What are the different styles of clothing in Japan? What makes them different? Are they all wearable in all situations?
At Kanji Streetwear, we are passionate about Japanese fashion, so we dug into the question and prepared a dossier on the different clothing styles in Japan.
When we think about Japanese fashion, we imagine special outfits. Whether it is kimonos, kawaii clothing, or traditional clothing, Japanese fashion fascinates and enthralls by its variety and originality.
In spite of strange appearances, from formal uniforms to totally crazy Harajuku outfits, in spite of the explosion of color when walking in the streets of Tokyo, in spite of this omnipresent streetwear style; we still manage to categorize the different Japanese outfits.
The Japanese Students' Clothing Style
Recognizing students in Japan is very simple. They have an obligation to wear a uniform from a very young age, from infant school to high school. The uniform depends on the school you attend: each school has its own uniform.
The men have two uniforms: one for the summer, one for the winter. Their uniform is often navy blue or black, with a pretty white shirt and black moccasins (gakuran). Girls, on the other hand, have only one uniform for the whole year. It often consists of a long pleated navy blue skirt that they must wear 5 to 10 cm above the knees, and a navy blue and white collar. All this is worn with black moccasins (sailor fuku) and white socks.
The Japanese Employees' Clothing Style
Japanese employees are quickly recognizable: the men are dressed in black suits, ties, shirts, and watches. The women wear the same kind of classy clothes: dark suit, square black handbag with a maximum height of 30 cm.
As you can see, Japanese work clothes are not so different from those we know in the West. The only difference is the proportion of the population wearing a suit or a suit: whereas in our Western countries, we have more choice in what to wear, in Japan, there is no other choice than to dress well.
The Japanese Youth Clothing Style
In Japan, you are considered "young" when you enter university until the end of your studies. The look of Japanese youth is much more casual and less formal than that of employees. You dress the way you like: if you want to have green hair, now is the time! Girls, in particular, follow fashion very closely, whether it be clothing or hair.
Japanese women love brands, especially luxury ones. If you go to Japan, you will see many Japanese women wearing Gucci or Louis Vuitton handbags. Finally, you should know that very relaxed weekend outfits are very popular with those who are not yet working, i.e. the Japanese youth!
The Japanese Streetwear Clothing Style
Let's get out of the formal and professional aspect of the costume and move towards the famous Japanese streetwear that we can notice and come across in the streets of Tokyo. Japan being the country par excellence of streetwear, we have many different categories to review. Are you ready?
The Gothic Lolita Clothing Style
This is a women's fashion inspired by Japanese metal. The omnipresent laces and ribbons add a Victorian touch to this style. This style of clothing also has several sub-styles such as the elegant gothic aristocrat or the elegant gothic lolita.
The Manga/Cosplay Clothing Style
Most of you already know what it is, but for the Japanese novices among us, we will explain. These are outfits that reproduce a character from manga, game, or comics. If you go to Japan and want to see Japanese people dressed in these outfits, go to the Harajuku subway station!
The Cyber Clothing Style
Cyber fashion is a style between manga style and decora (Japanese clothing style emphasizing the profusion of colors and accessories). To go to the end of fashion, we use green, blue, pink fake hair... It's a rather colorful style that uses tubes or cables as accessories.
The Sweet Lolita Clothing Style
With this style, it's like you instantly go back to childhood. This look is dominated by many pastel colors, including pink, white, blue, and clothes range from lace to skirts, with plush as accessories. This style is similar to dolls for girls.
The Horror Girls Clothing Style
You'll notice them from a distance. Indeed, Japanese women who follow this style make up themselves with a lot of fake blood, wounds, clothes with red stains, bandages in front of their eyes, and a surgeon's mask. This style, very eccentric, is quite frowned upon because of its gore.
The Hime Lolita Clothing Style
First of all, it is important to know that Hime means princess in Japanese. That's why the dresses worn by Hime Lolita are inspired by those of princesses while keeping a Lolita side. It is not unusual for these Japanese women to wear tiaras with beautiful hairstyles.
The Kogals/Kogaru Clothing Style
This is a very particular style. That's what Hawaiian fashion is called. Kogals have tanned skin, turning orange with dyed hair and flashy clothes. The Kogarus, as for them, keep the same style but add platform shoes, with false nails, eyeliner, and a lot of eye shadow.
The Traditional Japanese Clothing Style
In Japan, there are many traditions and associated outfits as well. For traditional Shinto/Buddhist weddings, it is mandatory to wear the famous Kimono, and not a Yukata (see our article on the Kimono/Yukata difference). For western weddings, the wedding dress is usually worn.
Funerals are no different from Western funerals: everyone is dressed in black. On the feast of the majority (Seijin no Hi), the Japanese usually wear kimonos or Yukatas.
Finally, every November 15, on the feast of children aged 7-5-3 years (Shichi-go-san), boys and girls aged 3, 5, and 7 years are dressed in their most beautiful outfits; most of the time a silk Kimono to thank the deities (Kamis) in the sanctuaries.
What's Your Favorite Japanese Clothing Style?
We have just seen the different clothing styles in Japan. From casual work styles to the extraordinary styles of Tokyo, especially Harajuku, Japanese fashion abounds in diversity and little-known treasures. What about you, young lover of Japanese fashion? What is your favorite style of clothing from the land of the rising sun?
Don't hesitate to tell us in the comments, we read everything and we would be delighted to hear your tastes in Japanese fashion. You can also take a look at our Japanese Kimonos collection below: