No risk, no reward. That’s Rei Shito’s fashion motto of the moment. 

Feeling somewhat melancholy about the lack of fun new trends over the past couple of years, the Tokyo-based fashion photographer was heartened recently to see an unexpected item elevated to a stylish must-have by the city’s most daring fashionistas.

Rei says: “It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused many of us to put style on the back burner, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen the emergence of a truly new trend item. But for the first time in a long time, I’ve found one: the balaclava. That’s right, ski masks – of all things! – are attracting the attention of women who love fashion.

“(Oh, and by the way, the Miu Miu-wearing girl I introduced in my last post also had one on!)

“Usually worn for practical reasons, to protect the face from the cold, balaclavas have suddenly become a fashion statement. They are, however, tricky items to style, so only those at the top of the fashion food chain have been spotted wearing them so far.

“This here is Maiko – one of Tokyo’s foremost fashion experts and a buyer at The Four-Eyed, a select store in the Shinjuku district. A real fashion leader, Maiko was quick to adopt the balaclava. The pearl and rhinestone embroidery around her face shows that she’s not just wearing it to keep warm, she’s wearing it to elevate her look.

“And she doesn’t stop there: Maiko has also added a fluffy, furry scarf that makes a big impact, further enhancing and stylising the tricky look. I’m impressed.

“Experimenting with style is a great way to express your creativity. Of course, you don’t have to start with something as tricky as a balaclava, but by trying out items that you may think are difficult to wear, you’ll find that it’s not so complicated after all – and you’ll discover a way to make your style your own. Give it a try!”

About Rei Shito

Each month, Rei Shito identifies one defining look that she’s spotted on the street, whether at home in Japan or abroad on her latest trip to the world’s fashion hotspots, providing readers with a fresh, thought-provoking perspective on current trends. Rei is acclaimed as one of the planet’s most original and influential street style photographers and fashion bloggers, publishing her work on her blog Style from Tokyo, as well as several magazines in Japan and overseas, such as
[Portrait Rei: Jun Tamura]

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