What to wear in Tokyo, Japan

There is an incredible amount of fashion blogs out there, focusing and inspired by Tokyo, Japan. The city is mesmerizing, no matter the season.

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(Tokyo-ites popularized the whole knee high socks with shoes long before it became a season staple)

Tokyo is pulsating and vibrating, always, and their people immensely stylish. So what should you wear to Tokyo? Take away the images of Japanese Geisha’s in kimono’s and painted faces, the city is more colorful then that. Or the always polished working men in their suits (including as some say, the crisp and sharp tailored duds of the Yakuza’s or Japanese mafia).

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(Wear whatever you want to in Tokyo)

In Tokyo, you have carte blanche to be whomever you want to be. You can recreate yourself, reinvent your style, or use it as a runway to test the things you would only wear in your wildest dreams. Tokyo-ites don’t care. They, and I guess the Japanese in its entirety, are extremely respectful of individuality and personal freedom. I once got on the subway there only to have a grandmother around 80 years old or so slowly walk into the subway. She was wearing a simple white top, and shuffling in her wooden slippers. And she had blue hair. I swear! blue! like bright blue, blue. But of course, nobody gave her a care about the color of her hair. The young woman who was sitting, stood up, gave a bit of a bow and gave up her seat for her. Trust me, if this was Malaysia, there would have deff been some tongues wagging about that.

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(Some of the different styles that you can find. Like the Lolita’s)Japan Summer 2005 061

(I dont actually know what style this would be…)

Of course, I wouldn’t recommend stepping out of your comfort zone the entire time while you’re there. Trust me, you will feel the burn to put on things you are used to.  Feel free to pack the things you normally would. Just imagine what you would wear in your hometown if the weather was the same, and pack those. Maybe one or two feeler/ crazy outfits just as a side and for when you’re feeling bold. Heck, bring out that Pikachu costume you wore for Halloween! people won’t find you weird at all! (Yes, I dressed up as Pikachu in Tokyo once, and nobody cared).

Summer '04 Japan 051(Tokyo-ites don’t always dress like this)

Other things I would recommend of course would be flats/ sandals/ thongs. Even though you do see them in heels sometimes, walking all over Tokyo in heels and navigating the subway system (especially at rush hour) would be insane. I would really recommend bringing flats to walk around in, and as is typical, perhaps a pair of wedges/ booties for when you’re thinking of dressing up.

Makeup, a necessity. Said grandma with blue hair had really nice make-up on btw. Not clownish or over the top or anything. Just enough to look put together and elegant. Though of course this would depend on the style you have on for the day.

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(You can always pick up a fancy accessory in Tokyo itself)

Other accessories like handbags and umbrellas and all are of course up to your own prerogative (and season).

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(The start of Takeshita street)

And as for where to go, there is of course, the famous Harajuku area for your immensely varied styles. Head to Takeshita street, a pedestrian only area (JR East’s Harajuku station if you’re coming by subway). There is a whole underground culture of the different types of Japanese fashion, and you can see almost all of them on Takeshita. So grab a drink and enjoy watching all the different styles go by. There is also the Ginza shopping area, so big it has started carrying its own numbers of different Ginza areas, with its offering of the super high-end. Last but not least, is the Shinjuku area (close to Harajuku), for a labyrinth of small and large brands in the craziness of their small malls. Try something different while you are there, like testing out the myriad of local brands and style.

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Happy stylish travels