When you think of historical Japan or even modern-day Japan you can almost imagine or have seen pictures of Japanese people in their kimono dress. Kimono means ‘thing to wear’, ki - to wear and mono - person or thing. The plural of kimono is kimono although kimonos is also correct.
Japanese women in their Kimono dress
What Is a Kimono?
The Kimono is Japan’s traditional clothing for both men and women. It’s a long, loose, expansive-sleeved gown, worn till ankle-length with its sides of cloth panels lapping over each other left to right forming a V-neck. An obi or sash around mid-body holds these cloth panels in place. Kimonos have no buttons or fastenings and in some kimonos, the sleeves sometimes reach till the floor.
Both men and women wear kimono. Men’s kimonos differ from women’s primarily in color and print designs. They are shorter, simpler and come mostly in single and darker colors. Women’s kimonos have more intricate designs and prints and come out in vivid colors.
Origins of Kimono
Contrary to belief, the kimono is not an original Japanese garment. It was adapted during the Nara period of Japanese history (710-794 CE) from the p’ao style robe prevalent in the Han dynasty of China. Since then the kimono became Japanese society’s accepted attire, a symbol of its culture and genteel sartorial behavior.
The kimono’s unique beauty today is ascribable to the 17th and 18th century. Japanese designers, whose decorative styles made it one of the world’s most exquisite attires.
How Often Do Japanese Wear A Kimono? Do People Wear Them Daily?
Most Kimonos are worn on public holidays, weddings, tea ceremonies, and funerals, men and women drape themselves in kimonos of various styles and elegance.
Many elderly people wear Kimonos daily. Sometimes married women wear them, as do men when relaxing. But the kimono is the appropriate dress for certain professionals such as teachers of traditional Japanese arts such as hogaku (music), ikebana (flower arrangement) and shuji (calligraphy). Japanese law requires sumo wrestlers to wear kimono in public appearances.
Japanese man and woman in their Kimono dress
Ceremonials are often kimono-wearing times for both sexes. Women’s ceremonial kimono is usually black silk with intricate gold or silver designs embroidered around the skirts. Wearers sometimes display their family crests, or kamon, embroidered on the back, on each breast, and on each sleeve.
Mourning kimonos are black without design, except for the kamon. Also associated with death is the plain white kimono.
Basic Style Variations of Kimono
1. For Women - kimono are ankle-length wrapper gowns with loose-fitting fronts and long hanging panel sleeves, are longer than men’s and are folded at the waist. The obi, a broad, stiff brocaded sash, tied in a musubi (knot) at the back holds the kimono tightly together, binding the wearer’s torso from bust to hips. The obijime, a decorative string further adds to the obi’s beauty. A decorative hairpin, kanzashi, adorns the woman’s hair.
2. For Men - kimonos consist of either short or ankle-length beltless trousers with thigh-length wrapper gowns. They are not as tightly binding and restricting as women’s kimonos.
Matching footwear consists of straw sandals, zori, or wooden clogs, geta, worn over white split-toed socks, tabi. Under the kimono is worn the nagajuban, a light garment. A kimono-shaped cloak, the haori, is sometimes worn over a kimono by both sexes. Men wear their kimonos with a short cloak and stiff divided skirt, the hakuma.
The kimono’s tight wrap around the thighs compels women to learn to move with grace, inching their way in a short-stepped swaying motion. Men’s kimonos aren’t so tightly wrapped and wearers don’t have to shorten their steps so much.
Meet Our Designer
Meet Miranda, the person behind most of our product line up. She is currently our fabric designer and is dedicated and passionate about her work especially in Eri silk.
When did you start your career in design?
Who/what is your greatest inspiration?
If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing right now?
Our Eri Silk Kimono with Motif is made from 60/2 dyed Eri silk yarns.
Kimonos at Muezart are made from 100% Eri silk. You can style it on top of your tank top, bikini or a turtle neck.
Our Eri Silk Kimono with Motif has a total length of 50/56 inches.
The more it is worn, the softer it gets, and it is a great add on to your wardrobe to be worn all year round. Its texture is soft. The unique handmade design is profoundly beautiful.
The kimono is now grabbing worldwide attention. Creative fashion designers are busier than ever as photographers continue showcasing new avatars to ever-increasing kimono enthusiasts.