Japan is well known for its foothold in fashion through kimonos and modern styles such as lolita, Harajuku, street fashion, and many more.
There are two types of Japanese fashion, traditional and western. Since the 1990s, Japanese designers have created fashion trends that mold today’s western-style clothing in Japan. However, traditional clothing is still commonly worn in informal settings.
We are sure you have heard of the Kimono and the fabulous Japanese street style, but what are some other types of Japanese fashion? Keep on reading to find out about all the different styles that can be seen on the streets of Japan.
15 Traditional Japanese Fashions
Kimonos are probably the most recognizable part of traditional Japanese wear. They are gowns shaped in a letter “T” covering the whole body. There are endless variations of the Kimono, according to the occasion, season, marital status, or age of the wearer. Formality depends on the number of crests (kamon), with five being the most formal.
Women’s kimonos can be incredibly complicated, with up to 12 different pieces, and often require help. There are too many types of kimonos to list, but here are the most common ones.
Yukata is a casual type of Kimono made of cotton and usually worn in the summer. It resembles a bathrobe and is traditionally worn around the house. Traditional yukatas used to be blue or white, but there are many more designs nowadays.
Furisodes are worn on special occasions and decorated in colorful designs. They are usually worn by young, unmarried women and passed down from generation to generation or rented since women don’t wear them often enough to buy them.
Iromuji is made of dyed silk and usually in one solid color. Tea ceremonies are when one usually wears an Iromuji.
Mofuku are mourning kimonos. They have five kamons, to represent formality, and they are solid black. After the death of a close loved one, women might wear mofuku for several weeks.
Shiromuku means “pure white innocence.” These are solid white wedding kimonos worn by the bride in a traditional Shinto ceremony.
7. Men’s kimonos
Men also wear kimonos, but they are much simpler and have 5 pieces at the most. Unlike the women’s kimonos, they rarely have decorative details and have much subtler colors, such as black, navy, or green. The men’s sleeves are also smaller than women’s.
Hakama are skirt-like pants worn with a kimono. This skirt can be undivided (andon bakama) or divided (umanori). Hakama should be tied around the waist and over the belt (obi.) In the earlier days, hakama was worn only by men, including the samurais, who would wear it to hide their footwork. Today, women can also wear them on certain occasions, such as graduation ceremonies.
The obi is a kind of belt worn over the layers of the Kimono, although it doesn’t tie it all together. Obi are usually wide belts that can be decorated with several different accessories or made with various materials.
Zori are a kind of sandals, similar to flip-flops, but only with a sturdier base. They are made of wood, vinyl, or leather and decorated straps that can be embroidered with silver or gold yarn. These sandals are usually worn with white socks and hidden with kimonos. Geta are similar sandals, only with a thicker woodblock, worn in the snow or dirt.
Kanzashi is a hairpin, usually worn by women to keep their hairstyle in place. The design of this accessory usually changes according to the seasons. Maikos and geishas generally wear it.
Haori resembles a kimono, but it resembles a jacket more than a robe. It is worn mainly by men, especially warriors. They symbolized class and wealth and served as a cover for the armor.
In the early 19th century, geishas also started wearing haori.
Haori and Hakama, when worn together, are typically formal wear for men for events like weddings, Coming of age ceremonies, and other important celebrations.
13. Happi and Hanten
A hanten is a short winter coat with a tailored collar and cotton padding for warmth. Men and women wear it over a kimono. It is similar to haori.
A happi is also a short coat, but much more informal than haori and hanten. House servants usually wore it. In the past, it was also worn by firefighters. It usually comes in plain colors, such as black, white, red, and blue. It is often worn to festivals, often with a matching headband.
Fundoshi is a traditional male undergarment made of cotton. Until World war 2, the fundoshi was worn as mainstream underwear among men in Japan. A few different types were worn for different occasions, seasons, and people. Today, it is typically worn only at festivals. Sumo wrestlers also wear a kind of fundoshi called mawashi.
15. Samue and Jinbei
These are traditional relaxing clothes made from cotton and usually dyed a single color: blue, navy, or green. They come as a set of a top and pants.
Buddhist monks traditionally wore Samue while they were at work, and jinbei was worn every day by townspeople. Samue are also worn by farmers when they are working in the garden.
The jinbei and samue look very similar, but the significant difference is the pants. The samue pants are extended up to the ankle, while jinbei goes just under the knee. The second difference is that jinbei are usually knitted with yarn at the shoulders for ventilation. Jinbei are also usually summer clothes, while the samue can be worn in any season.
Also Read: JINBEI VS YUKATA
Western Style Japanese Fashion
Western Clothing For Women
You can find Japanese women wearing the latest styles from Paris or New York, but Japan has also developed its unique style.
The best example would be lolita fashion, inspired by the Victorian era in Europe. The main idea is to portray the image of innocence and a sense of eternal beauty. Lolita also has many subgenres, such as sweet-lolita, gothic-lolita, or punk-lolita.
Western clothing for men
During the 20th century, western clothing also started becoming popular among men. At work, men wear a suit and a tie. While outside work they would begin to wear jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers.
Since the 1990s, things have started to change within Japanese fashion. Men's street fashion began to combine traditional with the modern westernized style. For example, loose long black jackets have become very popular in Japan. These jackets have similar characteristics as kimonos.
Also Read: JAPAN'S INFLUENCE ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY
Various street subcultures have also developed. For example, in otaku culture, people may wear similar clothing to characters from their favorite animes.
Tokyo Street Style
Aside from high fashion designers and the latest trends, there are many street styles that you can find in Tokyo.
One interesting style is ganguro, inspired by the 80s, with big hair, fake tan, fake nails, and eyelashes.
Kogal is another type of Tokyo street fashion, where girls wear school uniforms, only with shorter skirts and loose socks.
Bōsōzoku is a style for men that is popularized in anime and manga. The men wear an industrial jumpsuit, and a military jacket over it, usually with some lettering.
From traditional to modern fashion, Japan continues to be one of the fashion capitals of the world, inspiring many designers and tourists along the way.