Japanese Street Fashion: What Is the ‘Decora’ Style and How Does It Look?

  • As some people already know, there are many diverse street fashion styles that exist in Japan. For people outside of the country, they might find some of the fashion styles quite unusual, but they have many dedicated followers out there that think of it as a passion – a lifestyle even. One of the most unique street fashion styles in Japan is called Decora. The name “Decora” comes from the word “decoration,” and like most street fashion styles, it is now considered as one of Japan’s subcultures.

    History of Decora Style

    The Decora style first came around in the late ’90s and remained to be popular during the 2000s. It is quite famous both inside and outside of Japan, especially in Harajuku where it first originated.

    This style is best described as playful and child-like, but it is different from Lolita fashion. Lolita is inspired by the Victorian era, whereas Decora is inspired by cartoon characters from the ’80s. The style is also often called “Decora-chan,” which is said to originate from the Japanese pop idol, Tomoe Shinohara. She hosted some television shows and sang hit songs wearing fluffy petticoats and knee-high colored boots.

    Now, Decora is making a comeback with four subcategories: Casual Decora, Dark Decora, Decora-Lolita, and Pink Decora.

    Decora Style Fashion

    The clothing colors of this style are usually in shades of pink because it gives out a child-like and girly aura. Neon colors are also often worn by people sporting this style.

    Decora’s usual get-up may include a plain shirt (usually long-sleeved) or hoodie, tutu-like skirts, and layers of colorful clothing items like stockings, leg warmers, arm warmers, and knee-high socks. Their clothing items usually have prints inspired by ’80s cartoon characters like Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, Care Bears, and The Smurfs. As for their shoes, they usually wear Mary Jane shoes, sneakers, high-tops, or Dr. Martens boots!

    Essentially, the dress code for Decora is layers and bright colors! It’s all about the mishmash of varieties of colors and textures.

    Hair and Makeup

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    The Decora style usually entails no makeup to minimalistic makeup, in order to emphasize the child-like aura even more. Sometimes Decora girls wear patterned dental masks and band-aids with colorful patterns on the bridge of their nose. Some wear glitters, stickers, and crystals under their eyes in the shape of hearts, stars, etc. like a child would.

    Their hair is usually dyed in bright colors like orange, pink, blonde, or even combinations of two to three colors. After that, they will style it in simple pigtails, braids, or curls. Decora girls also wear playful and childish ribbons, clips, and bows in their hair. The more the better!


    The key to this look is to pile on as many bright-colored accessories as possible. Decora girls will wear bracelets, hair clips, necklaces, rings – just about any cute accessory, you name it.

    And the best part is that there is no such thing as “too much.” Decora will only stop piling on accessories when they feel like stopping, and not because of any limitation on how much they should wear. The Decora style gives out an air of innocence and playfulness. For them, dressing up is all about having fun.

    As Decora rose to popularity, more and more people liked this particular fashion style until it became one of Japan’s subculture. Now that you know all about it, it can be one of your flashy fashion choices, too!

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