Style Swoon! – Jenna Isabel of ‘My Life Sofa’

Style Swoon is a section where I share super stylish lovely people with all you wonderful lovely readers! 

My first Style Swoon is the beautiful Jenna Isabel, who writes the blog ‘My Life Sofa‘. Jenna is currently committed to a challenge of wearing a different outfit every day for a year, without doubling up! How fun!

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Here’s Jenna!

Tell me a little about yourself! First about me? well im a 29 year old mother of three young children, i work very part time in my friends vintage shop in Whitehaven (Kissing Cows) Check it out on asos marketplace!

Last year we moved house and have a huge project in that, I was also lucky enough to marry my best friend Otis last September.

I’ve had a life long love affair for music and fashion in equal measures.
 
What three phrases would describe your style? British Eccentric, Playful, Time Traveling.

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What is your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe right now? Favourite piece??? Hmm, hard to say… I have fail safe basics which i could happily live in most days like my trusty 501 cut offs and black chelsea boots, but my favourite item of clothing has to be a nice dress. I got a lovely 60s geometric printed mini dress with a huge sailor collar for christmas this year, from etsy. Love the print, colour, collar and cuffs! either that or my 80s brownies sweat shirt!

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Jenna in her adorable vintage Brownies shirt!!

Is there anything you are lusting after to add to your clothing collection? I am absolutely desperate for a nice pair of kick flare flat fronted cords but I haven’t found anything, anywhere so the hunt continues……

What inspires you when putting together outfits? I take inspiration from lots of different places. Music is a huge influence over my style and I often take from whatever i’m listening to, also from an odd item of clothing i find that i get a vibe from, or from memories and old photos of family and even from my childhood such as 80s/90s. They remind me so much of my mum taking me shopping when i was little, stuff she’d wear and things i’d see on top of the pops, I must have soaked it all up without realising!

Do you have a favourite era in terms of style and fashion, and why? My most favourite era of all has been the same for me since I was in primary school… 60s & 70s!!!

Memories of all my gran and grandad’s left over home interiors, the love of watching Nick Berry on Heartbeat with them and the music kick-started it, then as i got older and started big school in 1994, i found indie music and brit pop!

I fell in love with Pulp and Jarvis Cocker in the same year as starting school and picked up again on their heavy influence of retro 60s/70s kitsch which remains all these years on.

My love for the era isn’t just in my wardrobe though, it’s throughout my home, music and film collections! I could happily build a time machine and live back then!

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Which designers do you adore? The designer of designers for me is Vivienne Westwood, especially her early days with Malcolm McLaren in Sex, her punk days were so British and young and powerful!

I love the whole punk era, again, it reminds of lusting over photos of my mum with green eyed envy of how carefree she was when she was a young punk, just love her!

Can we see more of your outfits and style? Yes although i’m only very very shiny new to all this, but you can creep on my ramblings and wardrobe adventures on mylifesofa.tumblr.com

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Thanks Jenna!!

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Etsy Cute 17/01/13 – Study Hard

So my school and college days are over! But I still enjoy burying my head in a book and learning! On top of that I work hard on practising my writing, publishing my zine (Slimeball), sewing and working on this blog! 

I thought it fitting then, that I write an Etsy Cute post dedicated to injecting the adorable into our office and work spaces! 

Mean Girls Pencils! 

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I know, I know.. Mean Girls.. the ultimate tacky American bimbo film.. but I LOVE it! These innocent looking pencils have the movie’s most famous quotes on them, including my favourite, ‘Boo, You Whore’.

They are by The Common Grade, who do all sorts of famous movie quote pencils, pins and notebooks and the full set is only about £5.00!

 

Mountain Monster Notebook!

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Look at his adorable little monstery face! Eeee!

This super cute little monster notebook is by the very talented Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary. Kim is based in my hometown of Huddersfield, and I have been aware of her work for a while now, after meeting her at a few craft fairs. 

This handy pocket notebook can be made lined or plain (you just make your note on checkout) and features a screen printed original Mountain Monster design (seriously guys, I cannot get over how ADORABLE he is!!) It’s a steal at only £4.00!!

 

Retro TV Pencil Case!

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Mary had a super cute retro little lamb!

Nongjianu sells all kinds of retro and kawaii stationery! My favourite of their retro pencil cases is this ‘Mary and her Little Lamb’ one. I love the fact it looks like a vintage TV set, and the inside is super roomy and boxy, to prevent pesky snapped leads. It’s well worth the £13 price tag as you could use it as a quirky clutch bag on nights out or a super sweet makeup case!

 

Bunny Corner Bookmark!

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Sleepy Bookmark Bunny

I actually did a squeee when I saw this! This little fella is so cute and happy looking! He slots over the corner of the page you want to keep and his little ears stick out of your book! This would be perfect for all of you with lots of heavy reading to do for uni… it’ll make opening that text far more enjoyable! 

Book bunny is only around £4.00 from ‘So Cute Things‘ on Etsy! 

 

Rainbow Kitty iPad Cover!

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I died.

I saved the best til last for you guys!! Another amazing piece from a seller I have featured before, Sugar Junkie Shop! I mentioned her crochet bow in my Etsy Cute Party Time post!

I just love the pastel rainbow effect, the neatness of the stitches, the blank little kitty expression and THOSE EARS!!! I died, I totally died from the cuteness.. I am now a blogging ghost, thats how much I died.

This version is an iPad case, but it also comes as a Kindle Fire case and an iPad Mini case. I just wish she did a Macbook version and I would have a reason to get one! If you want a slice of kawaii kitty action you can nab one for only £25!!

 

So there is my round up of must have items to motivate you to do more work! But don’t get so lost in a book you forget to read igetdressedinthemorning! 

Kate xx

 

I Wore This! Workday Wednesday 16/01/13

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I had to wrap up warm today people, it’s COLD out.. in case you didn’t notice! I wore my cute red vintage dress from Pop over a long sleeve bodycon dress, high waisted black jeans and some super comfy vintage boots! 

The glasses you see in this picture are my new ones from Spex in the City! Boyfriend bought me them for Christmas! They are by a company called Jensen and were limited edition. I’ll be doing a post on my love of specs soon so keep reading!

I’ve decided to have a look on the internets to see if I can find similar items to my outfit pieces, as I feel bad when everything is vintage!

Pop Boutique made a pretty sweet dress for their own line which looks pretty similar to the vintage one I wore today! Take a peek..

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The Pop Boutique ‘Koko’ dress. £27 from the Pop website

Etsy has a huge range of spotty bows.. Here’s one from Sprinkles Corner..

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This one is only £2.00!! Buy it here.

Office do these cute knee highs that have a slight 60’s go-go vibe!

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Buy them here! They’re in the sale for £30!!

 

I’ll leave it at that for tonight! Tomorrow I’ll be trawling Etsy for my pick of the most recent Cute, so it’s adieu until then!

Kate xx 

Stuff We Forgot 20/12/12 – Fuzzy Felt!

Yes, this is meant to be primarily a style blog but, fuck it… I like toys. So my first ‘Stuff We Forgot’ post focuses on one of my most treasured childhood possessions.. FUZZY FELT!!

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I don’t wanna alienate anyone younger than me, but I definitely think my generation may have been one of the last to play with Fuzzy Felt. Sure, they still make it now, but it’s just not the same! Things have faces on the modern stuff, there’s no room for pure imagination to run wild!

When I was a child, I was given Fuzzy Felt to play with and my creativity took over, I still remember the crinkly blue plastic segments that held all of my precious shapes, and the thin cardboard ‘background’ which would be my canvas. I truly feel that Fuzzy Felt made me realise from quite a young age that ‘art’ didn’t have to be a drawing or a painting. And it didn’t have to last forever.

Fuzzy Felt was originally born in 1950, so the staying power of this fantastically simple toy is testament to it’s appeal. Maybe if todays kids weren’t so distracted by telly we would still see a hell of a lot more Fuzzy Felt magic!

It’s not particularly valuable if you have a vintage box today, but the satisfaction you will get from making a rude collage or dream home scene is beyond monetary value.

Finally, in combining style with toys.. imagine what Fuzzy Felt brooches could bring to an outfit! I love anything that reminds me of my childhood, I love anything childish in general. Felt brooches are all over Etsy right now, why not create a nostalgia laden Fuzzy Felt alternative.

On that note.. I’m getting myself on eBay… this is my new ‘thing’.

If I Owned It… Lazy Oaf Dropout Tee

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So I have LOVED Lazy Oaf for a long while now.. I have clippings from magazines about the creator Gemma Shiel on my studio wall, and a few items from them (the bank balance unfortunately doesn’t stretch to EVERYTHING!) 

Most recently I have been lusting after this ‘Dropout’ tee… I identify myself as something of an akward, bullied at school, geek type so this shirt appeals to me. It makes me feel as though I could turn myself into the ‘bad girl’ for the day.

I’m not sure if my outfit selection for this tee works for everyone but hey, I wear what I wear.. 

T-Shirt is £38 from Lazy Oaf, Skirt is £45 from Topshop, Socks are £3.50 from Topshop, Trainers are £125 from Irregular Choice, Lolly Necklace is £30 from Tatty Devine, Lipstick is £16 from Illamasqua and finally the Collar is £45 from Culture Label.

Love

Kate x

I Wore This! London trip 18/11/12

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On the first day of our trip I donned this super cute vintage dress from Pop Boutique that I hadn’t worn for a while. I love this dress as it brings vintage glamour to winter months! It has knitted sleeves and I always feel a little ‘Velma’ from Scooby Doo when I wear it! I slung my cute vintage duffle coat on top and wore some thick white tights and little black pumps from Schuh!

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On the second day I wore another vintage find from Pop.. This adorable spotty long sleeved number.. Yet another one ideal for winter! Who knew I had so many wintery vintage dresses? Boyfriend will kill me for saying I have nothing to wear! A second pair of white tights to go with this dress (I really love white tights!) and a vintage Campbell’s soup belt.. One of the best vintage items I own!

My trusty Fred Perry necklace was round my neck on both days and I obviously can’t go anywhere without my Gillian Caplan glasses!

More posts to come soon! I’ve been super ill!!

Etsy Cute 16/11/12 – Gift Ideas

Since Christmas is going to be upon us sooner than we think, I’m going to focus today’s Etsy Cute around incorporating kawaii into other peoples Christmas gifts! Because cute is meant to be shared!

(Click pictures for links to Etsy stores!)

 

For Baby:

You can’t really justify spending a fortune on kids until they are old enough to appreciate it properly/ not grow out of everything within a week! So baby gifts have to have longevity and take them through to toddlerhood or be very reasonably priced if they will only be used for a few months. Oh, and if you’re me… they have to be CUTE!

I found the solution!

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Is there ANYTHING cuter than baby dino feet?

These awesome knitted booties are perfect for any little monster at Christmas! Adorable and toasty warm! They are available from the wonderful ‘Lemonade and Magnolia‘ run by Kylie Mustapic. I have been lucky enough to see more of Kylie’s work than is available on her Etsy as she is a Leeds based children’s wear designer. She does craft fairs and maintains a sale space in Bird’s Yard in Leeds. This talented miss also creates hairclips, homewares and grown-up’s accessories! 

 

For Grandma:

It could be fairly difficult to explain the concept of Kawaii to granny.. so why not just show her by giving her an awesome handmade gift this Christmas?

Here you go..

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50’s Chic for Grandma on Christmas Day!

Now, I am well aware that not all Grandmas enjoy baking, cooking, knitting and coffee mornings, but this is MY Etsy Cute post and I am imagining MY Grandma. She very much loves all of the aforementioned things. Last Christmas I made my Grandma a half apron, as she wears one most of the time around the house. If I was short on time however, I would have bought a handmade apron instead and supported a small business. Let’s just stop to admire this one from ‘Boojiboo‘ shall we?

There are many, many, many apron sellers on Etsy.. And since my favourite (Dot’s Diner) have ceased trading, Boojiboo have quickly taken the ‘adorable apron’ space in my heart. JUST LOOK AT IT!! It brings a chic 50’s skirt vibe to Grannies look whilst still being super practical AND adorable! It’s subtle enough to be classy and still fun. A+ for Boojiboo I think!

 

For Workmates:

I bet you guys did a secret santa huh? And now you might be going ‘Aaargghhhhh, what do I get this person? They are into everything I am not! How do I please them HHHEEEELP!’ no? Just me then…

Incorporating cute and still keeping it mysterious as to who have supplied said gift to the bulging pile at the Christmas do may be pretty hard but oh well, everyone figures out who got who anyway!

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Guys, thats a cat hiding in a mug..

I obviously don’t know what your budget is… at my work, it’s ridiculously low….this makes for funny gifts from the pound shop and some great giggles. If you work in a more conservative office environment, or take your Secret Santa more seriously then these mugs by Spademan Pottery are so perfect!

They do SO MANY different ones and finding out someones favourite animal isn’t hard at all! You can order these mugs plain on the outside so the little critter is a true surprise, or have the animal paw prints on the outside, if you know your colleague wants to show off their adoration! The items from Spademan Pottery are such good value for money.. remember.. you are buying HANDMADE! for under £20!

 

For Best Friends:

Honestly, you really should know what to buy your best friend.. but okaaaaayy, i’ll do some of the work for you!

Chances are if YOU like cute things, your best friend does too.. so you can go all out on the sugar sweet factor here! 

How about this:

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Pens at the ready! Make your best friend your PENPAL! cute factor? 100!

Me and my best friend write letters to each other! She lives in a different city, talking and texting is fine, but just seeing her handwriting, drawings and little posted gifts makes me do a little cry from pure joy! You should try it with your bestie even if you live next door to each other!

People often forget there are some amazing sellers on Etsy who specialise in expertly picked vintage items, and not just handmade. I am a lover of all things vintage.. my favourite eras being the 50’s and 60’s (and some cute 70’s too!). ‘Tinsel and Trinkets‘ sell paper ephemera, plastic trinkets and retro holiday decorations. My favourite item in their store is this pack of wonderful letter writing paper! Obviously giving writing paper means you may eventually receive it yourself with a lovingly written message on it! But I would encourage my bestie to use these in her scrapbook and enjoy them every day! 

(Hint to bestie: I didn’t get you this.. that would be ruining the surprise! I got you something just as cute though!)

 

Just the four for today! I tried to pick gift idea for people who aren’t ‘mum, dad, brother, sister’ etc. Something a bit different! Hope you enjoy browsing Etsy! 

Kate xx

 

 

 

 

Harajuku Shopping Guide – 2. Beyond The Main Street

So… let’s continue our Harajuku shopping guide shall we? Last time, I told you all about Takeshita Dori and the many awesome shops that line the busy main street. Today i’ll take you across Meiji Dori and down the street signposted ‘Harajuku St’.

When you got to the bottom of Takeshita Dori last time, I forgot to mention the shop ‘Bowl O Rama’. This is pretty much right next to you on the right hand side at the bottom of the street. It sells all kinds of vintage and reproduction vintage items, the guys stuff consists of levi jeans, retro bowling shirts and work boots and the girls stuff includes cute bandana inspired print dresses, cat shaped handbags and accessories galore!

Now you need to cross the street that cuts off Takeshita Dori (it’s called Meiji Dori) and head towards the narrow street directly opposite called ‘Harajuku St’. Just before you start to go down this street you will notice that there is a kind of side street immediately to your right. There are some awesome shops down here, you could check them out now before heading down Harajuku St or later, once you retrace your steps!

As you walk down Harajuku St you will already notice that the atmosphere is different to that of Takeshita Dori.. none of your tacky tourist junk here! Instead, this street is lined with more niche shops, there’s an ethical clothing store, a couple of really good vintage shops, and loads more! Look up and just a little way down the street you will see a shop called ‘G2?’. This place is a really good vintage shop if you are looking for a mixture of specialist and everyday items.. They have awesome blouses and t-shirts snuggled up next to full 50’s ballgowns! If super rare handbags from the 40’s,50’s and 60’s are your thing, they have a whole room for them!!

I *think* down this street there should also be a shop with a carousel horse lamp in the window.. now the lamp is, unfortunately, not for sale.. but the store is pretty cool. I always forget what it’s called though. They sell those crazy platform converse, printed tights, weird almost 90’s looking clothes and kitschy jewellery.. It’s SO worth a look!

Eventually, if you keep going down Harajuku St, you will get to a poochie fashion shop. Now, i’m not a fan of dogs myself.. but I LOVE that this place exists! On a Saturday you will usually see rich housewives with their Chihuahuas in baskets buying gilt collars or velvet doggie beds. It’s definitely fascinating to someone like me.. I am always interested in the lengths people go to to feed obsession!

The dog shop is on a corner, and the road that creates the corner with Harajuku St is a pretty good one to veer off and explore too! If you imagine you are standing facing away from Meiji Dori on Harajuku St you want to go down this new street by turning left. Going right is good too, but maybe explore that later! As you head down this new street you wil see shops dedicated to selling Alice in Wonderland themed Gothic Lolita clothing, new designers opening pop-up shops, more vintage clothing stores, a shop selling nothing but hawaiian goods, super swanky menswear shops and a little boutique selling re-worked clothing (i’m talking Rainbow Brite bedsheets turned into dresses, you guys!) Heck, if you walk even further down this street you will find a huge toy store selling everything from Marvel action figures to super rare and collectible film props! Oh, and if coffee is your thing, just a tiny bit further down you will find a minuscule three story corrugated iron structure which houses a coffee shop specialising in latte art! (Top tip: buy your coffee at ground level then head up to the top floor for a super cosy break from shopping!).

The good stuff on this street kinda ends at the coffee shop, so you want to turn around and walk back to where the doggie shop is. Once you get back there, continue walking down Harajuku St, away from Meiji Dori. It will feel like you are walking into a residential area, the road sort of ramps up, towards a wall, but then curves round. If you followed the road you should see a building with steps at the side of it that lead up to the 1st floor. All the ground floor shops are accessible from the front of the building, you will be looking at the side from this angle. For all you designer toy and streetwear geeks, this is where Bounty Hunter is! At street level and closest to the road. Go in here for a glimpse of the mega successful designer toy company… they now mainly seem to do streetwear and accessories, but there should be a few cabinets with vinyl toys too!

If you come out of Bounty Hunter and head towards the building opposite (it looks like someones house!) You will find an awesome antiques shop. You usually have to squeeze yourself between the wall and the owners car (I swear it’s just his house!) and you’re in! They sell all sorts… metal printing press letters, antique bridles, clothing, lace handkerchiefs, vintage signage.. pretty much EVERYTHING!

Back over the road and up the stairs of the first building here and you will find my two all time favourite shops in Harajuku.. Erostika and Secret Base. Erostika is the Harajuku based store of the insanely talented, totally cool ‘Rockin’ Jellybean’. RJB is a mysterious lowbrow artist who creates eye popping illustrations and prints which he then puts on T-Shirts, underwear, stickers, badges, phone cases and more! He famously never shows his face and wears wrestling masks to oscure his identity! You can buy high quality hand screenprinted editions of his works to put on your wall (me and boyfriend have four now), Vinyl toy representations of the characters he created (we have one, signed!), merchandise such as lighters, ashtrays and other bits and bobs and records he has done the artwork for (including the 5,6,7,8’s).

The second time I went to Tokyo, I had the fortune of visiting when RJB would be signing stuff in Erostika. I went with boyfriend, our friend who was holidaying with us and my Japanese friend Toy (she runs BAPSjapon). RJB was such a nice guy, spoke to us in English quite well and was happy to pose and sign things for us! Just in case you were thinking this is a long and wordy post… here’s a picture Toy took of the event in question. You can see how awesome the shop is!

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All Credit for the image goes to Toy of BAPS JAPON, RJB and EROSTIKA

Boyfriend, me and RJB!

It’s worth having a chat to the guy who works at the Erostika store. His name is Wild Ox and his English is really good. He can usually point out some good gigs to go to, or events that might be on while you’re around. He is always happy to help with sizing too so if you can’t see a T-Shirt in your size he will look for you!

If you come out of Erostika (I know, it’s hard) and go to the metal door across the corridor directly opposite you will find Secret Base. Secret Base is probably my favourite designer toy company I have encountered. The inside of their store houses little works of vinyl art behind metal bars and on high shelves. It feels a little like a secret club, and can be somewhat overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking at. SB create new collections and editions of toys quite regularly, I bought boyfriend a fat Ronald McDonald they created in cahoots with Ron English, based on his paintings.

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Secret Base McHumberger X-Ray Version Toy

As well as all the awesome toys, Secret Base sell T-Shirts and other collectibles too, including toys from other distributors they collaborate with. If you see something in here you like, I would say buy it. Chances are it won’t be here for long as SB toys are sought after.

Well, thats about it for this entry. I know it was a lot of words and not much to look at, maybe i should find some of my Tokyo photos and give you a visual feast next time!

In Part 3 I will tell you all about LaForet and Tokyu Plaza malls!

Kate xx

Harajuku Shopping Guide – 1. Takeshita Dori Area

I’m going to have to split these posts up.. Harajuku is surprisingly big, and it takes me three days to shop it all! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of shops, some tucked away, some quite well known.

Before I start this guide I need to make you aware that the turn around of shops in Harajuku is quite rapid. Fashion trends come and go and the stores reflect this, you may find that if you search for a shop I have raved about, it could very well be gone!

I made my last trip to Tokyo in July 2012, so all the shops I will tell you about were still trading in Harajuku at that time.

So let’s begin!

Harajuku Station and Takeshita Dori:

You probably got to Harajuku by train (since Tokyo’s rail and subway systems are some of the most reliable and easy to use in the world!). Harajuku subway station is directly opposite the main shopping street of the area, Takeshita Dori. You will know you are in the right place if you can see this..

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(by ‘this’ I mean the signage, not the slightly awkward chubby blonde girl that I used to be)

You want to cross the road towards this signage, which hangs over the ‘top’ of Takeshita Dori. It’s a fairly steep slope, and on a busy Saturday or Sunday this offers a perfect opportunity to look straight down to the end and witness the hundreds of people crammed in this narrow street. You need to take a deep breath, and head on down it!

The top of this street plays host to a number of ice-cream cafe’s, pancake houses and gimmicky shops. It does seem that this part of Harajuku has been marketed towards more of a tourist demographic, especially at the top of the street. Here you will also find the AKB48 store, a whole shop dedicated to merchandise and memorabilia of the Akihabara based all-girl super geek pop group (for more information go here.)

As you head down Takeshita Dori, try not to become too distracted by shops selling wacky, cheap stuff. It’s tempting to buy a glittery trucker cap and eight pairs of frilly knee high socks but all those odd couple hundred yen add up! Instead, drink in the atmosphere here and people watch. Look to others for style inspiration and then go find the items in the many stores that line the street. My absolute number one tip is not to buy anything on this street when you see it straight away. Takeshita Dori is the street that sells all the items that tourists would find ‘quirky’ and ‘unique’ and because of this, practically every shop sells the same things at different prices.

Nearish the top of the street you will come across ‘Daiso’, a sort of Japanese version of the pound shop. Daiso is your go-to for any little cheap gifts, emergency socks and toiletries, stationery, snacks and stuff that you want to buy purely because it has ‘Hello Kitty’ on it. Everything in here is 100yen!!! Give yourself a budget, and get shopping! If you don’t have a budget you end up taking home a lot of junk and having to miss out on buying something you REALLY NEED later on. Trust me… I speak from experience.

As you continue down, don’t forget to look up! A lot of the better shops are on the second and even third floors of the buildings around you, the vintage shops and independent traders often rent out these higher units. Don’t be afraid to climb the stairs and look around. Another tip here: you may find the sales assistants in Harajuku to be what we would call ‘pushy’ with their customer service. This is a common misunderstanding. Sales assistants here and in the rest of Tokyo take great pride in their work, and will literally do ANYTHING to make sure you leave happy. If you feel they are following you around, watching you all the time or just generally being a bit creepy, this is not their intent. Try to see it more as their desire to be your personal shopping assistant from the minute you enter their shop, don’t be afraid to ask for different sizes, colours or styles if you don’t see what you like.

Oh, and if you feel like everyone is shouting at you when you go into a shop, they probably are! It is customary in Japan for the sales assistants to shout ‘Irasshaimase!’, which is basically a short way of saying ‘welcome, please come in and look’.

Quite a bit further down from Daiso, and past many little shops you should have browsed. You will come to a building with stairs on the outside. The store at street level sells all types of awful ‘gangster’ wear, and is probably best avoided. Climb the stairs though and you will find ‘Bodyline‘. Bodyline is a store selling lolita, gothic lolita, sweet lolita and more. As someone who isn’t necessarily a hardcore full-blown ‘loli’, this place is heaven, all the items are affordable.. almost ridiculously so, and still super cute. Bodyline items are not in the same league as more exclusive ‘loli’ brands such as ‘Baby The Stars Shine Bright’, ‘Angelic Pretty’ or ‘Metamophose’ so if you are looking to buy something that will impress any gaggle of full on lolita girls you would be shopping in the wrong place, but if like me, you would like to incorporate a bit of ‘loli’ into your style, Bodyline is the perfect place to start!

Near to Bodyline is a store that doesn’t seem to have a name but to which I refer to as the ‘Sequin Drag Shop’. This store is dedicated solely to selling super glitzy costumes COVERED in sequins and gemstones. Perfect for showmen and women, performance artists, drag superstars and sparkle enthusiasts, this place ain’t cheap, but it seems to be THE place to get your bum skimming sequin American flag hotpants and feather headdress. If you don’t have any use for these things, it is definitely well worth looking. Shop assistants really don’t mind, just try not to manhandle the stuff in here too much… It’s crammed in pretty tight and you don’t want to be crushed by an avalanche of diamante bustiers.

On a side road opposite Bodyline and just off Takeshita Dori you will come across a second hand Vivienne Westwood store. I don’t *think* the store is official Westwood, but they take great care to ensure all items are genuine and come with all relevant boxes, packaging and labels. Although still pricey, some items here can be a lot less than if they were bought new as many Japanese people dislike buying second hand clothing. Saying that though, if you are after something super rare for super cheap you won’t get it here.. These shop assistants do know their stuff and rare gems could end up double or triple the original price. It is still a joy to look at, as the staff treat the stock with an almost museum like respect, you get the feeling everything here is ‘curated’. 

Further down this side street you will stumble across a strange building that looks like an apartment block. It is two storey and these levels connect with thin, rickety looking metal staircases. As with most shops in Harajuku, ignore the ground floor level (yet more gangster streetwear) and trot on up to the first floor. Here you will discover the ever evolving ‘Jack’s Vintage’ (sometimes referred to as Jumpin’ Jacks). This vintage store gem is owned by Tokyo mini-celeb Elovis ‘Jack’ Sato, a vintage and retro loving rockabilly extrovert who has appeared on Japanese MTV, popular films and on stage at various rockin’ gigs and events across Tokyo. He’s a dear friend and a joy to be around, but unfortunately doesn’t appear in the shop very often. You should still call in here though, as Jacks staff are just as friendly and interesting as he is! If you have an interest in going to burlesque gigs, rockin’ nights, rockabilly events and Japanese rock’n’roll CD releases, they will pile you up with flyers for a plethora of gigs and events you could only usually dream of discovering! The store itself sells expertly hand picked vintage items. Incredibly rare bags, original bowling shirts, american baseball jackets, college sweaters from the 1950’s, and beautiful costume jewellery nestle amongst Jack’s own merchandise, modern rockabilly inspired labels and novelty mid century style gifts. It can be pricey in here but I can tell you this is categorically THE BEST vintage store in all of Harajuku.

Head back the way you came, and onto Takeshita Dori again. Keep heading down it… towards the main road that cuts it off at the bottom. You won’t have to go far before you notice ‘Pink Latte’, and trust me, you WILL notice it! Though Pink Latte sells fairly tame teeny bopper style accessories and gifts, the store itself is impressive in design. From the outside you notice why, at least 60% of the inside of this store is made up of a full reconstruction of an aeroplane. This makes for a great photo and a surreal experience! The items however are a little bit of a disappointment, covered in branding and not amazing quality.

That’s it for my picks on the stores on Takeshita Dori and the immediate surrounding area. Next time I will take you over the road to what I call the more ‘niche’ area of Harajuku and where the real treasures are! Don’t forget… I have only told you about the stores that stuck in my memory… you should definitely look in EVERY SINGLE SHOP that takes your fancy. Now, why don’t you head back up to the station and buy all that crap you resisted on the way?!

Kate x