Aside from the well-documented Harajuku girls as a distinctive fashion icons of Japan, everyday Japanese style is definitely up there in terms of distinctiveness and classic, simple style.
Japanese style is restrained, elegant, unobtrusive and absolutely lovely. That goes for the guys, too! To me, the defining element of Japanese style is the use of layering. I was completely fascinated by this! I've never been one to layer, mainly because I'm terrified of creating too much bulk. Lucky for the Japanese - who are basically as wide as a chopstick - this isn't an issue. Also, their clothes are designed to be layered. Everything is fabulously light-weight, and just begging to have something thrown over the top of it.
|I think she has at least 4 layers on here, but does she look weird & bulky? NO!|
So I did some Googling to see the reasons for this love of layering, and this is what I came up with:
- suntans are not fashionable (except among the ganguro subculture)
- the Japanese believe that covering up in hot weather will keep you cooler than exposing your skin to the sun
- the weather is so hot and humid that you want to wear two shirts: the one next to your skin will absorb the sweat, and the one on top will stay clean and pretty
- the Japanese are self-conscious about being slender and small-boned, and think they should wear baggy clothing to compensate
Seriously, I cannot stress to you enough how demure the Japanese are, yet somehow they manage to rock it out and not come across as boring, beige nuns. Big ups to them.
So the lesson today, folks, is if you have more than one favourite item of clothing wear them at the same time! Then you'll be doubly happy, and you will exude an air of foreign mysteriousness. Try it.