How to do Boy Style: Three Visual Kei Looks

In honor of this blog's 10th anniversary, I'd like to publish a post that's been sitting in my drafts since 2016. I never published it because I felt "Boy Style", or dressing to look more masculine on purpose, would be frowned upon. 

In the past few years it's become a part of me, and a regular style. I think it reflects my current self more than ever. So I present to you, largely unedited, how it looked to me four years ago.



To me, Fashion is about wearing who you are on the outside, or expressing an abstract part of your personality in a concrete way. 

Of course, there are as many different examples of this as their are different kinds of people; but today I am choosing to focus on one in particular. 

Today, I am going to talk about... Boy Style!

In the above images, you can see four different people at first glance- but if you look closely, you might notice subtle similarities or facial features.

They are, in fact, all me- just different "versions" of me.

The top two images are my Lolita self, and the bottom two have a more androgynous feel, leaning towards a more male aesthetic. (Or at least, I hope so.)

Just like I dress in Lolita, or apply girly makeup to feel a certain way, I dress in Boy Style to feel a certain way. 

I don't consider it as cross-dressing or cross-playing, but just another different kind of clothing I like to wear to express a part of my personality.

However, this style does incorporate some elements of cross-dressing to achieve my aesthetic... and it is a lot of work, taking much trial, error, and experimentation! 

For example, sometimes, my face is too feminine to do the clothes justice, so I will contour my nose, cheek bones, and jaw lineto achieve the full effect. 

Also, being a rather busty individual, I use a safe, medical-grade binder to get the perfect fit for button downs, blazers and vests. 

Since I don't want to cut my hair short, I use different short wigs depending on the look I am going for- but I also try to learn about different boy and visual kei hair styles, to make the wigs look more realistic.

There are several kinds of Boy Style, including:

  • Ouji/Prince or Dandy Style
  • Elegant Gothic Aristocrat
  • Casual Visual Kei
  • Stage Visual Kei/Kotei Kei

Today, in the interest of helping someone find a comfortable, every-day style, I will be focusing on "Casual Visual Kei". 

I find that this is what I wear the most often, when I do Boy Style. The clothing pieces are also relatively easy to find, whether you are in Japan or not; and unlike Ouji and EGA, it doesn't require strict guidelines or branding to achieve the complete look.

There are even publications out for this more casual form of Boy Style, drawing inspiration from Punk, Grunge, Rock, Glam and Visual Kei. This publication, called "Boku" (a masculine pronoun for "me") features female Boy Style icons such as Oni, vocalist of Ganglion; Akira, vocalist of Disacode; and Root, who has recently risen to fame as a model in Kera magazine.

A cover of "Boku" magazine  

I remember writing a report on this magazine a couple of years ago, examining the social phenomena of females using masculine pronouns to refer to themselves while dressing in Boy Style. That might be a bit too dry a topic for now, but what you should know is that years later, this publication and style are still going strong. 

If anything, the amount of girls dressing as boy models in publications or in bands, and "everyday" people following suit has risen.

Without further ado, let's take a look at my style inspirations, and how you can come up with a couple of looks, probably using things in your own closet!

For my first example, I'd like to start with one of my favorite boy style inspirations, Mitsu, vocalist from the band Dolly (named after the cloned sheep, not the toy). I've written about Mitsu before here, in "10 Style icons". Five years later, he still remains an icon for me. 

Since I first saw him in Cure magazine years ago, something about his unique layering of clothing, and the flavour of his style appealed to me.

Mitsu, Vocalist of Dolly
Finally in 2012, I got to see Dolly perform live in Nagoya (read about that here!).  Upon seeing them live, I really came to appreciate the band's distinct style and atmosphere they set with their clothing. 

It seems loosely Dandy, Ouji, or even Dolly Kei inspired, but with Visual Kei flair such as layers of eclectic accessories, tapered leg pants, mix-matched patterns and of course the iconic blacked-out eye makeup. 

To get the look:

My Polyvore

  • For tops, select slim-fit blazers and collared shirts, with longer hemlines if possible. 
  • Avoid blouses and jackets cut for a woman's body, which may emphasize curves. 
  • Dress up tops with broaches, scarves, ties, or jabots. 
  • For pants, select a skinny colored or patterned denim; or if you have more full hips and thighs, try a straight-cut pant that doesn't hug your curves. 
  • For shoes, select an oxford with a pointed or slightly pointed toe. This will elongate your foot and your leg, giving you height and adding a slight slimming effect. Rounded toe shoes will make your feet look smaller, more feminine, and potentially emphasize any curves you have in your legs or thighs. Heels should be one inch or less, and never pointed. 
  • For Mitsu's look, feel free to mix different patterns and colors. But to avoid looking like a hot mess, stick to a certain color palette- warmer tones like tan brown, bronze, red, and warm grey can pair together with black and gold. Cooler tones like blue, burgundy, cool grey and crisp white pair better with black and silver. 

For the next look, I opted for a more gothic-casual inspiration- San, guitarist of Nega, who have unfortunately disbanded. Though the band may have gone their separate ways, their older songs remain popular to this day, along with their gritty sound, lyrical imagery and fashion sense.

San, guitarist of Nega (disbanded)

I opted for San for two reasons: first, I remembered how tall he was when I saw Nega live in Nagoya. I thought, if he can find nice, stylish clothes that fit him, then I should have no problem! Another reason I chose him was for his unique taste. At lives he often wore unique things not usually seen in Visual Kei, such as hip scarves and sandals with black saurel/harem pants and gothic tops. 

For a disheveled-goth chic that is comfortable and easy to wear on the daily, I present you with San's style. 

To get the look:
My Polyvore
  • Opt for thin, flowing, and comfortable layers, and don't be afraid to mix genres. Try a long, flowing vest over a comfortable tank top, under a structured jacket or blazer.
  • Stack on the Rock and Roll accessories- studded belts, scarves and thick, chunky rings are iconic. 
  • For bottoms, opt for slim-fit pants that lengthen and slim your leg. Or, try a pair of full, flowy saurel/harem pants. These fit a wide range of sizes and disguise fuller hips.
  • For shoes, boots are always acceptable; either mid-calf or ankle cut for a more masculine look. As with Mitsu's look, I would recommend a pointed toe over a rounded toe, for an extra masculine kick. 
  • San certainly wears a lot of black. Add dimension with different textures, patterns, and even subtle prints in tones of grey. 
  • For hair, San often keeps his natural dark tone, with bold color block of blue or violet. A layered or shaggy short style can emphasize this. If you're not into bleaching your hair, pick up some color wefts at your favorite beauty supply store, and trim them to blend in with your hair length. 

Last but not least, I wanted to select a look that was minimalist, yet unique- something someone with hardly any Visual Kei aesthetic might be attracted to or able to pull off. 

Lately I have been feeling very inspired by Kyo, vocalist of Dir en grey and Sukekiyo. Since forming Sukekiyo, and releasing Dir en grey's Unraveling and Arche, Kyo has been sporting a very crisp style of clothing that has come to grow on me. It is easy to deconstruct and steal for yourself, if you are searching for a stylish and classic Boy Style look. 

It's worth noting that these looks aren't strictly "Visual Kei". Kyo has departed slightly from that camp, but continues to dabble in abstract, thematic and dramatic clothing and makeup. At least to get this look, minimal makeup and hair styling is required; unless you would like to add some contouring the shape your face a little. (Kyo does have cheek bones, brows and a jawline to die for!)

To get the look:

My Polyvore

  • Kyo's recent style is about abstract, artsy things, a monochromatic palette, and clean lines. Though layers are used for contrast, he goes very scant on accessories and unnecessary layers. 
  • Play with the different volumes of clothing. Try a long, slim-fit collared shirt with a fitted blazer, and baggy pant. 
  • Play with hemlines and forms. Try a strict, slim-fit pant with an asymmetrical jacket and boxy-cut top underneath.
  • For accessories, keep it simple- a statement necklace, or an on-trend hat will do. 
  • For footwear, Kyo tends to go with comfortable sneakers, or an edgy-looking style of boots
  • This look is best suited to very simple aesthetic. If you normally sport a clean pixie cut in your natural color, or maybe you bleach it blonde; if you don't normally sport a lot of makeup, but may occasionally rock a smokey eye; this look will definitely work for you. 

Want even MORE Visual Kei inspired style? Check out my old post here, Steal the Style- Reita from the GazettE. 
What did you think of this little spin-off article? Was it helpful? Would you like to see posts about different alternative styles or Visual Kei in the future? Please feel free to leave feedback or concrit in the comments. 


It's interesting that four years ago, I was reluctant to post this, fearing clap-back for straying from Lolita and wanting to dress more androgynously. Now, this has largely become my style.

And yes, I even cut my hair short. No more wigs!

So my question to you remains: would you like to see more of this? 

Keep staying true to yourself; there's no need to question what you like. Even if you hide it, or keep it for your own enjoyment, it never goes away.


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