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Thursday, May 29, 2008
Girl Talk: Dress Up In Japanese Summer Style Basics
It seems that it was only recently that I had bought my cherry blossom Starbucks tumbler, signifying the arrival of spring in Japan. Now, the cherry-blossom season is making way for the fast approach of the summer heat.

Indeed, despite the calendar saying that it's only the end of May, temperatures all over this country has been steady at the mid-20s in C (that's 70s in F) for several weeks now. The hot season has forced us to tuck away the trench coats and boots, and bring out the sexy, airy blouses, shorts, dress shirts (as well as surfboards and bikinis) earlier than usual this year.

Japan is not just hot, hot, hot right now because of summer though. The truth is, it can be hot, hot, hot the whole year round, what with the wild and quirky fashion and trends the people come up with. Having been born with no fashion sense whatsoever, this geek of a girl thought it would be the best opportunity to develop some skill in fashion assembly here in Japan. So, over the course of 2 summers, springs, winters and autumns, I have managed to acquire some of the yearly staple items in Japanese fashion and some basic knowledge on how to wear them. So far, in my attempt at going Japanese, I've been experimenting with all these:

1) Pile it up!
Yes, pile on those clothes. Despite the sticky heat of summer, some girls actually go out of the house with multi-colored layers of clothing on them. While my fellow Filipinas and I are sweating on our way to work underneath one layer of thin, short-sleeved tops, the Japanese women seem to be cool and comfy underneath three layers of clothing (and makeup).
Why all the layers? Perhaps because each layer brings something different to the whole getup. And then there's also the mathematical explanation... take three items, and you end up with 6 different layering combinations for each. That's like 6 days worth of clothes with just 3 different tops.
Of course, I'm not saying you wear them on consecutive days.

2) Leggings, stockings and socks
The leggings, stockings and socks store wherever I go here holds more colors than the rainbow, and, in combination, probably holds more designs than Imelda has shoes - stripes, plains, checkered, long, short, wacky, wild, bright, bland, you name it, they'll probably have it.
They, I mean we, wear it anytime we feel it fits the getup. The most common is, of course, wearing it with a short skirt or shorts, and a pair of boots, pumps, mary janes, or whatever we feel like.

3) Dress shirts
Especially those with grammatically-challenged prints. You know, those that make it on Engrish.com? Well, it's not exactly a difficult thing to look for here. Find one that nearly grazes your knee, pair it with a transparent pair of colored stockings (purple, brown, or green, anyone?) and a pair of high cut, high-heeled boots. Hmm... the thought of it makes me want to go shopping now.

4) Boots
The babies I own, which reach up to midcalf, are quite difficult to pull of in countries that know no other season than summer, like the Philippines. I mean, yeah, you could probably pull it off fashion-wise, but unless you're spending the whole day in air-conditioned rooms and buildings, you'll end up with sweaty legs throughout the day.
However, there are options of ankle-length boots that are more reasonable to wear even in 30-degree temperature. Perfect for the fashion-conscious this summer, but I'd rather have my slippers and sandals now.

5) Skirts
I really don't have even one of these yet, but I have been meaning to, in order to bring out the ultimate, ehem, girl in me. With or without frills, this works for every girl, I think. I mean, take the most boyish of the bunch and let her wear a cute skirt and see if no guy turns his head towards her.
But guys, if you're in Japan, let me warn you to be careful whenever you're in Akihabara or Harajuku. 'Coz eventually, you'll see firsthand that it's not only the women here who wear skirts.

6) Shorts
Can be just as girly and fashionable, and a tad bit more comfortable than skirts. Plus it's "safer" from peeping tom, dicks and harrys especially when you're on the escalator.
I've tried shorts and colored leggings/stockings. Tried it several times. And if I may say so myself, actually pulled it off all those times (I hope).
7) Accessories
Beads, bangles, anklets, huge earrings, fake lashes, and even funky glasses, and nail accessorries.
Do I really need to explain further?


If there's one word I can use to sum up the Japanese women's fashion sense, it would be "daring", because that's basically how it is. Although they sometimes follow what the fashion magazines dictate, they sometimes also listen to that voice in their head to just pick one piece of clothing out, pick another out, grab a few accessories, try the combination and see if it all makes sense.

The best thing for me, as I have observed, is that nobody really cares what you are wearing. This apathetic attitude may have its cons in other situations, but where fashion in Japan is concerned, it's a huge pro. It allows one to let out her voice, without being restricted as to what society might think or say about her.

And so I've made my decision. Come December when I'll be taking my usual yearly leave, Dumaguete better be ready for me - coz I'm gonna be doing some experimenting of my own ;)

***Written on 05/29/2008 by Lainee Uy over at The Girl In Geeks Clothing***

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posted by Ann @ 5:25 PM  
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Name: Ann
Home: Philippines
About Me: even when she has fairy wings on, this girl is anything BUT dainty. perhaps the size, the weight, and the personality alone are just too much for her to be considered delicate, prim, proper, and refined. this girl with the mud smudged cheeks has been down on the ground one to many times. these times forced her to be tougher, smarter, and more savvy than she has ever been. perhaps she will always be, never dainty. email me: neverdainty [at] gmail [dot] com
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