Inspiration Boards: Miyazaki Films

2:30 PM

Hayao Miyazaki is one of my favorite directors. If you're not familiar with any of his works, such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke (to name a few), then I'd definitely suggest checking some out. With the release of his newest film, The Wind Rises, I decided it was about time that we made Inspiration Boards based on some of his characters.

The Wind Rises - Nahoko:

I won't say much about The Wind Rises to avoid spoilers, but the story is loosely based on the life of Jiro Hirokoshi, a famous aircraft engineer during WWII, and his triumphs and struggles he faces. The main female character and Jiro's love interest is Nahoko. She's a lovely girl with a charming personality, strong will, and a stylish wardrobe to boot, which is exactly why I decided to create an inspiration board based on the yellow dress she wears in the movie poster. 


This look is a fairly straightforward replication of her yellow dress outfit. The dress I chose is flowy and girly, similar to the silhouette of her actual dress and the white lace detailing references her white apron. I chose silver and white accessories to match the dress. I also picked more dainty-looking accessories to reflect her delicate disposition. The paper airplane necklace is a direct reference to one of the scenes in the movie. Overall, the look is intended to be light and summery to match the setting shown in the above scenes with Nahoko painting on the hill.

My Neighbor Totoro - Totoro:

 My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro is generally considered to be Miyazaki's first big hit. It features two young girls that move into a new town, along with their adventures as they explore their new surroundings. Soon they stumble upon the adorable Totoro, a forest god that's magical, fluffy, and always ready to lend a helping paw. With the help of Totoro and his friend, the girls discover the wonders of the natural world that takes their minds off of the loneliness they feel when their parents are away. However, since Totoro has developed into such a well-known icon for Miyazaki and he's without a doubt one of my favorite characters, I decided to create an outfit based on his lovable appearance.


I chose a big comfy cardigan to match his big comfy self, along with an overall theme of grey because he's, well, grey! Combat boots seemed like an appropriate choice for trekking around the forest. I also added a pair of gold leaf earrings and a warm toned floral scarf to represent his forest god-ness. And of course, I included a black umbrella as a reference to the adorable rain scene pictured above (it's also much more practical for keeping you dry in comparison to a big leaf, am i right?).

Howl's Moving Castle - Sophie:

Howl's Moving Castle 

Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favorites because of its particularly beautiful settings filled with detail and stunning colors (as pictured in the screenshot above). The story follows a young heroine, Sophie, who goes from insecure and reserved to incredibly brave and confident. It's an inspiring growth to watch, so that's why I picked her as another inspiration board focus! The film also features a sassy fire demon, a strange turnip-head scarecrow, and the charming wizard Howl (who happens to be voiced by Christian Bale in the dubbed version ;]).

Howl's Moving Castle - Sophie

Sophie's blue dress changes shades during the movie, but since it was a bit difficult to find satisfactory pieces in either shade, I just went with dark blue. The white top references the white apron she sometimes wears, and I felt that the overall silhouette of a blouse tucked into an a-line skirt is similar to the general appearance of clothes that the characters wore in the film. The straw hat matches her straw hat in the film. The brown leather oxfords are also meant to match her outfit, but I added a brown leather purse and brown leather belt as extra touches. The dark blue feather earrings reference Howl's epic bird/monster form and the ring is actually a lookalike of Howl's ring that points to his heart :). 

Kiki's Delivery Service - Kiki:

Kiki's Delivery Service is a light and charming film that tells the story of Kiki - a young witch that comes of age and, according to witch tradition, has to leave her home and find a new town to reside in as part of her training. It's a daunting task for such a young girl (only 13!) to have to leave on her own and figure out her place in the world, but she has many adventures along the way that teach her the hardships of being independent and also the joy of new friends. Her outfit remains fairly simple throughout the film (in accordance to witch standards), so we decided that it would be a nice, easy look to replicate.

Kiki's Delivery Service - Kiki

This look was a real breeze to make - cute black dress as the base with a big red bow and red flats to match. I decided to add these adorable cat tights to reference her loyal cat, Gigi, and an orange bag as an upgrade to her cloth messenger bag. I also chose a little silver bird necklace as a reference to her encounter with crows and the new friend they brought her! 

"Yet, even amidst the hate and carnage, life is still worth living. It is possible for wonderful encounters and beautiful things to exist."

-- Hayao Miyazaki

Thanks for reading! :) 

- J - 

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  1. I love all of Miyazaki's works! This was such a cute idea, and I love the outfit you created for Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle the most.

    1. Hi Chelsea,

      Thanks for commenting! As you can tell, I'm also a huge fan of Miyazaki so I had to make this post :). And I'm glad that you liked Sophie's outfit! I was really happy that I could find a look-alike for Howl's ring as a finishing touch for Sophie's outfit.

      I might even make another post with some of his other films in the future!

      - J