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Jenae Bailey: Fashion of Japan

Jenae Bailey, a class of 2015 International Affairs major, is currently studying abroad in Hiroshima, Japan. Now a world class fashionista, she took the time to chat with me about Japanese fashion culture from her point of view!

HC:  As opposed to American culture, what is one situation where you thought that the situation didn’t match the dress?

Jenae: I think that all the heels are a bit difficult for me to grasp because Japan is definitely more of a walking society then America. Yet, Japanese women wear heels a lot, both causal or not! So although they may want to seem taller, or want to be fashionable, I don’t understand how they can stand wearing heels while doing a good amount of walking all day, especially up & down all the hills.

Also, almost all women wear skirts during the winter! Even when there’s snow outside on the ground, you’ll find some girls wearing skirts well above their knees. At least almost all of them will be wearing tights, but some will even go without them in the cold weather. My hypothesis is that they’re a bit immune to it since they have to wear skirts during the winter as their school uniforms, so I guess it’s not as bad to them.

Even I have started wearing skirts in the winter here, but I have to layer up and wear about 3 pairs of tights at once because I can’t really take the cold well.

HC: What’s one must-have accessory that people have to have in Japan?

Jenae:  A HANKIE!  If you go into a public bathroom in Japan, there’s a pretty good chance there will be absolutely no way to dry your hands! I’m just guessing it has the purpose of being “green.” I’ve never asked any Japanese people about it actually because it’s still something I don’t expect, so I forget about it…until I encounter it  [laughter].  

During the summer, some people have a little handkerchief to wipe their sweat from walking or when they exercise…even guys. It’s not a towel, it’s more intricate than that. I bought mine when I started playing basketball and I noticed the guys neatly wiping their sweat with their handkerchief between games. It’s a feature of my favorite character brands here in Japan called Sentimental Circus.


HC:  With makeup, what is a popular thing to accentuate?

Jenae: Definitely the cheekbones, their blush game is crazy! The colors are so bright and bold, like on the fashion blogs. Not everyone does this, of course, but quite a decent amount do. They will put it on as concentrated as eye shadow. I think it’s pretty cute, if you’re used to it, that is.

HC: You’re in an international program. It must be exciting to be around so many different aspects of culture. Does being around so many perspectives allow you to change your view of fashion?

Jenae: It definitely makes me realize that America has no “traditional” dress of any kind, unless you want to look at the first Americans. A lot of the other people have done comparisons of the traditional dressings of their countries versus Japan, but I couldn’t even do that if I really tried.


To keep up with Jenae on her amazing adventure in Japan, follow her Instagram @Scorpiodreamer!

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