Saturday, March 26, 2011

Being a Princess

A few days ago, someone asked me about being a Hime-kei, after being drawn in by the personalities.  She had just posted in a Lolita forum, and unfortunately didn't seem to have a good reception, as it was her first ensemble and she hadn't accumulated much in the way of the fashion, so she started looking up the fashion I was into instead.

Unfortunately, it seems that shortly after asking, she just kind of... left.   It was a little sad, because she was really nice....  It was great to have someone to comfortably talk to about my fashion who would even be a little interested.

Well, I figured I might as well post my thoughts on the matter, since I had a lot to say, and I can use this format to say all that I originally wanted to.  Perhaps then someone starting off could at least know what to look for when attempting such a fashion.  I get a lot of traffic from people looking up Hime-kei lifestyles anyway, how could I have a blog about learning to be a Hime-kei without a post talking about what I know about it so far?

First off, I'd like to post a link to this entry from a girl who translated Takemoto Novala's report on this fashion.

I read it myself, and for the most part, I did agree about the similarities of Lolita and Hime-kei.  In fact, I'm sure this is how many people discovered Hime-kei, and may have even migrated from Lolita (as I did).

However, she states that the one difference between the styles is the Hime-Gyaru's love of sparkly things as opposed to the Lolita not caring much for them.

I can't really agree with that, since I think that's more of an opinion thing.  There are probably Hime-Gyarus who prefer the floral side to the diamond side but I guess this is just nit-picking.  I will say that personally, as much as I love sparkly things myself, it wasn't the glitter that attracted me to Hime-kei.  In fact, the first picture I saw of a Hime-Gyaru, she was adorned in roses and pearls and held a satin bag.  But I digress.

I will also note that this is all opinion.  These are all just things I have discovered not only through research, but personal experiences, as limited as they are.  By all means, if you can tell me more or expand on something, I'm always learning, and you can post away.

Still, someone asked me about it, and if she has that question, it might be on someone else's mind as well.  After all, a search on the fashion mostly leads to either a little blurb about what it is, a ton of people who reposted that silly article about one woman who couldn't control her spending and depended on her parents to take care of her just to buy Jesus Diamante, or a person who read that silly article and now has a negative view on the whole fashion.  Seriously, who wants to be associated to that?  I remember reading all of those things and for a while feeling bad that this was the fashion I chose to follow....

So I guess I'll start with the misconceptions I've noticed around.

Number one, we are not stuck up rich girls, or wannabe stuck up rich girls who have nothing better to do than to buy things!
Seriously, after reading like 8 different blogs of people who either really believe that's the case, or those from the Great Lolita-Gyaru Wars that apparently exists who say that's how we are, it's enough to make me want to pull out my nice, freshly coiffed curly hair extensions, lol.

No, it's not true.  Just like people who are into Lolita, or people who collect ball joint dolls, or even people who build cars for fun.  We are not all rich.  We do not all act rich.  We are just normal girls who fell for an offbeat fashion.  Maybe we were drawn to the opulence, maybe we wanted to add a touch of elegance to our lives, or maybe we just really liked floral dresses and tiaras.

Lots of us probably work for minimum wage and save up for months to a year to get those ultra expensive Jesus Diamante dresses.  We might even get them second hand.  Maybe some of us don't even like Jesus Diamante.

There are of course exceptions, but they are definitely not the norm!  There are sweet Lolitas who are extremely sweet, and some who are total jerks.  There are Goths who are serious and anti social, and some who are friendly and fun.  There are Ganguros who are outrageous and crazy, and some who are shy and reserved.  Even I used to be a bit of a tomboy, yet I fell into this, an incredibly girly fashion.  Meanwhile, there's another girl who was always girly, and felt this fashion was too pretty to pass up.  Don't let that one mean Hime person out there be the mascot of us all!

Number two, we don't have to act like princesses, and we might not want to!  My friend said she liked how many of the Hime-Gyarus seemed to have a demure personality, which she was hoping for when she followed Lolita--a fashion that is an extension of who she is.

Again, this was major thing that drew me to the fashion, that I had a fashion that fit who I was inside, but not everyone is like that.  This goes with every fashion.  Some think of fashion as a lifestyle or a part of their lifestyle, some think of it as just more pretty outfits to wear, and some love the fashion but have a completely different personality and therefore don't want to follow the lifestyle attached.  Point is, you can act like a proper lady wearing punk rock clothing, and you can be completely rude and 'unlady-like' dressed like a princess.  We are free to decorate cakes and play football if we so desire.

Hime-kei (princess style) and Hime-kaji (princess casual) styles are under the Gyaru genre.  This means that the biggest part of the fashion is proper hair, makeup, and nails.  If none of these are done, you won't be considered a Gyaru.  This is basically what separates a Gyaru from a typical fashionable girl.  Hime-kei is no exception, and I notice this is one of the biggest differences between Hime-kei and Lolita.  In Lolita fashion, while, yes, hair, makeup, and nails are important, more important is putting together a proper ensemble with proper accessories.  If you're missing something like, say, a petticoat, you probably won't be considered Lolita.  Well, it's the other way around for Hime-kei (more emphasis on hair, makeup, and nails, less on clothes, while both are important).  It has nothing to do with wearing a specific brand (though brand snobs out there will try to tell you otherwise), so, no, you don't have to relegate yourself to only buying at La Pafait, Jesus Diamante, Yumetenbo, or whatever 'super popular amazing Hime store every Hime ever buys at' out there.  Just make sure you've styled yourself appropriately!

I've already talked about what I've gathered about Hime dresses in another entry, so I'll talk about extras.  Accessories are usually very decadent, involving things like roses, pearls, lace, and diamonds.  Hair accessories are especially invaluable to the Hime-Gyaru, as they not only tie the style together, but they can also hide that little part between real hair/fringe piece and hair piece.  Other accessories like necklaces are usually done simply, opting for a choker, a bracelet, and a ring instead of multiple pieces.  High heeled shoes always go all out.  They're usually covered in lace, bows, fur, flowers, gems, anything to make them look extravagant.  I find that kind of funny, that the hair is so over-the-top, the nails are over-the-top, and the shoes are over-the-top, with everything in between so subdued, lol.

The most popular hairstyle types are usually long and curly, with a bouffant and "Hime bangs".  However, don't feel you have to be trapped by that, and don't let anyone else convince you that that's how it has to be either.  There are plenty of short hair styles and straight hairstyles for those who can't do curly styles, as well as hair pieces specifically made for achieving these styles.  Blonde and Milk Tea Brown are still popular colors for Hime-Gyarus, but you can still be a brunette if you are one and don't want to damage your hair or wear a wig.  However, I'd still say you'd want to be on the lighter side.  This is because it's really hard to see all of the detail you put in your hair with just dark brown/"black" hair.  Take it from someone with natural black hair.  Having at least highlights would do wonders.  Oh, and invest in good hairspray.  If your hair is thick and heavy like mine, I'd suggest unscented Aqua Net at their 4th or 5th level.  It'll turn your hair into a helmet for sure, but you will never lose the hard work you put in it!  Plus you can find it for just a few dollars at your local store (at least in the US).  It held up hairstyles from the 50s, it held up hairstyles from the 80s, it'll hold up your hairstyle too.  If you don't have Aqua Net, I'd look to the scene folks for help.  They definitely know hairsprays.

My favorite resources to read up on Hime styles are older Ageha books (especially issues from 2007-early 2009), Betty, and Vanilla Girl magazines, but again, don't be pigeon-holed into that.  One of my favorite makeup inspirations is actually the Rokku-Gyaru Sakurina.  I think as long as you look princess-y, you're on the right track.

Listen to the critiques, and don't take it personally if someone just bluntly tells you that you're all wrong.   It can be discouraging, but like many of the fashions that came to us from Japan, they require a certain amount of effort, and if you want to get it right, you should listen to someone who knows.  Still, don't lose yourself in what they say.  When you stop enjoying yourself, it becomes a chore and you're less likely to want to follow it.  This is especially sad, because these are people who could potentially be really amazing in the fashion!  It's not an excuse to be lazy, but do explain why you chose to do something against the norm.  This will not only help define who you are and how you want to portray yourself, but it'll also help others focus in on a way to help you do better in what you want to accomplish.  The good ones will understand that you want to keep your individuality and personality and try to help, trust me.

And from that, don't be afraid to fail, and fail hard.
Unless you had good Gyaru friends to guide you, or lots of inspiration early on, I think we've all had that time when, surely we've hit our style right on the head....  I'm already a little embarrassed over my little profile picture, lol!   But don't be afraid of it!  We are all beginners at one point, and it's all too easy to rush in and believe you've got it down.  You've stared at that page in Egg for hours, and all you had was mascara and an eyeliner pencil, and you can't really curl your hair, but you did put it in a bun earlier, so it's kind of wavy....  This'll be enough, right?  I look just like page 54, right??  Haha, I think most of us newbies said that at least once and then realized how totally wrong we were.

I think the style seems easy to accomplish, because the clothes are things you can find in a regular store, and it's all just curly hair and eyeshadow.  The others make it look effortless.   You have no idea that they got up hours early to do their hair and makeup, and probably spent the night before picking out every detail of their coordinate.  That they've been practicing that particular makeup or hair style for months, just to get it right.

Don't let your first failure be your only.  If it helps, think about what you liked and didn't like about what you did, and then focus more on your weak points.  I had to start from scratch, so I'm taking each day to learn something and practice it.  It's time consuming, but the results will be worth it.  If your weakness is eyeshadow, gather pictures of the type of looks you want to go for, and ask for help if you need to.  If you can't seem to get that bouffant right, maybe go to a hairdresser and ask them what you'd suggest doing to accomplish the look.  Look up so many tutorials that you're seeing them in your dreams!  It might be embarrassing to mess up once in front of everyone, but it would be even worse if you let your fear of it completely stop you from trying again.  It may take a few days, it may take months, but don't let yourself get impatient and believe it won't happen.  Just take your time and keep your goal in mind.  Those before you didn't get it 100% perfect on the first try, and I'm sorry to say, you won't be the exception to that rule either, so chalk it up to inexperience, pick up your rat tail comb and blush brush, and try again.

But the biggest thing about being a Hime-Gyaru is that you have to be tough.
Actually, this goes for pretty much any fashion that's completely out there.

There will be people who will laugh at you.
There will be people who will call you names.
Even within the community, you will always be scrutinized, and should you not be at 100% even once, they will pounce all over you.

You could fight them or argue with them all you want, but this is a fact of life.  If you don't think you can handle any amount of ridicule, this isn't the fashion for you.

I don't really know the situation of what happened to my friend, whether there were just too many rules she felt they were pushing on her, or people were just completely mean to her, and I wish she had given me an e-mail to talk to her or something....  But all I can think is that she may have gotten wrapped up in a dream world of what the style really is, and I think she would have been disappointed to find that those same kind of people who pushed her from Lolita exist in this fashion too.  I really wish we could all live in a magical place  where the world's princesses could get together and support each other, but this is just not the case....

If the thought of being in a particular fashion makes you happy, don't be afraid of the negatives.  Treat them as a learning experience.  Use it to make yourself better.  Keep practicing and learning.  Teach yourself to ignore the hurtful words and embrace the compliments.  Actually, I think that last one can help in life in general.

This is not the end all to be all rule book of being a Hime-Gyaru.  Actually, treat it as more of an outline or guide.  This is everything I've learned all in one place.  But fashion is still fashion, so never be afraid to make it your own.  I guess at some point of customization, you'd have to stop calling it Hime-kei... but at least you'll be happy with yourself.

Friday, I had an interview for Half-Priced Books, after I left my application with them months ago.   I want to say I definitely hit it out of the park, but I'm not really sure.  This job is waaaaaay higher than I originally classed it to be, from the starting hourly rates, to the 1 hour paid lunch.  I was expecting another GameStop deal, but with books, lol.

I'm a little nervous that I didn't look nearly as excited as I should have, in trying to look professional.  Seriously, when the assistant manager said "The starting pay is $8.50. I know that isn't much, but...." all I could think was "OMG, I wasn't making anywhere near that at GS, and I was there for 3 years!  In fact, if I was still working there, I bet I would still be under that!!"  Everything they told me made me like the opening more.

I'm so excited about it, that I'm having dreams about it, when I've never had dreams about a job after an interview.  But I'm trying not to get excited.  It's easy to get wrapped up in feeling like you've already got the job, like no one else could possibly be better than me for the job, and it's really disheartening to find out 3 weeks later they've long since chosen someone else.   I've got to keep grounded.  Being a finalist doesn't guarantee a win.

....But I really, really hope I get this amazing job.  So much organization to do~  So many books to get~~  Ah!  Maybe that's why I haven't had much luck in the job department; I had to wait for this job to come around.  I missed my chance first time they hired, and I was given another chance just months later.   It's a sign from above!


  1. This was an amazing post. Though I'm not Hime I feel this can be put to other gal styles as well. Very inspirational and well written. I also hope you get the job!

  2. Thank you so much! I'm really glad you could get use out of it. <3 And thank you, I hope I get it as well!

  3. Good luck with your job! I also need to land a new job... clothes aren't cheap, and my money isn't exactly growing on trees!

    I think its interesting how people see clothes as a marker of personality. I can come up with a dozen of different stereotypes for all sorts of fashions, Eastern and Western. I feel like those stereotypes prevent people from actually trying out the styles that they want to.

    Imagine a fifteen year old girl. She loves the look of himekei, thinks its gorgeous and elegant and everything she'd want to be. But she's super shy, and comes from a lower income family, and so she thinks the style isn't for her. Now we've lost one potentially great himegyaru!

    The challenge is this: how do we overcome the personality stereotypes of a certain style?

  4. Thank you! I wish you luck in finding a job as well. A job that will make you happy, especially~<3

    I think all we can do is spread the word. I, too, once went through a good part of my life believing that you had to be a certain way to even be allowed to approach something like this. I didn't think I was pretty enough, I thought it was too difficult to start, I thought I'd be made fun of, etc.... It took a series of serious events in my life to show me that if I continued to hold myself back, I not only would never be truly happy, but it would start to affect my mental health. I only hope the next Gyaru out there doesn't have to go through nearly what I did to come to the same conclusion!

    So, all we can do is keep informing others. Show who we are and where we came from, and let them know that no matter where they are in life or the situation they're in, they can go anywhere with a little effort. We won't reach everyone, but eventually someone will come around looking for answers. As long as we're always true to ourselves, those few will realize they don't have to give up who they are to enjoy this or any style.

  5. This was so inspirational! <3 I adore your writing ability :) totally won my giveaway!

  6. Thank you~!! That means a lot coming from you!

    Also, I think you may have confused me for someone else? Unless I've won a secret giveaway!