Friday, August 28, 2015

Natural Kei Wardrobe Staples

The first step to building a wardrobe for natural kei is to identify and acquire the basic pieces you'll need.  Choose a base color (like black, beige, or ivory) and a color palette to work with and buy things that match.  In theory, I'm a "light summer" so my color palette should be within that range, but I ultimately decide based on my own preferences.

Here's a breakdown of the basic pieces that you use for the many-layered look that is natural kei. ♥

The first layer in an outfit is often a simple midi-length sleeveless dress.  It's not printed but might have a few interesting construction details or lace trim.  Vintage slips work for this too!

A sleeveless dress that can be worn with a blouse or cutsew underneath, similar to a jumperskirt in lolita fashion.  It can be from knee-length to maxi.  Some of them can unbutton in the front, so they can be layered over a skirt/top combo or another dress.  A cardigan can be worn over it to add sleeves.

A dress with sleeves that can be worn over other items like an underskirt or slip.  Many of them unbutton in the front to reveal layers underneath.  They are knee-length to maxi and tend to have prints and/or more elaborate design features.

Skirts in natural kei tend to be very full tiered or ruffled skirts, although simple A-line designs are also used in more casual looks.  They are knee to maxi length and may have a variety of design features such as pin tucks, small ruffles, or even quilting.  Many unbutton in the front so they can be worn over an underskirt.

It looks like it's somewhere between a blouse and a dress.  The length typically falls between hip and mid-thigh, making it an ideal modest top to wear with pants.  A vest can be worn over it to add interest and maintain the visual flow of the outfit.


Blouses are generally worn with a skirt or under a jumper-dress.  They tend to have prints only when they're designed as a set with a printed skirt.


A sleeveless top that is worn open in the front, usually over a dress or tunic.

A knit top, usually jersey material, which can be used similarly to a blouse but more casual.  As the name implies, it's cut and sewn instead of knitted to shape like a cardigan.


It's a sweater that buttons up the front.  They tend to have interesting knits like pointelle, raschel, or even the alternating rib and diamond patterned knit below.  Crochet details sometimes are added on.

Pants in natural kei are often capri or cropped length and details tend to be concentrated below the knee.  They sometimes have patches or embroidery to add interest.  Many are hemmed with lace and/or ruffles.  There are denim and khaki pants that tend to be worn with tunics, and there are also long bloomers and leggings which tend to be worn under dresses or skirts.


Although not an absolute necessity, they tend to add a certain charm to the look.  Since natural kei is more of an everyday fashion, they can be worn when doing housework to add a protective layer or hold small items (they often have a front pocket).

A versatile accessory.  They can be fake flowers, berries, wreaths, or even tiny crocheted teddy bears.  They pin or clip on to an outfit to add interest and can also be worn in the hair or on a bag.


Ankle socks and crew socks are popular, but as long as it matches, you're good to go.  Natural kei shoes are always comfortable.  Popular styles are clogs, platform sandals, and Converse or Keds style sneakers.  Flats with interesting details can be worn as well.

There you have it!  You can dress it up or down and accessorize however you want.  I'm still getting the hang of this style of layering, but it should get easier as I build my wardrobe.  Here are some examples of layering natural kei items for a complete look.  I'll be adding more of my own later.

1 comment:

  1. This style is really beautiful! Good lucky building your new wardrobe :D