Shopping with experts: made in Japan (part two)


Japanese women of our age are conservative dressers, wearing mostly black, beige or white as far as we could see. Neat shapes, simple shirts and plenty of tailoring make the best of their rather dimuniative height (it's a great place to shop if you are small) and they have a clear understanding of what to wear to flatter their slender shape.

They seem to love a good trench coat, although there is less designer brand madness now as Japan has been in recession since 2008 and few people can afford to splash out. Also, talking to our new Japanese friends, we've learnt that since luxury brands like Prada, Stella McCartney and now the just opened Dries van Noten are so readily available in Tokyo, the excitement of owning something that previously could only be bought with overseas travel is wearing off. The general preference now is for value and Japanese retailers selling interesting indigenous designers.

Japanese make-up is, however, something worth finding out about. Our new friends showed us wonderful mascara (Fiberwig, only available there, sadly) and from the indigenous brand Shu Uemera, a sheer face powder that includes crushed pearls, which when lightly applied over your normal foundation offers a fabulous but subtle sparkle so light you can wear it during the day.

Pearls were often worn by our mothers' generation to flatter older skin, reflecting light up towards the face causing a glow, so it make sense that a little pearlised sparkle helps disguise a wrinkle or two. Our Japanese collegues of a certain age swear by it for brightening tired skin.

Shu Uemera Face powder sheer pearl is all that's on the pot, and we can't find it on any of our usual beauty websites like, but look out for it on make up counters when you're next in a store that sells the brand.

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