After spending a week in Tokyo for NYE and touring most of the menswear oriented stores, I thought I’d give you a feedback.
Where to start? I think I found heaven, at least my vision of it (i.e. for someone 175cm tall and wearing a size EU 45 (right between 44 and 46)).
The interesting thing about menswear in Tokyo is that there is quite a wide choice and the variety is rather impressive.
To make things simple, I’ll list hereafter the shops I visited and a short summary of what they offer and my impressions.
Ring Jacket, Aoyama: that’s a cool shop with a lot of nice stuff as often advertised by the Armoury. The good thing about buying it in Japan is that with the strong EUR vs. JPY, you get a better price in Tokyo for the same product. The products are nice, well designed and the sales force is stylish as also proved by their Tumblr. But if Italians tend to wear their pants short (feu de plancher), Japanese chic hipsters (including RJ staff) wear them à-la-Thom-Browne (mid-calf). Funnily enough, I actually read an interview of Tom Ford in the last Esquire Big Black Book who said he sent an employee home after seeing him wearing pants like these.
That being said, I am not a fan of their Waffle Jacket line (the fabric is not appealing to me but I’m rather traditional) but at least RJ is showing some innovative mood and I’m very sure it’s appealing to a lot of you guys.
Isetan, Shinjuku: wow wow wow. And here I thought le Bon Marché in Paris had a decent offering for menswear and so did Selfridges and Harrods in London. “This is nothing baby” (American Psycho). Try Isetan in Shinjuku, it will blow your brains out. They have pretty much everything from RTW by Ring Jacket, Lardini, LBM, Cantarelli, Sartoria Formosa, Caruso, Isaia, you name it to MTM programs by 5 different houses including Liverano & Liverano. Man, I could easily spend 6 figures there… There were some cashmere overcoats, unlined wool coats, suits, sport coats, shirts, vintage fabrics, trousers in all imaginable colors, just everything. Service is very nice, polite and knowledgeable in terms of style. Speaking a little bit of Japanese will help you a great deal but they’re trying their utmost to be accomodating.
Strasburgo, Ginza: good range of Barba, Edward Green, Alden, Lardini, LBM and brands like that but offered at 20% more than in Europe so not interesting at all for us. The selection is nice though and pleasant to get some ideas.
Beams, Ginza + Shinjuku + Marunouchi + a lot of others: now, that’s a pretty cool store. The really good thing about it is that it works as a concept store with different price ranges and completely different pieces from one store to the next. They have like 8 stores in Tokyo I would say (maybe more but I visited only 5). Some target more on semi-fused suits (but looking well and costing 300 euros, down to 180 euros on sale) and casual menswear and bags. They also have Barracuta, a lot of Harris Tweed, some Aran chunky knitted pullovers, wool ties, Alden shoes and so on. It’s definitely in my top 3, I loved that store chain.
United Arrows, Ginza (The Sovereign House store) and Marunouchi and a lot of other places as well: Favorite as well, same kind of store than Beams and other brands including some top ones in the SOVEREIGN HOUSE store (their highest price point) with Cesare Attolini, Liverano & Liverano RTW, Incotex, Salvatore Piccolo shirts and some AMAZING looking coats. Man, I got crazy there. Thank god, I couldn’t spend 50,000 right away (euros that is, not yen).
Mitsukoshi: department store, nothing extraordinary compared to Isetan. It’s the same thing than being at Selfridges. Hankyu Men’s only offers International Designers so not interesting at all if you ask me.
Ships: casual menswear, not bad at all and reasonably priced. Cuts are a bit odd and don’t fit me but they have good ideas in terms of styling.
Second hand stores: Komehyo and Daikokuya (and all the small ones if you like bags and wallets). Let’s say that for all French houses like Vuitton and Hermès, you won’t find a good deal anymore. Prices have significantly risen compared to 3 years ago and I visited all of the stores in Tokyo. For clothes on the other hand and especially at Komehyo, they have amazing deals such as Cifonelli sportcoats at 250 euros, Isaia cashmere sport coat at 300 euros and so on. The main idea there is that they focus on some brands that they sell at a very high price (Hermès, Vuitton, Edward Green, Alden, Kiton, Sartorio, Brioni, Cesare Attolini) but the rest is very interesting to buy (Caruso, Isaia, Belvest, Ring Jacket and so on).
Embodying its Neapolitan heritage, Salvatore Piccolo brings us a collection focused on tailored garments in beautiful shades and patterns, perfectly complemented by an array of sartorial accessories. The traditional navy blazer gives place to a vast color palette including orange, mauve and brown, while incorporating paisley and plaids into the mix. Look no further if you’re looking to update your wardrobe to a more polished summery feel.