I’ve heard many things about the advanced fashion sense of the Japanese. Luckily, I was able to visit Tokyo long enough to catch a glimpse of what’s in style. Something I hear from a lot of people is that Tokyo style is supposed to be ten years ahead of American trends. This may have been true in the past, but with online social networking and the recent blogging phenomenon, I respectfully disagree. What I’m about to do may be spoiling it for you, but I want to inform the SLCC student body about foreign trends that may or may not influence the way we dress today, rather than waiting for a few years.
With the popularization of the Harajuku district in Tokyo by Gwen Stefani in 2004, I thought the area might be old news. Instead, I was impressed with the styles that I could talk for pages about the current trends in Tokyo, so I’ll just choose my favorite women’s trends and focus on those. I’ll begin with chambray. First I’ll let you know what chambray is, so we’re all using the right term. Here is how the SLCC Fashion Institute Textiles class describes chambray: “Lightweight cotton or blended fabric in a plain weave. It has the look of a lightweight ‘denim.'”
I saw Japanese women wearing this everywhere. Skirts, long buttoned dresses and of course long sleeved woven tops. This is a great element for any spring outfit and can be a very neutral starting point. Luckily, American style has already caught on and chambray for men and women can be found easily at the likes of Urban Outfitters and Gap.
In Japan, many younger women are wearing hats at the moment. The most popular was the boater hat; a flat top and flat brim hat made of straw. They generally have a navy-blue ribbon, but sometimes a bow or plaid is used. To make the hat work, most women wearing the hats were wearing a great combination of garments inspired from the Belle Epoque era, a beautiful time for fashion at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. This included eyelets, lightweight cotton, long skirts, lace, chiffon overlays, floral prints, pearls and much more. I even saw one woman carrying a parasol. Such a beautiful era to bring back, and the Japanese have revamped it for this century. A good source for this type of dressing could be any local boutiques catering to an older crown of women or even thrift and vintage stores like D.I. or Misc. on 300 S. and 200 E. in Salt Lake.
For men in Japan, it’s mostly suits. With extra long workdays, I’d say they don’t have much of an option other than a great fitting suit. The men who aren’t in the business realm, rather, can expect a new wave in more feminine details. Don’t worry guys, they’re actually quite dapper and will look great with a tie, blazer or even your very own five-o-clock shadow. These two surprising trends were polka dots and floral prints. Small or large, these patterns were covering anything from polo shirts to khaki shorts. My favorite was the white, woven top with tiny navy-blue polka dots. I found this in almost every shop I entered.
I’m hoping this is an easy introduction to the colors and silhouettes for the moment. Although Japan is half a world away, they’ve got a great idea of what’s in store this coming spring and it’s easy to implement any of these ideas. If your opposed to them, then I’d say start your own trend. With how huge the fashion realm is, there is definitely some wiggle room. Japan is the perfect example of this evolution; I’d like to go back next week to see what’s changed.