For the northern part of the world, Christmas is a synonym of winter. One of the best things about this season of the year is that people get classier. I mean, winter clothes are so much more beautiful, aren’t they? And without all the sweat, even your hair will look better. Winter is awesome!
But it’s also freezing. You need warm clothes to keep your toes from falling off. And so do your favorite characters! In this post, we’re going to have a look at the best of winter fashion in anime.
Everything you need to know about staying warm in the Japanese winter
Because anime comes from Japan, most of their clothing styles are inspired by Japanese fashion. It’s a no-brainer, right? This happens even in animes where the climate is completely different from the one they have in Japan.
Have you ever noticed how the days in the Leaf Village in Naruto are always sunny with bright blue skies? It looks like a tropical weather all year long. I’ve always wondered why most characters wear coats and long sleeves. Especially when they do all that exercise. They must sweat a lot. Yikes!
Ok, back to the point. Since most animes happen in Japan or in Japan-like scenarios, it’s worth having a good look at Japanese winter clothing. It’s the easier way to spot trends in our favorite character’s styles.
The heating system is great — sometimes, too great
The temperatures are very low during winter in Japan. On average, they vary between 38 – 55°F (3 – 13°C). It snows in several places, so we often see snow in anime, too. Interestingly though, it doesn’t snow that much in Tokyo. The winters there are mostly sunny and dry. Especially during December. So no White Christmas for Tokyo’s residents.
But snow or no snow, it’s cold everywhere. Because of that, the Japanese have developed an incredible heating system. You will feel no cold indoors, no matter where you go.
The only problem is that they sometimes overdo it. The trains and shops are often overheated. So you want to wear something that you can peel off easily. Shopping malls often have lockers where clients can store all their extra clothes instead of carrying them around.
Because of that, layers are a big trend during winter in Japan. You can wear two or three layers of clothing, as long as they’re easy to remove when you get somewhere that’s too warm. Girls like to use this excuse to combine different pieces and create kawaii outfits with everything they have in their wardrobes.
Accessories are a must
If you are sensitive to the cold, you’ll want to have every inch of your body covered when going out. That’s not a problem in Japan.
Gloves can be very helpful when battling the cold. You don’t want to lose your precious fingers, do you? Both boys and girls can be seen wearing gloves in anime. (Including in Naruto. Why do they use gloves under the blazing sun, Kami-sama?)
When it’s windy, you’ll want to add knit caps and earmuffs to the style. I’m sure you have already seen them in several of your favorite shoujo anime. They tend to make kawaii characters even cuter!
And don’t forget the traditional scarf! Long or short, it goes well with every outfit, both for men and women. And it can save your neck. (Not if you are attacked by a ninja or a by a crazy tsundere, but you get what I mean.)
Carrying all those accessories and your extra layers of clothing can be a load, though. Because of that, you’ll often see girls carrying two bags in Japan: a purse and a tote bag, or even a shopping bag. In winter, you can use that tote bag to carry all that extra warm stuff. Great idea, right? Some magazines even give away tote bags during this time of the year.
When it snows
If you are lucky — or unlucky? — enough to be in a place where it snows, mind your feet. You’ll want to have waterproof shoes with a good grip. Kami-sama knows how ice can be slippery! And you don’t want wet socks. They’re disgusting. Boots are a favorite during this season in Japan.
Another great accessory to add to your tote bag if you’re expecting snow is an umbrella. You’ll often see people in Japan using those to protect them from the falling snow. I mean, snow is still water, right?
When the cold is just too much
Sometimes, not even all those layers and accessories can save you from the freezing cold. When you are too sensitive to deal, you can always count on the awesome Japanese technology to save the day.
At the closest Uniqlo store, you can buy heat-tech shirts and unders. Even though my research showed that some people think they disappoint, most users said they’re quite effective. This year, Uniqlo has even released an HeatTech Ultra Warm line, that they say is twice as warm as the original heat-tech products. I think it is worth the try!
But the coolest tech item you can use is definitely the kairo heating pads. They are disposable and can be bought at any convenience store or drugstore. A pack of ten costs around U$6,00. Once you open the pack, the iron sand inside of the pad will begin to heat up in contact with the oxygen in the air. You can then put it in your shoes, in your coat’s pockets or even stick them to your first layer of clothing. The heat will last for about 8-12 hours.
I’ll definitely add that to my tote bag!
According to my research, insulation is terrible in most houses and apartments in Japan. At least in the ones you average person can pay. Let’s say that Taiga probably doesn’t have this problem, while Ryuuji certainly does.
Because of that, their roomwear is great! If you want cozy pajamas or cute socks, Japan’s the place to go!
Men X Women
Men’s winter style is usually more basic. Give them a quality down coat and a scarf, and they’ll be ok.
Girls, on the other hand, enjoy the opportunity to create cute outfits. Surprisingly, skirts and dresses remain short during this time. So you have the chance to show some skin, even if it’s freezing outside.
This blogger shares what she calls the GYARU-STYLE RULE OF WARMTH: “If you’d like to show a lot of leg or cleavage or other bare body part, double and triple layer the other parts.” As a result, you get styles like Hiyori’s in this pic:
Now let’s have a look at a real girl (sorry, a 3D girl, right, Keima?) wearing the best of Japanese winter fashion. Just because we can:
Well, I have only used anime pictures in this post so far, so you have probably already noticed that the winter clothing in anime imitates the Japanese style.
But since anime doesn’t always happen in real-world Japan, we have, of course, our exceptions.
When you are from another world
Sometimes, just a basic down coat is not enough. If you live in a place where it snows like crazy, you might need an ultra-mega-blaster-long coat. Ask Tsubasa Chronicle’s Fay D. Flowright!
Sometimes when I feel cold, I picture myself borrowing Fay’s coat. It helps! Well, a little.
Other Fantasy worlds seem to ignore cold. Or to have less snow, maybe? Anyway, they do not get long coats. They don’t even have long sleeves in Tales Of Phantasia!
When you are on duty
A good soldier, police officer, firefighter, alchemist or Chronos Ruler doesn’t ever take off their uniform. Not even if it’s -5°C outside. I salute you all!
When you are immune to the cold
Occasionally, you’ll see characters who can go through snow unaffected. You can see those wearing traditional kimono or samurai vests while the world is freezing. Maybe it’s in the samurai code. The 9th bushido rule: the cold is psychologic.
When you are Ash
If you are a master Pokémon and you’ve caught’em all, you have nothing to fear! If it suddenly gets cold, you can always wear your Pokémon.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you skin them! That’d be barbaric! This is what I’m talking about:
Aaah! The warmth of friendship! Nothing can replace that!
I hope you have enjoyed this post. Hopefully, you got learned some new fashion tricks? Or maybe you have just decided you’ll book your trip to Japan during springtime instead? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share them with us in the comments section.