Current Tokyo Trends: Summer 2010 TOP 12

I’m sure you’re all just dying to know, right??!;-)

The top twelve trends that I’ve noticed out and about in Tokyo, mostly in the Shibuya and Harajuku areas:

Dot Ribbon Boater Hat, Cecil McBee, ¥2415; street style photo from
1. Boater Hats

The summer sun is fierce once the rainy season ends in mid-July, and many girls add hats to their ensembles just to ward off its rays.  The shape this year?  The cute retro-style straw boater, often worn akilter on the head.

How to Tie a Scarf into a Bow Headband from Ayumi Yasuoka’s blog; go there if you want to see the step-by-step; Rabbit Ears Wire Scarf Headband, ShopNikoNiko, ¥980
2. Scarves as Headgear

Sweet and 70’s-ish, scarves as headgear have made a major comeback.  Many scarves are also sold with flexible wire in them so you can stand the ends up like pseudo- rabbit ears, kind of a more ladylike version of that crazy Louis Vuitton-fueled trend that looks unfortunately dubious even on 16-year-olds.

Flower-Print Overalls, VIVAYOU, ¥6982
3. Flowered Maxi-Rompers

It almost sounds as if those three words strung together will cause a worldwide cataclysm, but yes, tiny flower prints (think of the good ole days of 90210 the ORIGINAL) paired with flowing, full-length jumpsuit shapes are all over the place.  There are also flowered dresses and blouses in similar patterns, and jumpsuits in more subdued hues (I have to admit I finally caved in and picked myself up one in black) to be found all over the place – it’s just these particular reincarnation of that 70’s staple seem to be everywhere.

Snoopy Basket Bag, LDS, ¥4788; street style photo from
4. Basket Bags

Going along with the neo-hippie-bohemian-flower-child-vibe is the wicker handbag, in all varieties of shapes, sizes, and sporting all sorts of accoutrements, be it silk flowers, cascading streams of pompons and lace, or chic leather and hardware.

from – tons of recent Japanese hairstyles there if you want to check it out!
5. Shoulder-Length Bob with Thick Bangs

This trend has been going strong for about a year, and it definitely lends a childlike innocence to those who wear it.  Now that summer’s here apparently the “new NEW” thing to do is create a small side part in the thick bangs.

6. Leather and Suede Gladiator-Style Sandals

But softer and more feminine than last year’s tough chic version, in brown and taupe and gray and black, with understated studding, fringe, or ankle-wraps.

7. Gel Nails

Now with acrylic nail sculpture a thing of the past, everybody whose anybody is doing gels.  And not just CALgels!  I got mine done with a state-of-the-art technique that does not use UV light to harden the gel, but instead uses LED light – and it lasts up to 4 weeks!  (I chose not to have my nails lengthened by building up the gel layers, which I was originally planning on doing.  If the gels extend beyond your natural nails they only have about a 2-3 week staying power.)  Right now lame (lah-meh) glitter powder mixed in with the gel and applied to the tips of the nails, in multiple layers, is really popular, and it looks fabulous even as your nails grow out.  The shine, glitter, and gloss of my nails is unending!

street style photo from; Logo T-Shirt and Tank, Rose Fan Fan, ¥1995
8. Cropped T-Shirts

Everything’s coming up mini here – with many girls opting to wear their shrunken-length, loose-fit tees atop maxi dresses and the aforementioned flowered jumpsuits.

Striped Tank Maxi, Moussy, ¥3591; street style photo from
9. Striped Maxi Dresses

Stripes are so big this year – and dresses in as many ways as you can fathom to make over the striped maxi dress are everywhere.

Frill Lace Gilet, Murua, ¥4462; street style photo from
10. Lace Vests

Bohemian and feminine, these vests I’ve spotted on everyone from teenagers to sophisticated 40-somethings lunching at swanky eateries in the Ebisu district.  They’re a soft and lightweight cover-up during the hottest months here.

Wide Braid Headband, Tamaya, ¥1020
11. Braided Hair Headbands

Many are soft and flexible braids of fake hair with an elastic at the back; some also on top of a rigid headband.  Adds a sweet flower child aesthetic to every ensemble.

12. Mickey Mouse T-Shirts

Following in the steps of L.A. brands Fred Segal and Joyrich, many Japanese brands have also collaborated with the animated icon to print t-shirts.  Since we were going to Disneyland, I planned to buy one there…until I was put off by the crowds and the prices and ended up buying one that was even better than those sold at Disneyland for a mere ¥1500 ($16) from UniQLO (above).

And of course, black leggings under everything from shorts to dresses to miniskirts, arm-covers to ward off the persistent UV rays, earrings with clear nylon posts for sensitive ears (a common complaint here), false eyelashes, high heels worn everywhere (even Disneyland- eek!!), and frilly bloomers under tunics on the younger crowd are all still going strong.


Leave Comment Question: What to Wear in Japan


Carly, I need your help! I have a job interview for a teaching position in Japan for next year, and one of the school’s American teachers told me I need to go and buy clothes that are stylish, professional, and designer but I’m such a tight budget I can only spend a few hundred on work clothes and fun clothes. Suddenly everything I own (even my street clothes) seems not trendy or awesome enough for Japan! Where do you suggest shopping in the US? 

Well, first of all, it goes without saying DO NOT GO AND BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE THE JOB!!!  Please!!  Save your money until it is certain.

Secondly, are you going to be there for an entire year without returning to the US at all in the interim?  Will you be able to go there, see what the dress code is, and return to the US to shop?  Do you have someone stateside to ship you boxes of clothing or shop for you once you’re gone?  (Unfortunately now there is no Sea Mail anymore – so sending boxes to Japan is horribly expensive…but perhaps a necessity if you end up going and needing something sent afterwards.  Believe me, I’ve done that more times than I care to count!)

If you do get the job, first of all I’d recommend having enough undergarments in your size.  Unless you have an Asian body – you’re going to run into fit issues, even if you are slim and petite enough to fit into Japanese sizes.  (Bras constructed for the Asian market are made to fit bodies that are flatter, with the breasts spaced further apart on the ribcage and a higher armscye – a fact that PeachJohn [the equivalent of Victoria’s Secret in Japan] boasts on their catalog pages/website addressing why Japanese girls should buy their products instead of those made by Western companies.)  Victoria’s Secret does sell in Japan – but the prices and shipping are more expensive than in the U.S.

PeachJohn’s explanation of how bras are made differently for different body types in different markets.  
Figure on the left is a Western body; figure on the right is a Mongol body.

Also, trends and fads come and go in Japan like that.  If you can fit into Japanese sizes, I’d highly recommend you shop there after you arrive to purchase things you feel are trendy, chic, work-appropriate, and fit into your budget.  I’m not sure where you’ll be living, but if you’re in Tokyo, my favorite places for trendy stuff is Shibuya-109 and Free’s Mart in Jiyuugaoka; and LaForet Harajuku, Marui City, and beams (Shibuya) for more upscale chic items.  Office attire (like suits) can be amazingly expensive but can also be bought at any department store – like Marui – and they do offer tailoring services.

If you do not fit into Japanese sizes (i.e., you’re taller than 5’4″ and larger than a 4/6) – then I think the most cautious approach (so you don’t use up all your hard-earned money) is to find out the dress code from a future colleague or the teachers’ liaison at the school.  (Not the person who told you to wear only designer – though I can’t speak to that particular school’s dress code, if that’s a recommendation of what you have to wear in Japan to look “professional” in general, then that person doesn’t know squat!)  Bah.  You can wear any type of clothing, any style – and look fine!  (You’ll probably be surprised at what looks “professional” depending on the profession and the workplace.)  As a foreigner you’re automatically in a class by yourself and are thus quite exempt from stranger’s judgments on how you dress.  (Within reason.)  The only question is dressing appropriately for the job – in which case I think only the people working there will be able to enlighten you as to what works.

Teaching in Japan

Teaching in Japan by carlyjcais featuring J Crew

Many online stores will ship to Japan (though for a hefty fee) if you’d feel more comfortable shopping after you arrive.  At the very least, if no one can offer advice (though I’m not sure what type of teaching job it is or where), I would arm myself with one skirt suit, just in case (I like ones from Victoria’s Secret, J. Crew, Spiegel, Newport-News, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor; department stores like Nordstroms, Dillard’s, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, and Macy’s will also have some great, affordable choices); a button-down shirt in a solid feminine color; low-heeled, extremely comfortable shoes for the TONS of walking you will do there (and any extra shoes if you do not fit into a 23.5 – 24.5 regular width shoe…i.e, size 6.5 – 7.5 which are the standard sizes routinely available in Japan); a comfortable dress (maybe a low-key print?) and a cardigan to go over it – i.e., no bare shoulders!; a bag with multiple compartments that you can lug around all day; and a pair of crease-front pants in a neutral color.  (For all I know you may be teaching at a completely casual place where the teachers show up in polo-shirts and shorts!!)  Nothing has to be designer; pick black and you can’t go wrong; stay away from busy, bright prints or loud colors; have a good coat to last you through the winter…and everything else can be bought there.  (Hose; handkerchief; gloves; scarf – even shoes etc.)

Hope that helps and best of luck!

imgs in compostie from;;; composited by me

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