The Japanese Style Continuum
I was fortunate enough to spend two weeks in Tokyo this summer, and can honestly say that it is one of the most amazing places on earth. Beyond how fundamentally different it is from my Canadian home, what took me most by surprise was the level of dress you find in the most unassuming places. By the end of my trip I truly felt that the general population in Tokyo dressed fantastically well all the time.
What was most interesting to me was how it all seemed so effortless. Though the far-fetched fantasy of Harajuku was prevalent amongst some, the general public seemed to look well put together without breaking a sweat. After considering this for quite some time, I came to the realization that the entire system seemed to function on a continuum. That is to say: the more casual you dressed the more important it was to match, and conversely, the more formal you looked (or the pieces of your outfit were) the less you needed to worry about coordination. Consider the following photos:
On one end of the continuum, we have the casual-but-hyper-matching:
On the other end, we have the formal-and-slightly-coordinated:
Finally, as is a feature of continuums, we have the middle:
This served the purpose of making those in casual dress look more coordinated (and less mindless in their outfit planning) and the formally dressed look less “stuffy” (or too careful in their planning). By bringing the bottom up and bringing the top down, it caused the general public to look just a little bit more detail-oriented and well groomed.
Just one of the many reasons why Japan is a wonderful country.