I’ve been meaning to post about this, TRYING to post about this, and I’ve been working a lot. I wanted to take some better photos, but I’m sure plenty are going to show up soon, since I’m taking a trip to England at the end of the month.
I needed a new leather (or non-leather) jacket. I’ve had my grey one for years and it’s great, but it was about time to update. Mark mentioned it after I had been thinking it, so it turned into a Christmas present idea for him.
But I didn’t know where exactly to shop, and all I had in my mind was a kind-of idea (which later I realized was based off of watching all of the episodes of Jessica Jones available on Netflix) of how it should look. It had to be black, short, have a side/asymmetrical zip and fold-out collar.
I think we BOTH had the feeling it would be expensive. In my mind, I thought it might cost us about $200. I think Mark felt about the same.
One of my students is a great guy, about my age, who works for a hip clothing company in Tokyo. So one day, I asked him: where do I go to find this cool, kind-of hard rock leather jacket I want?
I described it and drew it out for him, and the first thing he said was ‘you have to go to a vintage shop’. Obviously, he understood that this is not exactly what is currently in fashion in Tokyo, and a lot of the stores aren’t making this style this season. I’m so glad he got that, because by the time I’d asked him, I’d already casually looked in MANY shops in Ikebukuro and Shibuya, and found nothing.
He also said: go to the vintage shops in Harajuku. I’m sure you can find something like that there.
Harajuku is awesome, but I’ve never really been able to find the things I want or need there. The fashion can be a bit too young, too feminine, or too cosplay for normal wear. So even though I was sceptical about finding the jacket in Harajuku, Mark and I made plans to go there on his recommendation.
Harajuku has major shops along the main roads, and then a lot of little boutiques around Harajuku street and in the Omotesando Hills area. My student said ‘check the vintage shops around Harajuku street’.
So Mark and I went to Harajuku one day, with a wad of cash in his wallet. We went into a few non-vintage shops just to see what they had, but no dice. Then we came to our first vintage shop: it was big, and it’s just called Jumble Store. I learned later that this is a pretty famous vintage store. So we went in to have a look around.
The first jacket we found was hanging up on the wall. It was a bit boxy, black and had cheap-ish looking silver finishings. $400. NOPE. We walked slowly through the store, looked at everything, and didn’t find anything we liked. This was no big deal. We figured we’d just go to the next one and try again.
But on the way out the door, I happened to look to my left and saw the sleeve of a black jacket hanging in an aisle I hadn’t gone down, because there had been people in it, taking up all the space.. I stopped, went over to it, tried it on.
Cropped. Black. Side zip. LONG ARMS! Brass finishings. Just my size. Warm lining. Juuuuust enough space inside for me to wear a sweater underneath it in colder weather.
What were the odds that we’d find it on the first trip to our first vintage store of the day? We’d been expecting to spend HOURS combing through racks of vintage shops in Harajuku, and we didn’t even know exactly where to go, since they are scattered amongst the normal boutiques.
But here it was, and it was perfect and awesome and generally fit the image I had in my mind.
And then, the moment of truth: we looked at the price tag. Would it be $400 like that abomination hanging on the wall, just above us?
No. Of course not.
We were sure it was a typo on the tag.
But one thing we’ve definitely learned in Tokyo is to grab something as soon as you see it and like it, because if you don’t, it will be gone tomorrow (did I write about my Wicket doll experience at Nakano?). So we took it up to the register, wondering what we would see when the cashier rang it up.
It was still $29.99. What were the odds? This has never happened to me before. As a seasoned shopper from the US who has lived in Germany, I know that normally, I should shop around and make sure there aren’t any other jackets that I might like more.
FUUUUUUUCK that. We bought it, took it home and Mark wrapped it up for me to open on Christmas (which was actually January 30th for us this year, as it was our first day off). I think he felt bad, because I think he was expecting this to cost way more and be like a ‘big’ Christmas gift:) Regardless of the price, it’s been the perfect addition to my wardrobe.
It felt like an impulse buy, but it was nothing of the sort. It was just following good advice from a seasoned Tokyo shopper, and finding the right thing, immediately.
I only hope that my Tokyo shopping advice for my friends can be so on-point.
And these pictures aren’t the best, maybe, but they show the jacket well enough for now:) More photos to come later.