Kawaii Aesthetic: How to Perfect the Style

The word “kawaii” means “cute” in Japanese, but kawaii culture and aesthetics are so much more than just adorableness. Manifesting cuteness and kawaii vibes can be a fun, creative way to express yourself through your personal style. The kawaii style has transcended time, embodying everything darling and adorable. 

There are a ton of ways to incorporate kawaii aesthetics into any aspect of your wardrobe! Soon, you’ll be all set to be the kawaii kyarakutā of your bubble pop dreams. Let’s get into the details of kawaii style!

The History of the Kawaii Style

Kawaii Beginnings

The subculture of kawaii and the mindset that goes along with it has only been around since the 1970s. In the 1970s, Japanese girls began writing using more rounded lettering (known as marumoji). What started out at first as simple changes in writing style gave birth to the beginnings of kawaii as we know it!

Historians and public figures hypothesized why Japanese women were gravitating toward what was deemed “cute.” The common consensus? Many Japanese women chose to begin rejecting the ideas of decades before. 

Marumoji quickly evolved into adorable stationery, pastel-colored items, and new (now iconic) characters, like the ones created by Sanrio. 

Kawaii in the 1980s

As the 1970s waned and the 1980s built up speed, kawaii culture was well on its way to establishing itself as a mainstay in Japan. Japanese pop idols such as Seiko Matsuda rose to iconic fame, bringing with them the adorable style of “kawaii.” 

Women in Japan chose to explore the idea that they could be more carefree and whimsical, instead of jumping straight into being mothers or wives. Kawaii can even be seen as a form of feminism!

Present-Day Kawaii Style

Here come the 1990s and 2000s, when kawaii mangas like NANA were beloved by fans, and the rise of the internet took the kawaii aesthetic worldwide. 

Let's take it back to the days of browsing the bookstore at the mall with your friends: You may remember kawaii style gracing the covers of FRUITS magazine (we definitely do!). By the 2000s, the world was taking notice of the sweet, darling kawaii aesthetic.

This brings us back to the present day, as we finish up our kawaii history lesson. Social media platforms like Instagram makes sharing and liking kawaii OOTD posts even more accessible! Social media influencers such as Haruka Kurebayashi, Risa Nakamura, and Pixielocks dominate the cute kawaii strata.

How can you perfect the kawaii aesthetic as effortlessly as them? We’ll let you in on our tips!

What Is the Kawaii Aesthetic?

When you think of the term “kawaii”, what comes to mind? Maybe what you’re imagining are pastel pinks, glitter, and flouncy dresses. Your thoughts could also be filled with tea parties and cat cafes! 

After all, kawaii is a large part of the culture of Japan. It makes sense that there are many ways of inhabiting kawaii style.

You may be wondering what most of these examples have in common. For something to be considered kawaii, it is often playful and adorable with whimsical attributes. Dressing to fit the kawaii aesthetic means keeping a sense of nostalgia and wonder. 

The pressures of everyday life can be such a drag sometimes. When we bring kawaii style into the mix, everything can seem just a little brighter!

What Clothing Styles are Considered Kawaii?

What makes clothing kawaii, anyway? When it comes to perfecting this specific style, we don’t want any mistakes in our kawaii wardrobe. Let’s get the basics of kawaii aesthetic down, and then you can fine-tune to reflect your personal style.

Pastel hues are a natural choice for kawaii clothing. Light pinks, purples, and blues can make for the perfect color palette. Even bold primary colors work well with the kawaii aesthetic because they feel dreamy. Black usually isn’t a clothing color that goes with the kawaii aesthetic, unless you are going for a punk kawaii look!

Kawaii style puts a lot of emphasis on whimsy and femininity. Taking this into consideration, dresses and skirts are a staple in any kawaii wardrobe. Materials like chiffon highlight frilly, ruffled dresses in a way that is synonymous with the kawaii aesthetic. There is a certain freedom to kawaii style, and lightweight clothing helps emphasize that!

Kawaii characters are plentiful in Japan, with loveable mascots even adorning street construction signage. It’s a no-brainer that including cute characters on your dresses, shirts, and sweatshirts is a great way of keepin’ it kawaii. 

The kawaii aesthetic praises adorableness, meaning pants are usually overlooked for tights or long socks. If you are really wanting to perfect kawaii style, light-colored tights, knee-high or thigh-high socks are the way to go. Pair them with dresses, skirts, or even shorts for a classic kawaii outfit. 

A big part of kawaii fashion includes layering, so have some fun mixing and matching! You can wear long-sleeved shirts under sheer chiffon tops, or pastel striped tights with a frilly dress. 

Grab all of your most adorable clothes and play around with them! You may just surprise yourself with what stylish outfits you come up with in front of your bedroom mirror.

How to Accessorize With a Kawaii Aesthetic

Now that you have some ideas on how to take your attire to the kawaii level, let’s start thinking about ways to accessorize your new outfits.

The concept of kawaii throws it back to playful innocence, meaning makeup looks are usually more understated. Foundations and concealers should be as natural as possible. In a similar vein, lipstick shades will want to be in the nude category. 

Try a kawaii lipstick trick! Put your lipstick on only the inner part of your top and bottom lips. Using a q-tip or your finger, gently blend the lipstick outwards toward the rest of your top and bottom lips. This gradient lipstick look is so kawaii!

Kawaii hairstyles can be diverse, so it’s up to you what fits your personality best! You can go for something more natural, like loose curls and blunt bangs. If you are seeking a hairstyle that turns heads, a salon visit may be in order. Coloring your hair in pastel tones will help you achieve the kawaii style like nothing else.

Once you have the kawaii hairstyle you’ve always dreamed of, you can take it up a notch with hair accessories. Cutesy headbands are never a bad idea — pom-poms and bows, oh my! We like big bows, and we cannot lie.

Perfecting Kawaii Style with MoeFlavor

Clothes that speak to the kawaii aesthetic aren’t limited to dresses and skirts. Even though a big aspect of kawaii is wholesomeness, kawaii style can be seductive, too!

Adorable animals go hand in hand with kawaii culture. Pay homage to the cuteness with our Cyber Bunny Set. The vinyl keeps things sexy, while the bunny ears bump up the kawaii factor.

Speaking of animals, we can’t deny that cows are high on the kawaii hierarchy list. Wondering how cows and lingerie could be a good match? 

Once you check out our Soft Spring Cow Set, you’ll wonder no longer. The sweetheart neckline of the fitted top is naturally flattering, and the ruffled sleeves are playfully sassy yet sweet. Throw on the Cow Ears Headband and you’re good to go!

Kawaii calls everything cute to mind. Soft colors fit the bill, so of course, this Sweet Talk Heart Ruffle Lingerie does, too. Heart patterns often decorate many outfits that are considered kawaii — why not a heart-shaped bra? 

Pleated details on this lingerie set give just the right amount of cute and sexy. Because this lingerie set comes with the collar, bra, underwear, waist piece, and shoulder strap, you have an entire outfit at your fingertips!

Flowing, lightweight fabrics are a staple in kawaii fashion. Our Angel Baby Doll Lingerie is a perfect example of this! There are subtle yet classic kawaii features on this lingerie outfit. Can you spot them? 

Hearts on the shoulder straps and a sweet pink bow around the waist are two of these darling details. Feather accents also have an elegant aura on this adorable piece. 

Kawaii Aesthetic: Style, Perfected!

One of the most fun things about curating your wardrobe to the kawaii aesthetic is that you get to change things up to make it your own! With these tools for perfecting kawaii style, you’ve naturally got the basics down. Mix and match, add some personal touches, and play with different items and accessories to let your personality shine. 

People of any size, identity, and ability can perfect kawaii style. Now go out there, grab some pastel sweaters, lingerie, or tights, and knock ‘em dead with your cuteness. That is what kawaii culture is all about!


Kawaii Meaning | Dictionary.com

Kyarakutā‎ (Japanese): Meaning, Synonyms, Translation | WordSense Dictionary

A Postwar Cultural History of Cuteness in Japan | Asian Studies