Say Yes To YesStyle
Shopping for clothes in Japan is a profoundly depressing experience, unless you happen to be a size-zero waif.
All those cute little mini skirts and frilly blouses look great on flat-chested, spindly people who weigh less than 100 pounds — so, my sister — but not you’re-getting-pretty-fat-don’t-you-think Paige. Usually, what I like to do is pick up something, look at it sadly, and then put it back. This is how I trudge through popular boutiques such as Shibuya 109 or the shops along Harajuku’s Takeshitadori. It’s a fairly masochistic experience of intermingled longing and pain. On a good trip, I come home with perhaps two or three things that fit me (just barely) that I keep mostly out of wishful thinking.
But sometimes I, too, want to look like a preppy little secretary, which is why the Internet exists to satisfy my Asian fashion needs.
By far the best site to buy the cutest Japanese/Korean/Chinese/Hong Kong styles is YesStyle.com. Its sister site, YesAsia.com, is known for its extensive Asian music, movie and media selections, but YesStyle.com focuses exclusively on clothes, bags and accessories for both men and women.
It’s a fascinating window into how different fashion marketing is across the ocean — the site favors artistic shots of models gazing wistfully into the distance as opposed to the utilitarian Western trend of front-back-side mugshots, for instance.
There’s also thousands and thousands of clothes to browse.
Here’re some tips to make your shopping experience smoother.
1. Take your measurements
Before you buy anything, grab a tape measure and get all your key sizes — bust, waist, etc. (Make sure you’re doing it in centimeters.) There’s no consistent sizing on this website (“one size fits all” is a very vague term), so you’re going to have to double-check each item.
2. The more you buy, the more you save
YesStyle.com has a rewards program that gives you small discounts (first tier: 3 percent, second: 5 percent, third: 10 percent) and coupons. If you plan to buy a lot, take the time to create an account.
3. Don’t be afraid to go big
Funny story: I know a guy who went to Japan and needed a jacket. Here, he’s a 2XL, but in Japan, he’s a 7XL. (I laughed until I cried.) Anyway, the point is that the “Plus Size” section on this website is really more like the “American Medium and Large” section, so don’t be ashamed to browse around there.
4. Shipping takes forever
If you’re cheap, like me, and you want free shipping all day every day, then it will take at least a month for your stuff to come. I actually don’t know how long it takes if you pay for shipping because yes, I really am that cheap. At least you know your Asian dress really is coming from Asia.
Editor’s Note: Staff writer Paige Takeya is temporarily filling in for Christa Wittmier. Follow Paige on Twitter at @lordmayocloud. Christa’s SuperTech column will return shortly.