Thursday, December 8, 2011

Merry the Night

Among the ridiculous things I've done while procrastinating during finals lately is finding a bunch of pictures of what I consider to be the most aesthetically pleasing style of Christmas decor: primitive and woodsy with a hint of Scandinavia. 

I really enjoy Victorian Christmas imagery and decorations too, but when I think of Christmas, I most like to imagine a serene snowy forest sparsely dotted with cozy cabins that have been untouched by time. Who doesn't, really? 

All of this probably stems from the fact that I want to settle in Scandinavia eventually and romanticise places that conjure in other people adjectives such as "bleak", "desolate", "isolated" and "uninhabitable", but that's neither here nor there. I'm sure it also has to do with wanting to escape the pressure, frustration and vacuousness of the modern world, which is why fantasy novels and movies have been especially popular as of late. But, whatever. Point is, my favourite ornaments to put on the tree have always been handcrafted pine cones, birds, wooden apples and this one cute little twig wreath with holly berries and squirrels that I'm pretty sure came from Oregon.

If you know me and read this I'm sure you're also aware of the fact that I'm a far cry from any denomination of Christian, but spending time with family, giving gifts and celebrating the end of the year with singing and sweets is something everyone can enjoy. In this case it works out, there's no divisive religious twist. So, without further ado, this is about to become a (carefully selected) image-heavy post. 

These look like they could have possibly come from the same house, huh? 
Well, it's not Christmas without a more gratuitous smattering of decorations than this, so I've got some of those, too. Maybe these'll give somebody an idea for a homemade gift or something.

So when I was collecting all of these a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that an appropriate outfit would be required to insert people into these images, and naturally, the ever-inventive Japanese have already created a corresponding style: it's called mori girl.

There are quite a lot of blogs and image collections dedicated to the style, but I didn't search very hard for Japanese ones, and I think most of the Western ones pretty much botch it and post a lot of things that don't really apply. It all ends up looking too modern, minimalistic and contrived, which is unfortunately the opposite end of the intended spectrum. 

This guy explains the history and intentions of the aesthetic best, in my opinion. The goal is to look like a girl who lives in the forest (hence the name), with muted colours, soft fabrics, long, loose skirts and dresses, knit and crocheted things, and probably a floppy hat and a leather satchel. 
This all came about in response to the various garish gyaru styles: not everyone wants to look like a freaky snow monkey or a glowstick just because it's in. 
This simple, natural style is just as elegant as any other, so long as it suits you.

The accessories are images of things I've liked and saved over time; the wristwarmers are a bit bright for mori girl, but what I love about them is their texture, and their primitive handmade look still fits, I think. 
The antlers are from Etsy, and speaking of Etsy, every time I see those adorable little fabric house brooches I want to make some and sell them on there! 
The vintage leather bags I found on eBay, both for under $20 (including shipping). 

So you see, it wouldn't be difficult at all to assemble this whimsical look. I'm pretty sure there are lots of crocheted grandpa cardigans, vintage leather bags and booties and various washed out maxi skirts waiting for you at the thrift store. :D

I also found this really cool picture of a sort of Wa-mori (or Japanese-style) mori girl:

Finally, probably anything in the lolita vein does not fit in with this style, but if I were to make an evolutionary chart of lolita to mori girl, this romantic, classic European lolita style a la Tyrol would be the missing link:

I guess there's something too contrived and muddled about their look to be mori girl; their clothes are too fitted and their hair is dyed and styled. But are they not completely adorable and Christmassy?!
All of these looks and styles and the drinking-rich-homemade-hot-chocolate-while-wrapped-in-a-blanket feeling they evoke are just lovely, so if you live in a place with seasons, I hope you'll get festive and make the most of them!