This post will be written in the first-person by Stacey, because Jake really doesn’t care what women in Japan are wearing. 😉
But I, Stacey, certainly do. I have been enamored with Japanese day-to-day fashion for years – and the case was no different during our trip in spring 2018, right as the weather warmed and the cherry blossoms bloomed.
The women of Japan care about what they wear – and they wear almost everything well. I’m not talking about the clothing the media tends to portray, like the wacky, colorful world of Harajuku. In putting together their outfits, the everyday women of Japan are just as you’d expect them to be – conservative but fashion-forward, and homologous, yet unique in subtle ways.
As I explored the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, I noticed many consistencies. The color palette was soft and neutral – perfect for spring. The patterns were limited but classic – stripes were prominent. And the silhouettes were oversized and comfortable, yet flattering and tailored at the waist. It all seemed so effortless.
The Color Palette
Japanese women tend to keep it pretty modest, especially when there’s still a chill in the air. I saw a lot of button-up blouses with cute neck details, like bows and Peter Pan collars. I also saw T-shirts bearing cheeky sayings and trendy brand logos, as well as simple short-sleeved blouses made of silky and nylon materials. All of the shirts were tucked in for a tailored look, and the sleeves of the T-shirts were cuffed for a better fit.
By far, the most popular style of pants were high-waisted wide-leg pants made of spring-appropriate fabrics like denim and wool blends. Some of the denim pants had frayed fringe bottoms, and the fabric pants had thick waist bands and tie belts. I also saw a lot of pinafore overalls layered over short- and long-sleeved shirts – a look that’s really cute on smaller frames. Another piece I saw everywhere was the midi skirt – tulle and pleated fabrics were especially popular – often paired with white sneakers.
Spring is all about layering, and the duster and oversized cardigan seemed to be a favorite piece. I also saw a lot of classic trench coats – most were tan with large buttons but some were army green. There were also classic cropped jackets – denim for a more casual look, blazers for a more polished look and leather for women with a little edge.
Apparently, sneakers go with everything! New Balance seems to be having a big moment in Asia right now, including in Japan, where the release of a gray sneaker got a ton of marketing. I also saw classic converse low-tops, which looked especially cute with midi skirts, as well as ankle boots. It wasn’t quite warm enough yet, but I could tell flats with lacy socks and platform sandals would be big for summer.
Chunky, soft scarves were tucked snugly around necks for a cozy look. Tights layered well with the skirts everyone was wearing, and above-knee socks were popular in the hipper neighborhoods at nighttime. Perhaps the most surprising accessory I saw a lot of was the cabby/newsboy-style hat. The occasional beret could also be spotted. Tres chic!