Japan is a fascinating country. It is known for its samurai, geisha and kimonos. They are elegant, colorful and so traditional. But what exactly is a kimono? And how to wear it properly? You might think that this garment is too complicated to wear for the average person, but all it takes is a few basic skills. We'll show you the 6 steps to wearing a kimono like an expert!
A little history: what is the origin of the traditional Japanese kimono?
Japanese culture is rich with interesting customs and traditions. One of them is the wearing of the kimono, which is a traditional Japanese dress that has been worn for hundreds of years.
The origin of this garment dates back to ancient China, where it was used as undergarment. However, in Japan, its use changed over time and it became popular as a garment without pants (hakama). This is when it started to look like it does today. The word kimono comes from the Chinese words "Ji-" (着) which means "to wear" and "-mono" (物) which is the suffix for inanimate objects.
It is difficult to establish exactly when the kimono was used as clothing. Some historians believe that the practice began in the Nara period (710-784 AD), while others believe that it was still only an undergarment during the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD). The use of this garment as clothing was very common during the Edo period (1603-1867) and later during the Meiji period (1868-1912), when it became necessary for women to wear them due to rapid Westernization.
All about Japanese Traditional Clothing.
What are the different types of kimono?
Japanese culture is very codified, so kimonos are different depending on the age, social status or love situation of the person.
Si vous voulez connaître les différences entre les kimonos et les yukatas, nous vous conseillons de lire cet article : What is the difference between yukata and kimono?
1) Japanese kimono for women
Kimono Iromuji | Source novmtl
Iromuji: This is a simple kimono without a pattern. This Japanese dress is worn by both married and unmarried women! The colors are quite subtle, ranging from light to dark (except black and white).
The Iromuji kimono can be adorned to any Japanese family's wardrobe. It is a formal and sophisticated looking dress, it is usually worn for special occasions, such as celebrations. As it is the most basic kimono, an Iromuji can be worn by anyone!
Kimono Irotomesode | Source modern kimono
Irotomesode: is a short sleeve kimono worn by single women. These are colorful kimonos with a pattern along the hem. The patterns can vary, but in most cases it is a white-red-white pattern.
These colorful kimonos are said to have been used by single women since the Middle Ages in order to be visible from afar to their potential partner. Nowadays, irotomesode are more worn for casual occasions such as festivals.
Furisode: These long-sleeved kimonos are worn by young girls and single women. They are lightweight, easy to wear and come in bright colors that make them perfect for any occasion.
Furisodes are traditionally worn during Seijin no Hi celebrations (the coming of age of young women). Furisodes are very versatile - they can be worn over heavy winter coats, with casual clothes, at formal events, and even at special occasions such as weddings.
Furisode is a very versatile item. The furisode is the perfect gift for high school students about to celebrate their Seijin no Hi or brides-to-be!
Kimono Kurotomesode | Source maihanami
Kurotomesode: This is a formal black kimono that is worn by women. It is perfect for weddings, funerals, graduations or any other event where you need to dress in traditional Japanese style without wearing a white or brightly colored kimono.
Kimono Houmongi | Source maihanami
Houmongi: This traditional kimono is worn by all generations, and regardless of your marital status. It is easy to recognize with its distinctive shoulder pattern! If you're invited to a japanese tea ceremony or wedding and don't know what to wear, the houmongi fits your needs perfectly!
Kimono Tsukesage | Source bellecon.fandom
Tsukesage: This traditional Japanese garment can be worn for any occasion and will make you feel like royalty! Tsukesage was a garment historically worn by samurai and feudal lords. The name "tsukesage" comes from the words "interior of the kimono" (tsuke) and "garment sleeve" (sage). Unlike other types of clothing, tsukesage has a Japanese design on the back of the right sleeve, the front of the left sleeve and the hem.
Kimono Komon | Source maihanami
Komon: The komon kimono is a type of formal dress and has been used in Japan for centuries. It is a silk dress that can be worn casually but not only, you can also wear it as formal wear. It features printed or embroidered Japanese patterns.
2) Japanese kimonos for men
Men's kimonos are much easier to wear than women's kimonos. Important detail: A kimono for a lady has longer sleeves than a man's!
The most significant variations between men's and women's kimonos today are in the choice of fabrics and colors. Japanese dresses for men are traditionally dark and understated: brown, green, dark blue, black and matte; with no or discreet patterns.
Kimono fashion today differs from what it was many years ago. It has expanded to include a diverse selection of colors, patterns and materials. Today there are a number of kimono styles including some that are much more casual.
What are the kimono accessories?
Japanese Obi belt
Obi belt: One of the main components of a kimono is the Obi belt. This belt is tied around the waist and is used to hold the kimono in place. There are different ways to tie this belt, but all of them should fit your needs and desires.
Obiage: The other important accessory to know is the obiage . This piece of silk fabric is used as a decorative element and should match the color and pattern of your kimono. It can be placed under or over the obi belt. The obiage is often added to the obi waistband when wearing a kimono with more casual patterns.
Geta: the traditional Japanese wooden shoe, which is worn on special occasions. There are different types of geta to match the type of outfit worn.
Koshi-himo: is another component of kimono. These are long, narrow pieces of fabric that are tied around the waist to help hold the kimono in place. The length of this ribbon is about one meter.
Japanese Zori sandals
Zori sandals: is a type of traditional sandal. They are made from straw and rope.
Nagajuban: is like a traditional undergarment that is worn under the kimono. It covers the lower half of your leg and is meant to keep the outer garments in place and thus prevent them from getting dirty. The nagajuban can be made of silk or cotton, depending on what you prefer.
Haori: The Haori is a traditional Japanese coat for men. It is often confused with the kimono.
Tabi: are the traditional Japanese socks. Tabis are made of a white cotton fabric. They are worn with getas or simply as slippers in homes.
Hakama: is a traditional Japanese trouser worn by men as part of their ceremonial dress. In modern times, it is more often seen as a garment used by Buddhist monks and members of the nobility. And also in some Japanese sports like kendo.
Kanzashi: is a traditional Japanese hair decoration, usually made from natural materials such as silk or bamboo. Kanzashi can be seen in a woman's hair as decorations on the back of her neck, or in the hairstyles of geisha apprentices (Miko).
How to wear a traditional Japanese kimono?
There are different ways to wear a kimono, but the most common and easiest is the "A-Line" style. This way of wearing a kimono is highly recommended for beginners, but it will take some time to get used to, so follow these steps:
1) Start by putting on the nagajuban (underwear), then tie the obi around your waist in an overhand knot, making sure to leave about 22 inches of fabric in front and behind.
2) You are now ready for the kimono. Start by putting your arms through the sleeves and slide the rest of your body into the kimono.
3) Once you're there, use the little loop on the back of the collar to help you slide it over your head and body, making sure everything is tucked in. The kimono should hang straight down and cover everything below. It is a good idea to compare the length of the obi from the first step with the excess fabric in front and behind you. This will allow you to adjust the length if necessary.
4) This step is the one that many people have the most trouble with: securing the knot in place so it doesn't come undone when you move! The best way to do this is to pull the belt tight across the front of your kimono while you tie the knot at the same time. This will draw the back of the knot against your waist and hold it in place. You can also use safety pins to gather the excess fabric under the knot to hold it more securely.
5) The decorations are the final step in wearing a traditional Japanese kimono. This is an important part of wearing a kimono and there are many options for decorating it. You can buy obi with different you can buy kimonos with designs already embroidered on the fabric or have your obi and/or kimono painted by hand. Or simply embellish your kimono with the accessories we have seen above.
6) Now that you are fully dressed, it's time to try walking in your kimono! It may seem strange at first, but don't worry...all Japanese women go through the same stage when they start wearing a kimono! You'll probably find that it helps to hold the excess fabric in front of you when you walk.
Traditional Japanese clothing may seem hard to substitute for our modern clothes, but it's actually quite easy to wear. Once you get the hang of it, you'll feel more stylish and sophisticated than ever! If this blog post has convinced you that the Japanese dress code is worth exploring further, check out our collections!