You can’t have failed to notice that we are in the midst of economic doom and gloom right now that has sent the reliable Yen sky high, making this an awful time to be buying in Yen from outside Japan (sorry!).  Mercifully for those in Japan there is a lot you can do by going down the second-hand route or shopping sample sales and outlets, but that is not a huge help for those outside Japan so I thought I would take this opportunity to give you an idea of how good you can look for very little.

My example case will be the unbelievably cheap, international order accepting and award winning “Jiggys Shop” that is a huge hit with readers of Mens Egg and Knuckle and also where you can occasionally find me hoarding basics come sale season.  Needless to say there are a wealth of budget shops on Rakuten and I have to say that ironically enough the cheaper you go, the more you have to be very cautious about extra details.  Nothing makes an outfit fail like cheap details, bad plating, Engrish slogans or rhinestones that will fly off leaving you with glue marks.  My advice is keep it simple, focus on silhouette and add the details yourself with quality accessories.  Yes, most budget shops will always stock some stuff that no human ought to wear, but if you just focus on the positives, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Straight in there with the first example from Jiggys.  This whole outfit including postage from Japan will come in around the 150 dollar mark (damn yen!), a perfect look for this summer and including some epically on trend boots.  The only negative I see is that those PU boots are only going to last for a year, but for around 5000 yen you can’t complain and you can always enjoy refreshing your style knowing that you didn’t spend a fortune on them.

On the subject of boots, you can get these for between 5000-6000 yen:

All three of those are approved by me and come in at less than a sixth of what you would spend at Fuga or Buffalo Bobs.  Even after the international shipping that is pretty much the same price that you would pay on the high-street.

Next up, seasonal shorts:

You really can’t go wrong with these either, and in terms of materials these are all cotton (and in my experience) good enough.  If you want cashmere shorts you are in the wrong place, but for something to chuck on and not worry about the bill – you are.

A couple of other selections from me:

Tsunagi are a big hit right now.

Fun jeans for around 6000 yen (maybe lose the blinged buttons…)

Nice little snake print leather corsage.

Studded wallet.

And cropped suit jacket, perfect for the late summer evening heat.

Now, even if you would not wear any of that, what I can try and seduce you with is the cheap basics.  Oh yes, if you are after a nice tank-top, t-shirt or drape you need not spend over 3000 yen, which is a price point I am happy with.

Nice deep drapes for around 3000 yen, yes please!

This is available extra long as well.  I approve of the shaped unfinished hem although the similarities to a certain designer are a bit naughty.

I know it is difficult to talk about this kind of lower-end stuff on a site that focuses on the big names of JFW.  But on the other hand I know that is not accesible for an awful lot of people right now and I would not like anyone to think that your average Japanese consumer isn’t relentlessly looking for a bargain the same way you are (and the same way I am).  So pick and choose, think about the basics of fit, layering and colour and there is no reason that you cannot get a quintessentially Japanese fit on the cheap no matter where you are in the world.

All pictures are taken from Jiggys Shop and on top of the attractive pricing they are always running some kind of 3 for 2 offer on something so go nuts.  Failing that just go browsing Rakuten by brand name (link in our sidebar above) and enjoy your shopping safe in the knowledge that your credit card statment won’t be that bad.

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3 Responses to Onii-Kei on a Budget – Get the 109 Mens look for less

  1. brad-t says:

    No need to mention the skyrocketing yen — I am trying not to think about it when I click the “Buy Now” button! The difference compared to just a few years ago is so stark, but what’s the alternative? If you gotta have it, you gotta have it …

    Now, this article. I think your intentions are in the right place and for a lot of people, yeah, lower-priced items such as these are going to be the best option. Every time I look at English Rakuten I’m slapped in the face with Jiggys Shop stuff, but I’m just not interested.

    Lately I’ve realized the value of investing even in the most basic pieces. It’s amazing how a simple cotton drape shirt can look really bad if the cotton is no good. People are thinking I’m an idiot for spending ¥10,000-¥16,000 on t-shirts with simple details, but I’d rather have one of those than a lot of cheap basics from places like this. I think 109 prices are about as cheap as you should go and even then, I’m sure you know how bad it can go.

    Sorry, not trying to slam your article at all. Just playing devil’s advocate 🙂

  2. Samuel says:

    @ brad-t

    Don’t worry no offense taken, I was in two minds about writing about this at all, but I thought it was relevant to the world right now.

    The thing is I know for a fact that (because it is one of the most common emails I get) the idea of spending 10000 yen on a t-shirt is a dream for a lot of people. Of course there are ideals and as someone who loves fashion I have my views on this as much as anyone. But there are clearly a whole lot of people out there who can’t afford it and many more who just don’t want to spend more than they would have to at H&M but for a Japanese item of clothing.

    Now that is hugely unrealistic (thanks to the yen), I don’t see any harm in pointing out cheaper alternatives. Lord knows they are not as good, but they are accesible. I don’t think anyone buying a Rick Owens rip-off vest online honestly believes it looks as good, but one they can buy and the other they literally can’t.

    So yeah, I am glad that you appreciate my intentions and I would love to see more Japanese fashion fans clad head to toe in quality, but right now that is not going to happen. I suppose the best you can ask for is that this is a nice entry point into an otherwise bewildering world. I know very well that the very first “Japanese” outfit I brought came in at around the 12000 yen mark all in, but it was a risk-free introduction to a great world.

    On the other hand I would stand by buying vests and drapes on the cheap. I am all for tossing stuff in the washing machine and add to that the amount of sharp silver I wear and things hole-up fast! But that is just me, sometimes I do yearn elegant simplicity of a perfect silk-mix vest, but I don’t think that would last long with a Travis Walker necklace rubbing against it.

  3. brad-t says:

    Great response, and thanks a lot for writing this.

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