Nikki’s Inbox: Kawaii on a Budget

Hi Nikki!

I’m 16 with an allowance of $50 a month. I don’t like my 8th grade style but that’s all I have right now. I LOVE the “FOB” fashion but there aren’t many stores in America that do that kind of look. I don’t even know how to mix and match my clothes to achieve that style.


Elaina dear, it’s Asian style you’re after, particularly those kawaii (slang for “cute and girly” in Japanese) and layering styles that Japanese and Korean girls are oh-so popular for right now. Calling it “FOB” – which is not a nice word, by the way – isn’t exactly chic. I always believe fashion should emulate but never discriminate. Alright then? On to the advice!

What you refer to as “FOB” could mean any style, and not just Asian. It could be exotic African prints to that very European look you see in magazines. From your question, I imagine you want to create a style that’s right off the streets of Harajuku and Myeongdong. On a $50 budget? Easy!

SAVE   Use what you’ve got. You didn’t specify what you already have in your closet so assuming that you own a couple pairs of jeans, skirts, T-shirts and hoodies, we can work with that.

Mix and match. It’s the key to creating the kawaii look, or any style for that matter. Layer a striped cardigan with a ruffled skirt and a T-shirt or mix a pair of jeans with a plaid shirt and matching puffer vest.

Invest in basics. If your budget allows for it, choose a few of your favorite cute pieces from YesStyle that you know you’ll wear often so you can roll out of bed and dress quickly for school! It doesn’t have to be a lot but just opt for something that will be uber-easy to style. I’d suggest Nordic print cardigans, plaid dress shirts, and floral print skirts or cuffed shorts. Oh, and it’s not exactly a secret but they’re having their annual sale right now so take advantage of it!

SPLURGE Saved on the basics? Now splurge on baubles! The kawaii style is really all about how you put together and add to the basics.

On Hosiery Asians love their leggings, leg warmers and tights, so invest in various hosiery styles that you can easily integrate with shorts, dresses and skirts! You can choose from plain leggings to ones with patterns, prints and even built-in leg warmers.

On Prints Play with different kinds of prints and colors to create a vibrant kawaii feel to your outfit. In the winter, play with accessories as a way to show off your style and stay warm; don’t underestimate the power of scarves, earmuffs, mittens and hats!

On Necessities If you’re on a budget, replacing a wardrobe isn’t always feasible. Invest in one necessity item that you can use anytime, anywhere to make that kawaii style uniquely yours and yours alone. Have to replace a worn-out hair tie? Opt for a cartoon-embellished one instead. Need a new book bag that can withstand the weight of your textbooks? Forgo standard black and opt for a bag with lace-trimmed edges, glossy patterns and eclectic prints.

STYLE Now, put together all those lovely things I mentioned.

Work your existing skinny jeans and T-shirt combo with your new Nordic print vest and plaid shirt. Your knee-high socks will look cute with a pair of shorts and a thin cardigan. For your hair, sweep your locks into a bun and tie with an anime-inspired hair tie. Scarf, mittens and snazzy book bag? Check!

My homework for you: Make each succeeding outfit more kawaii than the last!


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