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I remember reading an article revealing that Sailor Moon characters were actually wearing haute couture. The manga’s creator Takeuchi Naoko drew inspiration from the high-fashion labels she liked and dressed her characters in them. It’s amazing how Japanese artists can blend illustrations with the real fashion world so seamlessly.

While it requires courage to dress like Sailor Moon characters, it’s easier to follow the taste of Tokyo-based fashion illustrator Awano Saeko. Her down-to-earth OOTD illustrations have earned her 185,000 fans on Instagram. Using simple pieces like denim jackets, turtleneck sweaters and pleated skirts, she cooks up outfits that epitomize Japanese minimalism while being truly practical.

Saeko now works with various local companies, including fashion brand UNIQLO, fashion magazine Oggi and fashion website TNQL. Let’s see what she has to offer!

Images: Instagram

1. Turtleneck Sweater + Denim Jacket +Tapered Pants + Chelsea Boots

Created for having a meal with your boss, this outfit uses black pinstriped (or corduroy) pants and tonal Chelsea boots to smarten up the deal. The denim jacket goes effortlessly well with a turtleneck sweater. I especially love the white socks – the Japanese are unafraid to wear white socks and they always style them so well! This pair breaks the monotony of the black and adds surprise. The folded clutch is a pleasant bonus.

2. Turtleneck Sweater + Denim Jacket +Chesterfield Coat + Skinny Jeans

Also featuring a denim jacket and a turtleneck sweater, this outfit takes a more casual approach by matching the tops with skinnies and pointed shoes. A camel Chesterfield coat serves as the third layer. As you can see in the illustration, the denim jacket can be replaced by a zip hoodie. Again, details matter a great deal – note the printed silk scarf, leather satchel and knit beanie.

3. Hoodie + Denim Jacket + Knit Skirt +Leopard Sneakers + Furry Tote

The magic of this outfit lies in the leopard sneakers. They add a playful twist and brighten the entire look. The furry tote complements the sneakers perfectly since both resemble animal skins. I suspect that the kangaroo pocket of the hoodie can also be done in a furry fabric for textural contrast. The folded cuffs and black leggings play a subtle but important role by extending the black area so the body looks slimmer.

4. Striped Turtleneck Sweater + Drawcord Trench Coat +Wide-Leg Jeans + Heeled Sandals

Fusing warm- and cold-weather dressing, this outfit comprises a trench, a striped turtleneck, wide-leg jeans and sandals. A classic trench coat is fine but one with a gathered waist is cuter! Patterns on the sweater and basket bag also make the outfit less boring. Have I also mentioned that wide-leg jeans are on trend now?

Awano Saeko has just published her debut fashion sketchbook Enjoy Casual Style Everyday available on YesAsia.com.

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