Gyaru Chameleon:

“… Never stop experimenting.

Lizzie from Hello Lizzie Bee
You’re most likely to find Lizzie having fun, twirling in a cute, floaty, pink dress, and making silly faces. She’s a sweet, playful, and hard-working blogger who writes about being Gyaru (which translates to “Gal”)–A fashion and lifestyle subculture that originated in Japan and exists all over the world.
The Gyaru subculture centers around having fun with fashion, being unafraid of breaking the “rules” to create something more exciting– life itself becomes a party, and “get wild, be sexy” is one of their most prominent mottos. The style is extremely eclectic and focused on boldly being yourself.
She said of it: “… Gyaru is such a broad style, but I absolutely love and embody everything about it. My style is usually leaning to the more cuter styles of Gyaru, but regardless of what clothes I wear, I’m always Gyaru!”
She told me that the most iconic thing about her style, as well as the Gyaru look as a whole, is the makeup: “My makeup is always dramatic no matter what I wear.”
But what makes a person most beautiful is:  “Having confidence in what you wear, almost as if it is part of your DNA. Kindness goes a long way too – because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you look the bomb– if your personality sucks then we’re not going to get along.”
Lizzie from Hello Lizzie Bee

Being Gyaru, connecting with other gals, and inspiring people to confidently be themselves is her passion. She told me of the impact she wants to leave behind: “I really hope that my blog and my work really helps someone one day. I’d love to be a Gyaru mentor or just someone to guide them in their Gyaru journey!”
So far, this passion of hers has led her on her own decade-long Gyaru journey, dedicated and commemorated in her blog: Hello Lizzie Bee. She told me of how this determination is one of her favorite strengths:
I am extremely hard-working and determined, and this really helps in blogging. I’ve posted once a week consistently for nearly 10 years and I don’t think that’s going to stop anytime soon! That’s not to say that I am completely non-stop – I do take a couple of weeks’ break every now and then to help me gather my thoughts and energy to dive back into it.”

But Why Gyaru? What Started This Journey?

Lizzie adores all things cute: From her happy color, pink, which she considers to be super versatile and reminds her of “candyfloss and princesses”, to her comfort in “floaty dresses”, to her Hello Kitty obsession. At first, this interest in kawaii things led her to a fascination with Lolita style, but she quickly found it to be impractical for her lifestyle. 

The most important thing to her in choosing what to wear is the weather and occasion. She told me she’s “definitely more of a ‘comfort AND cute’ kind of girl rather than sacrificing one for the other.”

“I love Lolita, don’t get me wrong, but I just hated how it was hard to wear it every day. I wanted something that was a bit more versatile (and cheaper to obtain) which is why Gyaru is so perfect for me … I could wear jeans and a t-shirt and get away with it. Plus I really loved the makeup style, especially their eye makeup, whereas Lolita is more focussed on the clothes.”
At the time [of first discovering Gyaru] I was starting to learn about how to apply eye makeup, and when I saw Gyaru I was in awe of just so dramatic their eye makeup was and I was really excited to try it out! I didn’t really think it was ‘me’ until I got better at the makeup and started meeting other people who were also into the fashion who I got on with really well. It became effortless!”
Meeting other Gals and experiencing a sense of belonging in the community has played a big role in her embracing a love for the Gyaru style and subculture:
“Going to a Gyaru meet, especially an international one, really helped me out when it comes to feeling like I belong somewhere. Everyone just wants to get to know each other and take selfies etc, and it was really refreshing!”
Lizzie (and her friend Zanni) at Hyper Japan 2019 wearing her favorite outfit: a Summery, cute, pink, floaty, dress that brings “cute magical girls” to her imagination. Her favorite thing about it is “…how it flows out from just underneath the bust, creating a very elegant and light silhouette.”

It’s important to realize that Gyaru style isn’t about being, or wanting to be, Japanese–This is a common misconception. In fact, the Gyaru subculture started as a rebellion against some of the traditional social norms and beauty standards of Japan. The best compliments you could give Lizzie are that her outfit is unique and memorable and that she’s made you smile–These qualities greatly impact her love for being Gyaru.

“… people often think that I want to be Japanese or that I am obsessed with Japanese culture when that’s definitely not the case. Sure, I like Japanese clothes, but only because they’re so darn cute, most of their clothes have more attention to detail, and are much more interesting! It isn’t at all influenced by the fact that [this] fashion is derived from Japan. … Everyone around here [in England] is wearing similar clothes from similar brands, and as soon as you see something different you do get judged as a ‘weirdo’. Or, at least, ‘quirky’.”
She’d love it if people would acknowledge the amount of effort and attention to detail that is involved in dressing Gyaru: “… I suppose it kind of depends what I’m wearing at the time but I hope they pick up on how much effort it took to piece together an outfit. Sometimes I wish I could throw something on without consideration but I do like to take my time to choose the perfect accessories, clothes, and makeup and hairstyle to match.”

Lizzie’s Eclectic, Versatile, Gyaru Chameleon Style:

Lizzie’s style, at its core, is versatile and full of variety to fit the different emotions and experiences she faces each day. She likes to call herself a “Gyaru Chameleon”:
“I am a proud chameleon, and I feel like my clothes reflect that because my wardrobe has an array of styles! … Being a style chameleon often means that I dress up based on the place I’m going to so that I blend in or at least match it more. For example, I wear pretty dresses when I go for afternoon tea because it just suits that setting! But then the next day I could be wearing something grungy if I’m going to somewhere like Digbeth (which is in Birmingham) where they have lots of street art.” 
Her wardrobe mixes casual and low maintenance, with fancy and high maintenance; and very different aesthetics with different patterns and symbols, such as: florals and crowns, vs skulls and crosses, vs animal prints, like leopard and zebra–And the elements she chooses to wear “depends on [her] mood and the general theme of [her] outfit”.
Gyaru suits this way of being really well, because it has many substyles: from Hime (“Princess”), to Amekaji (“American Casual”), to Rokku (“Rock”), to Agejo (“Sexy”), to Oraora (“Biker”) to Manba (“Extreme”) and beyond. (Learn more about Gyaru Substyles in this blog post of Lizzie’s)
Lizzie primarily wears Himekaji and Rokku, but started strong with Agejo and has experimented with other styles as well. She’s since blended styles and added her own touch to make it her own. 
“I can go from super cute princess to goth queen (in Gyaru terms, that’s Himekaji to Rokku Gyaru).” 
Each style gives off a different impression: When I wear cute things people generally think I have a softer personality, and yet when I wear Rokku I’m suddenly this very cool and laid-back person (which then makes me feel pretty cool and laid-back!).”

Lizzie from Hello Lizzie Bee in a glamorous but edgy Rokku-Hime-Gyaru look

This mix of switching back and forth between Himekaji and Rokku has inspired her to relate to the Greek Goddess, Persephone, “because of how different [her] two ‘sides’ are”.

She told me she realized this:  “… when someone made a tweet about themselves (or someone they knew) that they were Persephone. I read it and thought, ‘Oh wait, I guess that’s also me!’ Especially because I wear cute clothes from Liz Lisa in the Spring and Summer, and then Rokku outfits in the Winter. Much like how Persephone is the Goddess of Spring but also Queen of the Underworld.”
These two sides of her are definitely most prominent with the changing of the seasons: “… Something about Autumn and the coming of Halloween (my favourite season) makes me feel dark and spooky and I feel like Rokku best reflects that, whereas in Springtime, I’m looking forward to flowers so I tend to lean more on the sweeter styles.”
I love bringing out all of my Rokku Gyaru items in the Autumn, because it’s the perfect time to start putting on some layers but also looking extremely stylish at the same time (and Rokku ticks both of those boxes). A lot of shops bring out their Halloween collections around this time as well which really helps beef up my Rokku wardrobe. I also love going pumpkin picking and doing Halloween-related activities like having “spooky” sleepovers with my friends (I say “spooky” because I don’t do horror, so we watch stuff like Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family instead). I used to host Halloween parties but in the end they got too much to handle so I prefer quieter nights in [**She is an introvert, after all!] – this doesn’t stop me from bringing out all of the Halloween decorations, though!”

I asked her about what she thinks would be amazing to wear if she could go all out, dressing as “crazy” as she wants, not having to care about whether it was practical or not–She told me:

“Ooh gosh, I’m not really too sure! I would say that my style as it is is quite a crazy one, but I would love to rock up to a fancy bar or casino in those hostess-style dresses. They’re kind of like normal party dresses but with a lot more bling and embellishments!”
Being a style chameleon doesn’t mean she considers every style suitable for her, though:
“I tried out this type of old-school Gyaru style called ‘Manba’ and even though it was really fun to do, it didn’t really feel like me. I love going all out but it was way too dramatic for me!”
“I try to be very confident in the clothes I wear but sometimes I do feel a bit nervous when I’m alone. But this really depends on the clothes I’m wearing – I’d feel like I fit into ‘normal’ society more when I wear Rokku as it looks like goth, but things like Agejo (which is one of the more sexier styles) I feel quite self-conscious in.”
Color also plays a big role in her expression of herself. As previously mentioned, pink is her favorite color…But some colors don’t fit her soul or have as much value in expressing her emotions:
“I try to avoid red as I feel like it doesn’t suit me that well. … I feel like red can be very sexy and rebellious, none of which really reflect my personality. I’m more of a sweet soul!”
Experimenting and allowing herself to discover what doesn’t suit her has been critical in her journey of finding what does suit her, though:

“I feel like [truly defining my style] only happened recently (as in the past couple of years) when I began to care less about trying to fit into a substyle and just wear the clothes that I loved. It was quite a bumpy ride trying to get here though and a lot of experimentation and trying out different things!”

This is why her most crucial advice for getting into the Gyaru subculture is to never stop experimenting and that eye makeup and hair are the most important elements. It doesn’t matter what you wear – as long as those two are nailed, you’re good to go!”
If you’re interested in learning more about being Gyaru, be sure to stop by Lizzie’s blog and say “Hello”!

You can read this post for her basic overview of the world of Gyaru and how you can get started.

Full Interview Transcript:
Alissa: If you had to describe your style in one word, what would it be? – Why?
Lizzie: Gyaru! I know that that’s cheating slightly because Gyaru is such a broad style, but I absolutely love and embody everything about it. My style is usually leaning to the more cuter styles of Gyaru, but regardless of what clothes I wear, I’m always Gyaru!
Alissa: What matters most when you’re choosing what to wear?
Lizzie: The weather. Definitely more of a “comfort AND cute” kind of girl rather than sacrificing one for the other.
Alissa: What kinds of clothes do you feel most comfortable in?
Dresses! Especially floaty ones.
….. Lizzie: I’m going to answer the below when I’m wearing something nice as I’m in my PJs right now haha.
Alissa: Haha! About the PJs.. I had a feeling something like that would eventually happen with that question being included in an online interview! Definitely feel free to choose a favorite outfit to describe. …..
Alissa: What are you wearing right now?
Lizzie: I’m going to Hyper Japan (a convention for Japan lovers) today so I wanted to wear my favourite dress which is cute, pink, and floaty!
Alissa: If you had to describe this outfit in one word, what would it be?
Lizzie: Summery!
Alissa: What’s your favorite part of this outfit?
Lizzie: I love how it flows out from just underneath the bust, creating a very elegant and light silhouette.
Alissa: How did you feel when you got up and put on this outfit?
Lizzie: Excited!
Alissa: What motivated you to wear it?
Lizzie: It’s my favourite dress and pink is my happy colour.
Alissa: When you look at the color/s you are wearing, what does it make you think of?
Lizzie: Cute magical girls!
Alissa: Does this outfit differ much from the other outfits you wear?
Lizzie: I suppose it depends on whether you’re talking to me during the week, or the weekend. Week Lizzie because of work and usually go with a t-shirt-and-jeans combo (my least favourite combo but hey it’s an easy choice). In comparison to Weekend Lizzie, though, it’s different in the sense that yes, it’s a dress, but I have so many dresses with different patterns and cuts which all depend on what mood I’m in. I can go from super cute princess to goth queen (in Gyaru terms, that’s Himekaji to Rokku Gyaru).
Alissa: What emotional state does it take you to go from Himekaji to Rokku to anything in between?
Alissa: Can you describe what those days are like and how you feel when you embrace each style?
Alissa: Do you feel like wearing different styles does more to *reflect* or *recreate* how you’re feeling?
Lizzie: Well it all depends on the weather really! Although I tend to wear Himekaji in the spring, Rokku in the autumn. I don’t know… Something about autumn and the coming of Halloween (my favourite season) makes me feel dark and spooky and I feel like Rokku best reflects that, whereas in springtime I’m looking forward to flowers so I tend to lean more on the sweeter styles.
….. Alissa: Oh my goodness! I love your Halloween/Rokku look!… It’s such a powerful look and is absolutely stunning! I’ll admit i wasn’t expecting it (even though you mentioned it), since i’ve been used to seeing you mostly in Himekaji. Both are beautiful and definitely display two very different moods!
Lizzie: Awh thank you so so much! Yes I tend to think of myself as Persephone because of how different my two ‘sides’ are haha. …..
Alissa: I love that comparison to Persephone… That brings together such a beautiful picture! When did you first realize you can relate to her?
Lizzie: I suppose it’s when someone made a tweet about themselves (or someone they knew) that they were Persephone. I read it and thought, “Oh wait, I guess that’s also me!” Especially because I wear cute clothes from Liz Lisa in the Spring and Summer, and then Rokku outfits in the Winter. Much like how Persephone is the Goddess of Spring but also Queen of the Underworld.
Alissa: What colors do you gravitate most towards wearing? – What are your “happy colors”?
Lizzie: Most definitely pink!
Alissa: How does pink make you feel?
Lizzie: So darn happy! And it’s super versatile which is amazing.
Alissa: What comes to mind when you think of the color pink?
Lizzie: Candyfloss and princesses.
Alissa: What colors do you avoid?
Lizzie: I try to avoid red as I feel like it doesn’t suit me that well.
Alissa: How does red make you feel? What do you think it is about it that isn’t suitable for you?
Lizzie: I feel like red can be very sexy and rebellious, none of which really reflect my personality. I’m more of a sweet soul!
Alissa: What kind of fashion item would you consider to be a “must have”?
Lizzie: Anything leopard print, to be honest, or zebra! They go with anything and instantly boost your outfits.
Alissa: What do you love most about animal prints?
Lizzie: Just how versatile they are, and perfect for every season! I recently wrote a post about how to wear a zebra print skirt in 6 different ways, but I could’ve easily come up with more. They are also *the* Gyaru staple print.
Alissa: Do you have any patterns or symbols that you especially love adding to your style?
Lizzie: It kind of depends on my mood and the general theme of my outfit! If I’m going for Himekaji for example, which is a cute style, then I always go for florals and crowns. But if I go for Rokku then I lean towards skulls and crosses.
Alissa: What do you think is most iconic about your style?
Lizzie: My makeup! My makeup is always dramatic no matter what I wear.
Alissa: Do you have any favorite pieces that are sentimental to you? What’s their story?
Lizzie: I have a dress that I bought nearly 9 years ago that I still have, despite on strap buckle being broken, because it was one of the very first Gyaru branded item that I bought. I got it secondhand from a friend who got it from Japan and I still cherish it to this day! Alissa: How well do you think your style encapsulates who you are? / What do you think your style says about you?
Lizzie: I am a proud chameleon, and I feel like my clothes reflects that because my wardrobe has an array of styles!
Alissa: How would you describe being a “chameleon”?
Lizzie: Being a style chameleon often means that I dress up based on the place I’m going to so that I blend in or at least match it more. For example, I also wear pretty dresses when I go for afternoon tea because it just suits that setting! But then the next day I could be wearing something grungy if I’m going to somewhere like Digbeth (which is in Birmingham) where they have lots of street art.
Alissa: Have you ever worn something that didn’t feel like “you”? – What was it like?
Lizzie: I tried out this type of old-school Gyaru style called ‘manba’ and even though it was really fun to do, it didn’t really feel like me. I love going all out but it was way too dramatic for me!
Alissa: When did you start feeling like your clothes said something real about who you are?
Lizzie: I feel like this only happened recently (as in the past couple of years) when I began to care less about trying to fit into a substyle and just wear the clothes that I loved. It was quite a bumpy ride trying to get here though and a lot of experimentation and trying out different things!
Alissa: What do you think people’s impression of you and your style is? Lizzie: Very cute! Alissa: What do you wish people would understand when they see you? / What do you wish people could see in you? Alissa: We all have insecurities… It’s part of what makes us human, and i believe it’s actually a huge thing that helps people connect and understand each other. What do you struggle with?
Lizzie: I try to be very confident in the clothes I wear but sometimes I do feel a bit nervous when I’m alone. But this really depends on the clothes I’m wearing – I’d feel like I fit into ‘normal’ society more when I wear Rokku as it looks like goth, but things like agejo (which is one of the more sexier styles) I feel quite self-conscious in. Alissa: Do you own any fashion items that you absolutely love, but think others wouldn’t like? – What is it? Lizzie: Nope! I mean, I own a lot of clothes that I love, but I don’t think anyone would hate them as they’re very cute haha. Alissa: Have you ever felt misunderstood because of your style or how you look? – How does it feel to be misunderstood?
Lizzie: I guess people often think that I want to be Japanese or that I am obsessed with Japanese culture when that’s definitely not the case. Sure, I like Japanese clothes, but only because they’re so darn cute, most of their clothes have more attention to detail, and are much more interesting! It isn’t at all influenced by the fact that the fashion derived from Japan.
Alissa: What’s something you think people misunderstand about you? Alissa: What type of people or group of people do you feel most misunderstood or judged by? (this question isn’t meant to judge other people, but instead to give an audience perspective for me to write from and help understand you more deeply.)
Lizzie: Normal society, ‘normies’, I guess? Everyone around here is wearing similar clothes from similar brands, and as soon as you see something different you do get judged as a ‘weirdo’. Or, at least, ‘quirky’.
Alissa: If people were not judgmental, what do you think your style would tell them about you? Lizzie: I suppose it kind of depends what I’m wearing at the time but I hope they pick up on how much effort it took to piece together an outfit. Sometimes I wish I could throw something without consideration but I do like to take my time to choose the perfect accessories, clothes, and makeup and hairstyle to match. Alissa: If you saw somebody dressed just like you/in an outfit similar to yours, what would you assume about them? Lizzie: That they’re interested in the same things as me and have great taste! Alissa: What are some of the different messages you feel you send with the variety of clothes you wear? Lizzie: When I wear cute things people generally think I have a softer personality, and yet when I wear Rokku I’m suddenly this very cool and laid-back person (which then makes me feel pretty cool and laidback!). Alissa: I remember reading that your friend introduced you to the world of Japanese styles and subcultures, particularly through her interest in Lolita styles. What was it about Gyaru that resonated with you more than what you were first introduced to? Lizzie: I love Lolita, don’t get me wrong, but I just hated how it was hard to wear it everyday. I wanted something that was a bit more versatile (and cheaper to obtain) which is why Gyaru is so perfect for me, because I could wear jeans and a t-shirt and get away with it. Plus I really loved the makeup style, especially their eye makeup, whereas Lolita is more focussed on the clothes. Alissa: When you first learned of Gyaru, what was it that made you feel like “Wow, this is me”? Lizzie: At the time I was starting to learn about how to apply eye makeup, and when I saw Gyaru I was in awe of just so dramatic their eye makeup was and I was really excited to try it out! I didn’t really think it was “me” until I got better at the makeup and started meeting other people who were also in the fashion who I got on with really well. It became effortless! Alissa: And what gave you a sense of belonging in the Gyaru subculture? Lizzie: Going to a Gyaru meet, especially an international one, really helped me out when it comes to feeling like I belong somewhere. Everyone just wants to get to know each other and take selfies etc, and it was really refreshing! Alissa: If introducing somebody to Gyaru for the first time, what do you think if the most important thing for them to know? How would you describe it to somebody who’s never heard anything about it? Lizzie: To never stop experimenting and that eye makeup and hair are the most important elements. It doesn’t matter what you wear – as long as those two are nailed, you’re good to go! Alissa: What is your favorite thing about being Gyaru? Lizzie: That it’s just so incredibly versatile! Alissa: What are your favorite ways to embrace Autumn? –Whether through your clothes, activities, or home life, etc. Lizzie: I love bringing out all of my Rokku Gyaru items in the Autumn, because it’s the perfect time to start putting on some layers but also looking extremely stylist at the same time (and Rokku ticks both of those boxes). A lot of shops bring out their Halloween collections around this time as well which really helps beef up my Rokku wardrobe. I also love going pumpkin picking and doing Halloween-related activities like having “spooky” sleepovers with my friends (I say “spooky” because I don’t do horror so we watch stuff like Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family instead). I used to host Halloween parties, but in the end, they got too much to handle so I prefer quieter nights in – this doesn’t stop me from bringing out all of the Halloween decorations, though! Alissa: What do you think makes a person “beautiful”? Lizzie: Having confidence in what you wear, almost as if it is part of your DNA. Kindness goes a long way too – because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you look the bomb– if your personality sucks then we’re not going to get along. Alissa: If you could go all out, dressing as “crazy” as you want and not having to care about whether it was practical or not, what do you think would be amazing to wear? Lizzie: Ooh gosh, I’m not really too sure! I would say that my style as it is is quite a crazy one, but I would love to rock up to a fancy bar or casino in those hostess-style dresses. They’re kind of like normal party dresses but with a lot more bling and embellishments! Alissa: What do you hope your existence brings to the world? Lizzie: I really hope that my blog and my work really helps someone one day. I’d love to be a Gyaru mentor or just someone to guide them in their Gyaru journey! Alissa: What’s something you love/value about who you are? Lizzie: I am extremely hard-working and determined, and this really helps in blogging. I’ve posted once a week consistently for nearly 10 years and I don’t think that’s going to stop anytime soon! That’s not to say that I am completely non-stop – I do take a couple of weeks’ break every now and then to help me gather my thoughts and energy to dive back into it. Alissa: What would be an AMAZING compliment regarding your style? Lizzie: That it’s unique and memorable. Alissa: What would be an AMAZING compliment regarding your personality? Lizzie: That I was able to make someone smile!

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