Japanese Fashion Trends in 2021 – Japan is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the world when it comes to unabashed, fashion-forward, innovative and trend-setting individualistic clothing style.
When it comes to Japanese fashion, you can truly enjoy both ends of the spectrum. You have the loud and proud style of those roaming the streets of Harajuku, the high-end fashionistas of Ginza, and the calm, cool, collected loyal followers of minimalist brands like Uniqlo.
With so many people and brands continuously paving the way for fashion in Japan, there’s no wonder why everyone around the world keeps their eyes on this dynamic country for the next big fashion trend.
2020/2021 was a big year for fashion in Japan. With big adaptations required across the country and shifting needs for clothes in emerging popular situations and environments, it was trend after trend after trend.
We’ve listed the top Japanese fashion trends in 2021 for you below!
1. Masks (naturally)
Wearing masks in Japan has never been a strange thing. In a country that values common decency and care for the wider community, wearing a mask everyday was simply seen as a way to protect others.
Nowadays, masks are increasingly becoming as much a fashion statement as they are a garment of protection.
Simple black masks have always been a popular choice, but now brands are getting in on this trend and creating masks that mould to your face, have fashionable cutouts, feature their logo, and generally create a more aesthetic look for face masks.
Never heard of it before? Well, that makes quite a few people!
A coatigan is essentially the lovechild between a coat and a cardigan. It will generally have the look and fit of a coat combined with the look and feel of a cardigan. It’s heavier than your typical cardigan pullover, but not nearly as heavy or bulky as a typical coat.
It’s the best of both worlds, in our opinion!
For a trendy look, pair your coatigan up with some statement earrings.
3. Slouchy Outerwear
Gone are the days when outerwear was used purely for the purpose of keeping you warm.
These days, we’re stretching the other way with certain outerwear used solely for the purpose of keeping you in style, e.g. in the form of slouchy outerwear.
Slouchy outerwear is characterized by an oversized coat or jacket that’s super oversized and often worn through the sleeves to the elbows – and then stopping there.
Worn in an almost lethargic manner, the slouchy outerwear is meant to add character and depth to your outfit – and not much more.
4. Plaid on Plaid | Japanese Fashion Trends 2021
Leave it up to the fashion-forward fashionistas in Japan to experiment with different plaid prints – but somehow, it just works!
We’re witnessing a rise in mixing plaid prints in the single outfit, and whilst it may sound a little too crazy, once you see it, you’ll believe it.
The key to making a plaid on plaid ensemble work in your favour is to use pieces that are complementary in colour, not competing or clashing.
5. Wide Leg Pants | Japanese Fashion Trends 2021
This season, we’re moving away from the skin-tight skinny-leg type pants and opting for more free-flowing wide leg fashion bottoms.
When it comes to wide bottoms, no one does it better than the Japanese.
Whether they’re paired with a vintage tee, cropped cardigan, or statement blouse, the extensive use of wide leg in the Japanese fashion scene is never overused, incorrectly used, or lacking in style.
A key rule to regard when following the Japanese way of wearing wide leg pants is to ensure there is balance in the outfit. Therefore, always pair an oversize, wide leg pair of pants with a fairly fitted top. Ideally you want to keep your proportions smaller or slimmer at the top to balance out the bottom.
Read More: Japanese Dress Codes
6. Bubblegum Pink
When imagining what bubblegum pink is, think bright, fuschia hot pink. Wear this colour with confidence, because it is attention-seeking, powerful, and all eyes will be on you.
Bubblegum pink has been spotted numerous times at the spring/summer 2021 runways, with global brands like Chanel and Gucci sporting pieces in this extravagant shade. With this in mind, it didn’t take long for the colour to begin showing up on fashionistas on the streets and influencers on social media.
When looking to add bubblegum pink to your wardrobe, the best way to introduce it is to play around with your neutrals first. It pairs nicely with whites, sand and beige, and light neutrals.
7. Cropped Blazer / Jacket
The cropped blazer has been around for a while now, but it wasn’t until the comeback of high-rise pants that the hip-length blazer really reached its fashion peak.
Expect to see more casual cropped blazer tops on the streets of Tokyo this year. Whether structured or unstructured, the clean straight-cut look of a blazer will add a degree of workwear vibe to your outfit. Whether it’s work-bae or work-mum is up to you.
The cropped look paired with a high-waist pair of pants is a chic, stylish way to look a million dollars without actually having to spend it.
8. White on White | Japanese Fashion Trends 2021
This age-old fashion trend has come in and out over the decades, but Japan is bringing it back to life this year, pairing differing shades of white with each other to create a minimalist layered look.
The fun part of this fashion trend is the amount of different pieces and materials you can play with. From breathable linen, to vintage lace, to soft and flowy chiffon, to flattering denim – white comes in all shapes and sizes, so you can have fun figuring out what works best for you!
A tip from the runway: to get that summer 2020/2021 Tokyo look, pair your white on white outfits with pops of colour. Think fluro handbags, statement headwear, & colourful chunky shoes.
Muslin is a type of material that is ultra-thin and super lightweight, making them a popular choice for this season’s spring/summer clothing. The material is versatile in that it can be adapted to any shape or silhouette, making it favourable amongst many people.
This season, muslin is making a great big splash in the Japanese fashion scene. Fashion forward designers such as Chitose Abe is stretching the boundaries of muslin by creating near-androgynous pieces, taking advantage of the structured feel and neutral look of it.
Look out for muslin pieces when shopping for Japanese fashion pieces this season!
10. Jogger Bottoms
Never one to completely let go of athleisure since its inception, the Japanese fashion scene is bringing back (once again!) the versatile joggers, the trackpants, the runners – whatever you want to call it!
These super comfortable, generally lightweight pairs of pants are traditionally worn for exercise and workout purposes; yet they are now being repurposed to lend a streetwear look to an otherwise chic and high-end look.
For the ultimate pair of joggers, go for a pair with the signature double white stripes along both edges. Adidas or not, the instant recognition is impassable.
For those already invested in the fashion scene, adopting these new trends will be a cinch! For those still exploring, the Japanese fashion scene is a myriad of fun, exciting, outrageous, sometimes too crazy, sometimes not insane enough styles that will keep you entertained for hours on end.
This season, there are so many different trends to explore. With some, you may already have the pieces in your wardrobe to experiment with. With others, why not spoil yourself with a big purchase? Bright bubblegum pink handbag? Yes please!
You can discover more aspect of Japanese culture here.