Be fashionable the anime/manga way

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.

Ami of Sailor Moon

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!

Usagi of Sailor Moon

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.

R.I.P. 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.

Ultra Maniac’s Nina (left) & Ayu (right)

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?

14 thoughts on “Be fashionable the anime/manga way

  1. When I was younger I remember really liking the outfits the Sailor Senshi wore in their daily lives, especially Rei and Makoto. Love*Com also has some great outfits too, but of course the queen of fashion manga has to anything by Ai Yazawa, especially Paradise Kiss.

    1. Especially Paradise Kiss for sure! I watched the anime and it was like watching a fashion magazine come to life but with plot. Even NANA is very fashion conscious. I love the differing styles between the two Nanas. One is punk rock chick and the other is super girly and cute.

  2. I’ve never been all that into fashion, but what little I do like about it definitely came from the time I spent watching and reading anime and manga. Where I lived there wasn’t exactly a plethora of different styles that you could see people wearing, but then I got into anime and manga and suddenly I wanted to be more picky about my clothing and I realized just how little selection there was in my hometown.
    On the Sailor Moon front I had the weirdest obsession with Princess Kakyuu’s outfit when I was younger. Not exactly made for daily wear, but I loved it to death!

    1. Yes! I loved Princess Kakyuu’s dress too. The contrast of colors is lovely to look at. I’m sure it would go under cos-play, but it would be great if such a dress existed in real life to wear to some fancy event. Dark Lady or Black Lady’s dress (when Chibi-Usa transformed into her for a while in the Sailor Moon R arc) is another dress I liked. I think that can probably be worn in real life. It looks demure at first glance until you notice the thigh high slits. Really sexy. Pair it with red heels and you are good to go. I doubt I’d be brave enough to wear a look like that but it’s fun to imagine.

      1. Ohhh!!! Black Lady’s dress! That was a great look too! The creator was really good with the dresses now that I really think about it!
        Haha, I wouldn’t be brave enough to wear that dress either, but I think I’d be quaking with fear if I had to put heels on! I cannot walk in heels to save my life and it irks me because nearly all of the shoes that I think are gorgeous have high heels!

  3. Ahhh, I love you for writing this! This topic has been on my mind for a while since I’ve always had a love for clothing. I only recently started thinking about how cute a lot of the outfits in anime are, and how much I’d like to try some of them out in real life, and not just in cosplay.

    Some of my favorite outfits include: Hinamori Amu of Shugo Chara!, Hoshii Miki’s casual wear in The iDOLM@STER, Nodame’s cute dresses in Nodame Cantabile, Anjou Naruko of AnoHana, Osaki Nana’s jewelry in NANA, and Henrietta’s red military pea coat in Gunslinger Girl.

    1. You requested more fashion related posts and I deliver, Marina! 😉 Only this time it’s fashion musings with an anime/manga spin to it. It was a post I had meant to do for a while now, but couldn’t gather my thoughts on it until recently.

      I long thought about wanting to wear the clothes anime/manga characters wore ever since I discovered anime. It continued to grow as time wore on. As I watched or read something, I would always think how cute something looked on a character. I also find myself thinking about them as I shop for clothes and accessories sometimes. Hooray for geeky hobbies to give us our fashion fix!

  4. I’m probably one of the least fashion-conscious females around. I never really thought of anime/manga that way and my dress code is basically loose pants and sweater.shirt. ^__^ I did really like Ultra Maniac though. It was a really fun and cute manga. :3

    1. I definitely don’t consider myself as hardcore fashionista. I just appreciate clothes that look good on myself and other people. I don’t go out of my way to follow all fashion trends. Sometimes I can never keep up with them. ^^;

      I actually admire people who cosplay in conventions. A lot of the costumes are so pretty, but I don’t have the guts to walk around and look like my fave character. I guess copying a look of an anime/manga character is sort of like cosplay except maybe the clothes they wear can actually work in every day life? I like to think so. XD

      1. I actually did cosplay once, but it was just a local thing. There was a contest for cosplaying at the anime club at my university. I did Franziska von Karma from Phoenix Wright (had a whip too and I used it when I did my introduction, scared some people. lol.) Brought my brother too and he did Cody Hawkins with me (the boy witness from the third case in the first game). We ended up winning first prize but it wasn’t a big competition (there were like 7 of us altogether) and his cuteness probably won us some extra points too. xD I actually really enjoyed it because I always loved pretending to be someone else and dressing in costumes, but it’s such an expensive side hobby. Buying clothes or materials and accessories adds up and I’m not even that good as sewing. ^_^;;; My costume was pretty bare bones and I used a lot of premade things. The thing that I did make didn’t turn out too great. If I ever redo it, I know how to make it better now.

      2. That’s really cool and congrats on winning too! I always thought Franziska von Karma was an interesting character from the series. Very dramatic with a huge presence.

        I’m definitely not creative enough to do my own cosplay, but then again I would feel self-conscious in general if I tried.

  5. I have to agree on both Nana and Paradise Kiss! When I watched Para-Kiss for the first time I was drooling over the clothes and heck I still do lol! Nana O. reminds me of what I wore in high school/college with some of her outfits. I was and I am still not a fan of skirts/dresses but the rest (tops, makeup, Jewelery…etc.) I was all about especially the pants! I even still wear some of that now just toned down a bit lol. :c) Another anime that I have found that has some awesome outfits is Princess Jellyfish. Kuranosuke Koibuchi has some of the best styles and outfits when he is in drag! I would kill for his closet! Oh and Air Gear. Granted its more of a rocker, laid back look but that is generally what I wear and I always thought that sleeping forest looked so cute along with Simca before she cut her hair. Mmmmm fashion and clothes…I could go on for ever lol! :c)

    1. I’m more of the typical girly girl when it comes to clothes, but I absolutely love the styles for Nana and Paradise Kiss. The punk rocker chick looks great on those who can pull it off really well. 🙂

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