As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo got underway last month, street-style photographers flocked to the Japanese capital to document the latest fashion trends worn by the city’s most stylish men. Just like the Milanese embody Italian tailoring, the Japanese have truly mastered the art of street wear.
Deciphering the craziness can be difficult in Tokyo. Looks ranged from crisp, tailored and minimalist to bold and experimental, with outsize proportions and deconstructed elements. But among the eclectic and the electric, we’ve picked out the key themes and items worth considering this season, to embody local Tokyo style and to bolster your street style credentials.
First up, click through the gallery for 50 ways to dress like a Tokyo local. Then, read our breakdown of key aesthetics and fashion items, for getting that Tokyo drift.
Key Fashion Trends From Tokyo:
#1 Light, Bright Outerwear
Let’s talk coats. Despite the coolish temperatures, men sport casual outerwear hybrids – macs, trench coats, and shirt jackets in lightweight cottons and/or weather-resistant nylon fabrics. Off-beat colours – vermillion, tangerine and acid green, add to the jacket craze, mixed with Friesian cow patterns and trompe-l’œil prints – the art of making an image look 3-D.
#2 Oversized Blazers
An oversized black suit jacket is sartorial sacrilege. But the Japanese make it work, come streetwear. Slim chinos team with a boxy suit jacket feels easy; the casual rendition of the office attire accentuated by crisp white shirting, tie and clip too, worn untucked over business shoes and socks.
Longline notch lapel jackets, with a tee and skinny black jeans, get the rock treatment, sleeves pushed up the arms for a rebellious feel over Cuban-heel Chelsea boots. And the dinner jacket, again longline, turns top coat over a longline plaid shirt, full-piece leather boats and waxed-black skinnys.
#3 Relaxed Military
The military cap or bonnet (or even a dishevelled beret in some cases), crowns the street looks of many Tokyo men. The off-kilter cap nods to neo-militant accents with relaxed top coats of gregarious lengths. This, teamed with oversized, woollen trousers and military boots caps-off the vintage army officer. Or distressed skinny jeans for a punkish dialect.
Tailoring isn’t exempt from the military conscription, incorporating suits and a more street-chic aesthetic via cable-knit roll necks. The final accessory trend? Round-lensed metal wire frames for a très français element that adds an artistic element.
#3 Health Goth
Yes, Health Goth’s a thing. Basically, it’s an ‘aesthetic’: hi-tech sportswear with a monochrome or sparse palette. It’s also mildly dystopian (end of the world hopelessness) and promotes biotechnology, fetish culture and extreme cleanliness – made up of active materials (neoprene, nylons and polyester), and exotic leathers and expensive cottons. What Health Goth’s not? Gym-clothes for sadists.
In Tokyo, sloppy, slouchy tops are the trend, featuring oversized sweaters; some layered with a parka and longline tees. Bottoms consist of drop-crotch jogger pants (tapered at the ankle) or tights underpinning baggy-butt shorts. And space-boot sneakers are the winning Health Goth choice. It’s a unique style, so make sure you have the attitude (and fitness) to pull it off.
#4 Nineties Chic
What a decade the Nineties were. And the Tokyo tribes rep the style with a sophisticated twist. Skater boys wheel along formal Chesterfield coats and ripped, light wash jeans – cut and worn like trousers with a tucked graphic tee and hi-top Chucks.
Sneakers – namely Stan Smiths – underpin monochrome layered looks: a satiny parka, elasticated trousers and woollen sweater, neatly thrown together under a keep-it-chilled beanie. Fans of MJ should note the working of white socks and black lace-ups, something that requires fashion-y touches to pull off: cropped trousers, relaxed shirting layers and a loose-fit bomber. And a whole lot of confidence. Not sure? Leave this look to the Japanese, too.
#5 Better In Leather
While there are many casual jacket-tailored trouser combinations in Tokyo, the leather jacket is the most prolific. Kept dark and oily, the moto jacket of choice is crafted with suede inlays and decorative, metallic hardware for an authentic version of the racer leather.
The texture lifts a typically monochrome outfit; elevating the smart with some help from cropped cotton trousers (some with chalk stripe) or pleated trousers, as well as dress shoes – tassel loafers, open sandals or derby boots, depending on the weather.
#6 Sartorially Black
Black really is the chic-est colour. But when tailored pieces – jackets, trousers, top coats, dress shoes – are worn in monochrome unity, the locals know that all that ‘shade’ needs some ‘light’ (to avoid like a gaping black hole). Softness comes via round tailoring; relax-shouldered blazers and overcoats over wide-leg trousers with slouch front pleats and cropped hems.
Stiff-collared, slim fit shirts are replaced by plush-fabricated knitwear (roll necks to boat necks) and lighter materials (linen, wool, silk) creating a billow of the pants and undershirts, adding depth and movement to the all-black. The final ‘light’ trick? Add a white sneaker, patterned scarf, or block-coloured sweater, messing with the total darkness.
Click through the slideshow for more Tokyo style inspiration.