One of the things I love about Japan is how stylish the women are here. Their outfits are flattering and attractive and often unique. I love everything about their style here — the hand towels, the umbrellas for sun and rain, those enormous visors, their love of hats, their sun shielding arm bands, and most of all their socks.
It’s so humid here, a lot of people carry around little towels or hankerchiefs. I went into my first department store in the Kyoto train station and couldn’t believe how many little towels they had. They vary in size but are usually larger than an American washcloth, but smaller than a hand towel. Men and women both carry these, though I haven’t seen as many women just carrying them in their hands as I have the men. And designer labels make them. I bought a Laura Ashley one on sale. But high end designers like Burberry even design these little sweat towels for the Japanese market.
And their socks! We in the states get a handful of little toe and footsie nylon type socks for our heels and pretty shoes, but here the sock itself can be a stylish element of footwear. They complement the shoe and are meant to be seen. I was astounded and excited to see the immense number of socks in the sock stores in Harajuku. Our footsie socks are plain, drab nude or black. In Japan they come in every color you can imagine, they have little bandaeu socks, they have faux socks that scrunch but don’t cover the whole foot, they glitter, they shine, they have buttons and ribbons and all sorts of embellishments. They have little socks that look like Mary Janes. I saw a woman on the Metro wearing black flats with no strap, but wearing red socks with a strap and glittering little buttons sewn on the strap. It added some cute flash to her bland shoes. And you can change up your socks and make your shoes look different and it costs less!
I also love how stylishly they keep safe from the sun. Japanese women seem to love hats. Their hat stores are amazing and full of a wide variety of hats, including really beautiful, large visor hats for sun protection. I’ve seen women in the states wearing these on occasion — usually Asian women — but the ones I’ve seen in the States are rather unattractive. Here they can be as nice as the nicest hat. I’m so bringing one home and wearing it everywhere in the Mission. I’m also bringing home arm guards! They’re arm warmers except they’re meant to shield from the sun. Again, they have these in the States, but the ones I’ve gotten there are for the cold — not suitable for humid heat. Here they’re light and airy and some are long enough to cover your hand and have a cute little ribbon at the wrist. I love them for that. I hate being exposed to the sun as much as they do. And sunscreen is nasty sticky.