Well, since I’m in Tokyo right now the posts that I’m adding to my blog while typing on this annoying JIS-standard keyboard (where the apostrophe is shift-7) are going to be Japan-focused. Sorry for those of you completely bored with Japan…just bear with me a couple more weeks and it will all be over soon, promise!*-) (what a smileyface ends up as on this keyboard)

In Japan there are so many little subgroups and fashionable variations on a theme it’s somewhat difficult to round up items into a single “trend.” There’s the Fruits or Harajuku-style, which is bright, mismatched, youthful, and layered, where anything goes; Goth-style, which is often asymmetrical, black, tailored, and androgynous; cutesy kiddie-style, which included striped armwarmers, shorts, ridiculous English printed tee…etc. The trends below are what I’ve been seeing on a number of different girls who ascribe to different styles of dressing, as well as what is in the stores I’ve been visiting in Shibuya and Harajuku.

1. Tees with Suspenders/Neckties

T-shirts with real suspenders attached to the shirt itself, or sold as a set with a mini-necktie, abound. Some just have the tie or suspenders printed trompe l’oiel style on them. Some tees have extra fabric tabs on the front of back to accommodate the suspender clips, and buttoned epaulets on the shoulders to keep them in place. (Tee: Cecil McBee

2. Black Buckled Boots (wedge, stiletto, or even chunk heel)

A chunky, stacked heel I find unusual in Japan, since boots have either been flats or stilettos for ages. Engineer boots are also popular for Fall. I almost bought a pair of multi-buckled Fall ’09 Balmain boot (you know, the one where the buckled straps cover the heel??) knockoffs at Cecil McBee, but there were scratches on them, and at the stores in Japan they will not discount damaged merchandise for the customer. At all. There will be another Japanese girl who will come along in the next 20 minutes and pay full price for it anyway. (Boots: R&E

3. Vests (fur/suiting/denim)

Though the fur vest (long crimped Mongolian lamb being the forerunner for Fall) is too much for August in Tokyo just yet, there are still tons of girls layering suiting-style vests in black and gray over their tees, or opting for washed, bleached denim (often with studding) to add to their outfits. Apparently the trend for Fall is also to layer something under said vest – as in a sequined vest or a vintage-style, lacy tie-front dress so a contrasting texture peeps out at the front. (Vest: Kai Lani)

4. Stretch Front-Clasp Belt (2″ wide plus)

Worn at the natural waist or above (even right across the ribcage under the boobage – hah! silliest word ever). Here they also wear alot of mini bustier style dresses over mini tees, and then cinch the whole look with a belt, so it looks like you’re wearing a tee dress. Totally a way to get more use out of that mini you bought at Forever21. (Belt: Rose Fan Fan)

5. Leggings/Tights

Legwear abounds here, even with odd choices (garter belts and thigh-highs worn under super-short minis? Black large-scale fishnets (the usual threadlike netting made thicker, spaced with 3″ wide openings) worn over neon tights?) but black leggings dominate, year round. They come in just about every length imagineable, with stirrups, scrunched bottoms, or lace hems. (Leggings: Chocorouge)

6. Arm Covers

Sure the Japanese kids have always loved armwarmers to coordinate with a funky, punky outfit, but now I’ve been spotting them on older ladies peeking out from their t-shirt sleeves, and on women every age inbetween. Now they are no longer “warmers” but are instead UV protectant, cool-technology layers, that the savvy Tokyo-ite (and northern Japanese lady, according to my sister in law who went there earlier this month) adds to her ensemble. (Arm Covers: Niizu)

7. Mini Hats

Almost every store catering to the younger set had these, yet I saw few people wearing them. (In Harajuku, where many girls were decked out in Lolita fashions, I saw more, and Ageha Magazine was populated with them.) I was sorely tempted to buy a little black one for myself, when I realized Hub would probably hurt himself laughing if I donned one for my morning grocery shopping at the Fred Meyer back in Oregon. (Hats: FAIRYTEARY)

8. Vintage-Look Lace Dress

Big for Fall! the stores proclaim, and even if there are some who will never ascribe to the boho style of dressing, my guess is that even they will use tea-dyed and ivory lace dresses as a layer under cardigans and over leggings come cooler months. (Dress: Snidel)


9. Frilly Bloomers

I kid you not. Super-mini-shorts-style, with layers upon layers of lace, satin frills, or sequin layers, apparently you can wear these peeking out from under a tunic that’s just a wee bit short, or under a skirt that’s short enough to flash everyone when you’re going up on an escalator. I almost bought a pair and then realized even layered under a denim mini or tunic, they’re still too short for my comfort. For someone 10-15 years younger, perfect…? (Bloomers: C. C. Cross)

10. Popp

Japan has always had an infatuation with cutesy characters, and Barbie, Marie from the Aristocats, Hello Kitty, and Snoopy have been on t-shirts and cell phone lariats for decades. Last year to my pleasure I saw My Little Pony had made a comeback on t-shirts and bag charms (but the new G3 series models from this decade, blecccch…which don’t even hold a candle to the G1’s from the 80’s IMHO) but now it’s all about Popples. When I saw Puffball and Party Time plush dolls in a store, I almost went ballistic!! But then again maybe they’re back at the Toys R Us in the U.S…I just haven’t checked. T-shirts and cellphone lariats definitely crowd the stores here. And though 6 months ago everyone was mad for stuffed bear bag charms all decked out with rhinestones and chains now it’s characters dripping from bags, including the aforementioned Popples.

Other trends: Harem pants, in sweatshirt, jersey, or cotton woven fabrics (they call them sarrouel here, which I assume is from the French…?), striped nautical tees, straw panama hats, oversized black sunglasses, super-sparkly nails in a rainbow of colors, heat-set studs on tees creating a pattern or spelling out words, strange English phrases on shirts, destroyed denim, boyfriend blazers with contrasting sleeve linings, jumpsuits, suspender pants, and baggy harem pant overalls.

Jewelry does not seem very interesting or unique this time around…I’m seeing piles of gold and silver bangles and definitely some neon plastic accessories here and there, but for the most part, everything seems about the elastic belt and the studded shoes lately.

*-) from Tokyo



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