How far has combining fashion come since our last investigation?

Japan’s convenience stores are the first places that springs to mind when we find ourselves wanting something to eat or drink. What about when we want something to wear, though?

Apparel seems a little out of convenience stores’ area of expertise, but in recent years they’ve been stocking more and more clothing items. That got us asking ourselves a question: Can you put together an entire outfit using nothing but clothes from convenience store chain Family Mart?

If that sounds sort of familiar, it’s because we tried doing this same thing back in 2016. The results were…not so good.

At that time, all our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa was able to procure at Family Mart was a T-shirt, a ski cap, a pair of underwear, and some socks. The T-shirt was thin enough that we’re pretty sure it was meant to be an undershirt, so Seiji’s “outfit” didn’t have any bona fide outerwear.

Since then, though, Family Mart has supposedly really stepped up its clothing game, even creating a sub-brand called Convenience Wear. For this second round of Family Mart fashion coordination, the assignment fell to our ace reporter Mr. Sato.

Because clothing is still a side project for Family Mart, the majority of their stores’ shelf space is still reserved for food and drinks, and so the Convenience Wear items on offer can vary from location to location. After making the rounds of a half-dozen or so and picking from what they had, Mr. Sato came back with this.

Socks are readily available at Family Mart, and in a variety of designs, some even sporting the logos or mascots of local pro baseball teams. Mr. Sato opted for these stylish checker-pattern ones with the green and blue of Family Mart’s logo/signage, for 429 yen (US$2.90).

Wearing only Family Mart items doesn’t mean you have to go commando, since they sell both boxer briefs (like the 720-yen pair Mr. Sato picked up) and boxer shorts.

Next, he picked out a short-sleeved crew neck undershirt (1,200 yen). If the cut looks a little boxy, it’s because this is a unisex item.

▼ The Convenience Wear stylized letter C logo appears on the inside near the collar.

Family Mart also has thicker T-shirts to be used as outerwear, but Mr. Sato decided to go for a dressier look with their button-up shirt, which went on sale last month, instead.

At 3,990 yen, this was the most expensive item in his outfit, but the quality is quite nice, with sturdy stitching and even high-quality buttons.

As we mentioned above, the first time we tried putting together an all-Family Mart outfit, the lack of pants was a major problem. Thankfully, at the start of April Family Mart added shorts to the Conveneince Wear lineup.

Mr. Sato chose a pair of sweat shorts (1,998 yen), but there’s also a pair made with a cotton/nylon blend, in black or beige, for the same price.

▼ The Family Mart coloring on the aglets is a nice touch.

And since the weather in Japan can still get kind of chilly on certain days in mid-spring, Mr. Sato also grabbed a cardigan (2,990 yen).

Of course, if it “can still get kind of chilly,” that means that there are pleasantly warm spring days too. Family Mart has thought of this contingency, though, so the cardigan is cleverly designed to fold up into itself, like a packable parka, so that you can take it with you without wearing it if you think it’s going to get cold later in the day.

Speaking of clever designs, the last thing Mr. Sato picked up was a backpack.

“That’s not a backpack. It a satchel,” you might be saying, or maybe you’d call it a sacoche if you’re feeling fancy. But nope, it really is a backpack, once you fold it out.

It’s a surprisingly roomy one, too, with a holding capacity of 20 liters.

Okay, now it’s time for Mr. Sato to get changed and show us his all-Family Mart outfit!

Not bad! In terms of comfort and quality, Mr. Sato says it’s all pretty nice, with the socks and underwear getting high marks in particular, comparable to Uniqlo’s products.

Mr. Sato will be the first to admit that the shorts look a little silly, but he thinks that has more to do with him not being, by his own estimation, a guy who looks very good in shorts in general. The combination of the backpack, dressy shirt and cardigan, and shorts does give him a bit of an Angus Young (of AC/DC) vibe, he thinks, though.

One other special mention Mr. Sato wants us to make is in regards to Convenience Wear’s packaging. The items come in Ziplock-like pouches that can be opened without scissors and resealed for reuse. So if you’re buying a pair of socks after the ones you were wearing got drenched in the rain, or a new T-shirt after staying out all night or because you miscalculated how often you need to do laundry during your trip to Japan, it’s easy to open up the pouch, change into the replacement, and then seal up your old clothes so they don’t get the rest of what’s in your bag wet or smelly.

All together, Mr. Sato’s outfit and backpack cost him 13,615 yen. You could probably put together something similar for less money at dedicated discount clothing shops, but those aren’t as ubiquitous as Family Mart branches, nor are they open 24 hours like the convenience store chain. So while we wouldn’t recommend filling out your entire wardrobe with nothing but Convenience Wear, on an individual item-basis they’re all great options for if you’re in a pinch, and further proof that there’s more than snacks to find at convenience stores in Japan (though the snacks are great too).

Photos ©SoraNews24
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