kay me’s holiday gift guide for 2018

Welcome to kay me’s guide to finding the right gift for the special person in your life.

Whether you’re searching for clothing, accessories or bags to give as presents (or making a list for yourself!), we’ve put together a selection of our favorite items for loved ones, coworkers, and (almost) everyone in between.

Our gift guide is of course by no means binding, but our simple suggestions to get you started…

For friends

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(Red tote bag, Gray silk wool scarf, Silver PC bag, Lavender long cardigan)

There’s nothing better than a cheery red bag to brighten up winter days, and our surprisingly roomy tote bag is a great way to put a smile on anyone’s face. For a friend who has received a promotion, why not treat them to our silver PC bag, specially designed to carry laptops and documents with minimum strain on the body.

A cosy knit is always in style, and our long cardigans woven here in Japan are perfect for when the temperature drops. The finishing touch is our silk and wool blend scarf, hand-dyed in a gray graduation, a little luxury for every day.

For coworkers

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(Pink tassel large pouch, Mosaic cardigan, Valuables pouch, Pink silk wool scarf)

If you’re searching for a thoughtful gift for a coworker, our essentials cases and pouches are a great choice – with an extra large opening and inside zips, our original pouches are the perfect partner to any kay me bag, while our essentials cases are just the right size for business cards, small electronics and other daily items.

If your office is known for its particularly chilly air-conditioning, then our mosaic cardigan and silk and wool blend scarf in pink are a hit regardless of season. Wear our cardigan with mosaic jacquard design weave in black, gray and white over any matching or contrasting outfit, and enjoy draping and knotting our pretty pink handwoven scarf in a variety of different ways.

For someone special

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(Mouse gray butterfly cashmere scarf, Red Venus dress, White tassel tote bag, Bordeaux satin butterfly camisole)

When it comes to the leading lady in your life, make an impression with our stunning Venus Drape dress in bold red, naturally complimented by our satin underdress in rich bordeaux with elegant butterfly-like lace.

For accessories, our tote bag in white tassel print can be used for any occasion from work to weekends, and the unrivalled softness of our hand-brushed pure 100% cashmere scarf with individually-placed crystals making fluttering butterflies is sure to be a hit with any recipient.

Are you feeling inspired by our gift guide? Don’t forget that kay me offers free global shipping as standard, with all customs fees included too!

Styling tips for party season

As we edge closer towards the end of the year, party season is fast approaching in its blaze of lights, canapés and clinking glasses.

As tempting as it is to splurge on one party dress for one specific occasion, here at key me we love being able to style our dresses, jackets and suits in different ways to make the most of each item.

Yes, we’re all about cost-per-wear (the price of the item divided by how many time it’s worn), and our versatile designs and easy-care fabrics encourage you to make the most of your beautiful kay me clothing.

This week on the kay me blog, we’ve rounded up our selection of party outfits for different occasions from work to casual, and have asked our team of expert store stylists in and around Tokyo for their top tips and tricks for styling your way through the season and beyond…

Business party

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While this party may be obligatory, sombre clothing is not. Stand out from the crowd in our stunning frill docking dresses in vivid pink and warm mustard, designed to look like and have all the convenience of a one-piece dress. These special dresses wonderfully utilize contrasting materials, with a stretch chiffon for the top and our washable wool blend for the skirt.

Remember that suits don’t have to be characterless – try our pretty frilled jacket for a feminine and sculptural look, or our new lace peplum suits, available in lilac blue and navy, for a suit setup with an elegant retro twist.

Styling tip: keep accessories simple with bright colors, and re-wear our lace slit skirts with blouses and knitwear for 9-to-5 in the office.

Family and friends

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A true kay me classic, our cache-coeur dresses have been painstakingly developed from scratch by our atelier team to create the most flattering fit-and-flare design with built-in waist sash and cross-over bust, making for a truly versatile dress that’s a pleasure to wear again and again.

Choose from our range of colors updated for 2018, including red, royal blue, navy and green, all rich hues designed to be dressed up and down as you like.

Styling tip: wear these feminine and comfortable dresses with our stretchy riders jackets for weekend outings, and simply pop on a matching or contrasting kay me tailored jacket for the work week.

Festive fun

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For those that love to make an impression, our loose-fitting bold red V-neck dress is a must for the festive season, along with our Baby Emerald print dress that captures the frosty florals of winter. This print in particular also looks stylish well into spring with the addition of light knitwear.

For a touch of Japanese elegance, our unique washable 100% silk kimono dresses are a timeless choice. Enjoy the beauty of traditional Japanese design and craftsmanship with the ease of our practical easy-care fabrics for a dress that’s sure to be closet staple for years to come.

Styling tip: our kimono dresses look just as pretty with kay me made in Japan knitwear for hosting at home as with a tailored jacket for outings including wedding parties.

Discover a wide variety of clothing and styles specially selected by kay me for seasonal parties and more social occasion on our newly-relaunched online store – three cheers and season’s greetings!

Fall for autumn leaves, with kay me

Autumn in Japan means one of our favorite things – it’s time to admire the beautiful ever-changing autumn leaves, known as both koyo and momiji in Japanese.

Celebrated for centuries as part of the countrywide appreciation of the four seasons, seen in food, clothing, literature and more, autumn is a time for reflection on the passing year before the harshness of winter creeps in and the leaves change from their vibrant colors and fall to the ground.

We’ve rounded up a selection of our dresses that capture some of the dramatic shades and tones that the fall season in Japan is known for.

Enjoy our selection of bold colors and take your spot amongst the trees…

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(Primitive Art, Y-Genic, Venus Drape red, Shisa Terrace, Jupiter 100% silk)

As the weather cools down, it’s also time to start thinking about outerwear for chilly evenings.

Naturally, kay me has you covered for any autumn occasion with our knitwear, jackets, soft hoodies and coats.

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(Milky White short cardigan, Snow Gray long cardigan, Lavender soft hoodie, Taupe riders jacket, Navy trench coat)

Time for the finishing touch – our selection of handwoven stoles, specially chosen for kay me fans by founder Junko Kemi.

Choose from lace, cashmere and crystal detailing to add warmth and depth to any outfit.

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(Coral I-lace, Marigold I-lace, Ivory lace gradation, Aubergine cashmere, Camel cashmere butterfly)

Don’t forget that our new online store offers free global shipping with customs charges included – whatever the season!

What to wear to… a presentation

For a presentation or pitch, preparation is key!

But once you’ve memorised what you want to say and brainstormed potential questions, there comes the inevitable question: what should I wear?

As kay me founder Junko Kemi is no stranger to public speaking, you can be sure that kay me clothing is perfectly suited to pitching – our easy-care fabrics are crease-resistant and machine washable, as well as soft and stretchy, making sure you look and feel your best when it comes to the crunch.

To find the presentation outfit that works for you, we’ve broken our styles into three groups based on your goal. Keep reading below and discover your new favourite go-to outfit…

I want to… stand out from the crowd

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Choose bright colors to make yourself the center of everyone’s attention. This technique is great for creatives and those who aren’t shy about playing with color.

Try our dresses with pretty frilled blouses in bright pink and mustard for an eye-catching look that will make sure all eyes stay fixed on you.

I want to… celebrate my femininity

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For situations when you wish to highlights your feminine side, pick our pretty pastels and pale colors, for suit separates as well as print dresses.

Mix and match dresses, jackets, skirts and tops to create different looks, and explore different fabrics including lace and chiffon.

I want to… inspire confidence

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Far from somber and dull, kay me’s darker tones, such as navy and charcoal gray, are available in a variety of fabrics including our washable wool which has a beautiful soft shine to the weave.

To change things up, pair with long cardigans for a more relaxed style, or our frilled jackets for a sculptural touch.

Discover more clothing suggestions for presentation and pitches on our newly-relaunched online store!

Wearing work dresses in three easy steps

Hi everyone, it’s Ikue from kay me’s online team in Tokyo!

Did you know that before working with kay me, I was a member of a major international IT company here in Japan? I often wore kay me dresses and jackets in the office, and now I get to bring my skills to one of my favourite fashion companies.

Today I’d like to share with you some tips for dressing for business…

So, do you often wear print dresses? “Of course, I love them!” I hear you say! But for those working in a more conservative industry, it takes a little more courage to wear something bold (I felt the same way too).

kay me dresses are so easy to wear and such a time-saver when working long hours, so it’s a shame not to wear your favourite dresses every day…

Today’s theme is: stepping up your work dresses!

Step 1: Start with neutral solid colours

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First of all, try basic neutral colours such as white, grey, navy and black. (Why not try filtering by colour on our dresses page…)

I also recommend wearing these colours in our daily and Venus drape dress styles. With our I-line dresses, the silhouette is so crisp, it’s easy and comfortable to wear in a suit-like way.

All our dresses pair beautifully with kay me suit jackets – choose from matching or contrasting colours.

Step 2: Play with colour and shape

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When you get used to your new dress style, try branching out with different colours and shapes.

For example, our popular new blue-grey shade is so pretty and flattering. It’s not as strong or sombre as navy or black, but it’s soft with a sense of neatness, a great alternative for the office.

Here I’ve chosen to highlight our Marilyn short-sleeve dresses with cache-coeur bust and flared hem – this style adds just a touch of grown-up femininity.

Step 3: Two-colour print challenge

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Even for “print beginners”, a classic combination such as black and off-white is easy to wear and coordinate. Just pick one colour to highlight from the print, in the case of our Tassel Flower print off-white, and use this as the main colour for your jacket.

This dress also looks wonderful with black, or even bringing out the hints of grey in the print.

Also, by wearing a jacket it constrains the print a little, just in case you’re still nervous!

So, what do you think? Instant elegance, with lots of styling ideas for you try this week at work!

Ikue.

On and off style, with kay me

Everyone loves clothes that can do double duty and can be worn for both work and weekends, transitioning from long days in the office to evening events and everything in between.

Today we’ve taken our top pick of items and, thanks to kay me stylists, have suggested different ways to wear the same key pieces. With all kay me looks being machine washable at home, with no need to tumble dry or iron, our principles of style, comfort and instant elegance are well covered.

Keep reading for outfit inspiration…

Cardigans

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Baby blue Kanazawa long cardigan – in the office // after-work drinks

Mist grey Kanazawa long cardigan – team meeting // brunch with friends

Our favourite transitional layer for autumn and beyond, we love our made-in-Japan long cardigans. Knitted specially in the city of Kanazawa for kay me, our long cardigans feature large size pockets and side slit for ease of movement. The shawl collar drapes beautifully, and is a nod to traditional Japanese kimono design.

Wear our long cardigans with solid colour dresses, or add texture and detail with tops and skirts.

Print dresses

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Safari sunset waist-gathered dress – dinner date // al fresco lunch

Coffee beans daily dress – weekly presentation // errands in town

We are no strangers to a print dress here at kay me, and today we’ve chosen to highlight our Safari Sunset and Coffee Beans dresses with vibrant tribal-inspired prints. While a print dress can feel like the star of the show, with careful styling a single dress can be adapted to a great variety of situations and outfits simply by changing up your outer layers.

Wear our prints with suit jackets and bolero cardigans for formal occasions, and our “first class” parkers for casual days.

Navy dresses

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Navy sack dress – city shopping // catch-up cocktails

Navy rib zip front dress – independent theatre // to and from the gym

Our neutral of choice, navy dresses are wardrobe workhorses and genuine chameleons that can be dressed up and down as you see fit. We’ve chosen to highlight our loose-fitting sack dress with wide collar and mid sleeves, as well as our rib dress with front zip and contrasting fabrics panels.

Wear our solid navy dresses with handmade kay me Select scarves, or for warmth and stretch add our indigo riders jacket for that extra cool factor.

Three ways to wear florals this autumn

As follow up to our popular post featuring top tips on how to wear florals in the office, kay me stylists are back and ready to share with you three easy ways to wear florals in the fall season.

While summer suits bright colours and bold prints, and certainly we have no shortage of these at kay me, autumn provides us with a more mellow colour palette and chance to explore a softer side to our favourite florals…

With darker colours

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(Tribal black, Monotone leaf piping, Iris waist-gathered)

With the nights drawing in week by week, bring out the richer tones in our floral prints by pairing them with darker colours. Wear our Tribal Black venus drape dress with our cropped black bolero cardigan, and our Monotone Leaf piping dress with wool skirt and contrasting top with matching black tailored jacket. To bring our richness of the navy, our super stretchy Japanese indigo denim jacket is a great partner to our charming Iris dress.

Tailored jackets in black and navy are never out of style, and kay me’s easy-care fabrics can be washed and worn as often as you like.

With neutrals

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(Plume sack, Shisa terrace, Safari sunset)

For a modern look, try wearing darker floral prints with lighter colours to add contrast to your outfit. Our Shisa Terrace and Safari Sunset prints feature autumnal shades that capture the colours of the season here in Japan, and our Plume dress in grey watercolour tones is a grown-up take on a traditional floral design. Our stylists paired these items with our pure white lace stole and simple white knitwear to bring out the contrast present in these prints.

Discover more ways to wear our handmade stoles for every occasion.

As a contemporary kimono

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(Tokiwa midori 100% silk, Japan wrap, Otsukimi purple)

As with all aspects of traditional Japanese culture, from food to written greetings, kimono are seasonal too. Our top pick has to be our signature Otsukimi purple dress, named after the Japanese traditional of moon-viewing that takes place in October – just add mochi (rice cakes)! For a more dramatic look, try our Japan wrap dress in bold red, gold and black with distinctive kimono-style collar, or our patented washable silk dresses, such as Tokiwa Midori.

Learn more about the unique story behind our silk.

Three ways to dress for transitional weather

After several months of summer, we’re looking forward to cooler autumn temperatures here in Tokyo!

However, it’s all too easy to get caught out in this type of transitional weather: cool breezes, Indian summer days, different attitudes to air-conditioning, sudden showers, among others. We tasked kay me stylists with tackling this seasonal conundrum, and here are their three top tips…

Transitional layers

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Tip one: utilising various layers is the smartest way to both regulate your temperature and stay stylish all day long.

Great for those who love variety, choose from our made in Japan knitwear, tailored jackets and frill jackets for outer layers.

Wear our handmade jackets to the office and for commuting, with plenty of stretch you’ll be able to stay on the go all day long. For parties and events, try our charming frilled jacket, available in black and white, and the perfect topper to a special dress.

Our washable top-quality knitwear is made individually in Kanazawa on the coast of Japan, and looks just as effortless elegant in the office as on a brunch date or weekend at home.

Finally, our range of underdresses are on hand to provide the foundation for any outfit – from warm fabrics to smooth satin, these under-layers are the perfect match for kay me dresses and skirts.

Transitional scarves

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Tip two: add colour and interest with a scarf.

Specially selected in person by kay me founder Junko Kemi, our beautiful kay me Select scarves are made by hand by artisans in India.

Luxurious and ethically made, our range of stoles are a wonderful option for transitional days – wear around the neck, drape over the shoulders and even fold on the lap – the possibilities are endless. We hardly know what we did before our scarves!

Choose from wool and silk, and cashmere blends and bring sophistication and colour every day.

Transitional dresses

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Tip three: choose materials and colours for the season.

Transitional dressing is epitomised by our docking dresses that combine a skirt and top in contrasting fabrics to great effect. Our Chainon navy piping dress features a pure wool skirt and blended top to combine the best of both worlds in one stylish dress.

With a vast range of colours and prints, our patterned dresses offer a great array of options suitable for the changing seasons – just remember that these items are often limited, so be sure to secure your favourite new dress by signing up for our newsletter online.

This year, kay me stylists particularly recommend our abstract floral Tassel Flower dresses that look just as lovely with cool pastels as warm neutrals and darker colours, as well as our Tribal Black venus drape dress in black and beige – wear with a white jacket for warm days or a black jacket for chilly evenings.

Looking forward to early autumn

Even as Tokyo sizzles in the late August/early September heat, we’re looking forward to autumn…

In winter we love to layer up with our wool knits, spring brings new life and blooming flowers, and the summer sunshine keeps up smiling, but autumn has a special glow all its own.

It’s a while until we’ll be enjoying the changing leaves and cool breezes, but in the meantime we’ll be planning our autumn wardrobes with an eye to the next season.

Join us as we take a look at a few of our autumnal favourites…

Florals

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(Beige pink leaf chiffon long dress, Safari sunset waist-gathered, Shisa terrace wrap, Tassel flower daily)

It’s no secret that we just love a floral prints every day of the week here at kay me! While we can’t deny the versatility of our solid colour dresses, a charming flower will always make us feel feminine and confident.

Channel the best of the autumn with our florals in rich colours: wear our abstract Tassel Flower print to work, and fall for our Beige Pink Leaf long dress in chiffon for glamorous travel.

Knitwear

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(Navy cardigan, Mist grey cardigan, Baby blue long cardigan, White long cardigan)

Our light and airy knits are individually made in Kanazawa on the coast of Japan. Re-worked for the summer season and beyond, our new Tencel blend allows air to circulate, making great use of this nature-derived fabric.

Choose our short cardigans with elegant shawl collar, or our long cardigans with handy pockets and side slit for easy movement and just a glimpse of a printed skirt of dress beneath.

Outerwear

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(Beige tailored jacket, Light beige tailored jacket, Beige-pink collarless spring coat, Navy collarless spring coat)

It may be a few weeks before we reach for a jacket after steamy September Tokyo, but nonetheless we like to be prepared – our stretchy suit jackets in shades of beige combine timeless chic with modern practicality, the perfect addition to any work wardrobe, or instantly smarten up casual clothing.

Don’t be fooled by the name – our light spring coats are just as useful for the autumn too, with a striking A-line shape that looks just as good open as closed.

Three ways to keep cool in the office

As the long hot summer just keeps on going here in Tokyo, we’ve been brainstorming our favourite ways to keep cool in the office. Staff from all departments shared great advice, including portable desk fans, re-freezable ice-packs and handy thermos bottles.

As much as we’re looking forward to unpacking our autumn knitwear, there’s still time to enjoy the summer season before fall arrives.

Aside from battling with the air-conditioner and making frequent trips to the office freezer for ice-cream, here are three of our top ways to stay cool and stylish:

Wear light colours

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(White tailored jacket, White mermaid flare skirt, Beige tailored jacket, White lace peplum dress, Pink chiffon top, Shell white design tuck skirt)

As much as we love navy, in summer light colours are a better choice as they reflect light rather than absorbing it.

Play with pastels and wear with our white suit jackets and skirts for easy styles that are as fresh as they look – a hint of pale pink adds femininity to workwear, and light beige instantly creates a grown-up image.

No need to worry about white: our stretchy jackets and skirts are made to move with you, and are all fully machine washable, drip-dry and non-iron.

Choose short sleeves

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(Pink lace peplum, Peach sleeveless flare, Light grey future flare, White chiffon top, Shell white design tuck skirt)

Continuing with our theme of light colours, pick a light and airy dress with a little flare, literally and figuratively, with short sleeves a must in sunny weather.

Shape up in our peplum dress, or choose a touch of retro style with our sleeveless flare and future flare dresses. Alternatively, our chiffon tops are a lovely choice for the office, with layered cap sleeves and an opaque under-layer that can be tucked into a skirt or kept over the waistband.

Try a Tencel knit cardigan

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(Navy, Baby blue, Mist grey, White)

Cool and airy, Tencel is made from natural cellulose fibres making it a wonderful choice for a light summer cover-up that doesn’t compromise on style or practicality.

Choose from four colours: navy, baby blue, mist grey and white. Pair with a light-coloured kay me dress or suit set-up for an elegant look every day.

Crease resistant and easy to look after, our long cardigans are also lovely for travel, whether you’re speeding on the Shinkansen or relaxing on the beach.