The all-in-one / jumpsuit / tsunagi is without a doubt one of the hardest looks to pull off in the entire male fashion wardrobe.  Indeed, even on the streets of Shibyua you are infinitely more likely to catch a man in skirt than an all-in-one.  Shame, because the traditional workman’s tsunagi is such a design classic as far as I am concerned and it is a crime that it is seldom explored in actual fashion.  Still, the brands over at 109-2 are always firing out tsunagi season on season, but these have a distinctly American overall theme with the occasional industrial touch.  Anyway, I thought I would try (and boy have I tried) to put together a selection of the best (and not so good) examples of this much maligned item.

Continue reading for some classic Tsunagi next to some modern ones from the usual suspects – aka – Buffalo Bobs, of the Neige Style, Fuga, Civarise, Midas and even Mastermind Japan might turn up….

Like I said in my intro the modern tsunagi is more identified with American overalls, but with a taste of gang couture that fits in nicely with the OraOra aesthetic.

But while the classic Japanese tsunagi is very different in styling in use of imagery it bears more in common with OraOra style that embraces the right-wing edge of traditional Japanese symbolism.

Now there sir, is a real man.  Notice the exaggerated military shape on the leg.  This is from the Tobi catalogue which really is worth a good look.

Now I would not ever recommend this look if you are not in the Japanese construction industry.  One day after it has caught on, but you really don’t want to be in the fashion front line on this one!

Just love those patterns, this kind of panelling reminds me of good ol’ Juvenille Delinquent.  I would love to see a tsunagi from them!

And now for something completely different.  Civarise runs with Julius pockets on the legs and a more industrial upper.  The fake-layered effect is also a nice touch in a tsunagi because you can’t real layer on top of it all that well and any layers inside it are most likely to be hidden.  Basically your only source of detail is in the belt and anything hanging off it.

And without a belt you can see how the front totally lacks definition and allows the crotch to hang far too low.  In short – wear a belt, or even better a KMRii over-the-top waist pouch belt.

Fuga’s take this season is less industrial and more current fashion friendly.

Also a good level of detail here.  The balance with a tsunagi is managing to add enough definition to the look while making sure you emphasize the fact that you are wearing one – otherwise what is the point?  So a good amount of repeated detail on the top and bottom is essential.

The alternative over the futuristic industrial tsunagi is the classic denim workwear option.  Note the detail added with the studded belt and wallet chain.  These things become the focus of the whole outfit in a Tsunagi so it is also a good chance to break out a long biker wallet.  Another good tip is to turn up the legs as seen here as often they can bunch up and destroy your silhouette.

In terms of materials I reckon you want to stay away from too much damage/rips/paint on the fabric.  Otherwise you are going to look too much like a construction worker and miss the point of the whole outfit!  The one above is as close to that line as I would want to get and definitely needs something to smarten it up a little – but works if you are after the OraOra.

This is a good example of level of damage in the tsunagi, anymore and you are going to lose the look.

This one is permitted as long as you are under 19.  Otherwise darken the denim, say no to the contrasting stitches and we will talk.  Also I can’t help but think that given the size of the canvas you could do with adding a whole lot more detail to this one in the way of paint and patches.

Going to say that you probably should stick with cotton or denim in a tsunagi, if you go with tracksuit material like the above it just looks like room wear.

Not strictly speaking a tsunagi, but this is a nice example of cool dungarees – the distant cousin of the tsunagi.  Love the skull detail on the flap.

Now this does work for me.  Love the riders detail which gives you the option of flipping your collar and giving yourself a bit of volume out the front.  I say, hitch up the waist with a detailed belt, slam on a wallet chain and a couple of other hangers or keyrings, whack in some studs and you have got a really cool look.

This is another perfect example of a good level of detail in a tsunagi (just ignore that colour).

This is from Mastermind Japan and does a good job of bring the top and bottom together with shared detail.  Also comes with its own belt – which frankly all tsunagi should.  If you wear it without your bottoms droop to 90’s cargo levels.  No thanks!

Buffalo Bobs Originals have also had a shot this season with this very plain but classy version.  Not sure about the brown and the paint detail, but has the best fit of any tsunagi I have seen.

And finally a genuine boiler suit – proving that you need an awful lot more detail to make a tsunagi transcend workwear.  Still with a bit of spicing up this one would definitely work and the top is thin enough to wear something over which is a rarity.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this look at this look.  I cannot stress how hard it is to do well (I am still working on it), but it is worth a shot because every man and women on the face of this planet and the streets of Tokyo knows how hard it is to pull off.  So on the grounds of being the exception you owe it to yourself to try!

Sizing is also a bit tricky for foreigners, although the longer leg and crotch is probably in westerners favor.  Most of the above can be found in 109-2 for around the 20000 yen mark, definitely send in a picture if you attempt it though and I will do likewise – no-matter what I end up looking like…

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One Response to Making a Tsunagi work…

  1. […] love this recent post at Tokyo Telephone. All about the Tsunagi, a wardrobe staple in Japan-at least for […]

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