Travel in first class style with kay me

Although we love vacations as much as anyone else, sometimes the travel itself can feel like the most stressful part.

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With this in mind, and a keen traveller for business and pleasure herself, kay me founder and lead designer Junko Kemi decided to create our new travel capsule made specially for situations on the go.

Consisting of long dresses and parkers, with more items coming soon, our new items have been designed from start to finish with comfort and style foremost in mind.

Rib Flare Long Dress

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First up in our new travel series is are our long dresses with stretchy fitted side rib detail. A long sleeveless dress with a scoop neck, the rib panels on either side create an effortless hourglass effect on the wearer.

Wear with heels for cocktails minutes after touchdown, and stay warm and comfortable on air-conditioned planes.

First Class Parker

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New for kay me, our “first class’” parkers were specially created by Junko Kemi as she couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for in terms of a high-quality hoodie jacket that could be worn in a variety of travel situations.

With specially layered fabric providing extra softness, satin ribbons and generous pockets, there’s plenty of details to fall in love with, not to mention easy-to-coordinate colours.

Discover all kay me travel items here

Shape up with kay me dress silhouettes

No matter your shape or style, there’s a dress to suit you and your taste, and all handmade by kay me.

From a fun and feminine flare to a pretty peplum, here at the kay me atelier we love having the opportunity to dress in a great variety of silhouettes, depending on our mood. Many people have a preference, but needless to say that it’s always a good challenge to break out of your comfort zone now and again.

Join us as we round up a selection of our favourite silhouettes for work and weekends…

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Flared

Some of our most popular styles and a kay me classic, our fit-and-flare cache-coeur dresses feature a crossover bust and beautifully flared A-line skirt. Available in a great variety of prints and colours, these are a wonderful way to expand your dress wardrobe.

For other flared styles, try our sleeveless and flare silhouette dresses.

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Loose

Some days you just want a loose-fitting dress – enter our easy to wear sack dress and space dress, in thick soft fabrics that drape from the shoulder. Also with handy pockets, our loose dresses can quickly be dressed up or down with just a simple change of sneakers to heels and parker to tailored jacket.

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Straight

For those who prefer a long and lean look, our docking dresses feature a contrasting loose top with a tighter skirt. Available in solid colours and a lovely variety of prints, docking dresses give you the look of a skirt and blouse with the ease of a dress. New from spring 2018, our shell dresses have a gathered bust with high ribbon-style detail and practical pockets.

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Peplum

Feminine and fun, our peplum dresses are great for the office as well as a city brunch with friends. With a waist-defining frill, peplums are charming on a variety of shapes and sizes, so don’t be shy in giving this trend a try. Our favourites include yellow dalmatian print and lovely lace details.

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Hourglass

For styles that flatter your natural figure, our Venus drape and waist-gathered dresses are a great choice. One of our consistently best-selling styles, Venus drape dress are individually handmade from a single large piece of fabric that is then expertly draped to create the final form.

Use the pattern drop-down menu on our online store to find different styles of dresses – try it today to find your new favourite kay me dress!

Three quick ways to elevate your style

If you’ve been feeling in a style rut recently then now is the best time to take charge and change things up as we move into the summer months. Refreshing your wardrobe doesn’t have to be a challenge, and with our specially selected easy care materials, taking care of the clothing you doesn’t have to be a chore either.

kay me stylists put their heads together and came up with three easy tricks for updating your look…

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(Navy daily, polka dot (restocking soon!), navy cubic wrap, indigo goldfish waist-gathered)

Solid to print

Instead of going for a plain colour, pick out a print. From florals to geometrics and authentic Japanese imagery, there’s plenty to fall in love with.

Stylist tip: if you’re feeling unsure, choose a pattern with a base of your favourite colour.

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(Pink peplum, comet drape, Caroline twist, amaranth ribbon)

Pastel or bright

If you usually reach for dark colours then try the equivalent in a lighter or more pastel tone. At the other end of the spectrum if you commonly wear soft shades, how about trying a bolder and more saturated version?

Stylist tip: pair bright colours with light jackets for extra impact.

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(Indigo denim sacknavy daily, mist grey scarf, fiesta rose scarf)

Add a scarf

Perhaps our favourite trick, and the easiest way to elevate any outfit! Take a look at our kay me Select scarves, ethically handmade exclusively by artisans working in India, and don’t forget to try a few of our stylish ways to tie scarves.

Stylist tip: contrasting or complimentary colours – each creates a totally different look.

The five elements of Japan

As in other eastern cultures, here in Japan the concept of the five elements  (五大) that make the world and everything in it underly much of traditional culture, from food to architecture.

Join us as we take a look at each of the elements in turn…

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土 Earth

– Representing soil and stone, earth gives us a literal connection not only to our bodies but also to the physical world.

Earth is stable and confident.

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水 Water

– Illustrating rives and lakes, water connects us to the flow of life and the growth of all things.

Water is changeable and adaptable.

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火 Fire

– The element of energy and force, fire is connected to passion and movement.

Fire is motivated and intentional.

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風 Wind

– Symbolising freedom and expansion, wind is not only sky breezes but also our own breath.

Wind is open-minded and wise.

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空 Void/sky/heaven

– The most elusive of all the elements, void (also known as sky or heaven) is our connection to all things beyond our experiences.

Void is creative and inventive.

So, what can we learn from the five elements? Channelling the meanings and attributes can help us focus on what we want to achieve – if you need motivation, consider fiery colours to give you an extra boost, if you need to think outside the box then use light fabrics and colours to capture the feeling of air.

Confident, adaptable, intentional, wise and inventive… That sounds a lot like our vision for kay me!

Introducing… kay me’s yukata dresses

As we’re moving towards the summer season here in Japan, there’s no better way to celebrate the sunny days than with our beautiful new yukata-style dresses… with a special secret that’s hiding in plain sight.

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For those not familiar with yukata, think of it as a light and airy cousin to the formal silk kimono. Typically made from natural fibres and depicting bright seasonal prints and patterns, yukata have come back into fashion with many people from all generations choosing to wear these robes at casual summer events.

According to Yuko from the kay me atelier team, “Our theme is summer festivals, and there are always lots of summer events in Tokyo. Because I’m impatient, I wanted to be able to wear a yukata-style dress quickly without any struggles.”

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Enter our new yukata dresses, a great way to capture the freshness and elegance of Japanese yukata without having to worry about the complexities of traditional Japanese clothing. Rather than painstakingly tying and retying knots and bows, simply zip up and go!

With kay me founder and lead designer Junko Kemi’s family connection to traditional kimono and Japanese garments (her grandmother famously owned and ran a kimono boutique in Osaka), authentic Japanese prints are always popular both in Japan and overseas with our lovely customers around the world.

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As for our little secret… if you look closely, you might find a special goldfish hidden amongst the flowing brushstrokes…

How to create your own office uniform

Dressing for the Monday to Friday life is just another task for some, no matter how much you love style and clothing, and creating your own version of a work uniform can help ease the morning stress.

Read on for kay me stylists’ tips and our examples…

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Find your favourites

On a busy day, what’s the outfit you reach for first? The one that makes you feel comfortable and stylish, putting your best foot forward and ready to take on whatever comes your way. This forms the backbone of your new uniform – why waste time with anything else.

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If you’re having trouble with this step, then ask yourself a few key questions: do you prefer dresses or separates? Which colours form the majority of your closet? Solid colours are easier to wear together, but if you’re a fan of prints such as polka dots, florals or stripes, then let those guide your choices.

Seasonal styles

How seasonal are your choices? Is your uniform suitable for both colder and hotter months? How can you adapt your clothing to meet your needs?

Okay, that’s a lot of questions to start with, but these are important considerations. Seasonal coordinations might mean swapping skirt for trousers in similar colours, thicker stockings and warm underdresses in winter in the northern hemisphere, and looser tops with airy scarves in warmer months.

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Multiples and Variations

A uniform isn’t a uniform if everything it totally different – but how you create your structure is up to you.

For example, if the core of your new uniform is a navy dress and matching jacket, then one option would be other navy dresses and jackets in various fabrics – consider our navy venus drape dress or pure wool jacket. For variety, you might prefer kay me cache-coeur dresses in navy polka dot or prints paired with similar jackets in white, grey or beige.

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Wash and wear

For many, while the idea of a work uniform really appeals, the greatest stumbling block is washing. Needless to say, all kay me items are machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron, as well being crease-resistant. Our fabrics have been specially selected to work with you all day long, and as every piece is handmade right here in Japan we’re involved in the whole production process from start to finish.

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Ready to create your own uniform?

For office-ready outfits, take a look at our super suits category, and for dresses in every colour of the rainbow, discover all kay me dresses here.

Five Japanese Woman Artists from Different Disciplines

At the kay me atelier in Tokyo, we love being inspired by nature and the culture that surrounds us every day – and we’re not the only ones.

As a label founded by Junko Kemi specifically to meet the needs of busy and ambitious women globally, we also love to celebrate creative and inspiring women here in Japan.

Keep reading for a quick look at five artists working in styles and disciplines that have caught our eyes…

Yayoi Kusama

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Known worldwide for her installation and dot-infested paintings as well as performance, film and other areas, Kusama’s personal style is just as bright and bold as her unique artwork.

One of Japan’s most famous living woman artists, the newly opened museum in her honour in Tokyo is a must for dedicated fans.

Oi (Ei) Katsushika

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Although famous for being the daughter of legendary ukiyo-e printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (The Great Wave, Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji), Katsushika was a more than accomplished artist and well-regarded in her own right.

Working in the late 19th century, as well as helping her father, Katsushika created her own artwork including paintings and prints, although sadly none of the latter have survived.

Rinko Kawauchi

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Working in the medium of photography, Kawauchi’s style is sometimes characterised as abstract and serene, with an eye for simple subjects that elevate the every day into true art.

As well as regularly publishing photography books and exhibiting around the globe, Kawauchi is also a haiku poet.

Riyoko Ikeda

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With legions of fans around the world, manga comic artist Ikeda tackles timeless themes usually in hostorical settings including revolutionary France.

One of the artists that came to define shoujou girls manga for a generation and beyond, Ikeda’s dreamy art is here to stay.

Makiko Hattori

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Based in Gifu Japan, Hattori explores the ancient Japanese art of ceramics and aims to create new forms through her painstaking processes, rooted in but far beyond mingei, folk arts.

From decorative objects to functional vases, Hattori’s ceramics have been exhibited worldwide, and also she also peforms “sounds objects” with a music group.

Inspired by art:

Taking inspiration from the artists above, we’ve paired their artwork with kay me dresses to match!

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Naturally for Yayoi Kusama we had to choose polka dots, and to pay homage to Oi Katsushika our beautiful 100% silk Toki Michelle dress is an elegant and authentically Japanese choice.

Our Aurora wrap is a perfect match for this striking photograph by Rinko Kawauchi, and our silk Black Rose dress is a great nod to Riyoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles work, with the tactile fabric of our new pink shirtdress calling to mind the delicate textures and tones of Makiko Hattori’s ceramics.

For further reading and to discover more fantastic women artists from Japan, take a look at articles here and here

Three ways to wear suit jackets this spring

If you’re in need of some inspiration for what to wear to work this spring and summer, then look no further – we’ve rounded up our three favourite ways to wear a suit jacket for the office this spring.

Needless to say that our suit jackets aren’t limited to workwear; kay me stylists love to pop on our soft and stretchy jackets over any dress as a formal extra layer, and even with their own causal clothing such as jeans at the weekend and on vacations.

Matching Pastels

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We love soft pastel colours for spring, there’s no better time to wear these pretty shades that remind us of cherry blossom petals, blue skies and warm breezes.

Discover our matching suits in pink, light grey and beige, and pair with matching light colour kay me tops for the finishing touch.

With Prints

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Give yourself a boost with bright florals – our pothos green print is colourful and eye-catching, great for standing out and making a striking first impression. If you’re feeling green, then also consider our dalmatian print venus drape dress, perfect with an elegant light jacket.

For a more traditional look, try our pretty polka dot dress in navy, a versatile dress that’s just as stylish in the office as days out and about in the city.

In Contrast

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Change things up by pairing a dark jacket with a light dress and vice-versa – a simple trick that works so beautifully! kay me stylists can often be spotted in this style, showing that a well-cut jacket is always a good investment.

This style doesn’t have to be limited to dresses – try mixing and matching our skirts as well for extra adaptable looks.

Discover kay me’s seven colour suits, and get creative with your workwear and beyond…

The enduring appeal of cherry blossom

Here in Tokyo, yet again we’ve been anxiously glued the the cherry blossom forecast, with the peak predicted to hit around the end of March in the Kanto region. But why do we love these delicate little flowers so much?

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Cherry blossom ( sakura), cousin to the early-appearing and more richly coloured plum blossom, has long been seen in Japan as a metaphor for the transience of life, the pale and fragile petals quickly falling to the ground almost as soon as they bloom.

It’s no wonder that this imagery has given inspiration to countless poets, as it’s a sight to inspire even the most stony-hearted.

kay me staff love to spot the tiny chartreuse-green mejiro, Japanese white-eye, birds sitting among the branches – if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan this month, see if you can spot one too!

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The highlight of spring sakura season for many people is hanami, or cherry blossom viewing picnic, under the trees, usually in park and with friends, family or coworkers.

Needless to say that with drinks both hard and soft flowing it’s a chance not only to wax lyrical about sakura and the coming spring but also to appreciate the people we surround ourselves with.

To celebrate one of our favourite flowers, here’s a charming haiku written by Matsuo Basho around the 17th century:

Very brief –

Gleam of blossoms in the treetops

On a moonlit night.

If you’re in the mood for all things pink thanks to our flutter with sakura, take a look at our pink dress gallery, and our unique Japonism prints inspired by authentic Japanese kimono.

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Top five easy-care clothing for the office and days off

With spring in the air, we’re always searching for ways to spend more time on things we enjoy rather than getting stuck with loads of dry cleaning and pretty but impractical clothes. Enter our top five favourite fuss-free items for work and weekends – one of Junko Kemi’s main needs when founding kay me was clothing that was fully machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron, as well as being stylish and comfortable.

Read on for our fabulous five…

In the office

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Navy daily dress, Light grey flare skirt, Vanilla macaron twist top, Navy trousers, White bolero jacket

Look smart and totally put together in a flash with our office ready tops, bottoms and dresses. Our navy daily dress is always popular here in Tokyo, and it’s easy to see why – the ribbon tie at the waist adds a charming finishing touch. New to kay me, our navy trousers are stretchy and easily washable, simply pop in the washing machine after a long week and hang to dry, ready to be worn again!

kay me stylists love pairing these items together in different combinations for mornings when time is of the essence.

Out and about

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Pink shirt dress, White bolero knit, Plume sack dress, Off-white cache-coeur knit, Light grey flare dress

Wear light colours without fear of stains, smudges or expensive cleaning bills! Our plain and printed dresses are also easy to look after, with our special printing techniques ensuring that colours stay bolder and sharper for longer. Available from mid-March 2018, our Plume and flare dresses are made from soft luxuriously thick fabric with a lovely weight and drape. Our made-in-Japan knitwear is of course also machine washable and made from super soft wool that keeps your warm and cozy.

We think you’ll agree that both our top fives would made a charming travel capsule for a trip that combines business and pleasure – count us in!