Tokyo Winter Wardrobe Essentials 2016

How To Look Fabulous On The Go, At Home & At the Bonenkai This Year

By Petra Canan Trudell
December 5, 2016

Easily sashay from the boardroom to the bonenkai this holiday season with these Savvy winter fashion tips.

The chill of winter is setting in and, for many of us, that also means the start of a packed schedule that won’t quit until the new year. While unpredictable temperatures and city commutes can make getting dressed trickier than ever at this time of year, this season’s top trends lend themselves to both function and style. Here is Savvy‘s list of recommended fashion basics to make you look just as fabulous when you’re attending that end of year party as when you’re snacking in front of the TV late on a Saturday night.

On-the-go Layering

Whether spending your days sightseeing or running errands, it’s officially layering season and the always on-the-move women of Tokyo know how to do it. Changing up the staples in your wardrobe can help you stay warm while keeping your look current. 


Faux Fur Stole

Elevate any coat or jacket with a touch of luxury in the form of a stole made of faux fur in a rich shade. Easy to put on and take off if needed, a stole can be draped over one or both shoulders. Secure it at the waist with a belt to keep it in place.

Savvy picks: Helen Moore Fake Fur Stole (¥7,344), Banana Republic Eco Rabbit Fur Scarf (¥8,800), Asos Missguided Faux Fur Stole, about (¥3,000).

Black Tights

They’re a classic for a reason. You can’t go wrong with a pair of black tights that can get you an extra few weeks wear out of an autumn dress. A solid, opaque pair works well when paired with ballet flats or pumps, but a more sheer pair is the best way to show off the season’s best over-the-knee and thigh-high boots.

Savvy picks: Uniqlo Heattech Knit Leggings (¥1,500) or Atsugi Black Tights (¥756). Purchase at any department, convenience or drugstore.

Easy to put on and take off if needed, a stole can be draped over one or both shoulders.

Athleisure Leggings

This trend isn’t going away anytime soon and with the temperatures dropping, why not embrace it. The newest styles feature bold stripes reminiscent of classic sportswear as well as new textures and add-ons like zippers. Peeking out beneath an oversized sweater and tucking neatly into boots or high-tops, they’re functional and effortlessly cool. 

Savvy picks: GapFit Print Leggings (¥6,900)

A Beige Everyday Jacket

The jacket you can reach for to handle the worst weather that still makes you feel put together. Choose either a puffer or a heavy knit jacket to top off your look and protect you from the elements. A beige or steel blue is a welcome departure from the black you’ll see all around town.

Savvy picks: Uniqlo Light Weight Down Volume Color Coat (¥7,900)

Boots With Bulk

You can never have too many pairs of booties. This winter, ditch the dainty stilettos or riding boots for something with a bit more heft and a lot more traction. Stylish updates to hiking and duck boots with platforms and luxe fabrics make navigating slick city streets easier and you won’t feel the need to bring along a second pair of shoes.

Savvy picks: Isetan Mountain Down Lace Up Boots (¥62,640)

A beige or steel blue is a welcome departure from the black you’ll see all around town.

Cozy Up In Style

Staying in doesn’t have to mean staying in your old pajamas. If you’re entertaining visiting family or friends or just planning a weekend in, the ever growing world of loungewear has you covered.


Matching Sets

A coordinating set can make you feel put together and stylish as well as cozy. Look for matching knits in different cuts — pullovers, pants, skirts, shorts, vests — for an outfit that takes seconds to come together and whose pieces can be borrowed for other looks later on.

Savvy picks: Gout Commun Whole Mermaid Long Skirt (¥16,000) and Blouse (¥14,800)

Top-Notch Slippers

Just because you aren’t wearing shoes indoors doesn’t mean you have to run around in a holey pair of socks or let your toes get cold. Find a pair of slippers that completes your outfit, like the newly stylish again Uggs or even a pair of ballet flats that have never touched pavement.

Savvy picks: Isetan W Dakota C Slippers (¥20,520)

Wrap It Up

Fend off the last bit of chill with a blanket scarf or snood. A large scarf can also serve as a lap blanket while a snood keeps your neck toasty warm.

Savvy picks: Nest Robe Cashmere Knit Snood (¥25,920), B:Ming by Beams Snood (¥5,184)

Every woman should have a stash of clean, soft T-shirts in a variety of cuts to for layering.

Long Cardigan

The oversized fisherman’s sweater is a winter go-to, but for something with a bit more polish, opt for a long cardigan. Ideal for layering with everything from pajamas to dresses, you can curl up under it to read a book or enjoy a glass of wine.

Savvy picks: Gelato pique Long Cardigan (¥7,560)

Basic Tees

Every woman should have a stash of clean, soft T-shirts in a variety of cuts for layering. A white crewneck and a gray V-neck work just as well with joggers as they do with a blazer should you have to run out and long sleeve versions work well under that dress you just can’t part with until spring.

Savvy picks: Uniqlo Crew Neck T-Shirts (¥1,000)

Boardroom to Bonenkai

‘Tis the season for afterwork parties, which means your clothes need to pull double duty. If you only have a precious few moments to freshen up your look between the office and the restaurant or bar, having some reliable pieces in your closet means you’ll always show up looking appropriate but never boring.


Slip Dress 

Our love affair with this ’90s silhouette isn’t going away. During the day, a slip dress can be worn with a basic T-shirt under it and a blazer. At night, ditch the tee and add a necklace.

Savvy picks: United Arrows SFL Camisole One Piece Dress (¥12,960)


A party dress is more suitable for the office when you add this classic layering piece. Look for one in a light, stretchier fabric that won’t add too much bulk and can easily be stored in a briefcase or desk drawer when it’s time to punch out.

Savvy picks: Gap Maximum Heat Long Sleeve Turtle Neck T-Shirt (¥2,900)

During the day, a slip dress can be worn with a basic T-shirt under it and a blazer.

Midi Skirt 

Most Tokyoites have at least one midi skirt in their closet and for good reason. This elegant style can be worn with knee-high boots during the day and accentuated with some sky-high platforms at night. Go for texture and movement with pleats.

Savvy picks: Ray Beams Vintage Satin Pleated Skirt (¥12,960)


Heels aren’t for everyone and that’s what makes brogues so great. A timeless style, brogues are fit for the office year round, but going for a pair with some sparkle adds some interesting flair for a party, as well. Pick a pair in a nontraditional color or metallic.

Savvy picks: Fate Leather Laceup Brogue Shoes, around (¥5,000)

Velvet Blazer

Velvet is the fabric of the season and one of the easiest ways to sport it at the office is in the form of a blazer in a deep hue like navy, emerald or burgundy. No matter what you wear it with, you’ll look festive and polished.

Savvy picks: Zara Velvet Blazer (¥13,990)