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Advice sought on wardrobe update for 28yr old Tokyo professional

geoff

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Hi everyone, I need some detailed assistance.
Background: I live and work in Tokyo, probably for the next 18 months and then it's back to school in the US. I don't wear a suit to work, I don't even wear a tie but I do wear a nice buttoned collared shirt everyday and very often a sweater over it. On the weekends, I'm always in jeans (or shorts in the summer - the humidity is killer) and a t-shirt.

When I need to dress up, I have nice jeans and I throw on a work shirt. I have nothing else, save for polo shirts.

Eventually, I'll have to fancy up my work wardrobe with more suits and ties but that won't be for another 4 or 5 years so that can wait. In the meantime, I want to step up my work style with higher quality items and completely renew/redo my casual wardrobe.

My ideas:

- Purchase 2 or 3 khaki/linen style pants for summer wear (just got 1 brown pair from Gap in Japan, I think a gray or blue would be best)
- 1 new pair of jeans, dark and understated (APC or I may actually be able to fit in a Japanese brand)
- Get Clarks desert boots to wear with khaki's or jeans
- 1 pair of cordouroys, blue? What company should I be looking at?
- 2 Oxford button down shirts ? Where to buy these? Gap are too small, American Apparel don't fit. Should I go to Jantzen or similar custom made shirts?

most of the above can be worn at work, especially on Fridays when things are more casual.

- Brown shoes for work, perhaps Ecco because they are comfortable and cheaper than Aldens. Is that ok? I want the shoes to be wearable in 5 years when I'll be in a suit everyday
- 2 pairs of dress pants (Where to buy decent, reasonably priced dress pants? )
- Blue blazer - traditional yet slim (Brooks brothers? )

I know there are lots of questions in the above, but I'm hoping you guys can give me some decent advice on at least a few of these things. The main problem is that I'm 6'2 and 200lbs so nothing in Japan fits. I'm heading back to the states for 2 weeks in late April and I hope to pick up as much as possible from the list above. If I can manage that without blowing my money on more hooded sweatshirts and sneakers, I'll be ecstatic.

Thanks in advance fellas.
 

MLIW

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Probably recommend investing in some for of smarter work attire when you are back in America, maybe bespoke, entirely up to you. I know a lot of brands are doing suits specifically for "big and tall" people so might be worth researching that?
 

renegade211

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So you're wearing casual clothes, not suits, but still want to look elegant? Here's some tips:

- Shoes should be the first thing you update. You can wear dress shoes even with jeans. Get some classic brown and black leather shoes, the brand doesn't really matter as long as you keep it classic and without fancy embellishments.

- In general, to update a tshirt-and-jeans look towards being more formal, here's the order of what to exchange for a more elegant version: Shoes. Then shirt. Then jacket. Then pants. Then tie.
For example, a suit jacket with jeans and dress shoes looks good, but wearing a tie and dress pants with sneakers would be weird.

- Accessories matter. Always wear a leather belt matching your shoes, wear a wool coat / trenchcoat rather than an anorak, get a nice leather bag instead of a backpack, nice watch (doesnt have to be expensive) rather than plastic swatch etc.

- Focus on fit and fabric, not brands. Name brands are certain to be expensive, but are not necessarily higher quality. For example, I mostly buy my shirts from H&M - their shirts cost only 30 bucks, but are the best-fitting off-the-rack shirts I've found so far.

- You can keep a look between casual and formal by including at least one casual and one formal item. For example, I might wear a white dress shirt with jeans. Or in the summer, I keep cool by wearing chinos and a polo shirt, but add nice dress shoes.
 

Journeyman

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If their clothes fit you, you should get to Uniqlo. Their XL shirts and jackets should fit you around the chest, but the sleeves might be a bit short. Trousers and jeans usually go up to a size 38, particularly in the stores located in areas with more non-Japanese residents.

Uniqlo have chino pants, jeans, button-down oxford cloth shirts, more formal business shirts, odd jackets in a variety of patterns, colours and fabrics, a huge range of socks, and a fantastic range of sweaters in cotton, merino wool or cashmere, with a choice of roundneck, v-neck or half-zip.

They also have polo shirts and t-shirts in a huge range of colours.

I really can't praise Uniqlo enough for cheap, utilitarian and good-looking clothing that actually lasts quite well.

For shoes, your choices are almost endless as long as you don't have huge feet.
Don't buy Aldens in Japan as the prices for US shoes in Japan are truly outrageous.
Have a look around at various department stores to see what they have (I mean reasonably upmarket department stores). Also try Brooks Brothers in Ginza, as they have nice shoes that are up to 50% off during sales. A visit to Brooks Brothers has the added advantage that you can drop into Mariage Freres for a piece of cake and a cup of tea afterwards.
 

GBR

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You have made some sensible choices - go for them.
 

davidsj

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I've found those men's formal clothing stores (their equivalent of Men's Warehouse) in Shinjuku to be quite good for the price. I'm not talking about the department stores, but those two story buildings that sell suits, pants, shoes, shirts. IIRC there's one right next to the Big Camera there.
 

geoff

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Thanks guys, I do wear Uniqolo for my 'work dress shirts'. They just barely fit, and I'm not sure it qualifies.
Sleeves are too short
Shirt length is on the wrong side of acceptable
Too baggy in the stomach

As for shoes, they will be bought in the states or online, I do have large feet and there is only 1 shop in greater Tokyo with my size and the prices are outrageous.

I feel like Uniqlo's pants are too small as well, even their biggest size. I'll take a picture and let you guys see.

As for the Japanese men's warehouse shops, they don't carry my size either. It's tough here, but I'll be back home soon enough.
 

JTA

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Since you are close to HK, if you have the budget, you might want to consider to go there and get something from there. From my understanding and if my memory serves me right, HK has two big sales in a year, once during Chinese New Year period and once during summer sale.

Apart from that, all of the above are sound advises.
 

ginlimetonic

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Originally Posted by Journeyman
If their clothes fit you, you should get to Uniqlo. Their XL shirts and jackets should fit you around the chest, but the sleeves might be a bit short. Trousers and jeans usually go up to a size 38, particularly in the stores located in areas with more non-Japanese residents.

Uniqlo have chino pants, jeans, button-down oxford cloth shirts, more formal business shirts, odd jackets in a variety of patterns, colours and fabrics, a huge range of socks, and a fantastic range of sweaters in cotton, merino wool or cashmere, with a choice of roundneck, v-neck or half-zip.

They also have polo shirts and t-shirts in a huge range of colours.

I really can't praise Uniqlo enough for cheap, utilitarian and good-looking clothing that actually lasts quite well.


are you kiddin' me?

Uniqlo, i have one in the shopping centre below which i live (overseas residence), is like the "Target" brand of Australia. They're marking up prices for average quality products. If you're ok with that, might as well try giordano and united colors of beneton.
 

countcount

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geoff,

I also live in Tokyo. For shirts you can get MTM shirts in Tokyo for a resaonable price. In katakana, these are "pattern-made". One near where I work has sales a few times year and two pattern made shirts are 12,000 yen (about $120).


The Japanese department stores also offer pattern-made srvices for suits and slacks. Suits can be had for as little as 35,000 yen for the cheapest fabric. The construction is excellent and the fit is as good as better than the price reflects.

For shoes I haven't found a good solution in Japan yet. Be cautious if you ship shoes to Japan as leather shoes are subject to up to 40% duty...
 

Bic Pentameter

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Originally Posted by geoff
Hi everyone, I need some detailed assistance.
Background: I live and work in Tokyo, probably for the next 18 months and then it's back to school in the US. I don't wear a suit to work, I don't even wear a tie but I do wear a nice buttoned collared shirt everyday and very often a sweater over it. On the weekends, I'm always in jeans (or shorts in the summer - the humidity is killer) and a t-shirt.

When I need to dress up, I have nice jeans and I throw on a work shirt. I have nothing else, save for polo shirts.

Eventually, I'll have to fancy up my work wardrobe with more suits and ties but that won't be for another 4 or 5 years so that can wait. In the meantime, I want to step up my work style with higher quality items and completely renew/redo my casual wardrobe.

My ideas:

- Purchase 2 or 3 khaki/linen style pants for summer wear (just got 1 brown pair from Gap in Japan, I think a gray or blue would be best)
- 1 new pair of jeans, dark and understated (APC or I may actually be able to fit in a Japanese brand)
- Get Clarks desert boots to wear with khaki's or jeans
- 1 pair of cordouroys, blue? What company should I be looking at?
- 2 Oxford button down shirts ? Where to buy these? Gap are too small, American Apparel don't fit. Should I go to Jantzen or similar custom made shirts?

most of the above can be worn at work, especially on Fridays when things are more casual.

- Brown shoes for work, perhaps Ecco because they are comfortable and cheaper than Aldens. Is that ok? I want the shoes to be wearable in 5 years when I'll be in a suit everyday
- 2 pairs of dress pants (Where to buy decent, reasonably priced dress pants? )
- Blue blazer - traditional yet slim (Brooks brothers? )

I know there are lots of questions in the above, but I'm hoping you guys can give me some decent advice on at least a few of these things. The main problem is that I'm 6'2 and 200lbs so nothing in Japan fits. I'm heading back to the states for 2 weeks in late April and I hope to pick up as much as possible from the list above. If I can manage that without blowing my money on more hooded sweatshirts and sneakers, I'll be ecstatic.

Thanks in advance fellas.


There are options in Tokyo. You can find larger sizes at Brooks Brothers in Aoyama. Department stores and men's specialty shops like F-One, Big Vision, and the like have pattern order shirts for sale. You choose the cloth and the details and they make a shirt to your measurements. If you wait until January, you will be able to find this service during the New Year's sales. The last time I checked, the Suit Company has a 3 story shop in Ueno with one full floor devoted to larger sizes, so you might find something there.

But, with your needs, and your impending trip back home, I would recommend that you find an outlet mall with a Jos A. Bank or Brooks Brothers, or a Nordstrom Rack and buy what you need there. This will be much cheaper than sourcing what you need in Tokyo.

Bic
 

bluemagic

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"But, with your needs, and your impending trip back home, I would recommend that you find an outlet mall with a Jos A. Bank or Brooks Brothers, or a Nordstrom Rack and buy what you need there. This will be much cheaper than sourcing what you need in Tokyo."



If I was in Japan I'd go crazy buying clothes. I don't think I'd ever need to buy anything in the U.S. again...
 

ginlimetonic

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How bout sourcing from fashion labels in Ginza?

A decade or two ago, it was japanese culture for people to buy clothes- in installments. They'd buy clothes so expensive that tey had to make multiple payments to own it.

Tokyo is easily the trendest city in the world (not talking baout the wider japan, perhaps certain districts in tokyo like shibuya, shinjuku, akiba). So perhaps ... when in Rome, do as the Romans??

that being said, its hard to go wrong with the basics: with good advice everywhere. I'm a new member but i've read good stuff here...just use the search or tags function
 

Bic Pentameter

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I suppose it depends on the shopper's budget, and that person's quality to quantity ratio. The selection in Tokyo is fantastic. I lived there for 10 years, and know full well that everything can be had for a price. I bought bespoke, made to measure, and ready to wear shoes, odd jackets, suits, shirts, jeans, neckties, sweaters, socks, and overcoats.

If you believe that $550 retail in the US is too much for Aldens, consider the $1,000 price tag in Japan. http://www.natoriya.jp/ALDEN/9901.html.

Isetan Mens brings artisans in from around the world to take orders for shoes, socks, suspenders, watch bands, suits, almost anything you can imagine. A representative from Crockett & Jones has told me that there are more retail outlets selling C&J's in Tokyo than there are in London.

Still, many of the items that are coveted by members of the forum are 30%+ more expensive than regular old retail in the US, nevermind eBay, Ross, Yoox, or Nordstrom's Rack, or Filene's basement.

Look at what the original poster is after:

2 or 3 khaki/linen style pants for summer
1 pair of jeans
Clarks desert boots
1 pair of cordouroys
2 Oxford button down shirts
Brown shoes for work, perhaps Ecco
2 pairs of dress pants (Where to buy decent, reasonably priced dress pants? )
Blue blazer

All of those could be bought in Japan, but with the exception of the jeans, almost everything could be gotten at a better price to quality ratio by shopping in the US. I don't really think it makes sense to buy chinos, button down dress shirts, or Clarks boots in Japan if a trip Stateside is in the offing. This is especially true if the original poster would not be able to buy off the rack in Japan.


Bic
 

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