Fashion Plus – In Japan
I was really surprised by the number of people who e-mailed me back with questions about the Japanese fashion stuff, so … I’ve decided to do another Culture Twist update on the fashion here. Keep in mind, these are my viewpoints, and nothing more, but I have been here a full year now with no car, so walking and taking the train everywhere I see things.
The Japanese fashion is famous for it’s unique “grammar” or “language” (yes, I stole that from Gwen Stefani, I know, but she is popular here.) What’s the real difference? They aren’t afraid of color and they love to layer. On top of that, their idea of sexy is different than ours because the Japanese chick has a different body shape than we American chicks. Different? What? Yes! You know what I looked like before I came here. I’ve lost a pant size (almost 2) since coming here (because they don’t understand this concept we have called sugar! – and I walk everywhere) and despite my slimmer figure, I wear an EXTRA LARGE! Yes, you heard me right. Of course, I’m too tall for their pants, but in everything else it’s so sad so feel so big. I can’t shop in many of the trend fashion shops because they simply don’t cater to “big girls” like me. (Don’t worry, when I get back to the base and I see some of these other Navy wives I remember that I’m not fat.) I’m so big because I have hips and a butt. In Japan, having a straight figure is considered beautiful. Think about kimonos – they cover up any chance of waist-to-hip ratio and even go so far as to use a think plastic piece around their waste to ensure this.
So, without trying to draw attention to bust, waist, and hips, the girls here go for creativity and color and glamour in a sense of staying on the edge of the trend. Of course, this means the trends change quickly, but I’ll get back to what my original plan was, to show you some samples.
The BIGGEST trend I see here is the “black chick” look. Japanese girls seem to really like black guys and that American-Black culture. This look has two sides. Reggae shops are everywhere here and some girls go for the “natural hemp” look, which we see in the states, too. But the big one here is the corn-row with frizzed ends, golds, blacks, and purples. Very ghetto-glam I guess. They wear micro skirts with leggings underneath during the day (but not when they go to clubs). Everything is much tighter in this style group. And lots of 80’s embellishments. Including leg warmers with strappy high heels. See for yourself:
Of course, on the flip side, the other popular look is the “sweet girl” style. Frills, lace, soft colors, and dresses. Very Spring, but all year round. I like a lot of what I see on girls who dress in this category. Some go too far and become “pink girls” wearing ALL PINK with sparkles on everything. Some even get full black contacts so they have puppy-dog eyes if they don’t think their eyes are black enough. (These are also called kogal and gangura styles, you can always google it).
Check this little video out for a funny “kogal” thing.:http://www.mumbleboy.com/big/kogal01.html
Then there’s the “goth” crowd. I have to say these folks are far more faithful to their individuality than the goths back home. Sorry, but they just are. You can’t buy most of this stuff, you make it all. At the fabric store there are countless books and supplies just for the “Lolita Goths”
Another common look is called the “big sister.” This is my age range and thankfully a style I can fit into more or less with the cloths I already have. These gals wear a lot of denim, neutrals, and cammo prints. They like baggy cammo.
This wouldn’t be a fashion update if I didn’t point out the school girls. I know all my guy friends are just skimming for these pics anyway. Yes, they do wear micro skirts, even in the snow! I have to keep my eyes down on escalators during the afternoons or I end up seeing more than I’m interested in.
“Kitaaa! We got a panty shot!”
All in all, what I will take with me as the defining feature of Japanese fashion is the attention to SHOES, hair, and nails. This is a shoe paradise (for men and women, if you have small feet), and all the girls have a very specific hair style as you may have noticed. To top it off, girls get long, fake nails, decorated in jewels and 3-D roses in excess of what we see in the states. I’ll have to try the nail thing before I leave here. 🙂
More Fashion in Japan