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Kimono - All You Want to Know About This Traditional Cum Modern Dress

Kimono Dress

Beautiful things happen when traditional fashion meets with contemporary style, and kimono is the best example of it. It is a beautiful dress that combines tradition and fashion both.

Kimono is a traditional Japanese dress whose beauty and grace have charmed many people all around the world. It was worn by both men and women, but nowadays it is primarily more popular among women. It’s a full-length, T-shaped robe with long sleeves and a beautiful belt.

Let us take a deep dive to learn more about Kimono.

What is the Kimono?

The word Kimono means “Thing to Wear”. Kimono is made up of 2 Japanese words; “Ki” and “Mono”. “Ki” means “to wear”, and “mono” means “thing”.

It is a traditional Japanese dress with long sleeves that spans from the shoulders to the heels. There are different types of Kimono which are worn on different-different occasions. Kimonos which are used everyday are much simpler than those for formal events. They are generally made of silk and tied with a wide belt called an obi.

History of Kimono

The history of this Japanese Kimono goes back to the Heian period (794-1192).
People were used to wearing the hakama with their kimono during that time (a Chinese-influenced long skirt that is similar to trousers). They ultimately came up with the straight-line-cut kimono-making method, which involved cutting cloth in straight lines and then sewing it together.

When the Japanese began to wear the kimono without the hakama, they invented the obi, a wide sash draped around the waist. People were using kimono as everyday clothes by the Kamakura Period (1185-1333).

The colour combinations of a kimono are traditionally dependent on the seasons in Japan or the wearer’s gender and political standard. Kimono-making had evolved into a specialist craft by the Edo era (1603-1868).

During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when numerous foreign cultures greatly influenced Japan, the Japanese government encouraged people to embrace new clothing styles.

In the present time, usually Japanese wear Western-style apparel and  kimonos are worn only on some special occasions. Weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies, and festivals are among occasions where traditional Japanese dress is worn.

What does the Japanese Kimono represent?

In Japan, a kimono is a symbol of good luck and longevity. Specific motifs used in Kimono symbolise the wearer’s virtues or attributes. These motifs are also associated with the season or occasion, such as weddings & festivals, where the wearer is bestowed with good fortune.. The word “Kimono” conjures up images of Japan in the minds of Westerners.

1. Furisode

Let’s start with the most formal Japanese kimono type; Furisode. It is worn by unmarried women which has sleeves between 100cm- 107cm long. Furisode kimonos frequently include attractive motifs that are meant to catch the eye.

There are actually 3 different furisode kimono types with different sleeve lengths
a) Kofurisode with short sleeves
b) Chu-furisode with medium sleeves
c) Ofurisode with sleeves which almost reaches to ground

2. Tomesode

The most formal kimono worn by married women is tomesode (literally fastened sleeves). Crests and patterns are always present in this type of kimono, which may include gold and silver, and are only visible below the waist.

There are 2 kinds of tomesode
a) Kuro(black): Kuro tomesode are the most formal kimono and always have five crests. Guests can wear this at formal events such as weddings.
b) Iro(coloured): Iro contains any base color other than black, and may have 1, 3, or 5 crests.

3. Houmongi

The literal meaning of Houmongi is “Visiting Wear”. This type of kimono is worn by both married and unmarried women. It comes in a variety of elegant colors and patterns and is perfect for several ceremonies and semi-formal house parties.
Houmongi kimono is made by the “eba” method which looks like a continuous painting spreaded into the whole kimono. Although it had a long history, it was a new kimono style when it first appeared in the Taisho period.

4. Komon

Komon is a casual kimono. When compared to other types of kimons, these are the ones you’ll see the most. They have a vertical striped pattern that repeats themselves. Do not wear this type of kimono to a formal event, despite the fact that it is beautifully designed! Instead, it’s ideal for a stroll across town or small gatherings.

5. Mofuku

Mofuku is a formal mourning kimono dress which is worn by both male and female. This black kimono doesn’t have any pattern except for 5 kamon (family crests) on the sleeves and shoulders. It is completely black mourning cloth which is for family and those who are close to the deceased.

6. Susohiki/Hikizuri

Another name of Susohiki is Hikizuri (lit. “trailing skirt”). It is a long kimono generally worn by geisha, maiko, actors in kabuki and other people who perform traditional Japanese dance. In comparison to other regular kimonos, susohiki are much longer and trail the floor.

7. Iro Muji

Iro Muji is a plain color kimono which has no patterns. The beauty of this kimono style comes from its simplicity. It does not disrupt solemn events or draw too much attention to the wearer as its design is not too flashy. It doesn’t mean that they are designed to wear only on sad occasions. It often flies out of the closet for family celebrations or graduation ceremonies. There is also a type of IroMuji kimono which is designed specifically for tea ceremonies.


Do you want to design your own customised kimono? Then join our advanced adults modern kimono course. In this course, you will learn how to use a commercial pattern and design customized Kimono with appealing fabrics and accessories. Your finished modern kimono may be worn in many seasons, paired with jeans, dressy pants, a dress or skirt.

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