"Recession." "Nikkei Average plunges below 10,000." "Unemployment tops 5%." Depressing economic trends of the past few years, reflected in headlines like these, have had a profound impact on consumer spending. But now, with less cash to splash out on extravagances, do we have to forego being fashionable?

Never! Discount clothes shops are the answer.

Over the last decade, low-priced clothing retailers have emerged in many parts of Japan, with UNIQLO leading the field. Their ranges consists mainly of daily wear such as sweaters, fleeces and jeans in basic colors, priced from 1,000 yen to 3,000 yen.