The Japanese Kimono and the Basics of This Traditional Japanese Clothing


The Japanese kimono can be considered today as one of the world’s most beautiful and expensive traditional clothing, and its beauty comes not merely from the breath-taking colors and features of its design, which emphasizes its wearer’s taste for class and modesty, but also in the painstaking manner by which each of them is made, which reflect its artisan’s eye for beauty and expertise in creating a one-of-a-kind Asian clothing that is able to transcend both time and culture.

The Kimono in the History of Japan

In the history of Japan, the term kimono originally meant “something to wear” and before the T-shaped, ankle-length robe, with overlapping closure on the front, which we know today, was considered as the traditional Japanese clothing, the kimono as the traditional Japanese clothing actually went through various transformations in terms of style, fabric, and design – from being cylinder-shaped clothing with holes for the sleeves that were worn by the Japanese farmers on the fields to the kimono which were styled after the Chinese cheongsam and trousers (for men) and skirts (for women) which, at one point, were worn with Korean-styled jackets, and ultimately the silken, ankle-length, and wrap-around robes that were tied at the waist with an obi.

Japanese Kimono’s Design.

The traditional Japanese clothing or kimono is an ankle-length, T-shaped gown with wide and long flowing sleeves and overlapping-style front closure design. It is then tied at the waist with an obi, which helps to keep it wrapped around the body.

The Types of Kimono Fabric.

Traditional Japanese kimono fabrics, like the Nishijin-ori, Chirimen or crepe, Kinran (gold brocade), and Ginran (silver brocade), which are woven from natural silk threads, are used to make the Japanese kimonos.

However, due to the currently expensive cost to make and decorate kimonos that are made from these traditional Japanese kimono fabrics, direct or modern alternatives to the same, like silk, rayon, wool, brocade, jacquard, polyester, and cotton, or a combination of the same, are used to and they are then detailed by hands or using a machine to mimic the look of traditional Japanese kimono fabrics.

Silk kimonos remain a classic favorite, especially for special occasions, while polyester kimonos are typically prized for the way they mimic the look of silk kimonos at a fraction of the latter’s cost, and cotton or wool are frequently valued for casual kimono dressing.

Kimono Sleeves.

Wide and long, flowing sleeves distinguish a Japanese kimono from other kimono-style clothing. Since the ancient times, kimono robes with extra-long, swaying sleeves, which length may reach up to the knees, are reserved for the maiden, while those with shorter sleeves, or which may reach up to the waist, are worn by the married women. For the casual kimono robes or summer robes, called the yukata, the distinguishing factor in the sleeves basically comes in whether it is worn by a man or woman with men’s yukata having shorter, flowing sleeves as compared to the women’s yukata.

Kimono’s Obi Belt.

Japanese kimonos’ obi belt, on the average, measure twelve (12) inches wide, and they can be made using the same or a different shade and color of fabric as the kimono. A small pillow is commonly secured at the back of a female kimono wearer to keep her obi belt and kimono secured, or the obi may be tied in a decorative manner, like in the shape of a bow or butterfly, so they serve as a beautiful detail to the back of the kimono robe.

Kimono Details and Designs.

A Japanese kimono’s breath-taking design may be painted, color-dyed, or embroidered onto their fabric, or such may be made by specially dyeing the silk threads that will be used to make them and carefully weaving the same to make a kimono robe with the artisan’s or their wearer’s desired pattern.

Figures and images of the Japanese cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, lotus, peony, phoenix, autumn leaves, and the Japanese geisha, are popular motifs of the Japanese kimono robes for women, while prints of the dragonfly, dragon, and the kanzi writing, as well as wavy, striped, or repeated solid-block figures are common among the Japanese kimono for men.

Kimono Size.

Japanese kimonos, usually, can be worn across one or two size ranges owing to the loose-fitting design, so you will never have to worry outgrowing your kimono with the passage of time.

How Long Does It Take to Make a Japanese Kimono?

Kimono robes can be completed for as short as within the day or for at least six (6) months, depending on the simplicity or complexity of their design, the expertise of their maker, and the availability of the fabrics that are used to make them.

How to Save When Shopping a Japanese Kimono?

It is normal to find a very fine and brand new kimono robes today that cost as much as a brand new sedan, however, you can definitely still save when a shopping am authentic Japanese kimono by buying vintage or used kimonos; old but still good kimono fabrics, which come from old kimono fabric rolls or obtained from dismantled kimonos; or, you can shop the off-season varieties or dead stocks of the Japanese kimono manufacturers, Japanese kimono shop, or Asian stores worldwide.

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