Posts Tagged ‘japanese robe’

Kimonos – The “thing to wear”

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Just one of many colorful Japanese Kimonos available from Chopa.com

 

 

 

 

In Japan, the  kimono is such a commonly known garment that the word “kimono” is literally translated as “thing to wear”, or clothing.

This particular type of full-length robe is a roomy, wide, and T-shaped, with little design variation, other than being available in a selection of splashy satin fabrics and colors.  In Japanese ceremonies, kimonos are worn by both men and women, which is why the hem falls about 56” down to the ankle.  They are typically wrapped around the body, left side wrapped over right, and finished with a wide belt, or obi, tied in the back. 

In modern-day Japan, kimonos are worn more often by women, primarily on special occasions.  A few elderly ladies and even fewer older gentlemen still wear a kimono every day.  They are also seen wrapped around professional Sumo wrestlers, who must dress in traditional Japanese attire when making public appearances. 

A lighter, more summery version of the Kimono is called the Yukata.  This 100% cotton, kimono-style robe is more commonly worn as loungewear, after a bath, or as a cover-up at the pool. While most Yukatas are made in less decorative fabrics than kimonos, there are many brightly colored fabrics available for women. 

Popular kimono designs include repetitive patters of koi, dragons, butterflies, cranes, lilies or cherry blossoms.  Most kimonos come with a matching fabric sash, but they are often worn with a heko or kaku obi, or belt, on special occasions.  

Kimonos are an elegant and traditional piece of Japanese culture, and the act of wearing one is steeped in tradition.  In addition to the many methods for wrapping and tying a kimono, there are subtle aspects of kimonos that, to a trained eye, can tell a lot about the wearer.  But don’t let this keep you from wearing one.  Unless you are attending a formal gathering in Japan, chances are you will never need to worry about adhering to these traditions.