Have you ever flipped through fashion magazines or catalogs and think, “That’s a great look. I want a look just like this one. Where can I get it?” Fashion inspiration doesn’t have to come from magazines or runway shows. It can also come from anime/manga. Obviously anyone who looks to anime/manga for inspiration will be the fashion enthusiasts who enjoy a geeky hobby like this one. I am one of these people.
When I watched Sailor Moon back in the day, I remember thinking how cool some of the outfits the scouts were wearing looked on them. I couldn’t help but think how I might find similar pieces in my own daily life to emulate.
Take for instance this look Ami is wearing. It’s quite easy to imitate a look like this one. You need a vest, a button down shirt, a cute skirt, and then finish it off with a pair of ankle boots. This look is very simple and smart. It works well for a book smart girl like Ami who is naturally shy. She doesn’t give the impression of being comfortable showing off a lot of skin, but manages to exude a little sexiness by emphasizing her great legs and leaving some mystery for the guys. Less is definitely more.
Watching an anime like Sailor Moon made me feel inspired to look as cute as the scouts. I remember scouring the Internet for images from the anime/manga to scrapbook because I loved looking at the images I saw. I encountered a lot of specially made images from the animes which were made for shojo magazines in Japan or for trading cards and stickers. The anime characters ended up serving as fashion models of sorts to look trendy and in fashion. With the amount of specially drawn anime images, a collection of these images could have been turned into a fashion magazine––anime style!
Let’s take another example from Sailor Moon. Can you tell how much I enjoyed some of the fashion on display from this series? It’s a little hard to tell from the image, but I think what Usagi is wearing is a full white tube/halter dress combo that’s belted at the waist. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything similar like this in stores, but the look is fresh and again simple. Adding belts to an ensemble seems to be the current fashion trend and it’s quite easy to add a belt to anything. Belts can be used to dress up a pair of jeans or they can be used to spruce up an otherwise plain looking dress. If anything, Usagi’s dressed up look in this image can be copied in the real world.
Back when Shojo Beat magazine was still being published, the editors had the right idea to have a “Get this look” column. They usually picked one particular manga character (though it wasn’t always a character from manga) as their cover girl for the month and then featured accessories or clothing pieces that were similar or duplicates to the look the character was drawn in. They even told you where you can buy these pieces to add to your own wardrobe. Those were the days. I truly miss Shojo Beat.
It’s funny. You wouldn’t think you could find fashion inspiration from anime/manga and somehow it works. You gotta applaud the mangakas or animators for having a keen eye for fashion or just being good at coming up with their own creations without really thinking about it too much. Some might think anime/manga should be looked at for cos-play reasons only if you are attending a convention, but that’s not true. Anime/manga characters can be a good source for every day clothing creations to add to your personal style and tastes.
Here’s two ladies from one of my favorite shojo mangas ever––Ultra Maniac’s Nina and Ayu. These are ladies who know how to dress. I always loved the idea of pairing a nice skirt with a great looking T-shirt. It’s flirty and casual at the same time. The hat Ayu tops off with her outfit completes the casual look nicely. I can never pull off a hat myself but I adore it on other people who make wearing hats look good.
You never really know where you might find fashion inspiration. It really can be found anywhere if you know where to look. Even in a geeky hobby like watching anime or reading manga. Who knew?