Archive for the ‘Clothing’ Category

Origin of the Japanese Happi Coat

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Happi coat originated during the Edo period (1603 to 1867) in Japan. They were primarily worn by the wealthy and working class and originally designed for men. Women soon began wearing them as a protective jacket over the kimono to guard against the elements.

House servants wore Happi coats that were embroidered with the Mon, or family crest they served. Later, shop keepers took up the Happi coat and stamped the name of their business on the back. Fire fighters wore the coats as protective jackets, emblazoned with their crest for visual identification of the firehouse they worked with.

Laborers adopted the Happi coat and used them as protective working jackets. The wealthy wore distinct Happi coats at celebrations and funerals for their servants to be able to identify them quickly when needed.

The long history of the Happi coat still exists today in modern Japan. Many social groups and religious organizations wear the coats marked with their group’s logo for festivals and public gatherings or to identify their membership to a particular religious shrine.

The coats have changed over the centuries going from a solid brown or indigo blue to today’s vibrant colors and varied patterns that signify symbolic cultural references such as the sakura blossom, the crane or dragon.

In the past decade, the Happi has gained popularity as a bathrobe, lounging robe, or as a cover up at the beach or pool. “Happi” today often denotes a mid-length or knee length robe, comfortable and care-free, ideal for modern day living.

Chopa Zen Home & Gift offers a wide selection of men’s and women’s Happi coats in a variety of colors and traditional patterns. They are soft, comfortable and made from 100% cotton for easy care. Our Happi Coats are made in Japan and come with a matching belt.

During the month of January, we are offering free shipping on all Happi coats! (within the continental US only).

How Kimono Dresses Have Influenced Western Fashion

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

kimono dressesIf you have a picture in your mind about the Japanese lifestyle, reality may not live up to your expectations.  Contrary to popular belief, it’s rare to see many women wearing kimono dresses on the streets of Tokyo.  In fact, this international city may look a lot more “Western” than many American towns.  But this doesn’t meant that kimono dresses, or yukatas, have not influenced Japanese fashions.  The Kimono is more likely to be worn in a traditional ceremony or celebratory setting, with kimono dresses a more popular item with older Japanese women. 

Wearing a kimono in the traditional Japanese way would require one to purchase an elaborate “obi” or sash to wrap around the waist.  In today’s more casual culture, it’s more common to wear colorful silk kimonos as loungewear or as a robe at a resort area.  When shopping for kimono dresses, most women find that a lightweight cotton yukata is a better choice. 

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Shades of Blue are the Fashion with these Japanese Kimonos for Sale

Monday, June 20th, 2011

japanese kimonos for saleAs the summer vacation season kicks into high gear, people are picking up something special at Chopa.com.  Now, in addition to all of their Zen accessories and Japanese furnishings, Chopa has a vase selection of Japanese kimonos for sale.  The kimonos featured this year seem to focus on a single color family, mainly blue, including rich turquoise hues and deep sapphire blue.  A lighter weight version of the kimono, known as a yukata, is also available. 

For men and women who want a comfortable and lightweight robe to wear by the pool, a yukata is the ideal choice, but a silky kimono can be worn all year round.  Whether they are worn after a shower, lounging around the house or while enjoying a sunny morning on the deck, yukatas and kimonos make the ideal addition to any summer wardrobe. 

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The Best Robe for summer? A Japanese Yukata

Monday, June 6th, 2011

japanese yukataIn case you are not familiar with the summer version of the kimono – also known as the Japanese Yukata - now is the perfect time to learn.  With the warm weather approaching, a yukata is the perfect robe for lounging around the pool, after a shower, or just relaxing at home.  These cotton robes are designed to look similar to a kimono, but without the formality of silk.  Because they are made from cotton, these delightful robes use patterns that are lighter and less saturated with color, making them the perfect accessory for summer.

Shaped like a capital “T” with wide arms in an angular pattern, the Japanese yukata is designed to be worn loosely, but it can also be cinched together with a matching fabric sash.  Like a traditional kimono, the hem of most yukatas falls about 56” long, skimming the ankle. But unlike the kimono, the Yukata is not worn in formal ceremonies.  It is more likely to be worn after a bath or as a stylish cover-up when sitting by the pool. 

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How to Look Great in a Kimono Robe Dress this Summer

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

kimono robe dressSpring may have just begun, but in the fashion world it is already fall.  So don’t feel guilty if you’re sights are set on summer.  Now is the time to start putting together the primary pieces of your summer wardrobe, and for many women that will include a Kimono robe dress

If you’ve never worn a Kimono robe dress or its lighter-weight cousin, the Yukata, then you are in for a treat.  These comfortable and colorful robes are a hallmark of Japanese culture, and one of the most recognizable articles of clothing in all of Asia.  While they may not be quite as common in Western cultures, many women are starting to embrace their versatile good looks. 

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What is the Latest Fashion for Spring? Shibori Silk Scarves

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

shibori silk scarvesA fashionable woman is always looking for that “signature” item that will define her style for the coming season.  Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind handbag, a beautiful handmade pendant or a stunning silk scarf, this single accessory can dictate the colors she chooses for a seasonal wardrobe while giving her a unique sense of style.  The addition of Shibori silk scarves can do wonders for a woman’s spring fashion ensembles. These beautiful hand-dyed works of “wearable art” can jazz up a monochromatic outfit or act as the finishing touch that ties various pieces together.

Unlike many other popular accessories for women, Shibori silk scarves are not mass-produced; each scarf is a one-of-a-kind creation that is hand-made by the artist, one at a time.  The Japanese word “shibori” refers to the art of dying cloth by binding, folding, stitching, and twisting the fibers.  Because each of these beautiful shibori silk scarves is unique, you will never find anyone wearing the exact same scarf. 

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The Fascinating Story of Japanese Kimono Robes

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

japanese kimono robesUntil you watch the video now being shown at ChopaTV and on Chopa.com, it is easy to think of Japanese kimono robes as “just another piece of clothing”.  Despite the fact that the word “kimono” actually means “thing to wear”, these stylish and colorful robes are anything but ordinary.   

You may be wondering, “How are Japanese kimono robes and yukatas so different than other robes or loungewear?” 

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Enduring Symbols Abound in Fine Tibetan Jewelry by Chopa

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

fine tibetan art jewelrySome of the most unique jewelry in the world is not made of precious stones and gold; it is made of porcelain, silver, bamboo and natural fibers. That’s why women who like to accessorize with jewelry are so attracted to the fine Tibetan jewelry by Chopa.

The extraordinary Zen Buddhist jewelry found at Chopa.com is filled with some of the most enduring Tibetan symbols.  Some of these symbols remind us to live fully in the moment in every part of our lives.  Whether you choose a bamboo pendant or an eco-friendly art glass piece, it is the symbolic nature of this jewelry that makes it truly unique.

A “Tree of Life” pendant made of warm earth stone is a metaphor for a lively spirit, and is based on the artist’s original drawings.  It is strung onto a 16” silver-colored nylon cable with a silver-plated lobster clasp closure. 

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Make a Bold Statement in this Black Dragon & Mt. Fuji Yukata

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
yukata

Black Dragon Yukata with Mt. Fuji

You may already be familiar with the Japanese kimono, but perhaps you’ve never heard of a “yukata.”  Just like a kimono, a Japanese yukata is shaped like a capital “T”, but it is made from a lighter weight fabric than the kimono.  Also, like kimonos, these colorful robes are often worn with a yukata obi, or sash.

Yukatas originated from the robes worn by Japanese noblemen in the 17th century, known as “yukatabira.”  The word “yu” means bath, and “katabira” means “under clothing”, so while the yukata may look a lot like a kimono, wearing yukata robes as clothing in Japan might be akin to wearing pajamas in public.

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