The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that has been worn for centuries. In addition to being versatile, it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. How to wear a Kimono? The wearing of a kimono is an art form, and there are numerous ways to wear one.
It is a long, flowing robe typically made from silk or other delicate fabrics and is worn with a sash called an obi. Kimonos come in various styles and designs, each with its significance. The purpose of this article is to provide a basic understanding of how to wear a kimono.
The design of kimonos
There are a variety of fabrics available for kimonos, including silk, cotton, and rayon. They are typically hand-sewn by skilled artisans and can take weeks or even months to complete. The design of a kimono is often symbolic and can convey the wearer’s social status, occupation, or even the season in which the garment is worn.
Traditional kimonos have long sleeves and are worn with sashes called obis. The obi is tied around the waist and can be made from various materials, such as silk, cotton, or synthetic fabrics. The obi is often adorned with intricate designs and can be pretty expensive.
Types of kimonos
There are several different types of kimonos, each with its significance. In both men and women, the everyday kimono is the most common type of kimono. These kimonos are typically made from cotton or other casual fabrics and are worn with a simple obi. Some basic types of kimonos are as follows:
Unmarried women wear furisode kimonos as a form of formal dress. The furisode is recognizable by its long, flowing sleeves that reach the ankle. They are typically made of silk and feature brightly colored patterns, such as cherry blossoms or cranes. A special occasion, such as Coming of Age Day or a wedding, calls for them to be worn.
Uchikake is a formal kimono worn by brides on their wedding day. They are made of silk and feature elaborate patterns such as gold leaf or cherry blossoms. They are worn over a traditional kimono and are typically accompanied by a white hood called a tsunokakushi, which symbolizes the bride’s submission to her husband.
Tomesode is a formal kimono worn by married women. They are typically black and feature colorful patterns on the collar and hem. Formal events such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and other formal occasions call for them.
Things to know before wearing a kimono
Wearing a kimono is a traditional art form requiring a particular skill and practice. The kimono is typically worn with several undergarments, including a special undergarment called a “hadajuban” worn next to the skin. Wrapping the kimono around the body and fastening it with the obi is the next step.
· Kimono selection
When choosing a kimono, it is essential to consider the event’s occasion and formality. For formal occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, a more traditional and expensive kimono, such as a furisode or a homongi, would be appropriate. For less formal occasions, such as a tea ceremony or a casual outing, a more casual kimono, such as a yukata, would be suitable.
· Proper fit and size
A kimono should fit properly and be the appropriate size for the wearer. Armholes should be reached by the hem, and sleeves should fall at the wrist. Additionally, it is important to avoid wearing a kimono that is too tight or too loose. The obi, or sash, should be tied snugly to keep the kimono in place.
Accessorizing a kimono can be an art form in itself. The most important accessory is the obi, which is worn around the waist and can be tied in different styles depending on the occasion. Other accessories include the juban, which is worn underneath the kimono. The nagajuban, worn underneath the juban, and the han-eri, worn around the collar.
· Hair and makeup
Hair and makeup are also essential parts of wearing a kimono. For women, hair is traditionally styled in a bun, called a “bun-style” or “bun-shape,” and adorned with hairpins and ornaments. Makeup is typically minimal, with an emphasis on a natural look. For men, hair is traditionally styled in a short, layered cut called a “chonmage” or the modern hairstyle version.
· Proper etiquette
Proper etiquette is also an essential aspect of wearing a kimono. When sitting, the legs must be folded under the body with the heels on the ground. Taking small, slow steps and keeping your back straight is crucial when walking. It is also essential to be mindful of one’s manners and to act in a dignified and respectful manner at all times.
· Kimono layering
Wearing a kimono typically involves wearing several layers of clothing underneath. The first layer is the undergarment, called a juban. This is worn over underwear and is generally made of white cotton. The next layer is the nagajuban, worn over the juban and a barrier between the kimono and the skin.
· Obi tying
Kimonos are held in place by obis, which are sashes worn around the waist. There are many ways to tie an obi, but the most common is the taiko musubi, which creates a large bow in the back. A tightly tied obi should not be uncomfortable, but it should not be too loose.
What are the best methods about how to wear a kimono?
1. Traditional method
The traditional method of wearing a kimono involves layering multiple pieces, starting with an undergarment called a “hadajuban,” followed by the kimono itself. Finally, an outer layer is called a “nagajuban.
” Kimonos are slung around the body and tied with a broad sash known as an “obi.” The obi is tied in the back, with the excess fabric folded and tucked into the obi. Using this method, you can create a formal, elegant look that is perfect for weddings and tea ceremonies.
2. The iromuji method
The “Iromuji” method is a more straightforward way of wearing a kimono that does not involve layering multiple pieces. This is a one-piece kimono that can be worn for a variety of occasions. The Iromuji kimono is worn with an obi, but it’s more straightforward and less formal than the traditional method. This method is perfect for everyday wear or more casual events.
3. Yukata method
The “Yukata” method is a casual way to wear a kimono, typically made of cotton and worn in summer. It is less formal than the traditional kimono and is often worn to festivals, fireworks displays, and other summer events.
Yukatas are wrapped around the body and secured with a thin sash called an “obi.” Unlike the traditional and Iromuji methods, the excess fabric is not tucked into the obi but left to drape down the back, creating a more relaxed and casual look.
How to take care of kimono?
Caring for a kimono requires special attention to ensure the garment’s longevity. Kimonos should be stored in a cool, dry place and folded neatly to prevent creases and wrinkles. They should also be cleaned and pressed by a professional cleaner experienced in handling delicate fabrics.
Being traditional Japanese garments, kimono is often made of delicate silk or synthetic fabrics and requires proper care to maintain their beauty and longevity. If you want to take good care of your kimono, keep in mind these tips:
The first and foremost step in caring for your kimono is proper storage. Kimonos should always be stored folded and not hung up, as hanging can cause creases and damage to the fabric. It’s also essential to keep them in a dry, calm, and dark place, as silk is sensitive to light and can discolor over time.
The next step in caring for your kimono is cleaning. Kimonos should be dry cleaned or hand washed with a mild detergent. It’s essential to use a detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics and to avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals. If you hand wash your kimono, use lukewarm water and gently work the detergent into the fabric. Make sure the kimono is not twisted or wrung, as this could damage the material. After washing, the kimono should be carefully rinsed and gently pressed between towels to remove excess water.
Ironing a kimono can be tricky, as the silk fabric is delicate and can quickly burn or scorch. For best results, use a low heat setting and a pressing cloth when ironing your kimono. Be sure to iron on the wrong side of the material, and avoid ironing over any embroidery or decorations.
It’s essential to have your kimono professionally preserved if it is an heirloom or a valuable piece. Professional preservation can help to prevent discoloration and damage to the fabric.
Lastly, it’s important to remember how often you wear your kimono. Wearing a kimono frequently can cause wear and tear on the fabric, so it’s best to save it for special occasions or to wear it infrequently.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your kimono stays beautiful and in good condition for years to come. It is also important to note that not all kimonos are the same. Some may require special care and attention, so it’s always best to check the label or consult a professional before cleaning or storing your kimono.
How much does a kimono cost?
The cost of a kimono can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the type of kimono, the quality of the fabric and craftsmanship, and the designer or brand.
A basic, machine-made kimono from synthetic fabrics can cost as little as a few thousand yen, while a high-end, handmade silk kimono from a luxury designer can cost hundreds of thousands of yen.
Vintage kimonos, highly prized for their historical and cultural significance, can also command high prices, with some selling for millions of yen at auction.
You can, however, find a good deal on a kimono by shopping around. Some second-hand kimono shops and online marketplaces offer kimonos at more affordable prices, which can be an excellent option for those on a budget.
It’s worth noting that the cost of a kimono doesn’t include the cost of the accessories such as the obi sash, undergarments, and other accessories, which can add several thousands of yen to the overall cost.
It’s also important to note that the cost of renting a kimono is also an option for those who want to wear one for a special occasion or for a photo shoot. The rental price ranges from 3,000 yen to 10,000 yen per day depending on the location.
Wearing a kimono is a beautiful and traditional way to express yourself. Practicing and paying attention to details are all it takes to master wearing a kimono. Remember to choose the suitable kimono for the occasion, layer properly, and accessorize to complete the look.
FAQs (frequently asked questions)
Traditional Japanese garments, such as kimonos, have been worn by women, men, and children for centuries. The Japanese word “kimono” literally means “thing to wear”. Their intricate designs and patterns are usually made from silk or synthetic materials.
Kimonos should fit comfortably, but not be too loose or too tight. The sleeves should reach the wrists, and the hem should fall to the ankle. It should also be worn with an obi, a wide sash tied around the waist.
To wear a kimono, first put on the undergarments, including the juban (an under-kimono) and the hadajuban (underwear). Make sure the collar of the kimono is positioned correctly, and put on the kimono. The obi should be wrapped around your waist and tied in a bow. Finally, add any accessories, such as a geta (wooden sandals), obijime (obi cord), and obiage (obi scarf).
Kimonos should be hand-washed or dry-cleaned to maintain their appearance and longevity. They should be stored folded and not hung, as the weight of the fabric can stretch the shoulders. Store away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
Putting on a kimono can be tricky and may take some practice. The first step is to put on the undergarments, which typically include a long-sleeved undershirt and a short, divided skirt.
Next, you will put on the kimono, starting with the left side and then wrapping it around your body. The kimono should be tucked into the obi sash, which is tied in the back. Finally, you will add various accessories, such as the obi-jime (sash cord), obi-age (sash scarf), and obi-makura (sash pillow).