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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?
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?