Tokyo Trends: Mid-Summer 2011

I’ve now been here in Tokyo for just over two weeks, have gotten accustomed to the time-change, hit up the drugstore for numerous products to help me combat the mugginess and heat (more on that later), nabbed some of the latest fashion magazines, and been out and about to the main trendy shopping destinations. So I now have a bit of a handle on what is “on-trend” or, more importantly, what’s on the backs, feet, and arms of the young and fashionable.

Here are some themes I’ve seen so far:

1. Open-Weave Strappy Wedge Heels

Baby Pure Cross-Up Wedge Sandal, EVOL, ¥5806

Wedges are the current height of fashion, popular in wood and cork, as well as the ever-prevalent black.

2. Layered False Eyelashes + Heavy Eyeliner

Scan from PopTeen August 2011 issue

No longer content with just a single pair of falsies, Japanese girls are now layering 2 or even 3 pairs of full or cut lashes on the top lid, with 1 or 2 pairs of full lashes on the lower lid, surrounded by thick black eyeliner smudged out.  It gives the eye a very doll-like effect…especially since some girls offset the placement of the lashes at the outer corners to make the eyes look even bigger.

3. Printed Maxi-Culottes

Monotone All-in-One, DOSCH, ¥2980

I’ve seen tiny flowers and “ethnic” prints on these wide-legged chiffon pieces…I certainly couldn’t pull this look off but some are effortlessly!

4. Headbands Worn Around the Head 70’s-Style



Spotted just about everywhere: long, wavy, often ombre-d hair with black stretchy headbands or beaded leather strips worn around the forehead…Rumi clones?

5. Crochet or Open-Knit Tops

Biancheri Tutu, ¥4,095

Just to provide another light layer; in white, neutral, and black; open-weave crop tops are donned on top of maxis and tanks for a flower-child vibe.

6. Oversized Thick-Frame Glasses


I guess what could be called a “Fashion Blogger’s Staple,” these thick-framed nerd glasses have made their way to Japan.  I have to admit that Japanese girls look pretty cute with them!

7. Breezy Maxi-Dresses

Rapty, ¥5,990

Most days I feel it’s too hot for any separates, and girls here also default often to the “one-piece” maxi; this year, with shirring at the bust, skinny straps, vintage-style faded prints, and a loose fit.

8. Cropped/Batwing T-Shirts

Ribbon-print loose tee, Rapty, ¥2,300

Instead of the “body-conscious” fit that’s been popular for the last decade or so, tops now have dropped shoulders or batwing sleeves to provide a looseness on the top half – balanced out by their short length at the bottom.

9. Hats…Of All Kinds!


This year there seems to be an amazing array of popular headgear; from straw boaters, canvas Panama hats, and floppy American Apparel felt hats; to Marine-style structured pieces, newsboy caps, and crochet beanies…this year it seems that anything goes in order to keep the sun’s rays away.

10. Midi-length Pleated Chiffon Skirts

Dazzlin, ¥5,071

No longer above-the-knee or floor-length, skirts now are popular in a mid-shin length, in a pleated chiffon…favored in neutrals, drab colors, and pastels.


Many of these trends from above have been around for awhile, and even those from last summer (striped maxi-dresses, silk scarves as headwear, flat gladiator sandals, straw hats) are still going strong.

Other trends?

Snacks: Pickled-plum-flavored dried kelp sticks, fettucine gummis, collagen-infused parfaits by DHC, low-sugar sodas, “dry” Pepsi, the Jill Stuart cafe, flavored marshmallows.

Music: AK48, K-Pop groups.

Other: Tracy Anderson workout, UNIQLO t-shirts printed with Japanese drink and snack mascots, medical drama TV shows, polkadot-prints, asymmetirc hemlines, bolo-tie necklaces, mineral makeup.


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Essential Summer Acessories from Mango


1. Color T4 Belt ($39.90) / 2. Cast4 Shoe ($59.99)

3. Fletcha Ring ($29.90) / 4. LLuna Necklace ($44.90) / 5. Fox Bracelet ($34.90) 6. Foulard Topping Scarf ($34.90) / 7. Cuba Sunglases ($34.90)

8. Barbados Sunglasses ($34.90) / 9. Pablot Bracelet ($29.90) / 10. Rodi Shoe ($154.90) / 11. Big Handbag ($59.90)

12. Anne Belt ($49.90) / 13. Maldivas Sunglasses ($34.90)

14. Kiti Handbag ($99.90) / 15. Ingles Shoes ($79.99) / 16. Rosal Scarf ($29.90) / 17.  HAITYT4 Handbag ($69.90)

Ever shopped at Mango before?

I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting an actual store but now I’m filling my virtual shopping cart as I write, delighted with my new online discovery!  Cross-body flap bags, natural-colored oxfords, chic sunglasses, patterned scarves, statement jewelry…  Every neutral accessory that’s just perfect for summer is here.  And it’s so affordable!

I think I’ve found a new go-to store for everything.  (Plus they sell incredibly chic clothing!!)

How about you?  Have you ever shopped Mango before?  Did it live up to expectations?



Array by FactoryPR and by me.

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Trend: Kaftans for Summer!

Hot And Heavy, Baby! Spring 2011 by TheAcademic ♥s Andrej Pejic! featuring flared jeans

Kaftans (or Caftans) seem to be on everyone’s mind lately as a summer staple.  Polyvore even put together an array of latest looks featuring caftans – and I’m loving the breezy, lunch-on-the-Riviera feel to them.  From Elizabeth Taylor to the Olson twins, caftans have always been a mainstay of A-listers, but now they’re most definitely on-trend for the rest of us.

From left to right: French Connection Diamond Embellished Caftan, ASOS Pleat Front Chiffon Cover Upicon, Helene Berman Oversized Flower Short Kimono Kaftan; all


How to get the look without breaking the bank:

Besides sourcing one from a lower-priced store, like, ASOS.comicon, or even Forever 21, a great alternative would by thrifting something sheer, oversized, and fabulous – and just repurposing it as a caftan.  (Adding trims or details as you desire.)  You could also sew your own in your favorite fabric with a pattern from Burdastyle.

BurdaStyle’s 07/2010 Caftan Pattern

This 07/2010 pattern an extremely simple one, easily made more modest or revealing as you may choose, and for me, the fun part would not only be choosing the fabric – but also finding my favorite trim to adorn the neckline and sleeve-openings!  You could make it as glamorous or as casual, as sheer or as opaque, as bright or as neutral a poolside cover-up as you wanted!  Speaking of cover-ups, there’s also another item that’s been playing on my mind:

Sienna Bikini, $55; Saskia Attachable Skirt, $40; Rebecca Manning.

(I know it’s not a caftan per se since it doesn’t cover the shoulders…but it’s too pretty not to mention!)  This gorgeous convertible bikini cover-up is from Rebecca Manning on FashionStake [a website that allows emerging designers to sell directly to the public by allowing them to secure orders before going to the manufacturers, paying for a full run of items, and then being stuck with excess inventory and no cash at the end of the season – which is a fantastic solution to the incredible waste in the fashion industry by over-manufacturing, and the high start-up costs to the independent designer.  Plus because the order is placed by the customer first it allows the designer to offer the item at a high discount compared to what it would retail for if it were manufactured first and then sitting on a retail shelf, waiting to be sold.  I LOVE the innovation of this site!!)

Anyway, not only is the above bikini top flattering and chic, but the “caftan” part simply attaches to the front.  Choose your favorite color for the bikini and print for the caftan skirt part.  Ingenious!

Also: how timely! is currently giving away a $920 Missoni Kaftan!

Enter to Win the Missoni Kaftan Here

(giveaway period closes in 14 hours!!)

How do you feel about caftans?  Loving them?  Or too “Golden Girls” for your taste?

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Leave Comment Q&A Marathon: How Do I Make…This??

So I’ve received a lot of questions in my account asking “How do I make this? with a link to a photo.  Here are my quick analyses of the hotw-tos (and please everyone, chime in in the comments if you’re struck with another way to make these items!):

Hi! How do you sew something like this: or this?

I see lace dresses are on your mind!

The first one doesn’t even look like it is a dress – the edges look completely unsewn and it appears like the person wearing it just added a belt and let the edges flap in the wind.;-)  You could possibly re-create this garment with a piece of lace about a yard or so wide, and literally cut a hole in the center for your neck – and wear half the fabric in the front and half in the back!!  (If it were me, I would allow the sleeves to drape to about the waist, and then sew the skirt part since I wouldn’t be comfortable walking around in a dress that’s kind of like an open toga at the sides…)

The second dress is just a typical tank-style dress; it’s very hard to see the detail on it but it looks like the top has crochet edging along the armscyes and bust; it’s fully lined; and the bottom appears to be gathered tiers of lace.  There may even be little lace rosettes dotted on the bottom tiers but it’s a little hard to tell.  SecretLifeofaBioNerd shared a video on Threadbanger on how to make a sweet lace dress; simply adopt her method for making the skirt (but add a couple more tiers instead of just the one she has), hand-sew the rosettes on there if you like (sourced from the bridal area of your local fabric/notions store), cut and sew a tanktop-style top, and add a crochet applique to the neck area.  Speaking of crochet…

How do you sew this? Is there a way of cutting the crochet part without it unravelling? Someone told me that if I cut rib knit, it frays, is that true?

Are you trying to re-create this from scratch or are you trying to alter the piece that you have?  If you’re trying to make this from scratch, you will either have to crochet the top embellishment yourself, rip it off of a dress or shirt that already exists, or buy a bridal or crochet applique from the fabric store to use for your piece.  I’ve never seen crochet embellishment like that come on a roll like fabric does; I don’t think you can just go to the fabric store and get a yard of it cut for you to use.  The crochet embellishment would have been made-to-order by the manufacturer’s and even if you can find a big piece; cutting it down to fit the size of your top would just cause the whole thing to unravel (unless you really know what you are doing and snip certain threads and tie them off together etc. as you go…you can certainly try but something like that poses a problem even for experienced crocheters and knitters, so I wouldn’t really recommend it if you can avoid it at all).

Rib knit is an entirely different thing than this crochet piece…if you’re talking about your standard cotton or spandex interlock rib-knit, then it will only fray to the extend that cotton or spandex knit fabric does.  Repeated stretching will cause it to fray more.  In using rib knit, as with any knit, you need to overlock the raw edges to prevent fray and wear and tear.  You can cut it no problem but it will have to be finished if you’re planning on using it in something wearable (especially if that something is washable too!)  But it doesn’t really unravel like crochet or a knitted sweater…unless you find a loose weft thread and yank on it…

If you’re trying to alter this piece that you already have, again, don’t cut the crochet part if you want to retain it at all; just sew on top of it/through it.  (You can add darts or gathers to take up the extra fabric to alter it smaller…to make it bigger I don’t think it’s possible without cutting the crochet, which will have you running into the previous problem.

Hey could you do a tutorial on how to make this kind of structure?

Ohmygoodness.  Okay, that piece is a huge amount of work.  Not to say that it can’t be done, but if you can buy off-the-rack from American Apparel (still available here BTW!), it will probably be cheaper than all your time and effort going into it.  But if you really want to make a top like that…

Find a rose-embellished mesh fabric and make a basic shirt out of it!!  High-end fabric stores and stores that cater to designers may have exactly this type of fabric, which you can buy in however many yards you need, and then make your shirt out of it.  I did find it online here, but the price is not listed so you’d have to call the company to find out more…and even if you can’t find the fabric as yardage you might be able to re-appropriate something.

I saw this photo on Cruel*Thing of a DIY rose-embellished skirt…made from a pillowcase!  Which is a fabulous idea made even more fabulous by the beautiful pillowcase Diana used.  Bravo!

Do an Ebay search and there’s usually some similar pillowcases available, which you can cut up and use for your shirt.

And if you really want to make every single one of those fabric roses yourself…There’s a great tutorial on Cut Out + Keep, submitted by one of my fave DIY’ers Stacie G. from Stars for Streetlights on making a Fendi-style rose dress, which you can adapt for making a shirt like this.  The shirt you want to make uses flat chiffon cording to make those roses – if you check out the trims section of your local fabric store, you can probably find this similar flat trim.

Good luck!



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