Why Sailor Moon’s forward-facing fashion will never go out of style

“I am the Pretty Guardian who fights for love and justice!” So cries Sailor Moon, the eponymous character of the hit manga and anime series Sailor Moon, to the forces of evil who plague her universe. Shortly thereafter, she proceeds to enter battle with her loyal crew of Sailor Guardians in tow – all while looking astonishingly stylish.

Nearly 30 years on from when Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon’s alter-ego) and her fellow Sailor Guardians first leaped off the pages of manga and onto television screens around the world, Naoko Takeuchi’s iconic characters have been endless wells of inspiration for fans of the show. But, now it’s their fashion that’s taking centre-stage. The civilian alter-egos of the Sailor Guardians are seeing a resurgence of popularity across today’s social media as genuine sources of contemporary street style. New-generation ‘Moonies’ (the affectionate name of Sailor Moon fans) are taking closer note of the outfits the Guardians wear in between battling monsters and kissing boys on the streets of Tokyo.

It’s easy to see why. From the onset, Sailor Moon was always a fashion-forward programme. Unlike other animated shows of the time, the main cast of Usagi, Rei (Sailor Mars), Ami (Sailor Mercury), Minako (Sailor Venus), and Makoto (Sailor Jupiter) possessed an ever-rotating roster of outfit pieces they would call on each episode: from sweetheart dresses, cardigans, crop tops, and A-line skirts to blouses, turtlenecks, blazers, and button-up shirts. Series creator Takeuchi was also notably inspired by the Couture shows of her time, copying exact pieces from Dior, Mugler, and more onto the show’s many villains. Such exciting and dynamic outfits were invigorated by Toei Animation’s colourful illustrative style, which continues to inspire the Sailor Moon Crystal reboot coming to Netflix later this year.

“(Takeuchi)’s designs for each and every character in the series shows not only the extent of her talent as a creative powerhouse, but also her wide scope of (fashion) interests,” says YouTuber Lisa Fevral, who creates videos that break down each Sailor Guardian’s personal style choices. Overall, “Sailor Moon is full of the best 90s trends and fashion inspirations,” she argues. “I think what resonates with people to this day about their fashion is how real it feels.”

“There is no direct limit to who can wear what in Sailor Moon’s world, as long as you know how to wear it”

YouTube videos have sprouted up everywhere with fans and content creators demonstrating how to replicate the classic 90s outfits of Tokyo fashion seen on Sailor Moon. Fevral believes “the styling of the main cast is crafted in a way that doesn’t box the characters in,” and that lends itself well to the superfluous nature of street style in today’s Gen Z.

Sailor Moon has always played with texture, silhouette, and gender in an authentic way throughout its history. “Some girls are more likely to wear a slip dress than others, but you can still find them trying something new in a couple of episodes,” says Fevral. “That is more realistic and interesting than making a cast full of stereotypes that would make them look like caricatures of who these girls really are.” Guardians Makoto and Rei were often seen mixing masculine apparel such as hip hop-inspired sportswear with feminine colour blocking palettes, as well as the later queer guardians Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus – the latter of whom exclusively wore masculine clothing while in civilian mode.

Haruka (Sailor Uranus) traditionally donned classic brown suits (drawn and animated to tailored perfection), and took on the masculine feats of shibuya classic style with her classic white oversized shirt and red band tied around the arm, an outfit Fevral mentions as “iconic” and one of the overall fan favourite looks. “Gender doesn’t make a difference,” Haruka says at one point to the other Guardians after they mistake her for male in civilian-mode. “If you think that, you can’t protect the ones you love.” There is no direct limit to who can wear what in Sailor Moon’s world, as long as you know how to wear it. 

TikTok and Instagram is the latest platform to see Sailor Moon arrive as a street style trend. With most of the Guardians’ looks now archived by the Instagram account @sailor_fashionistas, creator Ella Cheng has picked up on the endless style inspiration for her TikTok and Instagram. When she first started creating content, many of her followers asked for recreations of anime fashion, “so I immediately thought of Sailor Moon,” says Cheng. While Cheng’s videos are cute 30-second bites of fashionable recreations, a lot of work goes into the now high-demand for Sailor Moon content. “I started researching and planning for the Sailor Moon (recreations) two months prior to when the first post went live.” This is because Cheng spends the time scouring the internet for replicas of the clothes, and “if there isn’t anything available on the market,” she adds, “I would have to make it out of scratch.”

But, it’s a labour of love for Cheng. “I’ve been a huge Sailor Moon fan since I was a little girl. Whenever there’s a Sailor Moon collab with brands I know of, I would always go and buy the whole collection.” Brands like ColourPop and Kith Women are just some of the recent brands who have jumped on the Sailor Moon trend, with both collections unsurprisingly selling out in minutes. Fevral and Cheng agree that Sailor Moon style is so appealing in today’s world because of its diversity of choice. “Most of their clothing choices have their own colour palette and unique ways to style it that reflects their personalities,” Cheng explains. “These pieces make these characters feel real and make their wardrobe attainable,” Fevral adds, noting how these Sailor Moon brand-partnerships sell out so quickly.

With more young content creators popping up every day recreating and archiving the fashion of Sailor Moon, it only reaffirms what Moonies everywhere already knew: timeless, dynamic, and sometimes queer – Sailor Moon will never go out of style.