Dolly kei was a short-lived style from Japan in the early 2010s. [1] The style was highly influenced by European history and antique dolls. Fairy tales, Romani culture, and peasants of the Middle Ages are all highly influential to this style. [2] Dolly kei is not nearly as focused on brands as other Japanese styles, though many believe the style was a creation of the brand Grimoire. [3] While this style may still be worn today, it is considered an inactive style due to its incredible drop in popularity. It is rarely seen worn anymore, although its influence can still be seen in other styles. [4]

Dolly Kei is often confused with Cult Party Kei and Mori Girl.

Style BasicsEdit

Dolly kei does not have strict style guides. There is no set length or silhouette. While layering is very important to the style, it is not necessary for an outfit to be considered Dolly Kei. For an outfit to be considered Dolly Kei, it is important for the outfit to have an 'ethnic' or vintage look. A key part of the style is for the style's historical and cultural influences to be visible. [5]

Color Schemes Edit

Black and jewel tone colors are very common for Dolly Kei. Any colors that are commonly seen in ethnic patterns and Middle Ages tapestries are typical for the style. Sometimes light and pale colors and white are used in the style, however it is much less common.

Patterns and mixing of weight and textures are often used in the style. Embroidery, tapestry, fur, lace, tassels, and flowers are all popular elements. Items don't necessarily have to flow with one another - clashing items and patterns are actually encouraged.

Accessories Edit

Accessories tend to be on the larger side. This style is far from subtle - complex elements are used to draw the eye in. Handmade and vintage items are king - this style prides itself on the more well worn and visibly handmade an item is. Unique and one-of-a-kind items are highly encouraged.

Some may argue that accessories are the most important part of the style. There is no limit or requirement to how many accessories are needed for the style, but it is popular to wear many different accessories at once. Dolly Kei almost has a cluttered look to it at times in some outfits. The more elaborate and fancy the accessories are, the better.

Hairstyles Edit

Hairstyles are natural and simple. Wavy hair, braids, and simple updos are commonly seen. Hair colors tend to stay on the darker side of natural colors - black, brown and dark shades of red.

Makeup Edit

Makeup is almost always natural. Thick lashes and heavy blush is common, but not necessary.

Shoes Edit

There is no real restriction or limitations when it comes to footwear, but simple and vintage looking shoes are more commonly worn with the style. Victorian-style shoes and mary jane shoes are popular for the style. Handmade items are not limited to just clothing and accessories - sometimes handmade shoes are worn as well.

Brands & ShopsEdit


External LinksEdit

  1. Information determined from the creation of the store Grimoire
  2. Strange Girl - What is Dolly Kei?, and Grimoire Shibuya – Japanese Dolly-kei & Vintage Fashion Wonderland
  3. Grimoire Cont.
  4. Information determined from a lack of resources and photographs of Dolly Kei in Japan and abroad
  5. Strange and Grimoire Cont.
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