The Japanese are undeniably stylish. Even in the most utterly put-together outfit, or in a nonchalant shirt and pants combo, they definitely exude more (effortless) style than five It girls put together.
Diana Vreeland once said, “God was fair to the Japanese. He gave them no oil, no diamonds. He gave them style.” My trip to the Land of the Rising Sun a few weeks back proved to me that her belief in their God-given ace aesthetics is true. Everywhere I looked was a visual musing waiting to happen. Every person I saw was ready for the lens: an old lady in cashmere with an Hermès Bolide bag, a business man in a three-piece suit with his Goyard folio, a hip couple in Birkenstocks and Muji, and even tiny tykes in their uniforms. I’m not kidding, I was in street style heaven—Tommy Ton would’ve freaked.
Being the biggest fan of Japanese style (my Instagram following list will show you that Japanese style moms are my favorite, and my wardrobe tells you that Uniqlo is my Nirvana), I took the opportunity to jot down notes and snap some photos. Just a few reminders of why the Japanese are always synonymous to style, and why style is everywhere in Japan.
1. Les freak c’est chic
Let your chic freak flag fly in Harajuku—or anywhere in Tokyo, really. Color your hair funky, speckle your cheeks with glitter, or dress as bonkers as possible. Don’t stop yourself from dressing the way you want to. Who should dictate your business of “you do baby boo,” other than you?
2. No season like SAIL season
Nautical dressing needs not be dictated by seasons. Who cares if you like to wear that Breton shirt and khaki combo all year long—as long as you werq it the way they do in Tokyo.
3. Color outside of the lines
Give your wardrobe a little life with structured purses in bold colors—a combination that’s becoming a thing in Japan. Wear it outside of the boardroom. Break the rules a little, and power-dress on the streets with a fun-flirty bag in loud pink or feisty crimson.
4. No big thing, it’s just twinning
Either you’re with your beau or your home gurl, there’s no asking who wore it better in this game of twin dressing—you’re both winners, by the way. The Japanese don’t mind being spotted in the same bomber jacket or exact same outfit as their companion. I believe they actually like it. A trick I’ve noticed, though, is proper coordination: know when, where, and how you’ll dress alike with your style twin.
5. Don’t underestimate the boys
Let me tell you something we all know, and trust me on this; men are feisty dressers like you—a hidden sartorial gem, even. There was no contest when it came to the style game of girls versus boys in Tokyo because everyone was at par with each other. Men upped their bag, shoe, and even skin envy game. The boys definitely did not shy away from their aesthetical inclination.
6. Be an Instagram-bestie
Brush up on your filter game and practice the rule of thirds because you never know when you’ll help a friend with their OOTDs. You hear people say that the Japanese are well mannered and polite, well it doesn’t get more polite than this, they take each other’s OOTDs—with a smile!
A couple of weeks and shopping bags later, I’m back in Manila; wishing that I was eating a crepe in Harajuku, or strolling down Shibuya—with more shopping bags in tow. But, alas, all I have for now is mastering and sharing with you the art of nonchalant aesthetics—until the next seat sale to Japan, of course.
Photos by Timothy Diao