How to Dress Like a Tokyo Girl

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I recently was lucky enough to take a trip to Tokyo. I had never been anywhere in Asia at all, so it was very exciting! I’ll eventually write a post with lots of pictures about my time there (and it was awesome) but as a little bit of a teaser I’m going to tell you about Tokyo style, which I found to be very inspiring! It was very different from the way that I dress, but everyone I saw looked very chic and put together, so there must be something to it! I made a list of trends that I noticed while I was there, so you can dress like a Tokyo girl too!

Beautiful Basics.

I saw so many lovely outfits while I was in Tokyo, and everything was so beautifully functional! Most pieces were in neutral colors, and you could tell that they could be combined into many different outfits for relatively few pieces. It seemed very efficient, like you could go into your closet, grab a few things at random, and know that they went together. Monochrome is your friend! It sounds drab, and maybe it could’ve been, except for the next point..

Perfect Fit. 

If it didn’t fit, these girls weren’t wearing it. There was lots of beautiful tailoring, trousers that were exactly the right degree of snug, sweaters just the right length, etc. Everything seemed to be chosen both to play up the features of the individual, and to serve as a part of the wardrobe for many years to come. It seemed like they defined the philosophy that a few good quality pieces that fit well are better than a closet full of junk, and I would tend to agree. Additionally, people seemed to have a very good sense of what worked and was flattering for their bodies, which I thought was very nice.

One Statement Piece per Outfit. 

This is something that I still need to learn. I saw many outfits that were mostly basic, but then there would be red shoes, a cabled sweater, a cute hat, a funky bag, or a scarf in an interesting print. Having everything else be simple allowed that one unique piece to really shine, rather than letting it get lost in a bunch of competing items. The minimalism was very stylish.

Experimental Silhouettes.

If you’re doing something in neutral colors, you can get away with some very interesting silhouettes! I saw pleated pants that were almost like bell-bottoms (very voluminous!) coats that looked like cocoons, sweaters that were cropped in the front and longer in the back, but it all seemed to just work somehow. I think it’s similar to the last point, where if you are only doing one interesting thing with your outfit, the final effect is more harmonious and pleasing. I liked it a lot!

Minimalist Hair and Makeup. 

I didn’t see too many adventurous hairstyles or crazy makeup while I was there, except in Harajuku (which is more of a punk/subculture area and is very fun.) However, it seemed like everyone took good care of their hair and skin, so only the most minor touches were needed to look chic and glamorous. If you have beautiful hair, you don’t need to style it too much for it to look nice, and if you take care of your skin, you don’t need to hide blemishes with makeup.  (I’ve also been told that most asian people have oily skin, which, as a former Lush employee, I can tell you is MUCH easier to take care of than dry/sensitive skin. Once you have the right cleanser/toner combo, it looks AWESOME and you’re less likely to get wrinkles as you age. Color me jealous.)

So! Those are the observations of an ignorant american on the style of another city. Honestly, Tokyo seemed like a new and magical world to me, and I absolutely loved it. (I’m sure that the completely stellar food didn’t hurt at all.) People were so kind and welcoming, and it was amazing to finally realize a dream I’ve had for many years. More about the place later, but I hope you enjoy my fashion commentary in the meanwhile!






  1. So interesting! Thanks for sharing! I will say that since turning 30 (a few years ago) I made a big shift to having fewer pieces in my wardrobe. Nice black, white, and navy t shirts with a flattering cut + good jeans are the staple. I have a nice white dress for summer and have a nice black or navy dress for winter. My knitting & handmade dresses and shirts are always the accent pieces. 🙂

    And I have to add that I used to struggle with skincare a lot. Last winter I started just washing my face by splashing it a few times with water. It’s perfect for me!

  2. Thanks for the key points! My wardrobe is basically black, which makes a great backdrop for nice knitwear. Glad you had fun in Tokyo. We spent a few days there on the way back from Vietnam in 2009, and loved it.

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