The national dress of Japan, kimono in varying forms have existed since the Kofun period (about the year 300!). In the modern era, kimono are typically reserved for special occasions, but a small number of fashion conscious people are bringing them back to everyday fashion.
Quick kimono vocabulary
Kimono (着物, kimono) literally means “thing to wear” in Japanese, but what we know as kimono today originally came from the kosode (小袖) or underlayer garment that the upper classes wore during the Heian era (794-1185). They are made in a wide variety of fabrics, everything from poly-cotton blends to extremely fine silks, and can range in price from ¥10,000 for a simple set to millions of yen.
Kimono can be broken down into several subtypes. Furisode are the colorful, long-sleeved kimono worn mainly by young and unmarried women—these sleeves come in different lengths depending on if you’re wearing a ofurisode (about 114 cm), a chufurisode (about 100-95 cm), or a kofurisode (about 85 cm).
Young women wearing furisode can be easily spotted every year on seijin no hi (成人の日)
Tomesode, on the other hand, have short sleeves and are typically worn by older/married women, and are less colorful or elaborately decorated. There are other types, but these are the two most common, aside from the lighter summer yukata (浴衣), that is.
Part of the essential kimono ensemble are the obi or brocade belt, which can be tied in numerous different knots (elaborate for younger women, single/simple for older), the obijime (帯締め), a decorative string that ties around the obi, the obidome (帯留め) a decorative charm/bead that sits in the middle of the obijime, tabi (足袋) the traditionally white split-toe socks, and either geta (下駄, wooden clogs) or zori (草履, sandals).
Other must-haves are kanzashi (簪) which …continue reading