The kimono

The humble beginnings of the long kimono, perhaps the most iconic Japanese article of apparel, extend back over a thousand years, to the Heian Period. This traditional dress is still worn for important events such as weddings, funerals, and tea ceremonies, despite the fact that it is no longer a popular daily choice.


The kimono has a long and illustrious history

During the Japanese Heian Period, clothing resembling the modern-day kimono was first worn (794-1185). It was frequently paired with the Chinese-influenced hakama (a long skirt with or without a leg division, comparable to pants) or a mo (a form of apron). Later, wearing the kimono-style clothing without the hakama became fashionable to remove the hakama and wear a kimono-style outfit. The obi (the broad sash worn around the waist) was born as a result of the wearer's desire for a new means to keep the robe closed.


The kimono had become a daily clothing choice by the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), and layering had become fashionable. The traditional Japanese color combinations were initially experimented with during this time; the colors were based on seasons, gender, and sometimes political and familial relations. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), kimono making evolved into a specialized trade, and some long kimonos were literal pieces of art, costing more than a family house. People kept their kimonos and passed them down through the generations.

Long kimonos were popular for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was their versatility. They're effortlessly layerable and adaptable to any season. Heavy silk kimonos are appropriate for the fall and winter, while the yukata, a light linen and cotton kimono variant, is appropriate for the summer. Yukatas are still widely worn during summer festivals and fireworks displays (Miyabi).

Men's and women's kimono fashions have stayed almost constant since the Edo Period. The complexity of kimono-wearing, as well as the bulky sandals necessary, eventually became an impediment. During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when the government encouraged individuals to adopt Western dress patterns, the kimono fell out of favor.



Things You Didn't Know

Though kimonos are frequently passed down through the generations, they may be rather costly, reaching several hundred pounds in some cases. This is due to the fact that it is historically made of expensive fabrics like silk and linen, as well as the fact that its seams and edges must be finished by hand. However, the most expensive alternatives are normally held for special occasions, and an informal cotton variant (yukata) is now available throughout Japan.

While kimonos are popular among fashionistas all over the world, they are particularly associated with Japanese etiquette and can represent the formality of an occasion. Wearing the proper outfit for the right occasion is a means of expressing respect and gratitude. The style, styling, and color of the kimono, as well as the manner the obi is knotted at the rear, can all convey rank, formality, and prestige. Only a dead body clothed for burial should wear the right side over the left when wearing a kimono.



Today’s role

Though kimonos are inextricably related to Japanese tradition, they have recently become a cult fashion item all over the world. In the late 1990s, there was a resurgence of interest in Japanese culture around the world. The kimono's delicate designs, luscious colors, and distinctive silhouette drew the attention of a fashion-conscious generation eager to stand out, particularly on social media.

Wearing one provides a change from the routine, an opportunity to dress up and connect to a rediscovered history for some. Others simply want to wear something breathtakingly lovely and feminine as an alternative to a designer gown that might be seen on everyone. In reality, many of the kimono's current devotees have never visited Japan but are nonetheless drawn to it for special occasions.

Similarly, an increase in kimono rental stores in Japan implies that more individuals are interested in rediscovering this iconic clothing, which is normally reserved for formal occasions such as weddings. The kimono's new supporters are confident that the garment can still play a role in our everyday wardrobe, thanks to a burgeoning breed of young designers offering a fresh twist on traditional shapes and patterns.


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