Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to dress like an imaginary Japanese grandma... five easy steps. Who doesn't love Hayao Miyazaki? Well you, stop reading this post right now. In fact, stop reading this blog, because obviously we have nothing in common. I'm only kidding, it turns out that even my husband is clueless of the creations of Studio Ghibli.
To correct this obvious short-coming we watched Howl's Moving Castle last night. Of all the Miyazaki movies I think this one is my favorite, except for Totoro, which is just the best children's movie ever.

I love that Miyazaki's main characters are always girls, and that there is an unpredictability to his creations, an off-beat way of storytelling, without the obvious moralizing lessons of much of the children's culture, especially in the West.

His films often remind me of Tove Jansson's Moomin Books, in the they way that nothing is just good or evil and everything is complex. While the elements of the story are fantasy there is a fundamental truth to this. In order to create a credible, complete world, you must embrace the fact that things are not always what they seem and cannot be simplified.

Howl's Moving Castle is a perfect example of this.

It also has a very distinct visual style, from which a giant clothes nerd can draw inspiration. I've always wanted a hat like Sophie's only in felt. It's very reminiscent of Japanese school uniform hats.

It also brings to mind this awesome Missa-outfit:
I feel like thinking of Miyazaki-characters definitely influenced my outfit today. There's something cozy old-lady-Sophie-like about this outfit.

Want to dress like said imaginary Japanese grandma?
1. Wear lots of wool. This awesome cardi from my latest, amazing Missa-package lambikin-wool, part cashmere. The hand warmers came from my friend Kristiina who's crafty, wears folk costumes and needs to start her own blog. Now.
2. Gets some florals. I know florals are all around right now, but you want to get something modest, looking. None of those short skirts.
3. Wear your hair in a modest style.
4. Drink tea.
5. Look surprised. This is an essential Miyazaki-character ability.
I can do Mei from Totoro too:

The Islands were being furry-backed Miyazaki animals too.


  1. YES! i'm dying over the full-on miyazaki madness, and your mei face is spot-on and perfectly adorably cranky! Howl's Moving Castle is definitely among my favorite movies, and I love love love Spirited Away too. My little brother, Joey, who often appears on my blog and in my etsy shop, has 3 miyazaki characters tattooed on his body! he's that serious about it all. your outfit is the perfect tribute. i'm pretty much super nerdily into granny style myself right now.

  2. this post is awesome. i LOVE miyazaki, and we've seen totoro a thousand times in this house. as soon i as i read "dress like a grandma" i immediately thought of granny in totoro. now i will go put on an oversized sweater, dress, and leggings... :) love this.

  3. i love grandma fashions :) you look too cute with your little handwarmers.

  4. that funny, i'm making almost the exactly identical fingerless gloves! hopefully mine will turn out as well as yours!

  5. From here on out that will be referred to as my Sophie hat! And I will keep an eye out for a felt one.

    Love, Miyazaki's magical films. We have a box set of some of them that Lucas got off ebay years ago, unfortunately about half of them turned out to be in Japanese with no English subtitles. At least my favorites, Spirited Away and Totoro, had them. I think we got it before Howl's Moving Castle came out.

    I'm gonna add the dubbed version of Totoro to my Netflix que so Clover can watch it. I think she'll love it!

  6. Have you read the original book? (Dianne Wynne Jones, an author I love). :) It's fantastic.

  7. loveeee Totoro! and your outfit, so pretty! Oh, and your yellow nail polish as well! It can be so hard to find opaque nail polish that's not shimmery or anything.

  8. Oooh, I've linked your Mei impression to a pic of my little miss...looking like a Mei impression; if you wanna look. (hope you don't mind!)

  9. Your Mei is uncanny. Very excellent dress.

  10. i laughed out loud at yer mei face. mei is queen of my heart.

  11. howls moving castle and my neighbour. you my dear certainly know some good films! are you a fan of princess mononoke?

  12. Love the Mei face and what you are wearing! One of the first things me and my husband discovered about each other was our mutual love for Miyazaki - we just knew that we were going somewhere after that. I think Spirited Away is still my favourite, but Howl is definitely wonderful too! (Totoro, however, is in a league of its own - nothing can beat Totoro!)

  13. I missed this the first time around and just saw it linked from your other post - what a great post idea. My absolute favorite is Ponyo!