How to Perfect the Business Casual Dress Code

With restrictions easing up around the world and cases falling, it is no surprise that more and more are making their way back into the office, adapting a new mindset not only in employees but companies too. After the past ‘pandemic-ridden’ years where the lines between work and life have been blurred, we see a new leaf turning in the dress codes in Japan where many companies are loosening their dress codes to be business casual, rather than strictly business.

More specifically, over 50% of Japanese women (in a survey of 464) noted that their workplace dress code was ‘business casual’ – but what exactly is business casual? We explore its defining factors as well as some tips and tricks in solving popular workwear dilemmas that women in Japan are facing.

Throughout the years, especially recently, the Japanese work environment has evolved at a rapid rate due to more efforts made towards SDGs and because of work life changes brought forth by COVID-19.

 ‘Cool Biz’ and its latter counterpart ‘Warm Biz’ are two campaigns with the concept of implementing more casual dress codes for summer and winter, introduced by Japan’s Environment Ministry. This meant people were finally able to wear short sleeves in the summer and sweaters in the winter, rather than the traditional suit and tie set-up. By simply tweaking the dress code to fit the seasons, many companies were able to cut their electricity bills typically used on AC units throughout the offices.

 With the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses switched to remote working where dress codes became more comfort-central and casual, to even non-existent for days without video conferences. These concepts and more have pushed the idea of ‘business casual’ in Japan to be more popular and accepted by bigger companies. Although the definition of business casual varies with each business, here are a few rules that many Japanese women follow:

  • Wearing neutral colors to not disturb the workplace atmosphere, with exception of the “50% rule” – avoiding outfits where more than half of the total coordinate consists of vibrant colors such as red and yellow.
  • Avoiding overexposure of skin by covering decolletage, shoulders, and above the knees.
  • Finding the right fit of clothing that is not too loose but not too tight where the bodyline is visible.
  • Looking formal enough to feel confident meeting clients and attending conferences.
The Dress Code for Females, Image from Kyodo News PR Wire

Here are a few examples of popular business casual outfits based on a survey of 400 Japanese businesspeople around Tokyo, conducted by Monitas. D (Shirt + skirt or trousers) and E (dress) are the most prevalently seen amongst Japanese businesswomen in Tokyo, and G (casualwear) is the most popular style that they wish to see become more popular and accepted in the office. The list above is carefully followed with every single combination, including the use of muted colors and appropriate coverage for the workplace.

According to Biz Hits, the most popular workwear dilemma Japanese women are facing is the monotonousness and the lack of versatility of business wear, as well as the stress of having to coordinate a different outfit every day. Especially with the new ‘business casual’ implementation, more freedom means more choices, which may be a challenge at times.

Mix and match with a Mermaid Skirt

That’s why opting for a small selection of easy to mix-and-match pieces that offers versatility without raising eyebrows has become popular within the business casual scene. With nuanced color staples you can build multiple looks from, you can get the most out of the same item and save yourself time in the morning. For example, the kay me Midi Mermaid Skirt is the perfect companion to create business casual looks! By keeping the bottom of the outfit a neutral solid color like Khaki, it adds possibilities for what can be worn on top while both keeping the 50% rule and providing coverage down below the knees. For occasions that call for more formality, the skirt can be paired with its matching jacket for an instant suit-like appearance!

For those looking to inject more color into their business casual style, opting for a light toned skirt like Beige with a colored top keeps the style fresh yet still sharp, or choosing Pink not only complements a range of skin tones but brings a soft and elegant hue to the office environment.

Easy, breezy with a Docking Dress

Another suggestion would be wearing docking dresses, which cuts the time of deciding an outfit without compromising versatility. Take our White x Gray Docking Twist Dress for example; this dress can be worn on its own, cutting decision-making time down to mere seconds. Throw over and button up a cardigan on top to transform the dress into a skirt-like appearance. And of course for unexpected guest visits or for presentation days, the dress can be coordinated with its matching jacket for an instant suit ensemble! Docking dresses are perfect for those looking for the ease and comfort of simply slipping into a dress with the appearance of a skirt and top. By coordinating the right outerwear for each occasion, docking dresses can drastically change their appearance from chic and intellectual to soft and welcoming!

Or for a dress with a casual-chic touch that plays with textures, our Sophie Faux-leather Docking Dress not only looks sharp, but makes getting ready in the morning even faster – simply slip in and zip up!

Add a splash with colored Pumps

Of course, another challenge that comes with dressing business casual is footwear. Even with the office dress code becoming more lenient and comfort-oriented, allowing flats and lower heels, many Japanese women still opt for heeled pumps for fashion and feeling more confident at work.  However, a concern that many women faced when wearing pumps was how tired and achy their feet became especially after a long day at work. To combat this without compromising the chic style pumps add to an outfit, we recommend pumps designed with extra cushioning and support, like our Puni Puni Pumps collection! Our lightweight pumps have been specially designed for comfortable support and features 10 times the amount of cushioning compared to other brands. Made specifically for working women in mind, these shoes will keep you feeling comfortable and fabulous from morning to night! Although our Puni Puni Pumps are available in 29 shades, why not venture from adding a splash of color to your ordinary business casual outfit to add subtle personality?



With the shift of workwear dress codes becoming more casual, it may seem intimidating at first to make sure you are not dressing too casual, or not enough. Crafting outfits with a larger range of freedom could be overwhelming at first so it’s always best to take inspiration from women around you, or even women you look up to. Here at kay me we wish to be there every step of the way as you step up to looking your best in business casual attire. With our incredible selection of clothing, shoes, and bags, you’ll find your unique business casual style in no time!

Timeless and Classic with a Twist: How to Wear Monochromatics for Summer

As summer peaks around the corner, many people are quick to switch out their wardrobe for bright, vibrant colors to signify the end of cold, gloomy winter. But what if colors aren’t your cup of tea, or doesn’t fit the TPO (Time, Place, Occasion)? Our solution is simple: stick with the timeless and classic combination of black and white, with a twist!

In this article we’ll explore three monochromatic kay me dresses and how you can transform your black and white outfits to be light, airy, and vibrant for the summer season.

Brighten up with White

What better way to look fresh and new for the summer season than with a touch of bright white? Add a white item to instantly lift the complexion of the outfit and effortlessly brighten the look! This also helps to pull out the lighter shades in your monochromatic look and adds a crisp finish that ties the look together. Our Black Herringbone Cache-Coeur Ribbon Dress is the perfect match for any white jacket, featuring a chic and classical monochrome herringbone print complemented by a black ribbon tie at the waistline. The white jacket lifts the heaviness of the black used in the dress, creating a perfectly harmonious balance without straying from the monochromatic spectrum.

Create Harmony with Earthy Tones

Bring roundness to the sharp edge of monochromatic items by pairing them with a soft earth tone such as beige or greige, or gray. By softening the color palette with the introduction of earth tones, the look becomes effortlessly lightweight, perfect for the warmer months. To take this method a step further, we recommend finding a monochromatic item that includes a touch of earth tones, such as our Classical Flower dresses that incorporate a light tone of beige. Our newly introduced Classical Flower print features delicately drawn flowers with detailed hand-drawn strokes of a pen. This pattern is the perfect mix of elegant and versatile, and can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion! Pair this dress with our Kanazawa-made cardigan for additional softness that comes from the luxurious knitting. By adding a knitted item on top the monochromatic sharpness is softened further with the textured fibers.

Add a Juicy Pop of Color

For those daring to be a bit more bold, adding a pop of color to your monochromatic look is the perfect way to celebrate the warmer, brighter months of summer! From fiery red to cheery yellow, kay me’s wide selection of colorful cardigans and items are sure to pair gorgeously with any monochromatic look. Our new Giraffe Geo print takes a chic and modern approach to monochrome prints by incorporating a giraffe print-like geometric pattern in black and brown with an accent of white highlight. By adding an additional pop of color with monochromatic prints, such as our Giraffe Geo series, the color appears more vibrant and fresh than it would on its own. To bring cohesive harmony to the look, focus on just one additional color to incorporate with your accessorization from head to toe, whether adding a bold accent color such as red or something more subtle like champagne pink!

Monochromatic prints are timeless classics that never go out of style and are ideal for any occasion, whether for business, leisure, or even special occasions. At kay me we have a wide array of monochrome dresses, from simple solid items to intricate floral or geometric prints. Our newly added prints, Herringbone, Classical Flower, and Giraffe Geo, take an updated modern twist on the traditional monochrome with the use of unique geometric shapes and hand-drawn flowers, only available at kay me. View our entire dress collection today on our website and don’t forget to use our new Dress Filter feature in order to find your perfect monochrome dress!

Three Outfits to Round Off 2021 Festivities

December has flashed by in blink of an eye and the holiday season is just around the corner! For many here in Japan, the season calls for little celebrations with loved ones and friends, enjoying the romance of the illuminations around the city and big corporate functions to round off the year. For these types of occasions, our Umeda stylist Yumi, has her three outfits recommendations to inspire your style!

Elegant for Romantic Dinner Dates

Being the last month of the year calls for making the occasion grand and extra memorable, and what better way than splurging on a fine dining experience with that special someone. For a romantic date outfit at that dinner rendezvous, we are keeping it warm, elegant with a feminine class.

With a nod to warm Christmas evenings by the fireplace with its rich red tones, a Tartan Print Dress feels just right to match the romantic dinner mood. Especially in our cache-coeur design, the dress brings out a feminine bodyline with its cinched waist and flared skirt. Completed with gold accessories and a clutch, you have a sparkling and glamorous outfit that also looks great with that glass of wine in hand – champagne or red. Don’t forget a thick warm coat (and add faux fur for an extravagant touch) to cover you to and from the restaurant or while you are taking in the colorful lit backdrops of the evening.

Yumi’s Dinner Date recommendations

Chic for After-Office Hours

While it is the month for plans and festivities, it doesn’t mean we don’t have work to think about too! The all too familiar balancing act of work and get-togethers can be a hassle for many, and even more so when you have to put together an party outfit that is office-appropriate too. Because let’s face it – who wants to show up to a party in work attire or have to go back home to get changed? So for the office and the girls night out after, how about something clean, modern and fun with blue and silver?

Hanshin_211221_03


Being a color which portrays trust and reliability, blue is a safe bet for the office and an eye-catching piece to wear every day too. Accented here in our Sapphire Lip Dress, the bold print balances bright colors with neutrals for a easy integration in and out of work. Paired with silver and a lapel jacket in white or black, it softens the print and keeps it sharp for the office environment.

For that extra ‘edge’, here Yumi wears our vegan leather Riders Jacket in white. It’s lightweight, stretchy and easy to wear out all night and machine-washable too for accidental spills!

Yumi’s Work-to-Party recommendations

Poised for Formal Functions

Dinner dates and get-togethers with friends are great, but sometimes the occasion calls for prim and proper dress and formality, such as the end-of-year corporate party or a ceremonial family gathering. During such occasion, it’s easy to go straight for black but if you want to ease up on the strict appearance and still look tidy in front of colleagues and esteemed company, then a simple solution is navy.

Hanshin_211221_04

Evoking an air of confidence, intelligence and authority, a top-to-bottom navy ensemble is perfect for setting the tone. Opt for a jacket with elegant details such as this, with gentle ruffles to frame the face and add feminine touches yet still has you looking sharp and polished. Over an A-line Dress and you have a simple go-to style to keep you comfortable for long evenings and sorted for similar functions to come.

Yumi’s Formal Function recommendations

However you celebrate your year-end, just like our clothes, may you celebrate with elegance, style and ease!

With love from Tokyo,
kay me

How To Wear Prints in the Office

Fashion can be tricky when it comes to balancing personal style with professionalism, especially in the office. Naturally, we have a tendency to stay away from bold prints and colors and our hands reach towards chic, timeless classics like solid navy or black suits. But what if there was a way to add prints and patterns without taking away from the sleek professionalism that is necessary for workwear? With the season of layering upon us, it is the perfect time to take risks by incorporating daring prints! Today we’ll explore a few ways to include printed pieces into your everyday office wardrobe including special items from our newly arrived Autumn-Winter Collection!

Simple and Sleek

For those just beginning their journey of wearing prints and patterns, we recommend starting subtle by still keeping the base of your outfit a classic, professional color such as black or navy. Add a pop of print to serve as the focal point of your look while keeping the rest sleek and cohesive.

To simplify your morning routine, we recommend choosing from our stunning collection of docking dresses, which gives you instant work-ready perfection in 30 seconds. These 2-in-1 dresses relieve the need to coordinate a top with a skirt while still providing the look of one. And they’re the perfect item for those who want to add a splash of pattern to their wardrobe staple. With our incredible range of prints to choose from, you can still add color to your everyday work style without compromising style, ease or comfort!

The Leopard x Black Frill Dress is a gorgeous docking dress from our newest collection, where soft leopard-print chiffon is met with a sleek, shape-supporting black skirt. The black used in the elegant leopard print also ties with the skirt harmoniously. This dress can be paired with your favorite black cardigan for casual days in the office. For days that require an extra chic finish, pair the dress with its matching Smart Stretch Jacket!

Down to Earth

Another way to make a printed pattern appear more mild and muted is by pairing the item with earthy, neutral tones such as brown, gray, or beige. This not only softens the colorway of the outfit, but by incorporating muted accents the bold print is neutralized with earthy elegance.

For example, the Navy Ray Flower Tucked Top pairs gorgeously under a chic black or navy suit, but by opting for milky colors such as greige or beige the look is softened gracefully. This top can be paired with either a skirt or trousers and the colorway of the print opens endless possibilities for coordinating!

Go for Bold

For those who are up for the challenge, we recommend taking a risk and dressing in a fully patterned dress! Although this may seem intimidating at first to wear to the office, with just one extra piece you can feel confident wearing a printed dresses for your go-to work look! Especially for those with plans after work who don’t want the hassle to go home and get changed or show up in something boring, this simple option can let you have your cake and eat it too.

It all comes down to choosing the right layer with the right design – a long knit cardigan! Our range of Kanazawa Side-slit Cardigans are made for just that – cutting just above the knee with its relaxed silhouette and flowy knit, they balance out dynamic patterns and colors and provide the perfect coverage over any daring dress. Since they are machine-washable nor do they lose their shape either, you can have an elegant and cozy office style with them (print or no print) each day of the week – the possibilities are endless.

Whether you are looking to subtly add printed patterns to your usual work wardrobe, or looking to express your personality through fun and daring prints, stepping up to the challenge of your own personal comfort is an amazing accomplishment of its own! Here at kay me we strive to support women through their challenges, big and small, by providing premium quality clothing that are chic, comfortable, and easy-care. So you can focus on enjoying the challenge of finding the perfect prints that fit your lifestyle, without compromising stress-free comfort! To discover your new favorite workwear print, have a look at our latest collection featuring elegant leopard, timeless tartan, chic ray flowers, and more! Visit our online store to view our gorgeous selection of originally designed prints and patterns, with free global shipping for all orders!

Adjusting to New Pandemic Work Routines and Changing Seasons in Japan

With the warm temperatures of summer fleeting, this marks the second year of Japan’s COVID-present autumn just around the corner. Nearly a year and a half later, the effects of the pandemic on work life in Japan are still prevalent but surely recovering. In the beginning, many companies opted for strict teleworking to lessen the chances of contraction during transportation as well as in the office. Compared to the prior year however, we can observe positive changes such as the 26% full-time teleworking rate dropping to 8% (Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.). This means that many people have begun to slowly transition back into their offices with the utmost caution by implementing time-adjusted work hours as well as flex work hours.

Like teleworking, time-adjusted work hours and flex hours in Japan allow people to have more control over their work schedule. Time-adjusted work hours are where employee schedules are separated so their beginning time and ending times are spaced apart to avoid overcrowding. For example, some people may begin their workday from 7:00-15:00, whereas others may begin their workday from 11:00-19:00. In both cases, the employee still follows the typical 9-to-5 workday. On the other hand, flex hours work in a similar way where the company has ‘core hours’ where all employees must be present, and the rest of the hours are scheduled freely as long as they total 40 hours per week.

With the adjusted work hours as well as the changing of seasons the question that arises is how to dress properly for in-office days that are not quite cold enough for heavyweight fibers, but not warm enough for lightweight fibers? Workwear can be tricky during the transitions of seasons, especially in autumn as the mornings and nights are exponentially colder than the daytime. With the newly implemented work style, the temperature difference can be even more extreme than before. Today, we will explore three easy ways to effortlessly transition your summer wardrobe into cozy autumn wear.

Coming back into the office, one stressor people may remember is how many of us cannot change the office thermostat settings. Often times, offices are notorious for being chilly in order to prevent computers and other electronics from overheating, especially during transitioning seasons where it is warm during the day. One way of comfortably transitioning your summer wardrobe for the fall is switching from a light underdress to something more heat-retaining to stay cozy even in a dress around the office. kay me Warm Underdresses are light and breathable, yet heat-retaining. For transitioning months, we recommend the camisole underdress, which can be worn under any of your favorite kay me dresses without worrying about the design being disrupted.

With the rise of time-adjusted work hours, many people opt to leave their house either earlier or later than the rush hour. As an incentive, railway companies such as JR have begun implementing a point system for people who commute during these ‘off-peak’ times. These collected points can be used to pay for items and services within the station malls, or exchanged online for items. For those who leave early, they are met with colder temperatures going to work and warmer weather when leaving from work. Those who leave later in the day are in the opposite situation. As a solution of being exposed to polar opposite temperatures during the workday, an option would be layering with knitted items such as cardigans and knits. Not only will this option provide extra warmth whenever needed, but the look of knit adds an instant look of coziness to any outfit! By choosing rich colors such as bordeaux and mustard, any simple dress can transform into the perfect autumn look. Try our comfortable and soft Kanazawa-knit Crewneck Cardigans available in gorgeous autumn colors such as Mustard and Gray Melange.

For those constantly on the go in and out of the office, sometimes carrying an extra layer like a cardigan or jacket may not be the most convenient. Especially when traveling on foot, the body naturally heats up and the extra layer brought for warmth just becomes a nuisance to carry. In those cases, we suggest wearing materials that can assist in regulating the body temperature for constant, optimal comfort. This dream-like material, called Outlast, has actually been developed for NASA in order to maintain a comfortable temperature even in space. This thermally adaptive material absorbs, stores, and releases heat for optimal comfort. At kay me, we have taken this technologically advanced material and have created a stunning suit collection, perfect for autumn! The Soy Milk x Pinstripe Docking Tuck Dress is a gorgeous piece that features a feminine top complete with delicate tuck detailing at the bustline and ¾ sleeves. The skirt is made from Outlast material that provides soft shape support and warmth when needed. The combination of the two creates a breathtaking ensemble-like dress which can also be paired with its matching jacket to instantly transform the outfit into a suit!

With the new normal of work life in Japan evolving constantly through COVID-19, adapting to and overcoming frequent changes has been a challenge in itself. The last thing that you want on your mind is worrying about how to stay comfortably warm or cool throughout your day as you return to the office. In retrospect, many women have taken the opportunity that teleworking and adjusted work hours have created by indulging in improving their skillsets. According to Paranavi, since the State of Emergency was announced last year, an average of 40% of women displayed an interest in improving their skills for their careers, and 32% of them have used their free time to advance their skills. This incredible statistic holds much hope for the future of women as they still face their challenges no matter what the environment is around them.

At kay me we wish to continue supporting women through these challenges by providing luxurious comfort and providing solutions to all stressors caused by clothing. All our fully machine-washable pieces are stretchy and ethically made in Japan and we offer free global shipping as standard too! Visit us here.

A Sweet Taste of Autumn in Japan: A Historic Guide to Traditional Japanese Autumn Treats

As the days become shorter and the weather begins to cool, autumn arrives in a parade of deep, earthy colors such as crimson, violet, and mustard. The challenging humidity of summer subsides and the crisp, cool air of autumn invites many Japanese residents to enjoy enriching activities such as reading, painting, hiking, and enjoying delicious, hearty dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Though foods such as fresh grilled pacific saury and soul-warming hot pots gain lots of traction, something you cannot miss are the decadent traditional sweets, or wa-gashi, that can be enjoyed especially during this season. Depending on where in Japan you are, these sweets can vary widely, which makes for the perfect gift for a loved one when traveling to these locations! Today we’ll explore a few traditional sweets popular in different Japanese regions during the autumn season, and their unique history!

Kanto 揚げまんじゅう

Image credits: Age-manju from Asakusa Kokonoe


Our first location is the Kanto region, most popular for its cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama. Though there are a plethora of traditional sweets that have their roots here, one of the most popular is the age-manju, which is a deep-fried manju! The chef takes a manju, a small pastry cake filled traditionally with a red bean paste, and lightly coats it in batter before they fry it to a crispy golden brown color. The history of the age-manju dates back to over 100 years ago when people would place manjus as offerings inside of Buddhist altars. After some time, the manju would harden and dry out. Rather than wasting the food, people began to deep fry the manju to reheat the interior and to give it a crispy exterior for a pleasant snack.

 After over 100 years, the age-manju is enjoyed as its own specific treat, now available in a variety of flavors.Both the filling and outer batter options can vary vastly, especially during the autumn time! A few of our favorites are the red bean paste with chopped chestnut, as well as the sweet potato paste with matcha batter. Age-manju can be found in almost any gourmet-centered locations around Tokyo, such as Asakusa and Ueno, where the manju is deep-fried right in front of your eyes. For an elevated experience, we recommend trying the age-manju from the Kikunoya Flagship Store, located in Ginza. Macadamia nuts are sprinkled on top of the manju before it is deep fried to perfection using premium quality oil for a satisfying crunch. Why not enjoy this treat after visiting our flagship store as well, which is only a short 3-minute stroll away!

Kansai ぜんざい

Another epicenter of traditional Japanese sweets is the Kansai region, especially in Kyoto where they are most famous for their deep, robust Uji-matcha. Sweets in the Kansai region oftentimes are more simplistic and use less sugar to truly focus on bringing out the natural flavor of each ingredient. A hearty dessert popular in the colder months is the zenzai, a warm red bean soup accompanied by boiled or grilled mochi. The zenzai is said to have traveled from Izumo to the then-capital of Japan, Kyoto. This dish was served during Jinzaisai, or the Festival of the Visit of the Gods, a Shinto belief where all of the deities would travel to Izumo to gather once a year during the autumn months. During this festival, a special mochi, called Jinzai mochi, and beans would be offered to the dieties. Near the end of the festival, the mochi and beans were placed together in a pot to create a stew which was shared by the people of Izumo. Through the exchange of dialects, by the time the dish reached Kyoto it was known as ‘zenzai’. Limited to the autumn time, many tea houses in Kyoto that serve this dish add soft, roasted chestnuts, or even replace the red beans entirely with a chestnut paste to make a rich, creamy treat that is perfect for the colder months.

Kyoto, known for its gorgeous scenery, is even more breathtaking in the autumn with its abundant Japanese maple leaves that turn crimson red during this season. When visiting Kyoto in the fall be sure to partake in the Japanese tradition of ‘momiji-gari’, which directly translates to “Japanese maple leaf harvesting”. Despite its name, this tradition is simply the act of going outside to observe and admire the colorful leaves of autumn. We highly advise to keep in mind to dress comfortably as the best spots to partake in ‘momiji-gari’ are usually higher in the mountains. In true Kyoto fashion, these mountains have numerous tea houses for visitors to rest at and enjoy a warm cup of tea along with traditional wa-gashi, including zenzai of course!

For a comfortable, yet stylish look perfect for the chic atmosphere of Kyoto, we recommend our Ivory First Class Hoodie paired with our Taupe Relax Wide Trousers. Stay warm and active while you enjoy the mystic scenery of Kyoto without having to worry about feeling underdressed. Both the trousers and hoodie include pockets which can easily store your smartphone and smaller items, making them both the ideal travel partner!

Chubu もみじの衣揚げ

Our final destination is the Chubu Region, famous for the historic city of Nagoya, which is one of our most recent store locations!

Image credits: Ogura Toast by Visit Nagoya

Nagoya is most famous for their unique dessert that is quite simple and consists of three ingredients; toast, butter, and red bean paste. Known as ogura (red bean paste) toast, this dish is enjoyed both as a light snack or even as a breakfast food. Its history originates from the end of World War I where a quaint wa-gashi store was no longer able to purchase mochi rice due to the inflation quadrupling its prices. Simultaneously during this time, there was a ‘bread boom’, which meant an abundant amount of bread and butter were readily available, and for a discounted price. Taking this as an opportunity, the owner converted their wa-gashi store into a ‘kissaten’, or “tea-drinking shop”, which usually serves western-style food and drinks such as coffee and sandwiches, opposed to a traditional Japanese tea shop. The shop owner began serving buttered toast, which was a popular dish at that time. Shortly after, they noticed a trend of younger people ordering buttered toast with zenzai and dipping the bread into the sweet red bean stew. This was when the owner got the idea to incorporate the two dishes, creating the infamous ogura toast!

Speaking of momiji leaves of Kyoto, another Japanese treat is quite unique and perfect for ‘momiji-gari’ season, especially for those who may not be able to partake in the event. This must-try unique snack is deep-fried momiji leaves, perfect for the autumn season! To make these snacks, momiji leaves are harvested and pickled in salt a year prior to them being served. Then, they are deep-fried using a sweet, decadent batter to crispy perfection. This traditional snack is not only enjoyed by locals alongside a cup of warm green tea, but they make wonderfully unique and seasonal gifts! Why not pair the sweets with a warming item from kay me, such as the Peach Pink Silk Wool Cutwork Lace Scarf, for the ultimate autumn gift. The scarf is sure to keep the recipient warm as the colder months come up, and it leaves them with a special keepsake even after the sweets are eaten!

Whether going for a stroll around your local area or traveling for business, be sure to give traditional Japanese sweets a try, especially if they offer fresh seasonal options! Traditional Japanese sweets can be found practically anywhere from the snack aisle at convenience stores to high-end shops located within boutique districts, and don’t forget to share your favorite dishes with loved ones as souvenirs.

After stopping by for a quick sweet treat, be sure to complete your trip by visiting any of our 12 stores all across Japan! All of our store locations can be found here:

https://kayme.com/stores/

Three Summer Style Trends of 2021

With the last of Japan’s month-long rainy season behind, the warm and sunny days of summer welcome the country. Without having to worry about getting caught in sudden rainfall or walking through puddled streets, the freedom to wear whatever the heart wishes creates unique and vibrant trends in Japan. Today we have for you three of the most popular fashion trends in Japan this summer, that range from design, fabric, and color!

Extravagant Collars and Sleeves

The largest and most unique trend in Japan this summer are sleeve and collar-conscious designs. This trend often incorporates minimalistic designs paired with extravagant sleeves and/or collars that serve as the focal point of the outfit. Whether they are puff sleeves or frilly collars, subtle or avant-garde, the trend can be enjoyed in a spectrum of ways. By bringing attention to the sleeves and collar, it not only provides a frame around the face area, but it also assists to slim the faceline.

Sheer Materials

Another trend, perfect for warmer days, is the use of sheer fabric, such as fine mesh and chiffon. This not only adds a feminine charm to the look, but also keeps the body cool and dry from the humid summer days of Japan. Incorporate the two fashion trends with a timeless pattern, such as a sweet polka dots, for elevated elegance that is classic yet trendy. Try our Khaki Petit Dot Chiffon Frill Long Dress for the best of both worlds! The sheer sleeves feature tuck and gather details, while the cache-coeur neckline is met with luxurious frills that provides an elegant frame for the face.

Bright with Color

With the gloomy days on its way out the door, last summer’s trend of white, off-white, and light, neutral colors have begun to be replaced with bold, lively colors such as bubblegum pink, sunny yellow, and sky blue. These colors are often incorporated into outfits not only as accent colors but even as head-to-toe monotone coordinations for a daring yet playful look. For those looking for inspiration on how to incorporate these bold colors not too subtly and not too boldly, we recommend finding a print design that incorporates these summery colors.

An example is our Azure Peony Andalusia, which features a vibrant blue, reminiscent of the ocean waves you can view on a tropical vacation. This statement dress is just as functional as it is gorgeous. Lightweight and billowy, the wrap-style skirt holds its shape with every step taken while providing maximum movement.

For our bubblegum pink lovers or resort enthusiasts looking to make a striking impression this season, we recommend the Pink Caribbean Long Obi Dress. Featuring a gorgeous botanical print in vivid pink and our stretchy premium jersey for the ultimate ‘easy-to-lounge-in’ dress.

As we’ve explored a few new summer trends taking the streets of Japan by storm this season, the possibilities of incorporating and combining these trends is truly endless! Whether they broaden your horizons of fashion by getting you out of your comfort zone, or give you that extra boost of confidence when giving presentations to clients, we hope you can have fun curating your new summer looks. From taking a stroll through your neighborhood town, or having dinner with friends at an outdoor venue, the warm weather and high humidity is sure to follow. And will all kay me items, they are all machine-washable and hold their gorgeous shape and color even after several washes.

Explore all of our gorgeous options of dresses that are perfect for this summer here
https://kayme.com/bajg_summer_long/

Meet Catherine O’Connell, the “Lawpreneur” empowering women in law – Part 2

We met with busy trailblazer Catherine O’Connell, an entrepreneur, lawyer and leader to one of Tokyo’s leading networking group for supporting and empowering women, Women In Law Japan. In Part 1, we dove into her success becoming a “Lawpreneur” and learn what it takes to step up as a leader in the female community in Tokyo. Today, we get more personal and hear about the people and books which inspire Catherine and her points to dressing for business.

A role model in New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

I got to meet her in person in Tokyo in September 2019 and also got to sit with her and talk all manner of things during a business luncheon meeting. How down to earth, smart and funny she is. I’ve loved seeing her be a role model for global leaders, for women, and for men.

I especially loved it when she said “One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or not assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”

This is the essence of true leadership. She said that following the terror attack in Christchurch in March 2019 and it has resonated with me ever since. If only I can be half the leader she is, I will double my current leadership energy in the community.

Finding inspiration in memoirs and women who challenge the status quo

I have just finished three amazing books. One is a New York Times Bestseller “Lead from the Outside” by Stacy Abrams and the other is a memoir by Karen Hill Anton called “The View from Breast Pocket Mountain”. I also just finished reading another incredibly amazing book called “More than Enough” by Elaine Welteroth, from which an inspiration for driving my “Lawyer on Air” Podcast comes.

She said: “there is so much wisdom locked up in the stories women never tell”. I’m doing what I can to tell those stories and amplify women’s voices in Japan.

Know your rhythm to make your schedule

A day in the life of Catherine O’Connell:

7:30 AM: I’m an early riser so I’m typically at my desk doing creative work for my business and always 20-30 minutes reading for pleasure or a chapter of a business-success book.

8:30 AM: I am on calls and in mastermind groups working on self-development. Usually around mid-morning, if it is a day that I am recording a podcast episode with one of my guests, I would jump online and do the recording, and work on the show notes and social media content with my podcast producer after that.

10:00 AM: By this time, I’ll be on my second coffee of the day (only 2 coffees/day) and I will be right into client calls or client work.

12:00PM: At this time, I turn off lights in my office and take a break including a walk outside. I prep all my lunches on a Sunday so lunches working @home are a breeze. There is nothing like preparation to set you up well for the week.

From 13:00PM: I tend to devote the afternoon to networking, introductions, pitch type calls with clients and potential clients and people I may build long term relationships with. Usually in the evening I have online meetings with organizations I’m involved in such as FEW Japan (a network of women empowering women in Tokyo) and some of the Chambers of Commerce. Before COVID-19 I was consistently out in the evenings networking, but I now (secretly!) relish being at home in the evenings and connecting with people online for fun or building relationships for business.

From January 2021, I adopted a “healthfirst, immunity-first” approach and intermittent fasting is part of my lifestyle now, so I will finish eating by 7:00 PM in the evening through around 1:00 PM next day. To me fasting is not a diet but a lifestyle and it provides me with great liberation, and freedom around having only two meals and the rest of the day for exercise, working, self-time and enjoyment.

Dressing as a sign of respect

I always aim to look stylish and put together for the day from the first call to the last.

How we dress is a mark of respect not only to ourselves but to the person we are meeting with or the event we are attending.

Nowadays, the shift to on-line has allowed people to be more casual in dress style. That is not wrong but it is not the style for me. I like to wear outfits that inspire confidence and professionalism with whomever I am engaging with.

Tip 1: Make it “Stylish”

When I say “stylish”, it isn’t something over the top or the latest fashion trend, but more of a preference for classic designs. I tend to go for separates and love dresses to emit my feminine personality. I usually choose one or two bold colors (blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, green, silver, gold or rose gold) to set off a traditional black and navy core garment.

Tip 2: Accessories make the perfect conversation starter

On my travels overseas I have always looked for interesting jewelry to incorporate in my outfits. I make a point of dressing with one special eye-catching item that is a talking piece like a brooch, or a ring I have made (yes, I make accessories) or a statement necklace. You can style-up any outfit with accessories and keeping an eye out for interesting and novel pieces is a curious activity I adopt.

Tip 3: Don’t let your game down for online meetings.

When I need to work online, from top to ankle I am dressed as I would if I were in an office setting. From left and right of my iMac screen, I have excellent soft yellow lighting prepared and I always have my lips colored and ready for action.

Impressions wearing kay me

kay me clothing is so versatile and really fits my image.

I moved away from suits as a lawyer some years ago, and prefer the dress and jacket look now. I also really love prints and so kay me is easy to fit into the image of professionalism x femininity that I want to portray to my clients and business stakeholders.

A lot of thought has gone into the design and the selection of the stretchy materials of kay me dresses so that they flatter women’s different sizes, and heights and are truly easy to co-ordinate.
I loved the playfulness of the Tiny Dot pattern, and this can easily take me from daywear any season, through to evening if I slip on a jacket. It was such a breathtaking moment to put on the Tiny Dot dress and I squealed with delight when the zip went right up! It cinched me nicely at the waist and glided over my lower body and it felt really nice to wear. I loved the pockets in this design especially. 

I am a big fan wearing color as well, and my eyes were drawn into the Japanese design of the Takeyabu Green Wrap dress that I wore in Part 1. I loved that this was a wrap dress and how easy it was to wear. It would be simple to take in an overnight bag or in-flight and arrive fresh and ready for business meetings. There is no way anyone would not see you and remember you in this Japanese print. It’s a signature piece of clothing and I felt elevated wearing this design. 

What I noticed wearing the pumps was how they gave the illusion of longer looking legs, which was a new discovery for me. I had such a great time trying on the perfectly made dresses and look forward to seeing further designs in the various ranges they have.

What to wear… for a Autumn-Winter Date

It seems like long ago since the time when we would dress up, maybe put on a pair of gorgeous shoes and go to a restaurant or café on a date. While the dating norm may have shifted online or to socially-distanced walks or picnics at the park, from time to time we still want to go back to those days and feel our most confident, and make the occasion more special.

At kay me, we want you to feel beautiful and your most confident, every time in our pieces and find the best solution for your occasion. So we bring you our top looks you can wear in these colder season that look great over a skype date and outdoors too.

Dazzling Touch of Glamor

Add a touch of sparkle and heighten the occasion with our Bijou range in tops and cardigans. With Swarovski crystal-embellished details that not only look elegant and classy, but frames your neck and face – perfect over online calls or meeting face-to-face! Made of a stretchy knit knitted in Kanazawa that you can machine-wash too, for warm, cozy comfort at home and out.

For the full chic ensemble, we recommend pairing the bijou pieces with its matching knit long skirt, that you can wear over leggings – elongating, elegant and providing complete coverage in the colder weather.

Available in Milky White or Charcoal Gray

Romantic Emeralds and Rubies

A Winter Rose in our Tsubaki Dress

Step into the date with dark tones of reds and emeralds – both beautiful colors to capture the eye and deepen the mood. Each piece with a V-neckline that frames your neck and face on screen while also fits the A/W backdrop outside. And since our pieces are designed to accentuate the body and provide the upmost comfort out, you can feel better knowing you look great on screen or outdoors and even more comfortable too.


A little extra!

Round off the style with a soft knit cardigan, and a pair of matching boots, with heat-insulated inner lining for better heat retention for your feet!

Romance in a Little Knit Dress

If you are looking for more warm with a feminine flair, then a knit dress is the perfect go-to. Our Milano Rib Knit range is super stretchy, made-in-Japan quality and comes in stunning vibrant colors that complete the autumn/winter style. From pure Milky White, romantic Cherry Pink, vibrant Red in round neck and V-neck, as well as cool and collected Olive or Charcoal gray. Not to mention, any of these dresses make for the perfect dress to work in – a versatile piece for any occasion!


For a day or night date out, we recommend layering with a warm pair of boots, a handmade stole and a vegan riders jacket for a grown-up casual touch.

For more items designed to keep you cozy this season, see our range of soft fleece-lined dresses or warm underdresses for the perfect support.

How to optimize your wardrobe to keep it de-cluttered

In our last post, we explored the Japanese concept of ‘danshari’ and how to clean out your closet in time for Spring. Choosing to simplify your closet is one thing, but keeping it that way can be easier said than done. It is surprisingly easy to fall back into the rabbit hole of impulse buying, rather than buying for what we actually need. So to remember that we are shopping to save time, money and space and clarity in the long run, we need to be shopping for value.

1. Choose items to meet your lifestyle

Take a little time to think about and assess your lifestyle. Are you pressed for time? Do you move or travel a lot? Do you get frustrated with comfort? Choose core values that highlight your needs in clothing, and keep them down on a memo or notepad on your phone or next to your computer screen, to remind you and stop you from making a purchase that will add to the clutter.

2. Versatility

Opt for simplicity in design and have go-to’s. Keeping a minimalistic color or design palette can not only look chic and contemporary, it is incredibly versatile too. Dedicate a go-to outfit for at least 4 occasions with the same simple dress as the center-piece. Spend a little time trying on the looks beforehand and setting them aside near the closet door. When you are stuck in the morning, so you can at least have your staple outfit ready at hand to throw on in seconds.

Simple colors and elegant designs for versatility in outfits

3. Quality

Choose quality and comfort that will last. While it is easy to buy cheaper items, they are cheaper for reason. Treat your clothing like you would treat your phone. You wouldn’t want to spend your time and money buying a new, more inexpensive phone every single year, when you can buy the best smartphone on the market and have it last you for several years. When you spend that extra money, you know it will last you, so you don’t need to buy a new one so soon. Same with clothing – cheaper quality clothing that can not endure your day-to-day use or can deteriorate even from the washing and drying process. These items become easy to throw away or forget about, and accumulate to the clutter in your closet and eventually ending up in landfills. Choose quality items for the long run to save you time and money, and let you focus on what is important – you.

To add additional value to your wardrobe staples, you can also opt for specially tailored pieces that are especially made and designed to fit you.

Having the option to choose your favorite color, print, length and style, with a premium quality that will last makes the item more personable and valuable.

So keep these in mind the next time you go shopping or online shopping, and optimize your wardrobe and routine.

All our items are designed to be versatile, machine-washable, easy to maintain and resilient for a wardrobe that will provide you the high value you need and save you time and money. We offer free global delivery so you can have piece of mind from the tap of your fingertips to the front of your door step.