Skip to main content
our twitterour facebook page pintrest youtube

The Kimono is a Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. Today, the kimono is most often worn by women, and usually only on special occasions, however some older men and women still wear the kimono on a daily basis. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies and other very special or very formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public. The Kimono is wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right, except when dressing the dead for burial. The kimono is secured by a sash called and obi, which is tied at the back. Kimono is generally worn with traditional footwear and split-toe socks. Since the Edo period (1603-1867 AD) the basic shape of both men’s and women’s kimono has remained unchanged.

A woman’s kimono may easily exceed $10,000USD, and a complete outfit, with kimono, undergarments, obi, ties, socks, sandals and accessories can exceed $20,000USD. A single obi may cost several thousand dollars. However, most kimonos owned by kimono hobbyists or by practitioners of traditional arts are far less expensive. The kimono consists of 4 main strips of fabric, two panels covering the body and two panels forming the sleeves. Additional smaller strips form the narrow front panels and collar. The typical woman’s kimono outfit consists of twelve or more separate pieces that are worn, matched, and secured in prescribed ways. The assistance of a licensed professional kimono dresser may be needed. These professional kimono dressers are called upon mostly for special occasions; they work out of hair salons and make house calls. Choosing an appropriate type of kimono requires knowledge of the garment’s symbolism and subtle social messages, reflecting a woman’s age, marital status, and the level of formality of the occasion.

Men’s kimono outfits are far simpler compared to the women’s kimono. Men’s kimono outfits typically consist of five pieces, not including footwear. The principal distinction between the men’s and women’s kimono is the fabric. The kimono men wear is typically a subdued dark color, black, dark blues, greens and browns are common. Fabrics are usually matte, and may have a subtle pattern. More casual kimono may be in lighter colors. The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon on the chest, shoulders and back. Kimonos are often recycled and altered to make kimonos for children, handbags, accessories, covers, cases for sweet-picks in tea ceremonies.