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Fashion-Conscious Guys Prepared to Spend to Look Good (September 29, 2006)

Pants designed to make legs look good, by Onward Kashiyama (Jiji)
More and more Japanese men are taking an interest in fashion and style, areas previously considered to be of interest mostly to women. This rapid increase in men's fashion consciousness has been sparked by such factors as the Cool Biz energy-saving campaign, which encourages men to dispense with their ties in the summer months, and the success of magazines like Leon, which targets middle-aged men who want to give off an air of sophisticated cool. As a result, items like suits, pants that make the wearer's legs look slim, girdles, men's skincare products, and designer watches have been flying off the shelves.

Pants for Great-Looking Legs
Department stores have traditionally tended not to focus much attention on their men's sections. Recently, however, they report that increasing numbers of men in their forties and fifties are visiting the men's apparel and other sections to purchase fashionable items. Previously considered an age group with little interest in fashion and style, this generation of middle-aged men experienced the "Ivy style" of the 1960s and the DC brand craze of the 1980s. These guys have always been sensitive to the trends around them, and the boom in choi-waru oyaji (middle-aged playboys with a keen interest in fashion) has caused their interest in fashion to blossom.

Pants that make the wearer's legs look good are one example of a product that has benefited from these men's growing fashion consciousness. Compared with ordinary slacks, the pockets and knees of these pants are higher, and the cut and stitching is different, making the legs look longer and more slender. These kinds of pants now make up more than half of the casual pants stocked by some department stores. Men's girdles that give the buttocks more definition and flatten the stomach are also selling well. They first hit the market in the spring of 2006 and cost about 50% more than regular undergarments. Despite the high cost, however, some stores sold out of the girdles within a month.

Lifestyle Diversity
Clothing is not the only area in which men are splashing out to look good. Luxury skincare products and imported designer wristwatches and shoes are also proving popular, especially among middle-aged guys. Men's newfound fondness for spending money on their appearance shows no signs of abating.

Alongside this rise in the number of fashionable men is a trend for men to remain single for longer than in the past. In 2000, some 22% of men in their early forties were unmarried, and this figure is forecast to top 30% in 2020; already 28% of men in this age group in Tokyo are single. Whether these men are unwilling or unable to marry, what is certain is that men's lifestyles are diversifying fast.

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Copyright (c) 2006 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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