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January 22, 2018

Japanese dress code – uniformity

Since we have introduced many decent restaurants and funny stuff about Japan, what else that matters a lot for foreigners is no doubt how you should dress here – dress code.

As what we can see from news or Japanese dramas, office workers all wear suits while school students wear uniforms at weekdays. But why? Uniformity. Majority of Japanese people do not want to unique, same uniforms and similar suits can bring safety to them because being the same never causes problems. So how do Japanese dress in different occasions?

School

At school, we often wear one uniform and get changed the next day. But in Japan, students have different uniforms – one for daily school life, others for sports class or clubs.
In terms of uniform for daily school life, there are actually a variety of designs throughout different regions in Japan, sometimes varying with schools.

school uniforms

However, uniforms for girls are more fashionable and variable as you can see from above.
But short skirt, socks with uniform and shirts are kind of standard as it originated from western countries.
If you join school’s clubs, you will have your club uniforms which also can signify you are part of the entity, everyone needs to take responsibility for what they do when wearing the uniform.

uniforms

University

At university, students no longer need to wear uniforms at school as university is where people can get more freedom and selections, but in other circumstances like job hunting, dressing in an appropriate way is critically important as your dressing also represent you from others’ perspectives. Therefore, many Japanese would like to invest a lot in business clothing that is somewhat impressive but not unique from others. In other words, good business clothing leaves good impression on others. By now, you may have a question: is it unacceptable if I dress better than others? It is never wrong in western social events because luxurious and fashionable dress can stand you out among the crowd. However, if you are not the protagonist for the event, you should always choose to be similar with others, otherwise it is probably your last to get invited to such an event as Japanese people do not like the person who stands out in a wrong place. Therefore, choosing a normal but formal suit for job hunting is definitely NO PROBLEM!

suit style

Business

Now, it’s time to get into the most important part of the dress code that catches eyes of the public because dressing properly is significantly vital when doing business in Japan.
For men, conservative and well-appointed business suits are predominantly recommended:
Black and dark blue are always no wrong, even dark brown is also still acceptable. Quality of suits plays an important role as it maintains a low-key and classy demeanour but your host will not perceive you are trying hard.
For women, the more conservative they dress, the politer it displays. Overly revealing clothing in the business place is not appreciated as well as heels. Bright and flashy accessories are also should be avoided, while being overly masculine like wearing pants is not allowed. But generally speaking, conservative theme is the main of Japanese dress code.

suit

Apart from listed above, there are also other situations that requires specific dress code, but just follow two rules and you will never be into trouble: more conservative, less unique.

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