Before you head out abroad, you might be wondering, “What should I wear??” After all, you’re going to a place known for its fashion… shouldn’t you be just as おしゃれ as the Japanese person next to you on the train?
Ok, this isn’t really true. First, it depends on where you’re going to in Japan. If you’re on your way to Sapporo in Hokkaido that isn’t Tokyo. Far from it. If you’re going to Niigata, forget it. Just stick to the climate weather… the people there usually don’t care about fashion as much as Tokyo-ites. Second, how long are you staying there? A week, a month, a few months, a year?? Third, what time of the season are you leaving?
Let’s start with seasons. With my experience, I’ve stayed in all four seasons in the Kanto region, that includes Yokohama and Tokyo. From August to early December, the temperatures start at really hot and humid with the occassional typhoons and monsoon rains that can last all day. Don’t worry about the typhoons; the tall buildings usually block the wind (or channel it) and by the time the typhoon hits Kanto, it’s much weaker than compared to Okinawa. Definitely not umbrella weather though. Just leave it at home and feel yourself fly in the wind. By the time you hit November, it starts to cool down and you might consider buying scarves and gloves. Also, enjoy the leaves changing color. December is still in the fall until you hit Christmas time. That’s when it starts getting cold!
From January to March, it’s verrry cold. It can snow, but it doesn’t snow often in Kanto. However, the more north you go, the colder it will get! In these months it’s a good time for winter camp, aka Ski Trip!! Mount Fuji is also closed for climbing by this time of year and won’t open again until about May I think… By the end of March, Spring begins to show its colors with the first blossoms of the plum trees. After them comes the beautiful Sakura! They show up either late March or early April.
From April to June it’s nice weather.. but it can get back to humid and hot. That weather is mostly for July to September. It’ll be 80 F but feel like 100!! Back to April to June, it’s pleasant and breathable. Weather you want to lie in the grass in and sleep.
Now onto the style for women. If you want to be ultra fashionable you’ll have to drop those sweatshirts, t-shirts and sneakers.
No jerseys (ジャージー）, those clothes are for home or a sports festival (運動会). In this picture, these girls are young, from high school to college age. Boots are in season from winter to the beginning of spring. They never wear flip-flops, but healed/flat strappy sandals are ok. They don’t like to wear colors that pop out, they’re usually very neutral. For hair, long hair with wavy perms are in. Also brands are very much loved. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel… they have it all! Also, notice the long stockings and matching them with heels. They’ll do this with footless leggings too. For the women, the legs is where it’s at, not the breasts. You’ll be in Tokyo in the winter and see girls wearing shorts and long boots!!! To get an idea of what’s good to wear, stop by a convenience store and get a fashion magazine. Egg is conisdered to be extreme gyaru (ギャル) and Vivi has some gyaru aspects in it. JJ is moderate and for the career girls, or ones who have just graduated from college.
Now for you lovely men. For those who want to look good in Japan. Men usually do not wear shorts!
Yes, here it’s casual and relaxing in nice weather to have breathing room. But if you want to look good, skinny pants are in. Men are usually very thin and not buff. A straight line up and down.Their hair is longer than 2 inches, gelled, moussed, waxed, and ready. They like to wear sunglasses, sometimes even at night! Simple patterned shirts.. again not too colorful. They may layer their shirts to create a certain look. Men will also carry bags to carry their personal belongings. Not quite purses.. but just as expensive. The shoes aren’t sneakers! Some of them even have that cowboy touch to them or some other spiffy design. Brands do not hide from guys! You’ll see plenty of guys with a Louis Vuitton wallet sticking out of his back pocket looking like it wants to be stolen.
Other guys may have a hip-hop look, giving them more room for relaxing clothes. This allows for T-shirts with obnoxious English on it, slightly baggy pants, baseball caps and some chains with a wallet on them. BAPE is good for hip-hop style. For those who want a magazine on men’s fashion, Men’s Egg is the extreme version for Shibuya gyaru guys. Also makes for interesting reading. More moderate forms are Men’s Non-no, Smart, and Fineboys. Just stop by a convenience store and pick up what you like.
For those who aren’t in japan and can’t get the magazines I suggested, stop by your nearest Asian market that has a bookstore. If they don’t have a magazine display, ask them where you can get these kinds of magazines. They might order some for you.