Discovering ‘dark mori kei’


Having written last week’s post on how to discover your personal aesthetic, I couldn’t resist doing some more work on my own.

I’m not sure quite how, but over the weekend I ended up stumbling over ‘dark mori kei’ (dark forest style) and found myself suddenly and unexpectedly at home. The rest of the weekend and a lot of my spare time since has disappeared in a haze of pictures, inspiration, and wardrobe re-evaluation.

The original (non-dark) ‘mori kei’ (forest style) is a Japanese street fashion style which emerged in 2007 in Harajuku, Tokyo. A ‘mori girl’ imagines that she lives in a sunlit forest. She wears natural colours and fibres in loose fitting styles and soft colours.

I had come across this style before, but dismissed it as too pale and too girly for me (mainly because it is!).

‘Dark mori’ was a new discovery. It is closely related to the original mori kei, but instead of sunlit woods and cute animals, this is the forest at night, with witches and wolves and strange shadows in the moonlight. A ‘dark mori girl’ still wears layers and natural fibres, but in black, grey, dark brown and jewel tones. This is much more my style! (Though I like sunlit woods and cute animals, too).

But I am no longer a girl. Harajuku styles are appropriate for teens and 20-somethings. They tend to suit slight youthful figures with limited curvature. As a curvaceous 40-something, they really do not look any good on me! And they’re also not really suitable for my office-bound day job…

So, I wondered, how could I adapt this style to suit me? What might a dark mori girl grow up to be?

The dark mori woman (deep forest woman) I want to be is the wolf who raises her cubs to be strong, but gentle leaders for their pack; the wise woman who takes on a young apprentice and trains her in the ways of the wild woods. Fierce, strong, wild, yet gentle.  She takes time to mentor the next generation and cares deeply for her forest. She is comfortable in herself, but is not always comfortable to be around, because she sees a little further than most.

How this translates aesthetically is a fun challenge for me. I’m still working on it… but I have had some ideas…

I started with a new wardrobe mood board on Pinterest. I was interested in the development from my last year’s mood board: this year there’s a lot more nature and green, and less industrial architecture. It has a slightly gentler, less dramatic feel to me. I have also started a board of dark mori pics where I’m collecting images of this aesthetic to inspire me. I’ve also spent a bit of time *cough* on Etsy, revamping my Favourites and Winter wardrobe collections. The wardrobe collection definitely needs more work to reflect what I actually need to wear for work as well as leisure. It’s gotten a little too casual…

Clothing-wise, I think my inner deep forest woman will still stick to dark colours and layers of natural fibres. I think she is comfortable enough with her grown woman’s body to wear more form-fitting clothes, but still has penchant for wide skirts (and may even wear wide-leg trousers). She chooses when and how to show her figure to suit herself. Comfy boots and a good warm coat are still necessities. And she has a mostly natural approach to her hair and make-up (with maybe the odd green or purple streak).

Her home is full of plants, green, wood furniture, animals, comfy couches, and interesting books and art. There may be a gargoyle or skull in the corner, and there will always be tea available!

So, that is where I’ve got to for now – this is still (as always) a work in progress…

How about you? Where have your discoveries led you? I’d love to see your mood boards (HINT!), so I invite you to share a link or two here or on Facebook.

And if you’re interested in mori or dark mori kei, here’s links to some sites I’ve found useful and inspiring:

Mori kei

Dark mori kei

Pinterest boards:


Author: verdant1

belly dancer, mother, student, public servant, shaman, knitter, sister, feminist, gardener and a lot more...

2 thoughts on “Discovering ‘dark mori kei’”

    1. That’s good to hear. I do like the flexibility layering gives you, both for self-expression and temperature control. And the style certainly has a strong woody quality that could appeal to one’s inner (or outer) druid 😉


Come and join the conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s