Back to Basics – Mori
Mori, or Mori Kei, is a style based on getting back to nature and living a slower, calmer existence with the world around us. Unsurprisingly, it’s s a very organic look; it has lot of different aesthetics brought into it, and can be developed in many different ways. There are some people who would say that there are “rules” to Mori, but I think that fashion, especially a fashion that finds its basis in the natural world, it can grow in whatever way you want.
However there are some good basic pointers and hints of how to start creating Mori looks in these rules. Personally I do more Dark Mori, or Strega, than I do Mori Kei, but that’s just because I am still building my Mori wardrobe. So this Back to Basics is not only a great start for you guys, but also a lovely place for me to explore looks and ideas that I want to bring into my own style.
Right, let’s get started!
Except not. Before you start looking for pieces for your wardrobe, find the looks you like! There are so many versions and variations of Mori that you need to know what you’re looking for. Do you like floaty, lacy whites and browns, or do you like earthy greens with pullovers and boots, or the corduroy skirt with cotton patchwork blouse? Or all of it! Collect images of what you like – pintrest is great for this – and then you can start thinking about what you want to buy, what you can make or modify ad how you are going to put it together.
While you’re doing this take note of the colours that are being used and the combinations that you like as well.
Colour wise with Mori you do want to have a certain palette and tone of colours that you work with. Nothing to bright, it’s more muted, natural tones. You can add statement pieces of colour to enhance your outfit, but going for a bright red outfit won’t quite work. It’ll look cool, it just won’t be Mori.
Within that you can choose whatever colours you want, but remember you’re coordinating your outfit so that it all works harmoniously together. You maybe want to stick with more neutral colours, whites, greys, browns, though I’d push into greens and blues as well; they are natural colours after all.
Lastly, before we get onto the pieces themselves, the fabrics you want to be looking at are going to be more natural and vintage. We’re talking brushed cottons, regular cottons, lace, lose jersey, wool, knits of all descriptions, linen, and corduroy, anything that feels earthy, and preferably not man made.
Now, let’s look at what makes up Mori so that you actually know what you’re looking at when you have your horde of pictures.
The first thing to remember about Mori, and Strega, is layers! Layers are the key to this look. I’ve talked about how they create depth in an outfit, but they also give texture and in a look that is emulating forests, and planet life, you want to have lots of textures blending together, like in nature.
This means that you want to have a nice plain base. You can use a base over and over in different outfits so having a few easy to wear, go with everything pieces are a must. These pieces are going to be your canvas to put the rest of your look on.
Base dresses: These are very simple I would say minimalist style dresses. You don’t want them to be overly fitted, or in fact fitted at all, because they aren’t the main focus of the outfit. Think of them as support for the rest of the look. It’s better to go with a smock or shirt dress, but you can play with what it looks like outside of that. Peter Pan collars are really cute way to do with this, or you could just go for a simple round neck.
Base shirts: If you don’t want to wear a dress, a long button down shirt or blouse is a lovely look for Mori. Again, you want it to be quite plain, but the collar, the cut of the shirt, the length. These are all things that you can play around with. You can also go for a long t-shirt or vest; that can create a really great look too.
Remember, that as much as it is a base for your outfit that does not mean it is the bottom layer. You can put things underneath as much as on top of it. It’s just the part that brings everything together. They can also be any length. You can put a longer petticoat or skirt under a shorter dress, or shirt, as well adding layers over the top of a longer dress. If you want to go for trousers then you can layer different lengths of shirts and tops, or is you want shorts, you may want a top that’s shorter in the front but long in the back. The possibilities of how you work it are endless.
Speaking of Petticoats, they are a key part of Mori.
Petticoats and Underskirts: A quick and easy way of adding length to a skirt, and creating layers, you can even have multiple length underskirts and petticoats if you fancy it. And for those of you who like your lace, petticoats are great way of bringing lots of exciting lacy layers into your outfit.
Though a lot of people will go for white or off white petticoats, that is by no means the only option and you shouldn’t feel like that’s all you can do. If you’re playing with the idea of having a water inspired Mori look, you could go for light blues or turquoises, or for forest feel, browns, greens and beiges could look great. It depends on what you are doing and what you’re matching it with. Don’t be afraid to play outside of the box.
You can chop and change a look to your hearts content with petticoats and undershirts.
Of course, these are only ideas and guide lines, so you can and should switch things up. I personally love having a statement shirt as my base and building up plainer layers on top, heck, why not try wearing the petticoat as a top layer. That could look really cool. After all you could go for making the dress the statement part of the outfit. A more patterned, colourful or tailored dress can be just as Mori as a plain one.
Statement dresses and skirts:
A statement dress in Mori is not suddenly breaking out the body con or neon colours, that should be pretty obvious, but it is an excuse to go for something brighter or with more a fit. A lacy, light weight cotton shirt dress with a pull in waist would be a great shout for a statement piece, or a navy blue jumper dress with owls on it, or even that red corduroy circle skirt that you’ve never quite known how to wear, all of these will work.
To keep these in the tone of Mori you want to be pairing them with more obviously Mori pieces, like the base items we’ve already discussed.
I’ve talked a lot about skirts and dresses, so I’m guessing you’ve got some ideas there, but what about the rest? Let’s have a look at blouses and shirts.
Blouses and shirts: This is the area that I feel there is the most variety in Mori, going from smart button downs, to long t-shirts, to a light weight roll neck and back again. And it’s not just the style, but because you want to be layering, you can play around with lengths and cuts as well. You could have a long, straight t-shirt with a button down grandpa shirt over the top, in fact that would look great.
As I’ve said through all of this don’t go too tight. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just not really Mori. You’re trying to have an easier going aesthetic – despite it actually being a lot of work to get Mori right – so the look wants to look effortless, like you are one with the world around you, and super comfy. That’s the best thing about all of these pieces, they are comfy as hell.
Trousers and shorts: There’s a bit of a cross over with ouji here, in that you are going to looking at bloomers, pantaloons and the like, but also harem pants, and some straight leg, but lose-ish fitting trousers. Actually I’ve gone for all variety of trousers and shorts with Mori, but it’s best to start with a basic look and then work on it once you know what you’re doing.
Personally I don’t like the really lose harem pants, but that’s because I don’t enjoy wearing them, they don’t suit me, so I normally go for a straight cut, but not too tight. That being said jodhpurs actually look great with Mori so.
Shorts wise, I’d say not too short. Booty shorts aren’t really in keeping with the whole woodland creature aesthetic. But you can mix it up with tights or leggings if you do feel like going shorter, and I think long socks with a cute pair of pantaloons is a definite win.
Outerwear: OK, I love Mori outerwear. It’s all big cosy jumpers and cardigans, and who doesn’t love a parker jacket? Heck, even a waistcoat can add a fun twist to an outfit. Literally you can go to town with this stuff. Personally I love an oversized, chunky knit jumper, over a long button down shirt or dress; it’s the cutest look.
You can also go for cardigans, with big pockets, maybe a cute decal. You have so much choice! Look at all the choice!
As for jackets, like I said, you can go for a baggy parka, but you could also go for a light weight overcoat. I honestly think that as long as it fits with your colour scheme you can probably get away with any jacket.
A lot of Mori, fashion in general in fact, is playing around with what looks good and what doesn’t. If you don’t something you switch out, try something else. It’s quite a fun thing to spend a day doing, playing with your wardrobe and your outfits. I know that sounds a bit silly, but it’s totally worth doing, just so you know what you have and what you might want to get to improve, or add to, your existing outfits.
Accessories are a big part of this experimentation and wardrobe building. For Mori you want cute, nature based accessories – birds, flowers, squirrels, foxes, acorns, trees, leaves, I could go on forever but you get the idea. Necklaces of varying lengths are, of course, a good call, as are scarves. Lace scarves, light weight summer shawls, big woolly blanket scarves, whatever the weather they will always enhance your outfit. I also think a fun watch can work too, either a wrist watch or a pocket watch on a chain, either looks great. Earrings, brooches, bracelets, belts, you can go to town with it all.
Again, don’t be afraid to play around. There is so much scope within the style, you don’t just have to look like an ethereal fae who’s climbed out of a tree stump. My personal favourite look is Scandinavian goat herd. Lots of nice reds and browns in that one. But seriously, have a play. You wanna wear the bottle green shirt with cream lace over the top, try it, see how it looks. I have said it over and over and will continue to say it, experiment! It’s you’re look, you decide what you like.
I hope you like this first Back to Basics piece and look forward to the next one which will be voted for my by patreon supporters!
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Written by Holly Rose Swinyard