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July-September 2002

Layered Fashion

Recently in Japan, many girls are wearing skirts and one-piece dresses over their jeans. During the summer they were wearing sleeveless shirts over their T-shirts, but now that it's fall, they're wearing their short-sleeve T-shirts on top, with long sleeves underneath. Some grown-ups may think, "How bizarre!" But this is the latest trend among Japanese teenagers.

"The new style of wearing skirts over pants or leggings began attracting attention around the fall of 2001," says President Yuzo Narumiya of Narumiya International, a producer of several teenage brands that is based in the fashionable town of Harajuku in Tokyo. Before then, T-shirts and one-piece dresses were usually worn individually, but nowadays there are many ways of combining these articles: a T-shirt on top of another T-shirt, for example, or a tiered or gathered skirt over a pair of jeans. Some people wear layers both on top and on bottom.

What do middle-school girls like about the fashion? "Because I want to look different," says one. Others say, "It makes me stand out more than the others around me," or, "It's fun trying different ways of combining the clothes I have." Each girl has her own reason.

"The basic point of the layered look is bringing out your individuality by arranging what you wear in your own way," notes President Narumiya. "It doesn't cost a lot of money, so grown-ups are taking up the fashion, too." Young girls are matching up their favorite clothes according to their tastes and how they feel that day, rather than just imitating popular styles. By doing so, they're discovering their own, personal styles. Why don't you try the layered look, too?

Some of you may worry that combining different clothes isn't so easy, and that if you don't do a good job of it, you might look uncool. So here are some tips for those of you who want to give it a try:

  • If you're wearing something light-colored on top, match it with a dark color on bottom for contrast.

  • Choosing a dark color for the inner layer on top makes your upper body look compact.

  • If you're wearing a see-through top or a top with a deep opening in the front, it's best to wear bright colors or large, vivid patterns underneath.

  • When combining a tunic blouse with a skirt, the length of the tunic should be slightly below the waistline.

  • Wearing a T-shirt on top and a see-through skirt over your pants gives you an ethnic look.

  • A short, fluffy skirt over long pants makes your legs look longer.
Even though it was hotter than usual this summer, the layered look has continued to be favored. As it gets colder in the fall and winter, its popularity can be expected to grow.

Photo: Wearing a skirt over jeans and wearing a color shirt underneath a top with a deep cut in front are just a few ways of enjoying the layered style.