Hi everybody! I hope you enjoyed meeting J yesterday. Today is part two with some more beautiful Chanel and Lanvin goodies and a ton of great insights from J. I especially found her thoughts on the differences between United States vs. Japan luxury markets fascinating, along with how her style has evolved over time with her needs for comfort. Enjoy!
What percent of your items do you buy on sale, versus full price? Do you ever regret paying full price?
Now, I only pay full price on items I absolutely cannot live without…so the percentage is probably about 20%. Especially now that I’m only buying Chanel, I often wait until the sales or for them to pop up on eBay.
When I was still building my non-Chanel RTW collection I paid full price maybe 60-70% of the time. But I have a friend who is a buyer for a multi-label store that carries brands like Lanvin, Rick Owens, Balmain etc. in Italy who helped me get what I wanted at a discount, so I suppose it’s not really paying full price…
What are some brands that you think are overpriced?
Balmain and Hermes! I actually love a lot of designs from Balmain and would actually love a pair of Balmain leather pants but I would never shell out $3K-5K for a pair of leather pants! Their cut is sublime, but I would rather get another Chanel jacket for that kind of money. Isabel Marant is doing a very similar look at less than a third of what you would pay for Balmain.As for Hermes, no matter how long it takes for one artisan to create a whole Birkin or how wonderful their leather is, no bag is worth $10,000 and above in my book. It’s just way beyond the price cap I have for bags. I would much rather spend that kind of money on fine jewelry!
You used to live in the US, and now you live in Japan. Could you contrast some of the different attitudes, general cultural norms around shopping/luxury goods between the US and Japan? What have been the biggest differences you noticed?
In Japan, luxury goods are widely accessible to everyone, probably due to the payment system you can use on luxury items over here. Credit card payments can be divided up to 24 payments at the point of purchase, and most stores liaison with credit companies in a way where customers can receive loans from the liaised credit company.I think this system allows practically everyone to purchase luxury items, so you see more luxury items on the streets here than anywhere else. I also see Hermes Birkins and Kellys as much as I see Louis Vuitton in Japan.
I think the biggest difference between the US and Japan is that people ultimately seek their own styles in the US whereas in Japan, people follow the trend more rigorously. I think this stems from the cultural differences of the two countries; individuality is more valued in the US but harmony as a whole is more valued in Japan.
Another shot of a gorgeous cream jacket and gold Chanel bag
What are some of the general fashion/shopping tips and lessons that you have learned the hard way over the years, that you would like to share with readers?
Always try to create a mental image of as many outfits/occasions as possible using the item you’re thinking of buying. If you can think of more than 2, it’s a winner. Otherwise, it’ll just sit in your closet unused.
I like garments that are very design orientated and ornate. Often times, they’re difficult to wear, or downright painful after a couple of hours of wearing them. I have learned over the years that comfort is one of the most important factors in choosing a garment. In my Balenciaga-loving-era, I bought so many amazing “runway pieces” that don’t translate well in the real world, and took a lot of loss selling them off on eBay. I used to love pieces that were really out there, pieces that you could only see on the runway. But those really “out there” pieces were usually difficult to wear/heavy/uncomfortable on top of screaming out what year they were made.I still buy things that are really different and ornate, but I only buy things that are comfortable to wear. If it’s a bag, I tend to buy classic styles/looks with amazing details or colors that stand out.
Have you ever spent a lot of time collecting/obsessing over an item or brand, upon which looking back, you’re like – “What was I thinking?”
Not really. Ever since I first got into fashion, I’ve always had objects/labels of obsession, but never really regretted them. Each obsession represents an era of my life, and though I often no longer own the items that I coveted back then, I still think fondly of them.
I love Japanese beauty products! What do you think are the must have items for people from the US or abroad to pick up while in Japan? How about items in general?
I have super delicate allergic skin, so I can only use certain skin care products that don’t contain harmful substances such as paraben or ethanol. I use skin care products that are developed by a dermatologist called Adjuvant and also I use Mario Badescu but that’s not Japanese! All of my make-up is from either Bobbi Brown or Nars and I’ve never ventured out to try make-up products from Japanese companies.As for other stuff, I think all the undergarments Uniqlo comes out with for summer (Safafine) and winter (Heat tech) are amazing. I cannot live without their camisoles with the built-in bras!
Finally, please share something surprising about yourself that!
I’m super grouchy and easily irritated at home but my husband is the only who gets to see that side of me! (Imagine how special he feels…).
I hope you all enjoyed meeting J. I really liked hearing about the evolution of her style, and how she has gradually moved towards comfort (something that has definitely happened with me as well). Thank you very much J for taking the time to photograph some of your closet for us!