Hello from Tokyo

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Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:44 am

Hello Everyone,

My name is Kelly. I am a 54 yr old American living long term in Tokyo. Thanks for this site it has been a great source of information.

I just recently started to explore skirts and kilts as part of my fashion. I have always had an eccentric approach to fashion. My main style for work is based upon indie Japanese designers who recreated men's working fashion inspired by the 1890s to the 1930s. Rough old looking fabrics, vests, vintage style ties, suspenders and cuts that are far more creative than the boring salaryman suits that fill Tokyo streets Mon-Fri.

My casual style has always been alternative with sleek black lines, lean black jeans, Dr. Martins and lots of black. But skirts were always outside my comfort zone. Even when I was into goth fashion in my 20's I just couldn't find comfort in a skirt. But at heart I have always liked pushing boundaries and I really dislike fitting into the Orwellian march of black, blue and dull grey suits that define the train commute to work, the halls of corporate Japan and the daily street fare of men my age. Perhaps above all, I am too old, and too long a person who loves fashion to confirm now and give up being who I want to be to surrender and conform.

Thankfully Tokyo is a great place to see men, even older men, in interesting fashion. Now and again I meet other men who embrace the Japanese indie working man fashion, alternative fashion or even just their own way forward. We run a small cafe on the side here and host a lot of small music acts. Some of the guys who come in have amazing fashion sense that is most often uniquely their's. But of all the people who come through, only one guy wears a skirt. One.

On the streets here younger men wear a fashion called "Mode Kei" (Japanese for Mode Fashion). Their style includes skirts, mostly long straight, draping A line skirts or complex skirts from designers like Yohji Yamamoto, COMME des Garsons and others. Their fashion tends to be mostly black or black and white and are very gender neutral. Ive seen both young and older men in these styles.

Mode Kei is expensive to follow if you try to keep up with the latest releases by these designers. I cannot afford to do that. But the lines are a big inspiration for me. Especially mixing my working man vests and jackets in with skirts, as you can see on Pinterest, was a huge inspiration and goal for me.

So I decided to find options that would work with my existing shirts, jackets, vests and would allow me to keep that old world working man texture and line with a skirt. And that is when I found an O'neil of Dublin black kilt in a 2nd hand shop. It is just knee length, very nice dress wool, large 3 buckles, flat in front and knife pleats in back. So I bought it (with a rather shocked young Japanese girl clerk uncomfortably confirming that I really wanted this item) and took it home to show my wife. Who loved it!!

So that very next Saturday I wore it to the cafe with an Engineered Garments black vest, a vintage band collar white shirt, very skinny jeans and some black vintage working boots. It was our cafe's 5th yr anniversary so there were people from all sorts of communities. I was very terrified. Then all of that disappeared.

Everyone was very positive. Except one older Japanese guy who thought I was doing Cosplay for the party. Everyone else was very positive and complimented the kilt.

I then found a great Kaki Grey O'neil of Dublin online 2nd hand and added that. Since then I've added a couple others in different colors. So it seems the kilt is in my wardrobe to stay.

I have only ventured out into the city about three times so far in my kilts. Only once with heavy cotton tights and tall Dr. Martins. I am still gaining my confidence. I sometimes feel it must be strange to see a guy my age dressed so differently, but at the same time that has always been true for me in one way or another. So I have decided to just have fun.

So that is my story.

I have some advice for men who want to try wearing a skirt.
1. Do it!!!
2. Don't spend massive amounts of money for skirts specifically made for men. You can find very suitable options that look the same for a lot less money if you shop 2nd hand, auction sites, Etsy and find women's large kilts and simple skirts which look just as suitable on a guy as a gal.
3. Mix your skirts and kilts with manly fashion items like vests, jackets, working boots etc... Check out Pinterest for many good examples.
4. Try longer pleated and straight skirts like Yohji Yamamoto and COMME des Garsons have pioneered. You can get really great options from less famous designers that look just as good.
5. Be who you are and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Thanks for this site. Nice to connect to this community.

Kelly
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby Freedomforall » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:08 pm

Hi Kelly and welcome to the best place on the internet for men wearing skirts! Hopefully you can post some pictures of yourself wearing the outfits. I receive emails with styles such as you speak of. I find them intriguing myself.
Last edited by Freedomforall on Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby voodoomagic » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:19 pm

Welcome Kelly, and thanks for the introduction. I will have to check out some of the different styles you suggested.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby Sinned » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:28 pm

Welcome Kelly and you have summed up the advice we could all give very succinctly. We are all at various points along the skirting path, some further along than others but I have found the advice and support here second to none. I have been encouraged even in the face of opposition from family. Thank you for your contribution.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:34 pm

Some photos of skirts. I hope to take a few better photos in weeks to come.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:41 pm

One more

If you can find your size I really recommend O'neil of Dublin for great kilt skirts. Very high quality and a good range of lengths, pleat options, colors and styles. They make both men's and women's kilts. I am rather small so I can find women's kilts 2nd hand far cheaper than men's, so I tend to buy them instead. Guys kilts are rare here and insanely expensive.

The best part is that their simple kilts look very much like designer men's kilts that cost $400 to $800 USD new, yet the O'neils can be found for $30-$160 USD depending on the pattern and fabric. So far and away a better resource than designer without giving up the look and feel.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby crfriend » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:21 pm

Welcome, Kelly.

In looking at your usual fashion for work I suspect you could get a pretty good start by swapping out the trousers for an ankle-length Victorian-era style skirt. There's already a neo-Victorian vibe to your look anyway, and a skirt design from that era would likely fit right in. I'm not thinking anything overtly fancy in this regard, and simple plain skirts abounded in that time in a style known as "walking skirts". I have a few, and I tend to embrace the Victorian/Romantic look. Photographs of my stuff exist in the Pics and Looks" section and cover a time-range of over a decade. (I've been wearing skirts publicly since about 2003 or so.)

Build on what you've got already. It's a great way to have a ton of fun.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby shadowfax » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:21 pm

crfriend wrote:Welcome, Kelly.

In looking at your usual fashion for work I suspect you could get a pretty good start by swapping out the trousers for an ankle-length Victorian-era style skirt. There's already a neo-Victorian vibe to your look anyway, and a skirt design from that era would likely fit right in. I'm not thinking anything overtly fancy in this regard, and simple plain skirts abounded in that time in a style known as "walking skirts". I have a few, and I tend to embrace the Victorian/Romantic look. Photographs of my stuff exist in the "Pics and Looks" section and cover a time-range of over a decade. (I've been wearing skirts publicly since about 2003 or so.)

Build on what you've got already. It's a great way to have a ton of fun.


BTW The "Pics and Looks" part of the forum is only visible to other SkirtCafe members rather than the whole internet, should you have an "experimental" look which you would like other folks on SC to comment about. :wink: :)
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:34 am

Hi Shadowfax,

Thanks for your comments. I love that era of clothing.

Long skirts have proven to be very difficult vs. kilts. I find the right length a lot but usually the fabric is an issue. Used Issey Miyake,
Yohji Yamamoto and COMME des Garsons have the best vintage cuts that are just simple long 80-90cm long straight, but not fitted skirts.
Very much like walking skirts before WWI. But the fabric is often an issue. Too shiny or stretchy has been the issue so far, so doesn't match
the upper clothing fabric very well.

I did see some great images from Pinterest that were mixing better matched fabrics, but so far those skirts don't appear here in Tokyo and
online the pricing is extremely high.

More and more I am coming to a conclusion that I need to have a couple made. So recently I am seeking out someone who can make clothing.
I'm hoping to convince one of the local indie designers who make items like the suit in the first photo, to make skirts for men in the same
vintage recreation fabrics. But so far no luck. If I can't convince someone, I may just find a local tailor or seamstress and work with them to make
a couple prototypes and then go back to the designers to see if they are convinced when they see examples.

The other problem I have is that Japanese made men's vests are long in the body so they hang over skirts a little strangely. The ones I have
from abroad work very well, so I am now thinking to try to have vests made too.

Here are a couple photos from online that maybe show what I am after a bit better.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:45 am

A couple more items.

These are examples of where I want to go with longer skirts and vintage fabric upper items. It can look very modern and fashionable, but I also think it can integrate with dress and casual men's jackets and vests.

I don't have photos yet, but will have some done soon. But I like anything with fabric that looks like it was from the 1800s. Shirts with old style fabric in ivory, white, Victorian lines, band collar or club collar. Then mix with a shawl lapel or business lapel vest and a four button jacket or something that looks rough with working man style wool or rough heavy cotton. These are around in shops 2nd hand thanks to a five year trend of "Working Man" clothing in Japan.

Check out brands like Jelado, Copano, Engineered Garments, Black Sign, Django Atour which sell internationally and can be found used sometimes. But there are a lot of US makers like Frontier Classics and Gentlemen's Emporium who sell Victorian and Edwardian cut clothing at pretty low prices and have large sizes. I cannot wear their shirts because their smallest is too big for me. But I know some guys who play blues and folk here who wear them and they are amazing.

But so far, only couture makers have long skirts in decent fabrics, sadly very expensive even used. So I hope to have something made. Worth it since it would be a primary piece in a wardrobe and wouldn't be very trendy so it could last for years.

So those photos are examples of what I am after. My main goal is a masculine look with various length skirts in great male suitable fabrics and blending seamlessly with uppers that go with pants just as easily. Then maybe more men would take the risk of wearing a skirt to work or social events. Even guys who are unlikely to try one today, I hope could be inspired to try one eventually so we can all dress freely.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby Freedomforall » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:32 am

KellyRain wrote:Some photos of skirts. I hope to take a few better photos in weeks to come.



Kelly I really like the skirt by Yamamoto. Would you be able to send me a link to purchase one? I have had my eye on that style for a while, but am not prepared to pay the bucks his skirts fetch. I really like you styles as the Victorian era has always captivated me.


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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby KellyRain » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:08 am

Hi DJ,

They show up on Ebay and on Japanese Yahoo Auctions Japan. You just have to be on the sites all the time to find a good price. Mercari is a good source in the US but Yohji Yamamoto is rare on that site. But it is worth signing up and watching. The only ship in the US which is an issue sometimes.

I can usually get their stuff used in Japan, but sizes tend to be pretty small. 32" waist max or so. Average is 28-30" waist. I saw one Yohji pleated kilt skirt recently for $250 in Japan. It is a size 4 so goes up to about 88cm waist max and 82" min. But you can't order from abroad on that site. They are Japan only and won't ship internationally.

I do help source items for friends sometimes. They usually send me funds and I buy items for them. But I haven't done that for anyone but friends so far so I don't have logistics set up for that yet.

If you are in the UK or US Ebay is the best bet. But I have yet to see a Yohji kilt below $300 USD.

I got lucky with mine. It was on Yahoo Japan auctions and ending mid morning on a Monday. And the listing name was weird so it didn't get noticed. So I got it very cheap. But that is once a year or more luck.
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Re: Hello from Tokyo

Postby Freedomforall » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:16 am

KellyRain wrote:Hi DJ,

They show up on Ebay and on Japanese Yahoo Auctions Japan. You just have to be on the sites all the time to find a good price. Mercari is a good source in the US but Yohji Yamamoto is rare on that site. But it is worth signing up and watching. The only ship in the US which is an issue sometimes.

I can usually get their stuff used in Japan, but sizes tend to be pretty small. 32" waist max or so. Average is 28-30" waist. I saw one Yohji pleated kilt skirt recently for $250 in Japan. It is a size 4 so goes up to about 88cm waist max and 82" min. But you can't order from abroad on that site. They are Japan only and won't ship internationally.

I do help source items for friends sometimes. They usually send me funds and I buy items for them. But I haven't done that for anyone but friends so far so I don't have logistics set up for that yet.

If you are in the UK or US Ebay is the best bet. But I have yet to see a Yohji kilt below $300 USD.

I got lucky with mine. It was on Yahoo Japan auctions and ending mid morning on a Monday. And the listing name was weird so it didn't get noticed. So I got it very cheap. But that is once a year or more luck.



Thank you Kelly. I am in the U.S. I will take a look at those sites. I wear a size 34 inches in the waist. I am going to send you a p.m.

DJ
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