2014 J-fashion adventures

Resolving to allow myself to wear whatever I want, even if it meant abandoning the pursuit of different J-fashion styles, was probably the best decision I could have made.  It freed me from anything that limited my creativity and willingness to experiment.  As a result, I wound up knocking a few looks off my fashion bucket list and had several fun adventures worth sharing.

Despite this new energy, I didn’t see many new trends really catch my eyes.  My friends over at Kali’s Hourglass took to shironuri, which cropped up in 2012 but started to get more attention overseas in the past year.  While I think it’s gorgeous, it’s not something I will ever try (too much make-up and white for my tastes).
2014 CCAD fashion show6

Even the style tribes reported in Style-Arena seemed to rehash things that already existed.  I was amused at the concept of “Neo Bowling Style” since it’s something that has cropped here in the U.S. (with kids going bowling in prom dresses and burlesque dancers bowling for charity).  Also I inadvertently had a bowling lolita outfit when the shoes I rented wound up matching what I had worn to a meet-up prior to bowling.

At the Crow Collection fashion show, where Ramon and Radha did shironuri, I decided to attempt ora ora kei.  I’d been wanting to give it a shot, and there wasn’t a big gyaru contingent so I gave it shot with the clothes I had in my closet.  My make-up could probably use some work, but I enjoyed it.  I’m not sure it’s something I would wear regularly because of the make-up and accessories that are needed to properly represent the style.
2014 CCAD fashion show7

Another bucket list style was ero lolita.  Last year I pretty much gave up on lolita, but I still hang out with members of the local group and a murder mystery type of event at the art museum was too fun to pass up.  It was the middle of summer so I decided that it was the perfect time to try ero lolitaor as I called my look, burlesque ero lolita.  Again, not a style that is exactly me, but it was fun to try it out.
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Something that was more up my alley was my new steampunk look.  I’d been wanting to do an Asian steampunk look that didn’t involve throwing a corset over a traditional Asian outfit.  I reused pieces from older ensembles and came up with a Rurouni Kenshin-inspired persona of a former assassin who wears to chimes so that she doesn’t frighten people with her stealth.  It’s still a work in progress, but that was definitely one of my favorites.
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From Steampunk Illumination Society

My favorite J-fashion look for 2014 was the ouji ensemble for my birthday photo safari, which was one of the highlights of the year.
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The colors and make-up were inspired by Loki from The Avengers.  He’s one of my favorite characters so of course I enjoyed that bit of inspiration, and I think the androgyny is just something that is more my thing.

Thus my style resolution for 2015 is just to continue to do what works for me but don’t be afraid to explore.  I’d love to step up my ouji game and have fancier clothes, but I like being a bit rough too.  Maybe I can amp up the androgyny. We’ll see what happens.

Listening to: “9lives” by Shoko Nakagawa

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2011 in Fashion, part 2

In to continuation of my recap of 2011’s fashion trends, I’ll provide some of my thoughts on what should stick around this year. Check out the first part here.

What should stay
Androgyny – While 2010 saw more crossdressing guys, 2011 was about girls embracing their inner tomboy. I wonder if inspiration came from having three gender-bending J-dramas and Lady Gaga’s male alter-ego Jo Calderone, who debuted in the 2010 Autumn/Winter issue of Vogue Hommes Japan. Regardless of the origins, I hope the lines of gender continue to be blurred.

Berets – It has been brought to my attention that berets haven’t taken off on the Tokyo streets yet; the magazines appear to be promoting the trend. I’d like to see what becomes of it.

Ora ora kei – Although I dislike the heavy tans (skin cancer risk!), I think this is a cool subset of gyaru fashion. It seems to not be so expensive, and I like the extra bit of edge with the tattoos and tough attitudes.  Also, I think it’s really cool that the ora ora kei girls ride motorcycles.

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I wouldn’t recommend riding in the outfits they have, but check out their modded bikes (also, note that they didn’t settle for the typical 250; these girls are badass).  From Soul Sister vol. 1 via aramatheydidn’t

What needs to go
Fur – I love the feel of faux fur, but it rarely looks good. It looks especially bad with the ear hoodies and beanies that have also taken off around the world (who wants to look like stuffed animal?).

Hairbows – Okay, bows are cute, especially on lolitas. However, I feel like they’re getting ridiculous large now, and they don’t work well if you’re trying for a more mature look.

Marine – I find the marine style to be very limited. Sailor collars make a blouse more interesting, but you can only have so many versions of a sailor lolita. Also, the only person who can pull off marine stripes is Jean Paul Gaultier himself.

What remains to be determined
Denim – I hate skinny jeans with a passion, but I love wide-leg and boot-cut. Jackets are okay; dresses are hard to pull off. Designers can’t go too crazy with denim or people will start looking like bad cowboy imitations.

Red – We become saturated with a color that is “in”, and because red isn’t for everyone (I love it), I’m not sure it has staying power. It’s also easy to overdo red.
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Ayumi Hamasaki takes the red look a touch too far with her super bright lipstick and shows exactly how big hairbows can be.  From S Cawaii Feb. 2011

Retro – Traveling back in time via clothes is fun, but I want a bit more original reinvention of past trends. While some looks are classic and should be revived, we have to be careful to not to repeat the fashion mistakes of our predecessors.

Sensei’s Style in 2011
Biggest hot mess – I don’t even know what look I was going for, but I had a long maroon skirt, a black tank top, my Black Peace Now ruffled top, and Mary Jane-like shoes. That just looked like a failed attempt at Mori Girl, but I decided to throw on my vinyl jacket. It was bad.

Best outfit – J-rock Bishounen Anti-hero
2011 fashion show entry
Although the original look, which consisted mainly of a Deoart vest and Sixh pants, came from 2010, I felt like I took it to another level at the 2011 Crow Collection J-fashion show. I became inspired by the mysterious bishounen of Uraboku and decided to put add an anime element to the outfit with a wig. Just wearing the clothes made me feel cool.

Most influential style – androgyny
2011 was mostly a continuation of steampunk, but I rediscovered androgyny late in the summer. For the past couple of years, my appearance became more feminine, and it felt odd so I am really embracing the masculine look. So far I’ve incorporated it into J-rock, steampunk, and casual. I also got back into ouji.

What do you think about 2011’s fashion trends? What was your personal style of the past year?

Listening to: “Graffiti” – Gackt

2011 in Fashion, part 1

2011 was an interesting year for J-fashion.  On one hand, the earthquake aftermath brought an interest in minimalism and practicality.  Fashion was frivolous and even hazardous, as the Tokyo office ladies who had to walk miles home in high heels would tell you.  On other hand, alternative fashion hung onto a quirkiness that could be found in style icons like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Even with tightened purse strings and grave matters on their minds, the truly devoted lovers of clothing found a way to express themselves.

What was left behind in 2010
Headbands – By headbands, I mean the ones worn across the forehead (hippie style). The ones worn on top of your head were still common.

Mountains of accessories – With the decline of decora, hime kei, and the economy, less became more. Although street fashion remains outrageous for some, most individuals seemed to limit their accessorizing.

Nordic fashion – Nordic prints didn’t last too long, as plaid and animal print came back in style (not that they ever really left).

Yama Girl – After Yama Girl became popular, there were attempts to make other outdoor activities trendy with chic running gear and the Tsuri Girl (Fishing Girl). Neither really took off, and the Yama Girl became more obscure. Either practicality won out style or the fashionistas decided to stay indoors.

What carried over into 2011
Bows and berets – Headwear has been growing in popularity. However, hair bows and berets became the must-have accessories, whether you were a gyaru, lolita, or punk.
2011 fashion3 from Kera, Nov. 2011

Fur – Fur went away for a couple years, and then it came back with a vengeance. The animal ear hats were bigger and fuzzier than ever (and they invaded the U.S.), and stoles became a hot winter item.

Marine – Army style gave way to the navy in 2010, and marine stripes and sailor outfits became popular with both the Shibuya 109 and LaForet crowds.
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What sprouted up in 2011
Androgyny – While no stranger to alternative fashion, more masculine looks made their way into the trendier magazines with Zipper having a “boy vs. girl” feature and Soup giving their models a tomboy makeover.

Denim – Jeans aren’t a staple in Japan, as they are in the U.S. However, they became more popular in 2011. There was also denim jackets, Not only have jeans become more popular, but there were jackets, dresses,

Ora ora kei – Ora ora kei is a mishmash of gyaruo and yanki. Key points include black track suits, tank tops, tanned skin, tattoos, gold accessories, and sunglasses. Its popularity in the past year probably resulted from a need for a manlier style and for the gyaru, a tougher and sexier style. Ora Ora kei for the ladies really took off with the birth of Soul Sister.
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Exile’s Atsushi is a style icon for ora ora kei guys.

Red – Perhaps in reaction to the neutral garments, red accents were seen all over the place: shoes, berets, and lips to name a few. Lolita also seemed to embrace the vibrant hue, as even the pastel-dominated brand Angel Pretty had a few red dresses.

Retro – 2011 fashion trends traveled through the decades. We had pleated skirts from the 1950s, maxi dresses from the 60s, wide-leg jeans form the 70s, and baggy shirts from the 80s. Rockabilly and old school punk influence the mainstream a bit, and Lumine paid tribute to the 60s and 80s at the Tokyo Girls Award fashion show.
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Aya Omasa, who played the frilly fashion student Miwako in Paradise Kiss, shows off a simple 70s-inspired look.  From non-no Aug. 2011

Fashion seemed to change drastically in the past year, and yet there were many things we had seen before: black glasses, plaid, and fur. 2011 also saw a dichotomy of hard versus soft with the rise of ora ora kei juxtaposed with the softer vintage looks. Neutral tones and bright 60s-inspired palettes also provided an interesting contrast. It will be interesting to see where things go next year.

Listening to: “Wonder Woman” by Namie Amuro feat. AI and Anna Tsuchiya