It’s not unusual to search for clothes from Japan only to see that they are “one-size” – as in, “one size fits all”. Now we know that one size doesn’t really fit all, and that people come in all shapes and sizes which is why I wanted to have a chat with Danielle, co-leader of QueenE gyarusa, on her top tips on how to do gyaru for plus-size gals!
Hey Danielle! Thank you so much for joining me today. I wanna’ start how I start all of my interviews – what’s your gyaru story?
I found out about gyaru through my friend Cecelia, who wore lolita at the time, and she showed me hime gyaru. I fell in love but didn’t think I could ever do it! Then some lovely girls at Hyper Japan were offering makeovers and put lashes on me for the first time and I never looked back!
Aaah that’s so amazing! How long ago was that?
That was actually eight years ago! I’ve only really entered the gal comm about three or four years ago though.
Wow that’s quite a while ago – and hime gyaru was my introductory style, too! What made you fall in love with it?
I’d always loved princesses and very feminine elaborate outfits and it was the perfect way to be that princess. The coords I saw looked exactly how I would want to look in my imagination and I just felt like I needed to wear that style.
And how did you go about wearing it? Did you have any struggles being plus-size (especially with the whole “one size” thing)?
I did have a lot of struggles in the beginning. I couldn’t afford gal brand, and even if I could, even at my smallest I could never have worn La Pafait or Jesus Diamanté. I completely wrote hime gyaru off for a long time, I just accepted it would be impossible for me to wear. I did try other styles of gal that I could wear with different brands or offbrand clothes but my heart wasn’t in it. Eventually I realised the dresses I wanted to wear could be easily customised from offbrand dresses and once I’d made my first dress I never looked back.
Wow – that is so inspiring. I am so happy that you didn’t let the brands deter you from wanting to do what you love, especially in a Japanese fashion where models/shop staff have a certain body type. We need different body representations! So have you always known how to modify and create your own clothes or did you have to learn from scratch?
I think it really is important to remember that everyone deserves to look and feel beautiful in their body and I didn’t want to hold myself back just because of measurements! I actually am really terrible at sewing – I did Textiles for a while at school and my poor teacher despaired of me – but as I had been cosplaying for a while I had absorbed second-hand knowledge from friends who created their own costumes and were amazing seamstresses. My step-mum also knew a lot about sewing so she helped me out if I had any questions. The work I do is very basic and definitely not store quality but it does the job, and that’s all it needs to do for me. There are also hundreds of tutorials and YouTube videos that I watch when anything gets confusing.
Oooh that’s an absolutely brilliant idea! Especially when it comes to hime gyaru as it has a very set look. So let’s try and create a scenario here: there’s a new gaijin gyaru on the block who’s plus-size and really wants to get into gyaru. What kind of suggestions would you make for her?
If there was a new plus size gal entering the comm I’d probably suggest that she practice her makeup before anything else (I’d recommend this to any newbie), it has no size limits and you can get to grips with lashes and wear anything you want! After that, I’d suggest picking one substyle and narrowing down a few inspiration coordinates and then narrow THOSE down – for example, can you get a similar skirt online? Is there a shop in your town that sells shirts a little bit like that? After you’ve been in fashion a while it’s easy to build up your wardrobe, but when you’re beginning it’s fine to take it slow. And it saves spending lots of money on a style if you find out it’s not for you. And I’d advise them to always remember it’s attitude and make up that makes the gal, not the clothes!
Yessss I totally agree! Makeup ALWAYS comes first. And finding alternatives from local shops will be so much cheaper than buying Japanese brands… But what if they do want to buy Japanese brand?
If they do want to buy Japanese brands, I highly recommend looking for pieces that are over sized and double check the measurements, or find gals close to your size and see what they are wearing! I have pieces from Golds Infinity, d.i.a and Ghosts of Harlem that fit – Liz Lisa also does some plus-sized friendly clothing. Really I would just pay close attention to measurements.
Okay let’s quickly round up this post before we go; what are your top tips for plus-size gyaru?
- Don’t get too worried about clothing and brand – make up and attitude is where it’s at!
- If you want to wear any gal style, there are always ways to do it if you put your mind to it, whether it’s customising, offbrand or being savvy with your purchases
- Find some plus-sized inspiration – even outside of gal – and bring your own flavour to it
- Know that your size will never affect your gal-ness and you can inspire others too with your own gal style!
That’s so perfect! Gosh, thank you so much. Now quickly before you go – what’s your favourite dessert?
Ooh, my favourite dessert would be doughnuts!
What do you think? Are you plus size? What struggles do you face?