Comme ca Ism in Japan is like the GAP in America – they offer affordable, yet stylish clothing, in stores that have become ubiquitous throughout the land. Serving the entire family, with men’s, women’s and children’s wear, they have garnered a large following due to their sensible, if not rather conservative, choice of styles and colors. Comme ca Ism also provides a full selection of accessories, like briefcases and wallets.
I once arrived at Kansai airport after an 11 hour flight and had to immediately attend a gathering at a famous Osakan nightclub. With nothing more than a day bag and the sweaty clothes on my back, I had less than an hour to look for something to wear! Comme ca Ism basically saved my ass (and on a budget); I walked out with an outfit (minus the shoes) for about $200.
I still wear a few pieces of that Comme ca outfit today. Their preference for black and white styling and mostly subdued color schemes makes their stuff a bit more timeless than that of other cheaper brands. Although they’re not exactly my number one place to shop, I still occasionally walk through their store in downtown Osaka and always smile when I hear loud Beatles music playing (they only play Beatles music!).
So if you’re ever visiting Japan, and you begin to feel a little under dressed, as many visitors probably do, try to find your way to a Comme ca Ism. Their stores are a lot more open and less intimidating than the innumerable boutiques you’ll inevitably stumble across, and their staff are quite friendly and helpful.
But after you get over that hurdle, it’s time to break out the plastic and go shopping for raw selvedge!
This is a really cool look from Body Butter’s Jodhpur suit collection.
The slim burgundy suit contrasts nicely with the charcoal pinstriped vest, and as a highlight, they gave the model some pretty stylin’ kicks as well (somewhat reminiscent of the Takahara’s I mentioned a while back).
Body Butter says this suit type has a ‘slimming silhouette’, which means the garment features clean lines and carefully aligned buttons to give the wearer the appearance of a smaller waistline.
To me, it just looks like a slim suit. Like, if you can’t already squeeze your marshmallow ass into this skinny getup, it won’t be doing much for your silhouette now, will it?
At about $500, I’d call this set reasonable for a brand that calls itself Body Butter.
Roen is a maker of premium streetwear products, including ‘used’ denim jeans and stylish outerwear. This leather riding jacket basically sums up the label’s taste – a sleek and mostly minimalist approach to design with some non-traditional elements thrown in to give it uniqueness.
I’m not sure if I buy into the frayed and torn leather look below the waist; I’m sure it looks pretty cool over some contrasting distressed jeans, but it kind of implies, at least to me, that you might have issues riding the beast!
I kind of dig this jean jacket by Coal Black. The distressed grey denim produces agreeable tones that can be worn with many different styles. I also find the contrast throughout the jacket neither offensive nor overly flashy.
One issue I do have, is with the level of distress found in various parts of this coat. Although I’m comfortable with moderate distressing in denim pants – especially if self-inflicted, as when denim connoisseurs purchase raw selvedge for just this purpose – I don’t feel quite so comfortable purchasing a heavily distressed jacket.
And it’s not like this coat by Coal Black is particularly distressed when seen in its entirety, it’s just that various parts of the garment have been worn down to where large holes will soon appear after a little wash and wear. I find this to be a bit alarming, as I like denim outerwear for both its look and utility.
This nitpicking of mine brings up the question of how much distressing is enough? Local fashion markets seem to differ on what they consider an acceptable amount with Japanese trends often leaning towards the shredded toilet paper look.
Perhaps I’m getting old, but I like my denim to be subtly accented by contrast and textures without having these features steal the entire show. So what are your limits when it comes to the distressed look?
Most people have heard of the geisha, the nightshift women who entertain Japan’s wealthy and elite. Their classy behavior and dedication to the arts have gained them respect and reverence throughout Japan’s storied history. And also helped inspire one of the most terrible forms of Hollywood Orientalism ever. Just try sitting through five minutes of Memoirs of a Geisha — it’s like holding your pee while taking a crap.
Lesser known are the tayuu, or oiran courtesans. These entertainers are like the Rolls Royce of playmates, putting the average geisha on par with a pre-owned Le Baron (where were these car analogies when I needed them in college?!).
Cropped Heads is what clothing brand Organ is appropriately calling this long sleeve shirt. The woman on the back, as you might of guessed, is one of those pricey tayuu court ladies. But it looks like her date with OJ didn’t end so well, because I’m pretty sure that’s her severed head on the front of the shirt! Actually, the woman is from a famous Japanese ghost story. Think Pretty Woman meets Dawn of the Dead.
I love the negative color scheme used for the shirt. It really punches out the colors and lines. When I first looked at the design, it kind of reminded me of some Yak-style tattoos. I’ve always found it funny how lots of ultra-macho Yakuza feel totally comfortable with inking chics and flowers all over their body. You’d think there’d be a strict adherence to dragons and swords. I guess that’s Japanese culture for you.