and stays on longer.

Part 3

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    Choose suitable accessories. Flowers are always good, in your hair, on your scarves or sweaters, or on your shoes! Lots of delicate and antique things like lace or cameo pendants, or jewelry featuring flowers are good. Necklaces, rings, and bracelets are primarily all you need and don't wear too much. A little goes a long way! Try going to a thrift store and looking through the jewelry for old-time finds.

Part 4

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    Read the Mori girl checklist. Are you a Mori girl? The original Mori girl community on Mixi created a checklist of 60 rules to find out if you are a true follower of this style.
    • Mori girls stop and enjoy life, travel by bike, and read in cafes or the woods.
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    Take the world by your hands. Enjoy drinking tea and exchanging clothes with friends, traveling by plane, bicycle, or just walking. Have an eye for European culture like in Ireland, France, and Germany. Mori girls are fascinated by taking pictures. Although shy, they are sweet young ladies with proper manners and a lovely style.
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    Embody the free spirit, living in your own world. Stop and take the time to sit on a bench by a fountain. Write a journal and press flowers in it. Go for walks in the city or forest. Spend two hours lying and staring at the sky, or re-reading the whole Wrinkle in Time series. Do whatever makes you happy, and don't think twice about what anybody says. Live life for yourself, and not for anybody else, at least until the bills come in.
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    Be creative. Have you ever seen a real forest girl? None of us have. Therefore, be creative and use your imagination to picture the perfect Mori girl and emulate it! Your interpretation of Mori girls can be completely different from someone else's, but each interpretation is correct!
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    Listen to alternative music. Alternative, or what is called "Shoe Gaze" is a music movement in London, very popular in Japan, also. Anything with an earthy, Celtic, folk, instrumental or world music is also popular among Mori Girls. Other good examples are Cecile Corbel Agnes Obel Amelie Loizeau
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    Read magazines. Spoon is like the bible for Mori Girls! SPOON is a Japanese photo book/magazine showing the latest trends in Mori Girl fashion. Other important magazines include Fudge and Mori Girl Papier.
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    Enjoy life itself. It can be beautiful all the time! If you take love and care for this little world that you live in, then you will find even just the tiniest thing enjoyable. That is what Mori girl is all about! So enjoy being a Mori girl and tune it into your own style, do not be afraid to be who your mother and father raise you to be. Just enjoy life to the fullest.


  • Use natural materials such as cotton, wool yarn, and other natural materials.
  • To achieve the right look, think of yourself living in the forest and creating your own garments. What would they look like?
  • Make your own accessories.
  • Add some lace and flowers to decorate your straw bag or purse
  • Go and find a nice cafe - or forest! - and read a good book.
  • Do some research. Go and look at Mori photos, articles & videos.
  • Great places to find Mori girl clothing are at vintage and thrift shops.
  • Stick to simple pieces preferably one color pieces or with a simple design
  • Scarves and floppy sun hats are great accessories.
  • Make sure you know the difference between what kind of layering looks awkward and what looks cute (for example: sweater+sweater=bad, sweater+cardigan=good).
  • Avoid modern trends such as structured collars, items clinging to your waist or very bright colors (although small hints of bright color looks great).
  • Mori girl is still a fairly new fashion style, and not incredibly popular in Japan. Because of that, the Mori girl doesn't have a specific silhouette.
  • Tumblr has some amazing Mori girl blogs. Here are a few of them: Oh yeah Mori Girl, That Little Mori Girl


  • Although Mori can incorporate current fashion trends, it should look and feel different from the hippie or bohemian look. A good way to avoid this mistake is to look at pictures and videos of Mori Girls
  • Please be safe and careful on your journey to the forest girls!
  • Mori is natural and not simple. There are a lot of small details and layers that go into Mori girl.
  • If you are young, you may have to explain to your family and friends why you're changing your style, for they will not quite understand why.

Things You'll Need

  • A bit of spending money
  • Local thrift shops
  • Clothes
  • Hair accessories
  • Makeup

Article Info

Categories: Japanese Fashion