Shopping In Japan: What To Buy From GU, UNIQLO's Sister Brand | CoolJapan

In my spare time during this circuit breaker period, I find myself reminiscing about my previous trips to Japan. Doing so has made me realise some things: spring is my favourite season and GU — a Japanese casual wear retailer owned by Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a company who also owns Uniqlo — is one of my all-time favourite clothing stores in Japan. 

Whenever I visit Japan, I see GU in almost every district I go to and I never fail to drag whoever I am travelling with to their shops. It is definitely one of my cheap thrills — just like how I make it a point to visit at least one supermarket in the country I am visiting. I own a couple of items from GU including innerwear, socks, pants and shirts and I love them all.

GU recently launched a collection collaborating with Keita Maruyama, a renowned fashion designer from Shibuya City, Tokyo. I must say I am in love with some of their pieces and really wish I were in Japan to physically see the collection. Ahead, my picks from the said collection as well as the brand's other selections.

GU x Keita Maruyama lemon print dress


This is my pick from Keita Maruyama’s collection! This lemon print dress instantly caught my eye. At one point, I had an obsession with anything that has pineapple prints on it. From then on, I've developed a liking for fruit details in clothing especially those that feature lemons, cherries and banana.  I would pair this beauty with a leather jacket and sneakers for an edgier style.

Co-ord set: blazer & shorts

Oversized Tailored Jacket, JPY3,990/~USD38; High Waist Shorts, JPY1,990/~USD19

Who doesn’t love anything co-ord? This is one of my favourite styles out there. I love how it's in a neutral colour — very versatile. Pair it with strapped heels if you are headed for a formal meeting or go for sneakers or flats if you prefer to keep it casual.

Co-ord set: shirt and pants

Airy shirt, JPY990/~USD10; Wide drawstring pants, JPY1,990/~USD19)

Another co-ord piece that's perfect for spring, this set comes in a variety of neutral tones just like the previous co-ord piece. You can purchase the top and bottom separately, but my preference would be to purchase them as a set. This has got to be one of the most comfortable and fashionable ensembles from GU — it's baggy and airy yet stylish. I would pair this with heeled strapped sandals.

Ami long cardigan


This long cardigan piece is perfect for me. This would be a piece I'd bring along with me during my travels as it's something that goes well with almost anything. Just like the model in the picture, I'll pop on a tee shirt and jeans then wear the cardigan on top. Dresses of any length are also perfect to pair with this cardigan for a more feminine look. As for footwear, I think a pair of flat velvet or woven mules matches the cardigan well. 

Wide pants overalls


I'm not the type to wear loose clothing and more than anything I prefer figure-hugging pieces. However, recently, as style trends shifted, big baggy tee shirts paired with jeans became my go-to fashion. I think these wide pants overalls are definitely super chic if paired with a tight long-sleeved top. That’s how I'd pair my tight pieces of clothing at this point — with anything loose. This look would go well with sneakers and maybe I’d throw on a baseball cap.

Easy tuck tapered pants


I think everyone is picky when it comes to pants. It has to be the right fit, the right cut and, of course, has to have great detailing. This piece ticks all the boxes! I especially love the folds at the front of the pants near the waist; it creates a semi-casual look. I’d pair this with a baggy sweater (a folded turtleneck would be a plus) and a pair of sneakers.

Puff-sleeved pullover


This puff-sleeved pullover is something I’d wear if I'm in the mood for something a little fancier. The organza sleeve exudes a feminine look and it’s something I’d put on if I’m going on a date or hanging out in the city going cafe-hopping or shopping with my girlfriends. I’d pair this with high waisted jeans and boots. Oh, and if it's cold, I'd also bring my knitted shawl to keep me warm.

Linen blend shirt dress


The linen blend shirt dress (on the right) caught my attention right away. I’d totally wear this on its own and pair it with heeled boots or even the same way the model is wearing it, with a t-shirt and high waisted pants, but I'd wear it with sneakers instead of platforms. 

Gathered dress


So here’s a pattern: I fall in love with any double-duty piece which is why this number caught my fancy. Not only is the mustard colour attracting me, but the fact that it can be worn on its own or paired with other pieces also makes me want to own it pronto. I’d wear this piece as a dress with flat espadrilles.

Oversized tunic shirt


Believe me when I say that this piece is a must-have. You can style it in various ways: tuck it in with a high waisted skirt or jeans or tuck it out and wear jeggings or leggings underneath. Pop on sneakers, a baseball cap and you are good to go.

If you're looking for a new casual wear label to check out, GU will definitely not disappoint. It's a clothing store that offers great picks for great prices. It is a place that is very inclusive with ranges for women, men as well as children. Great price, great quality and fashion-forward — why not give it a try?

Maya is fueled by plans of travelling the world. She craves to be in different places all the time and illuminates when experiencing cultures, food and products unique to the localities. Getting to share these experiences through her snaps and writings makes her adventures more worthwhile.
Read more of Maya Sofhiana's stories here