My style reinvention, brought to you by my anime style icons
I like to think I’m not consumed by any one obsession. Sure, I'm interested in niche hobbies every once in a while, but never obsessed. At least, I thought this until I began noticing my Pinterest boards filled with endless posts dedicated to anime outfit inspirations and Japan-coded aesthetics. Accompanied by an algorithm infested with anime recommendations left and right, I guess you could say I’m somewhere on the spectrum of obsession. But am I bothered by it? Not as much as I thought I would be.
When I think back to the time my style philosophies began to develop, I go back to my 18-year-old self and coincidentally remember it being the same time my journey into the world of anime began. As a newborn weeb, my naivety got the better of me as I assumed all anime characters simply wore their school uniforms and yukatas everywhere they went, but boy was I wrong! I suddenly found myself fixated not just on the insane world-building and storytelling of these shows, but also on the intricate details in the characters’ outfits. So, with both fashion and anime colliding, I ran straight into the open arms of my anime style icons who inspired much of my daily wardrobe choices and styling philosophies today.
From lolita pinks to grunge blacks, anime fashion has so many different aesthetics to offer. I, for one, found myself gravitating to a rendition of the femme fatale in the anime world, specifically in Misato Katsuragi (from Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Nana Osaki (from Nana).
Both powerful females in their own ways, Misato and Nana are symbols of bold femininity in their personalities and style choices. Making excellent use of red accent colors adds depth to an otherwise all-black outfit, they represent the notions of power, sex and a whole lot of feminine energy—which is everything a femme fatale is and more!
Various anime make good use of this color theory to set the tone of what certain characters are about to bring to the story's plot. And maybe it’s because of how much I love Misato and Nana’s narratives that I also gravitated to adapting similar color theories in my personal style. Misato, a brilliant, relatable, daddy-issue-infested girl boss, and Nana, a talented musician and fiercely loyal friend, are both characters that I deeply resonate with and find myself making my home screen wallpapers from time to time—yes, our bond goes that deep.
And so, as their looks use red accents to highlight feminine power, I have also subconsciously begun dressing like them to outwardly express my oneness with the version of womanhood they’re serving. A bold woman who does not define sexiness in her body but in her mind and does whatever she can for the ones she loves—I stand by her and embody her from the inside out. And, as funny as it sounds, it’s in my allyship with Misato and Nana and this shared choice in wardrobe that somehow draws me closer to this idea of womanhood each day.
My anime style icons have served a deeper purpose than just showing me how to put together a decent outfit but also how much my outfit choices subconsciously impact the lens I use to view myself as a woman, too. And so, yes, maybe I am obsessed with anime, and honestly, maybe that isn’t too bad!
Words Vanessa Tiong
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver