I first fell in love with Studio Ghibli's amazing movies when I saw Spirited Away. I was astounded by the breathtaking beauty of the animation and artwork and I was so incredibly happy that (being a teen at the time) there was finally a young, brave, female protagonist worth investing in — little did I know that animation film studio Studio Ghibli and powerful female leads go hand in hand. It was so refreshing and kind of life changing for me to discover that girls and women in animated movies didn't have to be distressed damsels or airhead princesses.
In comparison to other animated movies that I had been brought up on, namely Disney creations, it was a breath of fresh air that these female Studio Ghibli characters only existed within their movies and weren't being marketed to me as a lifestyle. Growing up, everywhere I turned I was subjected to gender stereotyping including boy/girl-specific toys and costumes and the idea that I should follow the "princess lifestyle" by finding a suitable Prince Charming, getting married, and riding off into the sunset in a pumpkin carriage.
In contrast, the Studio Ghibli girls were there when I wanted/needed them; they weren't forced down my neck as role models and society did not dictate that my life should lead the same narrative as theirs. I am so grateful that Studio Ghibli movies exist and portray a new kind of female lead — one who has her own personality, including traits such as being adventurous, intelligent, or resourceful. The below documentary by StapleFace Productions delves into my point a little deeper:
So, in honor of Studio Ghibli and the incredible women within the studio's films, here's how you can channel the style of a selection of my (and hopefully your) favorite female leads.
The Studio Ghibli movie Arrietty is based on Mary Norton's novel The Borrowers, which is about tiny, Thumbelina-sized people who live in our houses and borrow bits and bobs from us. The Studio Ghibli movie follows Arrietty, a young borrower who lives with her mother and father in someone else's house; a house in which Arrietty meets and befriends a human boy. Arrietty is incredibly adventurous and loves going off on expeditions with her father to find supplies such as sugar cubes. She is also very brave and great at inventing tools and equipment that she uses for borrowing. She is a great role model for young people, proving that no matter how little or big, young or old, you are, you can still achieve great things.
This ASOS dress is very similar to Arrietty's; it is burgundy in color and has a high neck and long sleeves. At just $33, the price tag is almost as small as Arrietty herself!
Cuteart of Etsy have created this Arrietty-inspired shoulder bag, which is modeled after her actual bag. Very cute and practical, this is a must for any aspiring borrower!
These Wild Pair Women's Belfair Combat Boots are great for adventuring and exploring; two of Arrietty's favorite past times.
Wow! Animecuriosity of Etsy has made this brilliant replica of Arrietty's pin so you can be prepared to fight off giant cats and crows too!
Although not actually worn by Arrietty, I couldn't resist these Whisk Earrings by twopennylane. Made of upcycled dollhouse accessories, these sweet earrings give a knowing nod towards the part of the movie where Arrietty's family gets a dollhouse kitchen makeover.
Kiki Of Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki's Delivery Service is a coming of age story that follows young witch Kiki and her journey to finding her feet and becoming a fully fledged witch. This young yet independent teen witch soon finds her feet — and "wings" — as she starts to make a living through delivering goods for a bakery via her broomstick. Kiki is a great, motivational character and an inspiration to young women, proving that hard work and determination always pay off.
This Won Hundred denim dress is very Kiki. A practical shape for broomstick flying and made of a versatile, durable fabric, she would definitely approve of this dress.
This crossbody cat bag is perfect for a Kiki-wannabe to remind her of her black cat and close companion Jiji. Plus you'd need a useful (and stylish) bag like this one in order to carry around all your delicious baked goods and deliver them to your friends!
A Kiki-inspired outfit would never be complete without her signature red bow hairband! SpiritMilk make this exact replica so that you can be sure you have the most important part of Kiki's outfit nailed.
Finish off your outfit with this adorable broom necklace in homage to Kiki's trusty broom.
Chihiro Of Spirited Away
Chihiro starts her journey as a homesick, young girl who is sad about moving homes and leaving her friends behind her. Instead of embracing the new beginning she is negative about it and in fact, quite whiney. However after her parents stop for a picnic at what appears to be an abandoned amusement park, Chihiro and her parents accidentally enter another world and she must save her parents in order to return back to reality.
Chihiro is such a great character as she grows and matures through the storyline — which, to me, is a huge metaphor for her dealing with the big changes in her life. She proves through being brave and open minded to new things that you can overcome anything life throws at you. Spirited Away is fantastic as it turns the familiar, outdated plot line of parents (in particular, fathers) saving their children on its head and puts the female child in the role of the hero.
This ASOS Romper With Kimono Sleeve is throwing out super strong Chihiro vibes! With its similar color, short-length and kimono-esque sleeves, it would be well suited to wear for running around and cleaning phantom bathhouses.
This epic Haku the Dragon collar is essential for anyone who is channeling Chihiro, reminding the wearer of her loyal friend and guardian Haku.
These Soot Sprite Earrings are so cute and are reminiscent of Chihiro's journey and all of the fantastical friends she met along the way. They would also be suitable for any My Neighbor Totoro fan too, due to the appearance of these little critters across both movies.
This Radish Spirit pin is a great, wearable token that would remind Chihiro fans not to judge a book by its cover. Plus, it's sparkly and you can't deny a girl her glitter!
Whichever Ghibli girl you choose to channel, know that you are stealing the style of a modern heroine who is gutsy, downright cool and who is smashing the female protagonist stereotypes. Who says you need a crown and a gown to be a role model?
Images: Studio Ghibli (4); Courtesy Brands