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Shopping in Tokyo

Tokyo probably has the best dressed residents of any major metropolis and sloppy tourists stand out like a sore thumb!  Individual luxe brand ensembles are put together with an elegance of form rarely seen elsewhere in such large swathes of the population.

In Tokyo, fashion is woven into the fabric of young society: dress up, see and be seen, socialize, express your individuality (while conforming to the norms of your group!)

Very clear styles emerge: Lolita girls who dress up like porcelain dolls at a Victorian tea party; Gothloli, a slightly bizarre combination of Western Goth with the aforementioned Lolita (think Marilyn Manson meets Dolly Parton!); Kogal – a broader group of affluent girls who spend their money on the latest brands and gizmos in clothes, music and fashion (i.e., Tokyo’s version of  valley girls).  And then there’s everything from  Hip-hop to Milan catwalk styles on display in the streets.

 

Shopping:

 

Forget what you’ve heard about Ginza and its neon flash, further west is where Tokyo’s fashion struts today.  The young and the cool congregate in the Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya nexus and create a fashion statement out of a mix of brands, vintage and their own style.  Spend a weekend day (and night) in the area and you are guaranteed an experience you will remember for a long time!  Since the demoiselles of Tokyo all seem to be well heeled and brand savvy, the big luxe brands have followed them to Omotesando and Roppongi.  But what is exciting are the smaller trend breaking stores in the “boutique malls” like La Foret and Shibuya 109 and along Takeshita Dori.  What’s on offer won’t break your budget and if you wear it with flair, especially on weekend evenings, you will earn glimpses of respect from the hardened fashionistas of Tokyo. 

Don’t miss the architectural creation that is the Prada store on Miyuki Dori.

The Ginza area is much more staid by comparison with mainly traditional department and luxury brand stores but still enticing after nightfall under the neon lights.   

 

Store attendants are courteous and always welcome you into the store – a courtesy often  missing in fashion brand stores in USA and Europe.  Clothing in Japan tends to be on the small side so if you are not an S or an M most likely you are out of luck.  Luxury brands are comparatively expensive.  Your best buy is Made in Japan, from established brands such as Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto or Issey Miyake to emerging labels such as Limi Feu and Sacai.

 

General information :

 

Unless you are a postman, an address is of little value – even Tokyo taxi drivers struggle with the esoteric block numbering system.  It is very logical – to a PhD in Math!  Make sure you have the nearest subway station or landmark building and get directions with that as a reference to have a reasonable chance of finding an address.  Major streets and subway stations are marked in English.  
 

Photos & Images (Click to Enlarge)

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