Luscious Leggings

101002-7386 - Cheerful Japanese woman wearing colorful leggings

Imaginative leggings are hot on the streets of Harajuku

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I am seeing more and more people in Harajuku going beyond your regular run-off-the-mill leggings and diving deep into colors and graphics. This was even happening at the fashion shows that we covered during the Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo in October.

Not only women, like Kana above, but men are taking to leggings, too. Like these leggings at the PHENOMENON SS 2011 fashion show:


I also found a guy wearing amazing graphic leggings in Harajuku:


Here are some leggings we like at JAPANESE STREETS.

Japanese leggings

Japanese Leggings

Japanese Leggings

Japanese Leggings

Japanese Leggings

I see the same trend in socks:

Japanese Socks

These are all for sale at URBAN RESEARCH : leggings | socks

The photo on top is from the street fashion shoot of Kana.

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Leggings really make an outfit happen! Sometimes it can pull a look together:D In both photos it balances out the chaos of colors and patterns.

Dec 19, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@Dee: Yes, I think so, too. When you think about it, it is pretty strange that leggings haven’t played a bigger role in most people’s outfits yet. Especially many men still won’t touch them with a ten foot pole…

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 19, 2010 (4819 days ago)

Have you seen Gerlan Jeans fashion? Is totally colorfull :D Specially 2010 and 2009 fall/winter collections!

Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@Maria: Very cool. Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know the brand, yet. Fits right into Harajuku!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

I remember about a year or two ago people over here in NY was crazy about leggings, it’s calm down a bit, but it’s still very in and still hot if you’re able to pull it off with the right colors/patterns to mix or match… I love the leggings that I would see on Yes Style (online clothing store)… =]]]

Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@Sasha: Were/are many men in NY wearing leggings, too? For some reason I have trouble imagining American men wearing colorful leggings. Well, I can imagine it actually, but it’s not a pretty picture. When I create a picture of an American man in my mind I get this macho firefighter type of guy. Just doesn’t look good in leggings…

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

They’re all over Indy – not a whole lot of leggings quite that imaginative, but bright, solid colored leggings are showing up everywhere. Sadly, many women did not get the memo that leggings are not pants. What I really would be overjoyed to find is some of that hosiery that many of the dolly kei girls wear, that have the religious figures on them. I’d LOVE to have some tights with cherubs or the Virgin Mary on them.

Leah B.
Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@Kjeld Duits: I find your mental image of the American man interesting. I wonder if this is the general perception the world has, an afterimage of all the 911 coverage perhaps?
I think my mental picture of the American male is more like toothless redneck (an even worse look in leggings T.T), then again, I live in rural NJ – about two hours south of NYC. The upside is that I work in a travel plaza so I see people coming not only to and from NYC but, from all over the world. This season I am indeed seeing more leggings but almost always (on Americans) they are a solid color, shiney spandex variety worn as pants. Not usually a good look. And other than one occasion of a man obviously in drag, I have yet to see (American) males attempting looks that include leggings.

Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@2046 Yeah, the closest I’ve seen to a man being able to pull off leggings was Conan O’Brian’s little jeggings-stunt on his new show. And he only did it for the lolz. I can’t decide whether to resent your remark about American men. Being smack-dab in Middle America, I get to see the ugliest of the ugly. Lots of Larry the Cable Guy look-alikes ‘round here. Do NOT want to see them in man-leggings! I do so wish we had more people, both male and female, willing to experiment with their style around here. Even the most redneck-looking dudes can look much better when cleaned up and put into clothes that fit.

Leah B.
Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

@Leah B.: Sadly, many women did not get the memo that leggings are not pants. — Haha, now you really have my imagination working! What I really would be overjoyed to find is some of that hosiery that many of the dolly kei girls wear, that have the religious figures on them. — Yes, those are cool. I will keep my eyes and ears open for you.

@2046 & Leah B.: I find your mental image of the American man interesting. I wonder if this is the general perception the world has, an afterimage of all the 911 coverage perhaps? — Most of it is from living in the US for several years, kept alive by watching CNN and American movies and TV series. Incidentally, with macho firefighter type of guy I didn’t mean the handsome firefighter types you see on TV series. More someone like the character John Sullivan (Sully)‎, the police officer on the television series Third Watch.

Leggings would actually look great on Lactose Intoler-Art (you probably know him from his comments on JS), who is not at all like this fictional image of American men.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 20, 2010 (4819 days ago)

Oh? Intoler-Art has a LOVELY blog and Twitter account, but I know him based off his comments here and on Tokyofashion, and by his superfun illustrations. No idea what he looks like.

Leah B.
Dec 21, 2010 (4818 days ago)

@Leah B.: Intoler-Art is thin, very well dressed in Japanese street style, and he has a wonderful personality with a very outgoing sweet smile. He is extremely well informed about Japanese street fashion.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 21, 2010 (4818 days ago)

Hi Kjeld, I was just wondering if you could post the links to the shops that sell those amazing leggings and socks?
I’m currently searching for a Japanese hoisery online shop that sells hoisery for reasonable prices and ships to Europe. Do you know any good ones?

Jan 10, 2011 (4798 days ago)

@Keekii: Did you try the links below the photos already? I am not sure if UR ships abroad, though, and whether you can read Japanese. I haven’t yet found any English language sites.

However, there are occasionally some cool leggings for sale in our eBay associate store. Do a search for leggings and just carefully scan all the images page by page.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jan 10, 2011 (4798 days ago)

I don’t know about you but I sometimes love how fashion repeats itself. Some of these leggings have the typical print my grandpa might still have on his warmer underwear. But when they are put on an edgy street fashion model, they actually look logical. Awesome. I adore graphic pattern leggings, but I still haven’t got the ultimate outfit to go with such hosiery:/

Jan 31, 2011 (4777 days ago)

@ebz: No kidding? You have a very fashionable grandpa. ^ _ –

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jan 31, 2011 (4777 days ago)

Hey guys! Haha…Noticed my mention, and thank you Kjeld and Leah for your nice comments, I’m really glad you like the blog.

This is an interesting post to me for a few reasons. Actually I understand your image of American men Kjeld, as I’m also actually from rural middle America. I’m glad you think I could pull off the leggings. Haha. First of all, its sad but true. There are a lot of redneck type people that don’t care if they don’t wash their hair and wear dirty clothes all the time (even if they’re not that poor, they just don’t care). In fact in Tokyo, most fashionable locals ask me if I’m Swedish or Brittish. And I don’t think everyone has to be stylish..But I think America has lost a lot of sense of looking decent in public…America is incredibly individualistic, so there are super fashionable and then the complete opposite.

With that said too…The drag comment also sticks in my head. Its tough almost anywhere in America, even in New York to pull off looks like this without people assuming its drag. To be honest, I’m a straight male, and I don’t really care what people think about me, but I know it must be tough because I pull a lot of looks that most straight guys wouldn’t do just because of what other people assume of them.

That’s one reason I am so inspired by street fashion in Tokyo and sites like this. To me its not even about rebellion. I have always been creative and sort of the oddball in a town of 1,000, its nice to be able to link art and fashion together for fun. Although none of my friends even care about street fashion, people just accept it as my thing, which is really cool, but that’s not to say I don’t stand out in a crowd every once in awhile, possibly with various kinds of assumptions. At this point I don’t care. ha

Lactose Intoler-Art
Jan 31, 2011 (4776 days ago)

@Lactose Intoler-Art: Great comment. Thanks.

“But I think America has lost a lot of sense of looking decent in public…” — Just looking at American street photography from before and just after WWII, that certainly seems to be the case. There is a lot more freedom now to do and wear what you want, but it would be nice if people also realized that freedom comes with responsibility. That’s true for what you wear, too. A little attention to style and how you represent yourself goes a long way, and is fun, too.

“The drag comment also sticks in my head.” Same here. I thought it quite interesting that leggings connect to drag that easily.

“To me its not even about rebellion. I have always been creative and sort of the oddball in a town of 1,000, its nice to be able to link art and fashion together for fun.” Absolutely. For the majority of Japanese—in spite of countless foreign reporters claiming otherwise—it is not about rebellion either. It is all about being creative and having fun.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Feb 1, 2011 (4776 days ago)

I’ve been loving leggings since I’ve discovered them! Only too bad the usual stores only offers you a limited range of leggings – and usually many of them aren’t really that colorful, fun, etc.

In addition, since I live in Norway, it’s more difficult to find anything, especially in my town. I think that Norwegian aren’t that cool, we aren’t brave enough to break free, and dress ourselves as something different. Most teenagers at my age, they seem to just follow the trends and comes and goes by. I would wish that we all could have the courage to follow through with an unique style and personality with clothes, items and etc.

Of course, one solution to get different kinds of leggings would be, shipping them from abroad somewhere, unfortunately we got these annoying taxes – though I understand why we got them, but the Norwegian taxes are kinda low. If we buy anything over 200 NOK ($ 34,16, € 25,22, £ 21, 24), we have to pay the taxes, and 200 NOK is barely anything. So it’s difficult to ship things over, because of the taxes.

Feb 13, 2011 (4764 days ago)

Vilde: I know exactly what you mean! I live in Denmark and teenagers aren’t that creative with their clothing styles either (or should I rather say daring?). Taxes are very expensive in Denmark, you’ll have to pay taxes for anything that exceeds 80DKK (about $15/€10/£9), and that is 25% VAT (of the price of the item + shipping price) plus an import charge of 160DKK (about $29/€21,5/£18). That means if I buy a pair of leggins for 150DKK and the shipping is 60DKK, I’ll have to pay 423DKK in the end! Crazy right? I can’t see any other solution than go to Japan or become rich xD

Feb 13, 2011 (4764 days ago)

@Vilde & Keekii: I had no idea that it was so expensive to import things. In Japan there is something called personal importing that pretty much absolves you from paying all these taxes. The only problem is that Japan is so far away from most other countries that shipping tends to be rather high…

Kjeld Duits (author)
Feb 13, 2011 (4764 days ago)

oooh!!!Love these leggings!!

Feb 16, 2011 (4761 days ago)

o-m-g, I’mma sucker for leggings and I want all the above!!!

Mar 18, 2011 (4731 days ago)

I really like the leggings, I only own one type of leggings that are very thin and made for skiing(hitech keep you warm stuff) they are just white. GF always giggles when she sees me watching the television wearing them.

I would like a few other pairs like the coloured ones from your selection. Though I could wear them with really baggy shorts on a cool day, would be awesome.

When I come to Japan I will definitely buy some.

Is a real shame that western society is not a little more open minded. I really think western guys are generally stuck in an insecure mind set to try these. Scarey thought is that this pseudo-colonization of the mind has spread to all corners of the world, lets hope that Japan continues to be a beacon of light in the world of individual fashion statements.

Musical Shark Attack
Apr 11, 2011 (4707 days ago)

this is great i was wondering if this style can be introduced in Turkey with Japon Style

May 24, 2011 (4664 days ago)

It has finally happened here in North America. For Christmas my girlfriend bought me a pair of women’s leggings to wear when we go out. I really enjoy wearing leggings and they are so comfortable I could wear them every day.

Jan 8, 2024 (51 days ago)

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