The new/old face of fashion: oji-girls

October 8th, 2010 by Sandra Barron

Old-man cute

Old-man cute

The dapper old gents of Tokyo may may want to lock up their closets till the latest fashion wave passes. Their time-worn basics are new again for young women getting into one of this fall’s fashion looks: “old-man cute.” Boxy beige jackets, baggy trousers with suspenders, tweedy vests and wingtip shoes are all key items. The trend is being called ojikawa, a combination of “uncle” or “old man” and “cute.” The women who wear it have predictably been dubbed “ojigaaru (old-man girls),” adding to the growing list of “~girl” tribes.

As you would expect, the Oji Girl focus is on muted colors and comfortable, often oversized pieces. Oji-pan (oji pants) are rolled up at the ankles and often made to be worn with wide waists gathered with a drawstring, while blazers are roomy to the point of looking droopy. Suspenders (or braces, for you there in the back snickering) come with long pants or shorts or are sold separately. The ensemble can all be topped off with a necktie and some fatherly marumegane.

PS, a magazine aimed at women in their late teens and early twenties, is calling the trend “the next big thing” after Mori Girls, though it’s yet to be seen if the look will resonate with the masses. The magazine advises adding a  “slightly girly touch” to complete the look. They show actress Airi Taira wearing a tweedy outfit that any uncle would be pleased to take his Sunday drive in – except for the long lace shawl layered under the jacket.

Japan’s Women’s Wear Daily also highlighted the outdoor-to-indoor shift in fashion inspiration with a style showdown in its pages. They pit the free-spirited Forest Girls (Mori Gaaru, 森ガール) and spiritual Witch Girls (Majo Gaaru, 魔女ガール) against the granddad-chic Oji Girls.

Shoe store Magical, selling online through Rakuten, has a collection of desert boots with soft rubber soles “recommended for oji-girls.” They come in gray, green, and camel. The popular  women’s brand Snidel has several pieces in the fall/winter lineup that fit the trend, like this button-up vest and these pants with suspenders. How will you know if the clothes you’re eyeing are old-man worthy? Elementary. (Sherlock Holmes would surely be an oji-icon.)  Just keep an eye out for the “oji” prefix. It’s getting stuck in front of anything that can be shoehorned into the trend: Oji shoes, Oji pants, and overall “Oji- style.”

Whether or not people will love the look, it is a trend with budget-friendly potential. The aspiring Annie Halls of Japan could skip the online retailers, boutiques and department stores, and assemble an ensemble from thrift store finds. And of course, there’s always Grampa’s closet.

Tags: , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Check out last weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. The cover story in the “style” section was about women’s clothing borrowing heavily this Autumn from men’s styles.

  2. Thanks, Jeffrey. Love the headline on that story. Interesting that they talk about the look as empowering, and here it’s categorized as another kind of “cute.”

  3. Wow this is some strange styling I have not seen them on the streets of Tokyo yet!

RSS

Recent Posts

  • 100 years of Japanese beauty in one minute

    Cut is setting its lens on Japan as it shows the dramatic changes Japanese women have gone through in the past century.

  • Studio Ghibli on a roll with licenses for new toys

    Nibariki has new wind-up toys inspired by Studio Ghibli’s “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.”

  • ‘Japan Sumo Cup’ is possibly the most Japanese thing ever

    In this rhythm game, players choose a real sumo player, ride an actual race horse and compete against characters from “Street Fighter.”

  • YouTubers in Japan with 100,000 fans and counting

    YouTube threw a big celebration for more than 20 YouTubers living in Japan who have over 100,000 subscribers.

  • Finding laughs in translations that have lost the plot

    The Orikaeshi Honyaku Dictionary site, which boasts the catchphrase “from Japanese to Japanese,” roughly translates as “Chinese whispers.”

  • Japan tricks out the Halloween treats

    Halloween is a time to carve pumpkins, enjoy a few scares and, most importantly, shovel as much candy as humanly possible into one’s own mouth. While the practice of door-to-door trick-or-treating may not be a thing in Japan, the custom of eating special Halloween snacks certainly translates. Plenty of companies, both overseas and domestic, are […]

  • Ginza Cozy Corner takes dessert into hyperdrive with ‘Star Wars’ cakes

    One Japanese confectionary vendor is about to find the Force deep within a sweet tie-up. Ahead of the December release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Ginza Cozy Corner, which has outlets nationwide, has made a line of “Star Wars” sweets that are truly out of this world. The treats themselves are all based on people […]

  • Warning: This viral video of high school girls might make you blush

    Cosmetic company Shiseido has recently uploaded a YouTube video that is blowing viewers’ minds with a bona fide twist. In the promo video, titled “High School Girl? — The Makeup Secrets of High School Girls,” the camera weaves through a classroom full of drop-dead cute young women who pout and wink like true pop idols. […]

  • Sharp dials up the fan service to celebrate 20 years of ‘Evangelion’

    For those who have always dreamed of owning an Evangelion robot, this might be the closest you get. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular “Neon Genesis Evangelion” animated series, Sharp is releasing a special smartphone that pays homage to the show both in the device’s hardware and software. The phone itself is detailed […]

  • Tokyo plugs into Google Play Music

    If you haven’t heard the latest news from Google Play, you may have missed your opportunity to tune into a Google Play Billboard. From Oct. 8-24, music lovers can head over to Shibuya to, literally, plug into a selection of over 3,500 songs. The Google Play Billboard is meant to give visitors a much-needed chance […]