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The Magnificent Kimono

Updated on June 8, 2013

Kimono, A Traditional Japanese Costume

Kimono is commonly known as the traditional Japanese costume that is very much versatile which can be worn both by men and women and even kids. It is way rooted back as early as 5th century AD that is heavily influenced by the traditional Han Chinese clothing. It is composed of T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves and wrapped in a sash called obi as an accessories.

People who mostly worn Kimonos signifies its social status as well as special occasions, weddings, tea ceremonies and even just to appear in public. For those who are interested in Oriental type of clothing for fashion or costuming, it is definitely worth your time to learn about these magnificent Japanese Kimono.

Kimono comes from the word "Ki" means wear and "Mono" means thing literally means "thing to wear".

Women in Kimonos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Japanese maiko in KimonoLavender Bridal KimonoModel in a fashion show wearing modernize Kimono dress.Nihombashi Kimono FestivalJapanese social gatheringsJapanese old folks wearing KimonosHeidi Klum, famous fashion model wearing Kimono inspired dress.Woman in Kimono holding a Japanese fan.Japanese woman in Kimono in the garden.
Japanese maiko in Kimono
Japanese maiko in Kimono
Lavender Bridal Kimono
Lavender Bridal Kimono
Model in a fashion show wearing modernize Kimono dress.
Model in a fashion show wearing modernize Kimono dress.
Nihombashi Kimono Festival
Nihombashi Kimono Festival
Japanese social gatherings
Japanese social gatherings
Japanese old folks wearing Kimonos
Japanese old folks wearing Kimonos
Heidi Klum, famous fashion model wearing Kimono inspired dress.
Heidi Klum, famous fashion model wearing Kimono inspired dress.
Woman in Kimono holding a Japanese fan.
Woman in Kimono holding a Japanese fan.
Japanese woman in Kimono in the garden.
Japanese woman in Kimono in the garden.

Learning about Kimono

All throughout the years, Kimono went through so many drastic changes way back from the ancient times to our modern day. It also named as "gofuku" literally means clothes of Wu.

During Japan's Heian period (794-1192 AD), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it. While during the Muromachi age (1392-1573 AD), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi "belt". Then in the Edo period (1603-1867 AD), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion.

Since then, the basic shape of both the men's and women's kimono has remained essentially unchanged. Usually the men's kimonos are more simpler than the women's.

Various Styles of Women's Kimono

Choosing a perfect Kimono for women is really a lot of fun. It is very appropriate to consider the occasion, garment materials, social status, marital status and the woman's age.

Furisode

- Literally means "swinging sleeves" which measures with an average between 39 and 42 inches (1,100 mm) in length. Perfect mostly for formal kimono for unmarried women, with colorful patterns that cover the entire garment, coming-of-age ceremonies (seijin shiki) and by unmarried female relatives of the bride at weddings and wedding receptions.

Homongi

- Literally means "visiting wear" consists of patterns that flow over the shoulders, seams and sleeves, similarly to tsukesage. It can be worn to formal parties both married and unmarried women.

Iromuji

- It is a single colored Kimono worn to tea parties both married and unmarried women.

Komon

- Literally means fine pattern that is more casual and can be worn in everyday usual activities around town and dressed up. Its common type is the Edo Komon.

Mofuku

- Signifies as the mourning dress both for men and women. Mostly it is made of plain black silk with five kamon over white undergarments and white tabi. For women, the obi and all accessories are also black. Men wear a subdued obi and black and white or black and gray striped hakama with black or white zori.

Tomesode

- Consists of two types the: Irotomesode (slightly less formal) usually single-color kimono, patterned only below the waistline. Mostly worn by married woman and close relative of the bride and groom at the weddings. Lastly, the Kurotomesode (most formal) worn by the mothers of the bride and groom during weddings.

Tsukesage

- It is the more modest patterns that cover a smaller area-mainly below the waist-than the more formal hōmongi. They may also be worn by married women.The differences from homongi is the size of the pattern, seam connection, and not same clothes at inside and outside at "hakke.

Uchikake

- It is the highly formal kimono worn only by a bride or at a stage performance. Mostly to be worn outside the actual kimono and obi, as a sort of coat.

Susohiki / Hikizuri

- Literally means "trail the skirt" mostly worn by geisha or by stage performers of the traditional Japanese dance. It is quite long, compared to regular kimono, because the skirt is supposed to trail along the floor.

Men in Kimono

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Two Japanese men wearing traditional Kimonos.Traveling man in KimonoMan in Silk Kimono
Two Japanese men wearing traditional Kimonos.
Two Japanese men wearing traditional Kimonos.
Traveling man in Kimono
Traveling man in Kimono
Man in Silk Kimono
Man in Silk Kimono

Kids in Kimono

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Portrait of kids wearing Kimono.At Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto spotted a group of kids wearing traditional Kimonos.
Portrait of kids wearing Kimono.
Portrait of kids wearing Kimono.
At Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto spotted a group of kids wearing traditional Kimonos.
At Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto spotted a group of kids wearing traditional Kimonos.

How To Dress a Kimono - DIY Tutorial

The Magnificent Kimono Guestbook - What can you say about these magnificent Kimonos of Japan?Did you learned something new today?

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    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 5 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens! After having been in Japan 5 times (and sometimes during their Christmas and New Year's celebrations), I've seen and learned a lot about kimonos (from the casual to the ceremonial formal ones). In fact, during some of my trips, I managed to wear the yukata at some of the traditional-style lodges (Ryokan) that we stayed at -- I liked them so much that I bought a few that we keep at the house for guests and for ourselves when we need something to cover our pajamas. Congrats on a Squidoo masterpiece!

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      Great info! Not only are there many different styles of kimono and patterns that are chosen based on social situations, but even the kimono fabric used will limit the situations in which it can be worn! I love them, and have collected a few, both vintage and new.

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