When thinking of Japanese men wearing fashion and the first thing that comes into mind is Uniqlo, that’s actually a nice observation.
Giving attention to Japanese men’s fashion is kind of equivalent to that of observing how they style the popular Japanese Streetwear fashion as their own. Aside from Uniqlo, there are a lot of fashion brands that cater to the fashion-hungry men of Japan and it’s no surprise to see a lot of them sporting their own creativity and individuality when it comes to their own fashion statement. After all, the Japanese streetwear fashion boasts itself in its ability to help an individual express its own individuality through the use of clothing that is available around them.
If I were to describe the fashion style of these men, it would be sleek and smart. Even on their casual wear, the men of Tokyo will never miss the chance of looking masculine without having to show too much skin. Since Tokyo is called a place in the first place, covering oneself is a priority. I say smart and sleek due to the pieces that they combine. Unlike on normal American streetwear where wearers would use hoodies with big names, sporting luxury brands on their bodies, the Japanese male wearers don’t necessarily sport their fashion statement that way. They, however, want to make sure that they look clean and smart, they are endearing to grace at! But there are also a couple of other ways that the Japanese men make their streetwear fashion more enjoyable for them, as well and I will be explaining those styles in a bit.
The Smart and Elegant Streetwear
We don’t really know the proper name of this style so we are going to call it the smart-looking, elegant casual wear. Simply put, it is the streetwear where you will see a lot of men wearing clean cut trousers pairing it up with a top of almost similar hues and layered all over with a proper and clean outerwear.
You will commonly see this style in the street of Tokyo. Mostly worn in monochrome or in muted colors, the style is an eye-candy. You don’t always see men in other places sporting streetwear this way so you can’t help but adore every fit that every man who does this style.
This is the type of style that is very popular amongst men, often seen spotted by a lot of Japanese male influencers. The ones who use the smart way of using streetwear often are seen wearing outerwear such as trench coats and parkas. For tops, it is of usual practice to make use of polo shirts or long sleeves on a single color. Some prints on their wear can also be worn just as long as it still adheres to the elegant style that they are going for. Sometimes, they add a touch of their own individuality by using hats of the almost or the same hue of the colors of the fit that they are going for, and then carrying with them bags which can be seen as weird from foreign audiences. And yes, just like women, men of Japan also think that a bag is also a part of their fashion statement! Whether they make use of business bags, small purses, or tote bags (which is the most common asset when it comes to bag fashion), you will be fascinated by how unique yet classy their styles are that you can’t help but seek for more inspiration from them.
Casual wear can be in the form of hoodies, graphic tees, shorts, baggy pants. And do the men of Japan wear this type of wear? Well, they certainly do, but not in the way that the West is commonly used to. For one, unlike the Western style of streetwear, the Japanese don’t really enjoy wearing clothing that exposes a brand’s name too much. They prefer going lowkey when it comes to their casual wear. Although compared to their usual smart and elegant streetwear fashion, you can say that the casual is a bit more open and exposed if compared to it. It is still streetwear so what’s the difference? Well, a lot - from the choice of the pants to wear, and instead of a hat, a cap is used instead. They also use a lot of huge hoodies and jackets and sometimes make use of dark silhouettes.
You can say that the casual streetwear of Japan is almost similar to that of the Korean way of dressing casual streetwear, but they also have their own elements to their own streetwear. One of the most identifying features are the use of military-inspired clothing used by different genders as, well, military outfits are highly unisexual. Also, the colors of their streetwear aren’t really loud with colors, and of course, don’t forget the complementary loose, oversized fits.
A Combination of both Smart and Casual Streetwear
Japanese street style has no rules, only creativity, so you will definitely see people combining the two popular elements of streetwear - the smart and the casual. What does this look like? Well, it is exactly how you might imagine it to be: wearing of outerwears while also wearing a pair of thigh-high shorts; wearing a sleeveless top while wearing a loose pair of clean cut trousers; wearing a smart top and bottom while wearing a pair of sneakers. You will actually see this a lot in the streets of Tokyo if you stroll around there. Considering the experimental taste of the men fashionistas there, there’s no actually telling what the different individual’s fit will be. (Also, remember that the Japanese streetwear also doesn't follow trends much unlike the usual streetwear that we are so used to).
A mix of tradition and streetwear
Photo from Spoon & Tamago
Japan is known to be one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to technology and development, important aspects of their history and culture can still be seen peeking through even at the present times. Not only is this observed by the existence of important temples in the middle of cities, but also highly applicable when it comes to fashion.
And yes, I am talking about incorporating the traditional way of dressing up into the present time. The Japanese streetwear is free, meaning there are no exact limiting rules that make a wearer feel restricted. As Japanese people are simply curious individuals, they seek for new inspiration everyday when it comes to how they can propelur give themselves the proper expression that they think they deserve even when it comes to fashion. And while this is true, what better way is it to express your culture than through the use of fashion, right? The most popular wear for men when we talk about Japanese traditional clothing is most definitely the kimono.
The wearer of the fashion piece may go around the streets wearing one, but in the modern days, the Japanese are creative enough to show their culture through their clothing by making new innovations such as the creation of a coat taken from an inspiration of a Japanese Kimono. The kimono is fairly popular in the Japanese streetwear fashion and the male consumers rave this fashion piece. Even a lot of international consumers are looking at sporting this type of piece on their own.
Another example of incorporating tradition to their streetwear fashion is the use of traditional paintings that speak very “Nihon” - commonly those Japanese woodblock painting art pieces are found to be popular, and these prints may not necessarily be on a kimono. Aside from well-known paintings, other prints that scream Japanese are also appropriate for the aesthetic. The use of tigers, kanji characters, cranes, sakuras, there’s no limit to how their creativity can go that makes someone feel homey despite sporting clothing of Western influence.
The Harajuku Style
If you think that the Harajuku style is only applicable to women, then think again. After all, the Harajuku fashion style is for everyone regardless of genre, but of course, as traditionalist is the society of Japan, there are also other ways that the male enthusiasts do their own twist for their understanding of what Harajuku styles of fashion is to them.
FIrst of all, in order to grasp the feel of the festivity of Harajuku, most of the enthusiasts wear colorful clothing. Remember Decora’s color palettes? Many males are not afraid to make use of different colors on their fashion statement especially when this is their way of expressing their identity. When I say colors, I say the bizarre and bright colors that may be in the form of pinks, yellows, greens, or all in neon (or not, depends). Simply put, the Harajuku style of the men's clothing are not afraid to show their colorful culture on the streets of Harajuku, It’s almost comforting to know that they have an outlet for them to showcase their artistic ability when it comes to fashion senses.
A parade of colors, with no right or wrong way to approach this style, the males of Harajuku are free to do what they want depending on what they think is the perfect Harajuku style for them. Whether they choose to wear and g sport a monochromatic figure of blacks, grays, red, or whether they go funky and wear something uncharacteristic from their usual attires for once, if there’s one thing’s for sure, it is that Harajuku will accept their tastes regardless of styles and colors.