The Mystique of The Kimono

March 19, 2012 by Lady Sunshine  
Published in Fashion

The glamour and fascination of the traditional Japanese kimono.

Image Source

When you think of traditional, ethnic garments, the Japanese kimono is one of the most immediately recognizable from the Far East. It’s an ankle-length, T-shaped and straight-lined robe that is wrapped around the body from the left side over the right. An obi or sash is tied around the waist from the back. It’s usually worn with traditional Japanese socks called tabi, which has a split between the big toe and the second toe to accommodate the thonged footwear, usually either the geta or zori, which look like flip-flop sandals or clogs. 

The kimono is usually worn in a certain and specific, prescribed way – such as layering (which includes wearing a type of under-kimono called hiyoku)  - and a professional kimono dresser maybe needed to help aid in the art of putting on a kimono, which was traditionally passed along from mother to daughter. I like to equate it with origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which require certain creases and folds to create a paper sculpture. If it isn’t done correctly, it won’t come out right. There are even classes that can be taken to learn the proper way to wear a kimono. The women’s outfit usually consists of twelve or more separate pieces while the men’s raiment is typically five.

Kimono worn by women tend to be typically more restrictive in movement than other traditional outfits from the Far East, causing the wearer to shuffle along. Unlike the Korean hanbok, which may bind the breasts, but gives the legs freedom because of the long, full skirt, enabling the ability to run and kick high. Or the Chinese qipao (Mandarin Chinese) or cheongsam (Cantonese) which has high-cut slits, allowing ease of movement. The original qipao was comfortably more loose and baggy with its ample width, which made the simple art of walking a breeze. 

Art by xuexueyuehua

An example of a furisode kimono, which is characterised by the long, swinging sleeves. It’s a formal kimono typically worn by unmarried women. 

Art by xuexueyuehua

An open, modified kimono with the obi secured in the front instead of the back. 

Art by xuexueyuehua

A provocatively revealing kimono. The obi is tied into a big bow in the front, which is commonly done by the oiran or Japanese courtesans. Her feet are clad with a type of geta called okobo

Art by xuexueyuehua

A very short kimono cut above the knees – giving the impression of a mini-dress. 

Art by xuexueyuehua

A kimono barely hanging on by an obi. Hair is accented with a long and dangling Japanese hair ornament called hana kanzashi, which flutters along silk strings, creating a string of blossoms.

Art by xuexueyuehua

An obi tied in the front with a big bow. Hair is adorned with elaborate and over-sized hair ornaments. 

Art by xuexueyuehua

Korean warrioress Seong Mi-Na wearing a Japanese kimono, her collar hanging loosely from behind – a subtle, erotic suggestion – giving a glimpse of the nape of her neck, considered the most sensuous part of a woman while adorned in a kimono.

Art by xuexueyuehua

A kimono accompanied by a Noh mask, which adds a festive touch. 

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Kimono-clad maiko or apprentice geisha – traditional, female Japanese entertainers trained in classical arts such as dance and music. 

One “Like” from Shirley Shuler
One “Like” from dodolbete
One “Like” from Wrath Warbone
Three anonymous ”Likes” 

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7 Responses to “The Mystique of The Kimono”
  1. shirley shuler Says:

    Hi Lady Sunshine, I for one am fascinated by the traditional Japanese kimono, I just love everything about the kimono. The pictures are so colorful and beautiful and you write with such detail, if I were to close my eyes, I could picture myself in a Japanese kimono, thank you so much for these wonderful articles :)

  2. marqjonz Says:

    In truth, I didn’t think the women in some of the art work were wearing kimonos because they look undraped. When I did a search on “revealing kimonos,” I read about Emiri Miyasaka, etc. Thanks for updating my knowledge of kimonos.

  3. dodolbete Says:

    I always want to try a kimono… or at least a yukata, but haven’t got the chance to. They look so lovely ^_^

  4. T. S. GARP Says:

    I agree, the Japanese Kimono is very mysterious and full of reverence. Lady Sunshine you always have interesting articles. Nice share! :)

  5. papaleng Says:

    good information Lady Sunshine. am I correct to say that Kimono’s popularity is dwindling? My understanding is that this traditional dress is worn by women in few remote places in Japan.

  6. TooLate Says:

    Very nice…the Japanese Kimono is so colorful and beautiful.You made the right choise.Good work!

  7. Wrath Warbone Says:

    Very pretty pictures.

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