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What is Ouji Fashion? Evolution History & Various Substyles

Ouji fashion, also known as “boy style,” is a potent blend of youthful exuberance and Victorian sophistication. Borrowing its name from the Japanese term for “prince,” Ouji has been captivating fashion enthusiasts for decades. In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll trace the evolution of Ouji fashion, mapping its journey from late 90s Tokyo to its dynamic presence in today’s global fashion scene.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ouji fashion, you’re in for a real treat!

What is Ouji Fashion

Steeped in Japanese origin, Ouji fashion is an alternative fashion genre that fuses youthful, boyish appeal with Victorian charm. As the term “Ouji” translates to “prince” in English, it’s easy to discern the royal influences this fashion stream draws upon. This style is the fashion-forward cousin of styles such as Aristocrat, Dandy, and Lolita fashion. It deviates from the elegance and refined look typical of Aristocrat and Dandy fashion, preferring a youthful, sprightly appearance akin to a young Victorian prince.

Ouji fashion isn’t restricted to any gender. Its fluidity allows anyone, regardless of their gender, to don the attire and present a more masculine appearance. A full Ouji ensemble, known as “coords” or “coordinates,” often includes unique details such as frills, lace, and asymmetrical cuts in shirts, waistcoats in single and double-breasted styles, and shorts or pants in various forms like pumpkin pants, dress pants, shorts, and breeches. The accessories like pocket watches, monocles, ties, hats, and canes also contribute to the distinctive charm of this fashion genre.

Fashion Gallery

Evolution History

Ouji fashion’s roots trace back to the late 90s and early 2000s in Japan, where it emerged as the masculine counterpart to Lolita fashion. The term “Ouji,” meaning “prince,” closely mirrors the attire of Victorian-era boys. The term “kodona,” a fusion of the Japanese words for “kid” and “adult,” was originally employed by Western fans. However, it is not widely used today due to its limited recognition in Japan and the potential for misleading characterizations of the style.

In its early stages, Ouji fashion borrowed significantly from the aesthetics of Victorian fashion. Drawing on clothing styles of the 18th and 19th centuries, it particularly found inspiration in British Victorian fashion and included elements of Rococo influence. As the style evolved, Ouji fashion began to incorporate different substyles, with Gothic Ouji being one of the earliest.

With the passage of time, Ouji fashion diversified into several other substyles like Sweet Ouji, Classic Ouji, Qi Ouji, Punk Ouji, etc. These substyles allowed Ouji fashion to cater to various fashion tastes and preferences while staying true to its roots.

Although Ouji fashion is inherently boyish, it transcends gender boundaries, allowing anyone to adopt the style. Over the years, Ouji fashion has gained international recognition and has seeped into various media forms, including TV shows, video games, and books.

Substyles of Ouji Fashion

Gothic Ouji

Putumayo clothes in Gothic & Lolita Bible, Vol.20 (Ouji on the left)
Putumayo clothes in Gothic & Lolita Bible, Vol.20 (Ouji on the left)

Gothic Ouji is a distinctive substyle of Ouji fashion, which blends the boyish charm of Ouji with the dark and elegant aesthetics of Gothic fashion. This unique combination offers a visually striking look that has become popular within alternative fashion communities.

One of the key aspects of Gothic Ouji is its color palette. Predominantly black, it often includes accents in white, red, blue, purple, or green. Certain shades, like burgundy and crimson, are particularly popular due to their dramatic and gothic connotations. Silver accessories are the most common in Gothic Ouji, complementing the predominantly dark color scheme.

The motif usage in Gothic Ouji also sets it apart. Frequent themes include cross imagery, bat wings, and vampire aesthetics, often depicted in accessories and clothing details. It’s not unusual to find gothic cross necklaces, chains, or clothing adorned with bat wing details in a typical Gothic Ouji ensemble. These elements serve to deepen the Gothic theme within the Ouji style.

Sweet Ouji

History Wear from Ozz On Japan
History Wear from Ozz On Japan

Sweet Ouji is a delightful substyle of Ouji fashion. It incorporates the youthfulness and princely charm of Ouji, but with a whimsical twist often associated with the Sweet Lolita style.

Clothing pieces in the Sweet Ouji style usually consist of pumpkin pants or other puffy short pants, and the color scheme can vary from pastel hues to more neutral shades. Jackets worn in this style tend to be shorter, contributing to a less formal aesthetic.

One striking feature of Sweet Ouji fashion is the generous use of accessories. Ribbons and lace are frequently used, along with motifs such as stars, hearts, and sweets. Mini-hats and berets are also popular, adding a playful element to the ensemble.

Classic Ouji

Ouji fashion model 5

Classic Ouji is an embodiment of the quintessential “prince” aesthetic in the realm of Ouji fashion. Most Ouji looks that are not sweet or gothic can be seen as Classic Ouji.

A key element of Classic Ouji lies in its silhouette and structure. Pants in Classic Ouji style are typically knee-length or longer, often tailored to create a dignified look. Jackets and vests are also integral, usually waist-length or longer, enhancing the regal appeal of the ensemble.

Headgear plays a prominent role in Classic Ouji, with full-size hats often employed. Tricorns, bicorns, and cavalier hats, inspired by historical fashions, are frequently used, lending an air of authenticity to the look.

Classic Ouji often harmonizes with Classic Lolita, particularly in the Western context, through the use of neutral colors and jewel tones. Materials like chiffon and gobelin, as well as patterns such as florals, jacquards, and lace, often highlight the classic appeal of the outfit.

Punk Ouji

2011 Collection from h.Naoto
2011 Collection from h.Naoto

Punk Ouji marries the rebellious spirit of punk with the regal charm of the Ouji aesthetic.

The essence of Punk Ouji lies in the incorporation of elements traditionally associated with punk culture. Chains and buckles are pretty common in the outfits, lending a rebellious and edgy vibe to the regal Ouji attire. These details can be found in various parts of the ensemble, from clothing items to accessories.

Punk Ouji also often showcases distressed hems and exposed seams, two hallmark features of punk fashion. These details intentionally defy the conventional norms of neatness and perfection in attire, reflecting the punk vibe against societal standards.

Old School Ouji

Gothic & Lolita Bible, Vol.10
In Gothic & Lolita Bible, Vol.10, we can see the high platform shoes of early Ouji outfits (left page)

Old School Ouji is a substyle that harks back to the origins of the Ouji fashion genre, reflecting the style seen in early street snaps from the 90s and early 2000s. This period of Ouji, while nostalgic and much-loved, was characterized by a somewhat blocky, mismatched aesthetic compared to the more coordinated looks of today.

In terms of color schemes, Old School Ouji outfits were predominantly black and white. This monochromatic palette served to highlight the textures and designs of the clothing, and it remains an iconic aspect of the old-school approach.

The footwear in Old School Ouji is notable for its distinctiveness. Chunky shoes with platforms were the standard, memorizing the avant-garde spirit of the early Ouji fashion scene.

Some Other Substyles

Absolutely, the versatility of Ouji fashion doesn’t stop at these substyles. The ones introduced above represent just a fraction of the creative potential inherent in this fashion trend. Many enthusiasts of Ouji fashion take it upon themselves to innovate and create their own unique substyles, adding personal touches or mixing elements from different inspirations. Here are some other fascinating substyles within Ouji fashion:

  1. Qi Ouji: This substyle draws from Qi Lolita, a form of Lolita that integrates elements of traditional Chinese clothing into its fashion. Similarly, Qi Ouji outfits incorporate components from Chinese heritage, such as silhouettes from Hanfu or Qipao, alongside the typical Ouji elements.
  2. Wa Ouji: Wa Ouji, analogous to Wa Lolita, melds traditional Japanese clothing elements into its ensemble. It could include elements such as Kimono-like fabric patterns, obi-inspired belts, and other details reminiscent of Japanese culture.
  3. Steampunk Ouji: As the name suggests, Steampunk Ouji integrates elements from the Steampunk genre. This style is characterized by its thematic inclusion of Victorian-era machinery and motifs, such as cogs, gears, and goggles.
  4. Circus Ouji: This substyle is whimsically inspired by clown or circus themes. In Circus Ouji, you often see a dominant color palette of red, black, and white, and the frequent use of patterns and motifs like harlequin designs and playing cards. Clown-inspired makeup can also be a fun part of this substyle, creating an ensemble that’s playful yet still in line with Ouji fashion’s dashing style.

The spirit of innovation and the enthusiasm of fans keep the Ouji fashion scene constantly evolving. As trends come and go, new styles emerge, inspired by diverse cultural, historical, or thematic influences. From blending elements of different fashion eras to incorporating aspects of various global cultures, the possibilities in Ouji fashion are as endless as they are exciting.

Final Words

Dear readers, we are humbled by your feedback that our previous piece of this article contains a few inaccuracies. We’re committed to providing accurate, in-depth, and engaging content, so we made sure to revisit Ouji fashion and come up with this revised article.

Our exploration of Ouji fashion would not have been possible without your invaluable feedback. We’re continually learning and refining our understanding of diverse fashion cultures, and it’s our pleasure to share this journey with you.

This article is our attempt to encapsulate the mesmerizing and intricate world of Ouji fashion more accurately and inclusively. We hope we have managed to convey the charm and versatility of Ouji fashion, from its history and evolution to its wide array of stunning substyles.

As we part ways for now, remember that the world of Ouji fashion is an exciting, boundless playground. Let your creativity run wild, and don’t hesitate to put your own spin on these princely styles. After all, in Ouji fashion, you are the prince or princess of your own narrative.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or ideas~ We are always here to exchange brilliant thoughts! If you want to learn more about Japanese fashion and culture, welcome to our “Japanese Fashion” channel. 


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