Trendspotting | Yama Girls

Each time it rains, the weather gets cooler, and soon it’ll be the perfect time for hiking here in Hong Kong. This brings me to the term “yama girls,” meaning girls who enjoy hiking while still looking good.

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There are several Japanese magazines that give advice on how to mix and match hiking apparel. Among them are (from left to right) OF Girl, falo and Randonnée (Taiwan edition). (Images: amazon.co.jp; Randonnée’s facebook page)

Yama girls” means “mountain girls”. The term originated in Japan around 2009, when the government actively promoted trekking on Mount Fuji. Blogger Yuri Yosumi, who enjoys sharing her trekking experiences on the Internet, was known to be the unofficial founder of the yama girl subculture.

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1. Yuri Yosumi published her second book on mountaineering in July 2013. (Image: Yesasia.com)
2. A typical
yama girl look consists of a bright coat, a skirt, compression tights, leg warmers and hiking boots. (Image: Randonnée)
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Yama girl is a sister term for mori girl. While mori girls take inspiration from the forest, yama girls take it from the mountains. (Image: morigirl.blogspot.au)

So what do you wear on a hiking day? Probably waterproof pants and hiking boots. For yama girls, it’s a bit different. They wear skirts, leggings and leg warmers, typically in bright colors and bold prints such as stripes or Nordic patterns. These girls fill the hills with sweet colors and charming laughter.

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Here’s a general idea of what yama girls do while camping: play the guitar, take selfies, cook and relax in the wild. (Image: iswas)

Here are 9 essentials you’ll need to dress up like a yama girl. I tried to keep the list both fashionable and functional, so don’t expect these items to suit hardcore climbs like the Himalayas!

1. Bush hat

Bush hats are the real go-to toppers if you wish to pull off the cute yama style. Choose one in a popping color or print, preferably light in weight, water-repellent and with a brim that is not too large. This one comes with a chin strap and a decorative belt, making it a versatile and functional piece.

2. Windbreaker

Of course you’d like your windbreaker to be waterproof and lightweight, but on top of those, try one in a bold color or print. The bright camouflage on this hooded one makes sure your teammates will see you from miles away.

3. Padded camisole

A padded camisole is much better than a wired bra when it comes to sports. When choosing, go for fabrics that are stretchable, breathable and easy to dry. The presence of Spandex in this contrast trim camisole allows for a comfortable fit.

4. Skirt + leggings

This may sound like a weird combo for hiking. One claim is that girls can switch to fleece or waterproof leggings anytime without taking off the skirt. But above all, it looks cute! If professional compression tights seem too expensive for you, these inset skirt leggings may be your choice for beginner trails.

5. Striped leg warmers

Leg warmers almost define the term “yama girl”. The most frequently worn pattern is rainbow-colored stripes. Consider sport socks of an equally vibrant palette for warmer weather.

6. Comfortable sneakers

While hiking boots are more popular among yama girls than sneakers, it’d be wise to invest in more versatile footwear instead. Just make sure your shoes are protective, water-resistant and provide a good grip.

7. Backpack

Yama girls don’t go without backpacks! Choose a durable one with a large capacity and compression straps that allow easy adjustment. Look for padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap and hip belt to help balance the pressure. A rain cover is an added advantage.

8. Water bottle

Yama girls enjoy Mother Nature without destroying it. This reusable bottle allows you to zest up your drink in between long, sweaty journeys.

9. Camera

Many yama girls enjoy taking photos during their hikes and sharing their experiences with peers through photos. A funky animal print camera strap shows your passion for both fashion and photography.