Kimono is an indelible Japanese garment; no other country has a distinct style of dressing as it does. Nowadays, it’s a typical sight to see foreign and Japanese tourists alike strolling along busy city streets in Kyoto, Tokyo and all other major cities in Japan in search of the most fashionable and trend-setting kimono dresses. And what’s more, because kimono culture has been so deeply established in Japan, its influence has spread to other Asian countries too. If you’re visiting Japan, one of the best ways to show your own love and devotion for the nation is to don a kimono on a shopping spree at one of its many famous department stores. After all, if you have the chance to shop in one of the most celebrated and respected shopping malls in the world, wouldn’t you want to make the most of it?
In modern day Japan, a kimono still means more than a garment. For centuries, the simple, traditional kimono has been a symbol of the Japanese people’s honor and respect. Today, even westerners have begun to imbibe some of the same traditional Japanese culture by donning a stylish kimono wrap on their most important holiday or special occasion. Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday party, a holiday party, or graduation party, a traditional Japanese kimono can make any event truly memorable one.
One of the great things about wearing a kimono is the countless opportunities for mixing and matching styles. Every season, different shops prepare their collection of kimonos with great care, crafting them according to season, fashion trends and shape. A common question many ask is, how do I wear a kimono effectively? Here are a few stylist tips to help you pull off the look you’ve always wanted.
The basic Kimono design starts by wrapping around your ankles. It’s important to choose a fabric that drapes well, such as a light silk or cotton mix, so that the wrap stays up properly and doesn’t fall down. To wear a kimono dress the right way, always layering the material over your own outfit. Start by wearing the wrap on the left side, then fold it to the right, keeping the material at the front of your dress.
In traditional kimonos, the obi is the central piece of fabric, hanging loosely from the waist. The yama is the belt that holds everything together. The standard size of a kimono obi is 14 inches. The yama should be of the same size and material as your collar and be tied securely. You’ll find that most modern obis have buttonholes for easy access to the buttons, and no loose stitching. Loosely untied, the yama should drape beautifully around your waist.
If you’re wearing the obi with an everyday kimono, then it’s important to match the color of your garment to the obi. However, if you’re wearing the kimono as a more formal ensemble, such as a wedding or corporate dress, then it might be more appropriate to choose a different material, perhaps a fabric that coordinates with your kimono. For example, if you’re wearing a black kimono with a dark blue obi, you can consider wearing white or burgundy fabrics, to contrast the darker hue.
One great option for a kimono dress that doesn’t take a lot of time to put on is a customized kimono. If you choose this route, make sure you choose a pre-measured pattern so that you can have the exact amount of fabric that you need. Remember that if you want to add embellishments to your kimono, such as brooches, beading, sequins, etc, then you will need to add that in before you start cutting your fabric, so that you can be sure you’ll be able to cover all the areas that you want to.
No matter what style or type of kimono that you choose, layering is always a great way to enhance your outfit. By wearing a solid color top and pants, you can simply pair them off with a matching belt or shawl, or even wear a shirt overtop. Kimono pants are also wonderful to wear layered over a plain kimono, because they have a nice shape to them. Layering is the best way to dress up a kimono, and is a fun way to add interest and style to any outfit. With so many styles and materials to choose from, there’s really no reason not to wear a kimono.