Only Yesterday is an animated film from Studio Ghibli that’s getting a big re-release in English this year. The movie’s unlike any animation I’ve ever seen: it’s a memoir about a young woman who takes a working holiday in the countryside after growing up as a kinda difficult child in Tokyo. The film is about growing up, being yourself, fitting into society, and meeting expectations. I didn’t expect to relate to this story, but I was deeply moved.
The world of clothes in the film is quiet, but very specific. There’s such loving attention to precise details. See the particular cuts of children’s sweaters, young farmer Taeko’s short-sleeved hooded sweatshirt, the special gloves, as well as the aprons and hoods worn to harvest saffron.
The wardrobe nicely reflects time and place, too. There’s as much detail and distinction between different children’s clothing in the summer season as there is in the winter. Taeko packs pragmatically for her stay on the farm; Toshio dresses up casually and elegantly for their informal date. The style isn’t very loud, but it is clear and strong. It doesn’t take a lot, and it doesn’t have to be flashy, to say something about the world with clothes.
My favorite outfits: Toshio in a crew neck sweater over a polo with popped collar; Taeko’s high-waisted jeans, tucked tank top, and white sneakers.