Kawaii is the word for cute in Japanese. It’s a big thing over there and has seeped it’s way into their whole culture, just as how being seen as sexy has seeped it’s way into western culture. It has a relatively small following in the west of people who want to look cute rather than sexy, I personally love the kawaii style. It’s really girly and looks just lovely. The only issue is that since it isn’t so popular over here, finding clothes of that style can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t know where to look.
Firstly, probably the way most of you are most familiar with shopping, the High Street. If you go with an open mind you can actually find some pretty good stuff. In general anything Pastel can probably work in a cute outfit, but dolly-like dresses will also look great.
If you go to a high street shop looking for something specific (Like a bear-eared powder blue fuzzy hoodie) you will almost definitely be disappointed. However, if you are just looking for clothes that can work in a kawaii style outfit then you have a reasonable chance of finding something. The same criteria also goes for Charity Shops too of course. (Which have the added bonus of being super cheap and for a good cause.)
Storenvy or Etsy are good options for online shopping. You can find a lot of stuff on Storenvy that’s straight from Japan or Korea, a lot of the time the store owner will basically act as the middle person for you and help you get the items from there. I personally think this is a lot less hassle then trying to figure out a shopping service that isn’t fluent in your first language, but you might have to pay more money for this convenience. Etsy is great for finding original handmade items that only you will have, (there a several shops like that on Storenvy too) and lots of store owners will make custom orders for you if you need a specific size or item.
eBay is probably my favourite option. You will have a hard time finding any brands on there but they do have cheap cute clothing that usually has reasonable shipping as well. If you can spend the extra time sifting through a bunch of random items you can find some really good stuff. It might take a while to arrive and be extra careful that you are sure what you are ordering before you get it, but all my experiences have been very good. When I have had a fault with items the seller has always been so kind and either sent me another or given me a full refund with no disputes. Obviously other people might have different experiences, but if you pay using PayPal you can file a claim to get your money back if the seller is not genuine.
TaoBao and Rakuten are basically the Chinese and Japanese versions of eBay. This means there is a lot more choice of clothing on there that would fit into Kawaii fashion and it’s mostly quite cheap. They even have some brands like DreamV (on Rakuten.) Sounds Ideal, right? There are a few drawbacks.
Personally, I have never got the hang of TaoBao. It’s in Chinese and while you could use Google Chrome to translate the page, I would always be worried that the translation was inaccurate or there would be other problems because of that. I find Rakuten far easier to use, though it does tend to be the slightly more costly of the two. You will need to use a shopping service to buy from TaoBao, (and possbily Rakuten, I’m not sure) which might be hard to organise.
The biggest issue though is the huge cost of shipping internationally. You have to pay for the shopping service, shipping and customs which sometimes means people pay more for the delivery than the cost of the actual item. Be aware of these costs and be sure you would be willing to pay that much for the items.
There are lots of sites that sell Asian fashion or Kawaii clothing specifically that you can use. Such as Yesstyle. However I would be careful with any of these websites. Sometimes a website that looks promising may be a scam, so always check reviews. Sometimes the quality may not be good or there may be other issues with your order. You can find genuine sites that offer good quality and prices on their clothes, I have heard some good reviews about Yesstyle (but also some negative) but I haven’t heard enough about these sites to recommend any to you.
If you are into a specific type of kawaii style (like lolita or Gyaru) then there will be a bunch of sites that are great for you. (Such as Bodyline for Lolita.) (For my quick quide to hime gyaru brands click here) I just don’t have the space to write a guide for specific styles in this entry! If you google ‘where to buy gyaru/lolita/etc’ I am sure there will be lots of blog entries for you to read that will help! Hopefully I can make my own guide soon too!
Click images for sources
*~*Hope my guide has been helpful to you! Good Luck*~*