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Adapting the Layered Style for Cold Weather (December 6, 2005)

A fur vest
Fur has been an indispensable component of fall and winter fashion since 2001, when it re-entered the style lexicon after a few years' absence, but this year the fur fad has erupted into a full-blown craze. Particularly popular among young trendsetters are fur vests, short-sleeved jackets, and boleros. Fur vests are an ideal way to complete the layered look that is currently in vogue. The vests can complement a range of styles from dressy to casual, and this versatility has made them so popular that stores are having trouble keeping them in stock.

Fur Fashion with a Slim Silhouette
Outer garments made of fur (whether real or fake) will be a conspicuous presence on the streets this winter. Besides being cute and warm, a fur jacket makes the wearer feel like a celebrity the minute she slips it on. Among women in their teens and early twenties who shop and play in Tokyo's trendy Shibuya district, cropped jackets that make the waist look slimmer are particularly popular. In the stores of the famous 109 building, where many of Shibuya's fashion trends begin, fur vests are a particularly hot item. This year's vests are unusually short, with hemlines falling above the midriff. (While vests typically measure about 58 centimeters in length, the ones currently popular are only about 35 centimeters long.) The popularity of the layered look that dominated spring and summer fashion shows no signs of letting up, and vests lend themselves to this artful juxtaposition of sleeves and hemlines.

A rabbit-fur vest (ROSE BUD)

Versatility Is Everything
The secret to the popularity of fur vests is their versatility. They can be worn with a sleeveless knit top and a chiffon skirt to project a feminine air or combined with a camisole and a denim skirt or jeans for a more hip look. And for the party season, a fur vest over a dress makes a stunning combination. Although fake-fur vests are being sold, the most popular item by far is rabbit-fur vests priced at around ¥10,000 (about $87 at ¥115 to the dollar). Stores are having trouble keeping these vests in stock, and some are being sold only by order. The most popular colors are white, black, beige, and pink.

As the weather turns colder, sleeved fur garments such as jackets and boleros are likely to attract more interest. Winter's chill notwithstanding, these garments are being offered in the same above-midriff length as the vests. The market for fur jackets and boleros is dominated by items priced at around ¥25,000 (about $217).

A fur-trimmed hood

Fur vests are popular not only among teens and women in their twenties but also among thirty- and forty-somethings seeking a dressy-casual look. Items that are particularly easy for women of this generation to incorporate into their wardrobes include high-collared fur vests that button or zip up the front and hooded down vests with fur trim. Worn over lightweight knitted tops, these vests create a sleek, figure-flattering upper-body line. Through careful selection of fur and fabric, these women can use fur vests to create a look that is casual yet luxurious and mature. Girls in their teens and twenties, meanwhile, are flocking to buy fur-trimmed and fake-fur vests priced as low as ¥2,000 (about $17), making them affordable to the younger crowd.

The popularity of fur vests underlines how fashion trends from one season, in this case the layered look, can evolve into the next season, adapting to changing weather conditions.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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