Instead of my usual Carly’s Chic Steals & Deals, it’s all about Tokyo trends this week. A recent visit (I lived there for 6 years) served as a reminder of what a fast moving style capitol the city is. Fashion is foremost and girls happily brave the cold to wear the latest fashions straight from the runway, while model scouts camp out in front of department stores hoping to scoop up the next bright young thing. Crazy trends come and go in a heartbeat, but many of the hot global trends take off here first, months in advance of the the West. Keep current by checking out the cool streetstyle photos at ar-um.jp.
Here are some of the season’s standout trends from the stylish streets of Tokyo to help you jump ahead of the fash pack:
I WANT CANDY If you’re ever stood outside a restaurant in Japan and admired the glass case brimming with mouthwatering selections from the menu – made completely out of plastic – you’ll definitely agree that one of Japan’s strengths is making fake food look amazingly realistic. Trendy locals are now updating last year’s trend of decorating cellphones, pocket mirror and lipstick cases with crystals and miniature flowers – and replacing them with tiny servings of fake plastic waffles, chocolates, ice creams, parfaits, waffles, sliced strawberries, and dollops of whipped cream. (Which is why you love your friends at Fashiontribes so much for keeping you ahead of the curve – in this case waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy ahead – when we turned you a while back to these chocolate marshmallow creams, doughnuts with sprinkles, and other tasty jewelry tidbits by Pancake Meow.) Sweet candy lookalike necklaces, rings, earrings, and key rings are all the rage – even the new spring tees have prints of cakes and sweets – while plush pouches and bags shaped like hamburgers and hot dogs are flying off the shelves…alongside charmingly wacky English which serves as a reminder that you are in fact still in Japan…and not visiting Hershey headquarters. Check HollyHock Cafe for availability (they ship internationally); Q-Pot if you can ship to a Japanese address, or PancakeMeow.com.
BOOTS MAKE FOR WALKIN’ Even visiting Disney World, many Japanese girls insist on wearing 4-inch high stilettos….and I salute their resolution and determination! But finally, the low-heeled and flat boot have arrived-and in black or brown and they give off a decidedly rugged American-Frontier vibe. Western-style boots have continued as a strong trend since the Fall, but now the streets are also populated with moccasins, motorcycle boots, and strappy gladiator boots. For the season between blustery winter and breezy Spring, it’s all about fab, earth-toned boots with a flat heel that can still keep up, even as the trends change. (BETTYCLUB, me, tassetasse – available at Stylife.co.jp; note: they ship to Japan only)
WEIRD ENGLISH Japan being Japan, clothing adorned with nonsensical English is probably never going away, however, this season, the tees and sweaters in the trendiest shops this are particularly wordy. The chic graphics made by hand reach out involuntarily, until I realized it read Cool Pretty Smacky Glam. However, there are plenty of shirts in longer lengths with fun slogans that actually make sense – Addicted to my baby; She’d rather die than have her picture taken (with a graphic of Kate Moss) – that could be worn as a minidress, and paired with neon leggings and flat ankle-boots for a fabulous Tokyo-style take on the trendy 80s. (Sly, Egoist & Maison Gilfy tees available at Vivi)
FROCKS FOR FLOWER CHILDREN Japan Vogue and the rest of the fashion pack trying so hard to bring back Cali hippie chic will be happy to know their efforts are being rewarded in Tokyo. Despite still-frigid temperatures, brave fashionistas can be spotted in breezy frocks with tiny flower prints in yellow, black, green, and orange with lace edging that wouldn’t have been out of place at a 70s vintage store. Swingy black under-skirts keep things modest, as do black-mini shorts. Pair with cowboy boots, a slouchy leather belt,and a punchy oversized bag to reawaken that Flower Child slumbering within. (VIVAYOU, XMiss, L’est Rose – available at Stylife.co.jp)
ARMY JACKETS & COATS After numerous seasons of little jackets, Japanese girls are rocking oversized army coats – rumpled, too large…and fetching. The coolest coats have intricate detailing, zippers, pockets galore, buckles, and a comfortable, lived-in look that hasn’t been on the racks in Japan in some time. They are often left open (chilly spring winds be damned) to show off what’s underneath, usually a breezy chiffon mini with low-heeled boots, or downtown-chic dirty denim and pointy neon pumps. (Jackets by Osmosis & PageBoy – available at Stylife.co.jp)
GIRLY HOODIES Girls here wear a long-length hoodie as a dress with bare legs (by the daring only…it’s still chilly!) or with neon tights and knee-length low-heel boots in black or brown. Hoodies in gray, cream, or black with ruching or gathered pockets are all the rage, as is the cropped hoodie – which is probably more appropriate for a pre-teen, thanks to rainbows, unicorns, and stars…but so adorable I had to give in and grab a similarly-printed makeup case so I didn’t feel too over-the-hill. (Cecil McBee, L.D.S., SWORDFISH – available at Vivi)
And, if you’d like to shop some Japanese brands in English, check out As Know As which specializes in super-chic indie brands native to Tokyo – like this silk apron-style dress for just over $100 – and ships them internationally!
– Carly J. Cais (Carly is the fashion designer behind RIVETED Clothing & Accessories; email her at CarlyJCais at riveted-clothing dot com)
(streetfashion photos via ar-um.jp)