Sunday, August 11, 2013

5 Japanese Fashion Trends You Wouldn't Expect-The Nectar Collective

We're baaaack! Unfortunately. Why does it always seem like vacation is just one day too short? I can't complain though, we had an amazing time exploring Cambodia and getting some much needed R&R, a rarity for us. So while I recoup...and catch up on the laundry and cleaning...I have a good blogging friend of mine, Melyssa filling in for me. Have you met Melyssa yet? If not I strongly advice you go check out her page (as soon as you read her post below of course). This girl is like a ball of sunshine and is quickly spreading joy through the inter-webs through her posts about positivity and DIY projects that can't help but put a smile on your face. She also has a pretty awesome link up and is my partner in crime for the Snail Mail Collective (which the pairings are now closed but you can always sign up next month!). But enough of what I think, let's get on with the main even! Below Melyssa shares some...unique fashion trends of Japan.

Hey everyone! My name is Melyssa and I blog over at The Nectar Collective. I'm a California girl currently living and growing in Tokyo, Japan with my dog, Monja. I blog about all sorts of things, but generally stick to travel and positivity. I'd love for you to join me! Now that I've lived in Japan for a couple years, I've caught onto a lot of the fashion trends and traditions that pervade this little country. I also think Japanese city-dwellers generally have impeccable style and sometimes I find myself in Harajuku observing how much more swag everyone has than me. However, there are some other fashion trends in Japan that you might not have expected or known about. Today, I'm sharing five of those lesser known Japanese styles so that if you ever come to Tokyo, you'll fit in like a native (I'm still working on that one).
1. Scrunchies
I'm pretty sure if I ever rocked a scrunchy in California, someone would utter the words, where'd you get that? The 90s?  Unfortunately in the States, scrunchies are still associated with Lisa Frank and teeny boppers (the Huffington Post even wrote an article when Hillary Clinton wore one), but in Japan, if your ponytail doesn't have a scrunchy, then you might as well just not wear clothes because girl, you're already naked. Scrunchies are everywhere and people typically buy big, fluffy ones to match their outfits. When one of my students graduated from my school last year, she even gave me a homemade scrunchy as a parting gift. I haven't really bought them yet, but trust me, the temptation for a big teeny bopper head is real, folks.
2. Skin color tights
In the States, I can't imagine one occasion where people would opt for nude, or skin color tights. But in Japan, oftentimes if people show their legs (with skirts, shorts, etc), they will wear nude tights. I'm not sure whether this is to make their legs look more even toned or because Japan is a pretty conservative society. Probably both. But sometimes when I wear skirts to work, I feel kind of skanky if I'm not at least wearing some beige tights. The struggle is real.
3. Heels
Women in Japan tend to be on the shorter side, maybe 5'2" or 5'3" in general. However, just like the rest of the world, being a little taller is usually favored. This means that pretty much every Japanese woman wears heels. All.of.them. I see people rockin' six-inch pumps on their way to work like it's no big deal. It's also nearly impossible to find pure flats (i.e. shoes without a small heel or wedge). And shoes are generally small. The biggest size you can find for women's shoes is about an 8.5 or a 9 in US sizes. I'm 5'9" and wear a size 10 so basically I'm a gigantor in Japan! This both means that I don't wear heels because I already tower over everyone and that I can't find shoes here because they're all too small. Shoes and I are still trying to mend our broken friendship. I'll let you know how it goes.
4. School uniforms
You know that stereotype about the "sexy schoolgirl"? It's kind of real. Every Japanese school, public or not, requires its students to wear a uniform to school. (Sidenote: these uniforms cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars). But Japanese kids take it a step further. I see them wear their school uniforms all.the.time. It's like their skin. Lots of schools, like the one I teach at, have kind of maternal uniforms with knee-length skirts and hi-cut blouses. But you'll still find plenty of schools with uniforms that look more suitable for a sorority party than a classroom. You'll also see school uniforms all over the place in general, since students and even adults often wear them on weekends or buy clothes that resemble uniforms because that sexy schoolgirl stereotype lives in Tokyo, too (don't believe me? Here's proof).
5. No tattoos
Yakuza had full-body tattoos like this. via
In California, I feel like everyone has a tattoo. Because of this, they're generally accepted, at least among our peers. But in Japan? Well, tattoos are still associated with the Yakuza, which is basically Japan's mafia. Because of that, no one really has tattoos and they are not looked at in a positive light. Some establishments, like onsens (public baths), might even turn you away if your skin is tattooed. Of course, there are still the rebels who do have tattoos (though usually small and easily hidden), but this is still pretty rare. Basically, that sunflower you always wanted to tattoo on your forehead may not fly in the land of the rising sun.

Thank you so much for having me, Chelsea!! If you want to learn more about my adventures in Japan or want to figure out how to infuse your life with positivity, then come say hello on my blog, The Nectar Collective! I'd love to meet you. :)

Now, tell me, what did you think about these Japanese fashion trends? Are there are trends in YOUR country that aren't popular in other parts of the world? Let's chat in the comments!