A few weeks ago, I found myself in Kyoto, Japan and I immediately had this feeling that I was in a whole new sub-genre of Japanese fashion. Unlike the bleached pixie cuts and Harajuku girls of Tokyo, Kyoto fashion is a brand all its own. Think understated, modest without sacrificing style, and a total throwback to post-WWII Japan, when American style was just starting to seep into Japanese mainstream culture.

I saw a lot of knee length flared skirts, tweed shorts over (very practical) mustard-yellow tights and Varsity-style sweatshirts, sending me major “Kyoto Prom 1956” vibes.

Coat by Elizabeth and James, shorts by Monsoon Millie, hat by Fat Face, shoes by Irregular Choice UK. Everything else by Uniqlo.

Berets were everywhere, alongside these little French bakeries that lure you in with the scent of red bean brioche and croissants filled with a sort of Japanese sweet cheese. This current obsession with France and the subsequent blurring of cultural lines makes for very interesting fashion statements: billowy white shirts with French phrases, little tote bags with nonchalant screen printed images, everything from the Eiffel Tower to pop art (I actually brought back a tote bag with a photograph of a baguette printed on one side), and little white ruffled socks.

And the shoes: T-straps, usually brown or black with a slight heel and at least one eye-grabbing detail. Think gold buttons, little blue birds or a brightly colored ribbon laced throughout. And yes, you do ride an adorable cruiser bicycle through back streets in the rain while wearing these heels heels and yes, you do look fabulous while doing it.

Basically, I’m obsessed with all of it.

Get Kyoto street fashion at:

  • Uniqlo – for great thermal tights, adorably bright A-line skirts and sweaters
  • Amazon – Seychelles T-Straps aren’t just for summer anymore.
  • Kyoto – Shop @ The Cube in Kyoto Station, or Teramachi Street in Kawaramachi District.

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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