Do Substyles Help or Hinder Us?

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See the pictures below? I didn’t know it was gyaru, which sounds so incredibly silly, doesn’t it? I’ve been gyaru for nearly 10 years – how can I not know if it was gyaru or not? It all boils down to one reason: I just don’t know what substyle it fits into.

Gyaru substyles have been the pillars of our community and really helped me progress in my gyaru journey. If I wanted to do rokku, I would look up rokku gyaru as inspiration; if I wanted to do himekaji, I would look up himekaji. There were so many images online of all of these different styles that I soon began to try out each one and blog about my thoughts on it. It made it so much easier to put a label on myself, especially during 2014-2016 when I only wore agejo gyaru, and allowed me to fit in with others who shared the same style. It was just so easy and I loved how versatile gyaru was (and is) because of all of the styles it houses. It reminded me of Harry Potter in the sense where people were grouped together based on their personalities, and that we gyaru tend to group ourselves into a certain substyle from time-to-time.

But it can be a bloody pain because sometimes I just want to wear whatever I want without having to think, “But wait… this doesn’t really fit into a sub-style… So is it even gyaru?” I’ve always preached that it doesn’t matter what you wore as long as your hair and makeup was right, so – dare I say it – was there any real reason that we even have substyles? We shouldn’t have to doubt our “gyaru-ness” purely because our clothes don’t quite fit into a certain area. As long as we have the overall gyaru aesthetic, we should be fine, right? And isn’t one of the key things about gyaru is about being on-trend and making it into your own unique style? Can we do that if we’re trying desperately to fit into a certain category?

top: boohoo (similar) / jeans: boohoo (similar) / shoes: quiz (similar)

Summer gyaru coord by hellolizziebee

Which brought me to question – do substyles really help us, or do they hinder our happiness? I don’t want to submit these photos and mumble in embarrassment, “lol it’s not really gyaru but I liked it…” all because I can’t figure out if it’s really gyaru and not “normie” style. Or maybe I should just throw my hands up and call it “Lizzie-style”.

What do you think? Do Gyaru substyles help or hinder us?

Love,
Lizzie xx

What do you think?

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18 Comments
  • Amy
    May 4, 2020

    I like calling it Lizzie style! And I think sometimes Western J-fashion communities can be stricter with style categories and rules compared to gyaru in Japan (?) the only ‘categories’ I’ve heard Japanese gyaru models I follow call themselves recently were Ane, Tsuyome /Amame (strong /sweet) and some people like Yuka Tachibana call themselves ‘neo gal’ … as long as your makeup is gyaru then it’s fine right? let me know what you think because obvs I’m not a gyaru I’m just high key obsessed 😉

    • hellolizziebee
      May 4, 2020

      Awh thank you Amy, you’re so sweet! And yes you’re completely right. I think at the end of the day the substyles are just guidelines to support us if we need it but we shouldn’t let it restrict us from our personal style!

  • Kieli
    May 4, 2020

    In my most honest opinion….if you got the makeup and the hair, you can do whatever you want and call it Gyaru. I see the substyles are there for the bases. There for the ones that need a clarification. There for a starting ground. For whatever one would need them! You definitely need it as part of your learning Gyaru. But if we didn’t experiment we wouldn’t have had all the substyles that have existed! I know I needed them to get me started so I could see and learn about all I can about Gyaru. And Gyaru is so free!

    • hellolizziebee
      May 4, 2020

      Yessssss exactly! Agree with you, 100%. They’re really good if you want to learn more about the different looks you can achieve! I’m so glad we’re on the same page. I find myself getting too caught in substyles sometimes!

    • Koko
      May 4, 2020

      I totally agree! I feel like my makeup is pretty gyaru (I’m trying with the hair lol) most of my outfits have hints of old school gyaru but if you look at my feed it’s very mix and match! Especially since I’m not gyaru 24/7 💕

  • Sophie Wentworth
    May 4, 2020

    This was an interesting read, as always! I think your outfit is really cute, whether it fits a certain style or not. And I think sub-styles are great for any kind of trend/ style for inspiration and are fun to play around with, but it shouldn’t limit what you wear all the time. As long as you’re happy and comfortable in what you’re in and how you present yourself nothing else really matters x

    Sophie

  • Lea
    May 5, 2020

    I think substyles are a great help to those that want to do something specific as well as to beginners… however if you know how to do to the makeup and look the part, you don’t have to stick to a specific substyle! I don’t really know what style of gyaru I was in the beginning, but thinking back maybe I could just call myself gyarukei? But I don’t know how strict people are on what gyaru kei is hahahaha

    • Lea
      May 5, 2020

      Ok, it feels VERY awkward to have Emi’s photo to my comment hahahaha

    • hellolizziebee
      May 5, 2020

      Yes, that’s exactly how I feel! But yeah I just label everything that doesn’t “fit” into a substyle just gyaru-kei but sometimes I wonder if we even need the “kei” part haha

  • Piper Hill
    May 5, 2020

    Let’s go with Lizzie style! I think it some instances it can help but I also think people can get way too carried away with staying ‘on brand’. You look awesome in this outfit and it doesn’t matter what substyle you fit into. It’s you and it’s what you want to wear. Great post!

    • hellolizziebee
      May 5, 2020

      Awh thank you! But yes you’ve hit the nail on the head. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Luna
    May 6, 2020

    I feel that! I wear lolita fashion and I have a lot of outfits that would fall into more of a general lolita and it can hard to try to describe what “kind” of lolita I am

    • hellolizziebee
      May 6, 2020

      Ah yes I can understand that that could be quite frustrating!

  • Amiman♥
    May 6, 2020

    When I saw the title I sat back and said “wait…..she’s got a point”. (¯ . ¯;) Like I knew exactly where you were coming from! I’ve had those thoughts of “is this gyaru” many times. But I also fully agree with your point of “if the hair / makeup is there” then it’s Gyaru. Substyles are great, but I see them in the same light as brands: nice but not necessary or required. Sometimes I just have to remind myself!

    • hellolizziebee
      May 6, 2020

      Yes exactly! I feel like recently I’ve been really bogged down with needing to fit into a category somewhere because I’ve been wearing a lot more “casual” clothes, but I need to remember that EGG models didn’t put themselves into a particular substyle… They just wore clothes and rocked it!

  • Jenny in Neverland
    May 6, 2020

    Of course I have no experience of this in the Gyaru context but I think in GENERAL, it’s a bit of both! I think it can help, especially educate those who need a bit more information. I bloody LOVE your outfit in these photos by the way! ❤ xxx