The epitome of self-expression at its best, Japanese street fashion, continues to charm people with its extravagant ways. With swarming districts like Harajuku, Odaiba, Shinjuku, and Shibuya, Tokyo is the Japanese street fashion hub.
Communities Through Fashion
Contrary to popular belief, a lot of subcultures of Japanese street fashion are not only fashion but lifestyles in themselves. Lolita, a very popular fashion style, has led to so many people forming communities, hosting tea parties, and finding kinship through their styles and passions.
A Little Something for All
Are you into gothic fairy princesses? Do you want to rock it out as they do at Tokyo fashion week? Are you an only-black kind of person, or are you into a myriad of colors? No matter your type, this street fashion has you covered!
From the Harajuku style that lets you be bold and colorful, to the Lolita color palettes, where you can be a punk, goth, or sweet doll of your choice, to the Mode fashion, popularized by the designer Mr. Yohji Yahmamoto, where you’re wearing the blacks and greys to match your taste, these Tokyo street styles, have a little something for everyone.
If you’re new to the fashion world and Japan’s culture, these can be a little intimidating at first glance but don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
Here are 12 tips for your Japanese street fashion needs:
1. Layer ‘Em Up!
Layers are quintessential to donning the Japanese street fashion style loud and proud. Layering clothes of any kind over one another, from clear jackets to multi-hued cardigans, accentuate your inner artist.
A lot of Japanese fashion trends revolve around layering up your outfits as you deem fit. Layers help bring out your eccentric style and lets it be unique to you, so don’t shy away from them.
If you ever doubt your street styling skills, put on some layers, and you’re good to go. Furthermore, use cardigans or jackets of your choice, or something that you’ve crafted yourself, layer it up, and flaunt your chic.
2. Baggy Is the Way to Go
Baggy or rather oversized, pants, tops, and cardigans are your key to getting the hang of the Harajuku fashion scene. The more comfortable you feel, the better. This street fashion is all about looking stellar while you stay in your own element and ace the fashion game.
Oversized fashion has blown up with time, but the Japanese take it to another level. While some equate the baggy style to being unkempt, it is quite far from the truth.
In the fashion of today’s times, being selectively messy and making your outfit look effortless is a part of the deal. Hence, colorful oversized clothes will aid you in your quest to successfully getting yourself in the middle of the fashion scene.
3. Over the Top or Go Home
One of the key factors that have led to the popularization of this streetwear style over everything else is how extra and over the top it is. If you want to go for an authentic Tokyo style fashion, say no to muted styles. If fitting in the crowd and staying in the shadows is your thing, then this is not for you.
Originally, the Harajuku street style started as a form of protest as the nation’s youth protested against the Vietnam war. Those rough times for Japan’s nation brought forward the revolution in fashion as people focused on what the protestors wore and how they did it.
These protests played a part in the oversized fashion too. But over the top doesn’t always entail bright, bold colors.
If your style is blacks, greys, and muted shades, like the popularized mode style, then taking those pieces that would seem monotonous to the uninformed eye, making them out of the box extra could be your way to go. With the layers and the accessories combined, you’re sure to stand out in a crowd.
There is no one way to master Japanese street fashion. Your way is the right away. Fashion, at its core, is about originality. This street style gives you the liberty to experiment to your heart’s content and try out pieces together that you thought you’d never wear.
No one style will fit all. Encompassing yourself with clothes that are exciting and new and experimenting with them is the way to go.
5. Own Your Weird!
Everyone has their own sense of style and dressing up. People own up to their clothes and the style they live in and make it unique to themselves. Unlike its counterparts, this style gives you all the licenses you need to explore yourself or your weird tastes.
If unorthodox is your thing then, you don’t have to worry about being outlandish for this street fashion. Your idiosyncrasies are what’ll make you stand out in a crowd. Nothing’s offbeat for Japanese street fashion if you’re passionate enough.
It is an undebatable way to go and be proud of fashion like this with its uncanny pieces and style. Being weird should be the last thing you worry about while you flaunt your acquired sense of glamour.
6. Let Creativity Flow
Even with styles like Lolita, that seem to focus on a particular type of clothing, you can make your eccentric self shine through and make that creativity flow. In the Harajuku district, various stores are catered to help you find the style that suits your needs the best.
If you look hard enough across Tokyo’s fashion districts, you’ll find thrift stores and family-owned stores tucked away from the city’s glam. In those stores, you can find handcrafted fashion and pieces that come together as one.
On the other hand, the popularized Lolita fashion, which at first glance may seem constrained to some people, it in itself gives you a lot of creative liberties you’d otherwise not have access to.
With different styles like the gothic, sweet, classic, and punk Lolita styles, you can be creative while catering to the authenticity of the culture that Lolita forms a part of.
You can browse these stores and buy quite cheap shirts and materials, take inspiration from your favorite street fashion influencers and craft them yourself and make those styles your own, and maybe your style could also have a heavy influence on others around you.
7. Traditional Clothing to Modern
Essential and traditional Japanese fashion staples like a kimono have found their way through to this style. Incorporating traditional cultural pieces into the modern style puts Japanese street fashion on a higher pedestal.
Lolita style includes fashion pieces like a corset, bonnets, and other accessories that are an ode to the original, old fashioned east influenced Victorian style of clothing, as well as staying true to the original roots of the Japanese style kawaii.
8. Bringing Your Own Touch
People have a fascinating ability to take something from a different culture or an unknown style and make it their own. It is a pivotal example of people across the world taking something rather atypical and making it their own.
Through and through, the nation’s style reflects its culture of respect towards fellow humans and allows everyone to pursue autonomy of their choice. If there’s any place you’d want to bring your touch to, Japan is the place for you.
On the other hand, contradictory to popular opinion, not everyone in and across Japan is a part of this fashion movement, but those who are, follow it religiously and encourage others to do so. Cultures that these fashion styles generate are encouraging of providing people the safe space to thrive in and be themselves.
So, don’t be afraid to let go of the shackles that bind you and dive headfirst into the boundless world of street fashion.
9. Lifestyles with Fashion Interwoven
Unlike the fashion capitals of the world like New York, or Paris, Japanese street fashion is not just limited to clothing, shoes, or accessorizing. People here, who are part of the fashion subcultures, not only wear their fashion, but they live it.
Because we thrive best in communities, people form themselves into cliques of like-minded, fellow fashion and style enthusiastic people.
For instance, Lolita style is a subculture and way of lifestyle for so many people who are identified by that culture and uphold it. There are Lolita fashion shows, or gatherings or tea parties all over the world, for Lolita models or just people excited by it.
In these gatherings, Lolita enthusiasts from different corners of the world, who, in any other setting, would have nothing in common, interact and have a good time because their style brings them closer.
These fashion subcultures will provide you with communities you can be a part of and those that you can appreciate and live by. Do not be scared to indulge yourself in it for all its glory.
10. Gender Fluidity at Its Finest
Amongst fashion at large, Japanese street fashion is a stunning example of effortlessly blending gender fluidity or neutrality into everyday popularized fashion.
Unisex fashion is a thoroughly incorporated part of this style, contrary to renowned fashion globally, where gender-fluid clothing is made to be a sub-part or rather a subculture to the mainstream style.
Progressive fashion statements across the world, in terms of gender neutrality, need to be made more so now than ever.
If you are someone who is interested in and intrigued by that, or if that sounds like your style, well, this Japanese streetwear has got you covered! Most statement pieces that define the Harajuku style could be grouped into the ungendered category.
Now you can boast about your latest fashion grabs and style them as you please, without worrying about the difficulty of finding perfectly neutral pieces that suit your style.
11. For the Love of Monochrome
If bright, lavish colors in all their glory intimidate you, then this is the right place for you. Japanese Mode style, which loosely translates to fashion or style something in Japanese, has taken the monochromatic culture of the globe’s fashion by a storm.
Mr. Yohji Yamamoto, a designer, featured in Tokyo and Paris fashion weeks, has been a key feature in popularizing the mode style across Japan and has been accredited to make the monochrome black look a significant Japanese statement street fashion history.
This style, though, is not just for runways and high-end designers. If the minimalistic black and grey style excites you, then you can find your perfect all-black outfit at any local mod-inspired store and fulfill your street fashion dreams.
You can also pick up any of your favorite black pieces, find cardigans or trench coats that match your flare, and with a pair of flowy black pants, you can look like you’re modeling for that style too!
12. Fashion and Fiction
Fiction, alongside fashion, are two of the most innovative and interwoven industries of all times, not only in Japan but across the globe. Books, movies, and other forms of art and fiction always have inspired places, fashion places, and vice versa
A lot of Lolita and kawaii fashions are inspired by the globally popularized and enjoyed Japanese anime.
Gyaru style for women, and gyaru-o for men, are largely inspired styles by the anime. People excitedly imitate their favorite styles, and this only successfully forms a comradery among people.
If you are someone who loves anime or just fashion inspired by the culture of Japanese films, shows, and books, chances are you’ll find something you love in this streetwear.
This style has something for everyone. Though it’s easy for it to happen, do not let it intimidate you or scare you away from wearing something you would have never thought you could pull off.
Fashion isn’t only for the rich or privileged of the world. If you’re passionate about something, and fashion excites you, Japanese street fashion shows you that anyone can do it. More often than not, a leap past the intimidating thing will lead you to a world of unexplored opportunities. So go exploring, find your aesthetic, but you don’t need to stick to it and venture out to explore one of the most vivid fashion cultures the world has ever had to offer.