There was always a part of me growing up that desired to stand out. I wanted to be expressive in the way I dressed, but felt stifled by societal pressures and family influences. My fashion style changed over the years from tomboy to goth and more. I was always trying to find myself, but nothing ever felt right until I learned about himekaji.
In 2017, I was feeling like I wanted to dress in more exciting and expressive ways. I was very influenced by Japanese culture and adored the styles seen in Harajuku street shots. For most of that year, I stuck to wearing what I would consider jfashion “starter” items: colorful circle skirts, cat stockings, frilly crop tops. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that style, but I felt like I was missing something. I just didn’t feel beautiful. I felt like my skinny, lanky body just didn’t look right in those clothes and it was causing body image issues for me.
Then, I stumbled upon this Liz Lisa dress on Depop and I instantly fell in love. The pattern, the waist details, everything about it spoke to me. I ended up purchasing the dress and a pair of matching shoes so I could easily create my first coordinate. I remember feeling so beautiful in this picture when I first put it all on. From there, I fell down the rabbit hole of himekaji, particularly obsessing over Liz Lisa.
Liz Lisa Otaku
In October of 2017, I went to Japan for the first time ever. We spent two weeks exploring Tokyo with a good friend of mine and I knew my prime destination was to visit the flagship Liz Lisa store on Takeshita Dori. I stepped in feeling like I was home. The beautiful floral decorations, the coordinates the shop staff were wearing, everything made me feel like I belonged. I remember going upstairs to the outlet floor and raiding the place of everything that looked cute, filing up multiple shopping bags. I still have the receipt from my first shopping trip there in my passport as a keepsake because it brings me joy to think of those memories at the store (especially since it’s closed now).
Liz Lisa was my introduction to himekaji and I only ever bought from that brand for a long time. I still primarily buy from Liz Lisa, but I didn’t really know of other stores in Japan that had the same style. I just fell in love with what it meant to be a a Liz Lisa girl. I was so inspired by the shop staff and the others online who wore the fashion.
I decided to create my fashion Instagram account not too long after getting into himekaji. I desperately wanted to be a Liz Lisa model so badly. I practically forced my fiance (only my boyfriend of a few years at the time) to photograph me in several outfits every weekend. I would throw all my money at new releases, jewelry, circle lenses, and more without discretion.
As mentioned in Being a Himekaji Princess with Mental Illness, I was secretly very miserable. Behind the smiles, the nice wardrobe, and daily posts, I was unhappy. I was putting all this pressure on myself to look perfect, to be Instagram famous. I would spend far too long photoshopping every single feature I thought made me ugly, eventually heavily relying on beauty filters. Though I mostly received amazing compliments and was often featured on Liz Lisa’s Instagram, I hyper-fixated on the negative comments I would receive. Being told by random trolls that I’m too skinny, my nose is crooked, my head is too big, my face is too photoshopped, my face is not photoshopped enough, it was too much.
The Journey Forward
After letting go of social media and my perfectionist instincts, I’ve been able to enjoy the fashion more than ever. At work, I’m able to dress as I please so I’m able to wear himekaji on a near-daily basis. I don’t feel the need to take photos of my coordinates for the world to critique because I truly am dressing up for myself. Getting to wear this fashion for myself and only myself is extremely empowering. I focus on buying pieces that I know I will love, whether they’ve been on my wishlist for a long time or really catch my eye as a new release. I also shop from a variety of stores but Liz Lisa will always stay my main love.
As I will be turning 30 next year, I don’t plan on quitting this fashion anytime soon. I’m very privileged to have a young-looking face thanks to genetics and my extensive skincare routine. I think women in their 30s are often pressured not to enjoy fashion styles that are targeted towards women in their 20s, but you know, fuck them. Excuse my language, but I’m going to dress how I want for as long as I want. If I want to be a princess in my 30s, I’m going to be a princess and there’s no one that can tell me otherwise.