Our Selection: Authentic Japanese Kimono and Silk Kimono Robes
AsianIdeas proudly brings you this fine selection of authentic Japanese kimono, kimono robes for casual, special occasions, and everyday use, and silk kimonos for men, women, and children that are made from 100% silk from Japan and China, plus a complete line of the Japanese accessories, i.e., from the Asian hair ornaments to the undergarments and Asian footwear that you need to use them with, and the Asian hand fans and hand bags to complete your Japanese-style clothing.
Our Japanese kimonos are specially imported from Japan and China, so you don't have to look far beyond the borders and outside our online site in order to buy kimono that comes straight from Japan or don yourself with a real Japanese kimono, kimono dress, kimono robe, silk robe, or cotton kimono robe that makes for the charm of a Japanese girl or woman, the noble guise of a Japanese boy or man, and that is prized in the East as a garment of luxury.
So shop our selection of authentic Japanese kimono and silk kimono robes, or invest in these classic pieces and our equally authentic selection of Chinese dresses and Chinese Cheongsam for men that are sure to please you and your crowd and make for a fine Japanese gift, Asian wedding present for the bride and groom, and Japanese dress or Asian dress to wear to a Japanese festival, Asian event, or for leisure at home or while on travel.
What is a Kimono?
Kimono is a Japanese term that originally translates to clothing, or something to wear, but until the recent years, it has been more specifically referred to the traditional Japanese clothing, which is an ankle-length straight-cut, and wrap-around dress that features long and wide sleeves and secured at the waist with an obi sash or belt.
The emphasis on a Japanese kimono's design basically lies in the patterns and colors of their fabric, thus, it has not become prone to trend and style changes, unlike the Western clothing, and while men prefer kimono robes with simple patterns and made of dark-colored fabrics, women usually prefer kimono robes with cheerful patterns and colorful designs. The kimono comes in a handful of styles, especially for women, and there are styles that are ideal as an everyday kimono, for casual celebrations, and special occasions, and which reflect the status of their wearer.
How to Wear a Japanese Kimono?
Japanese kimonos for men and women are typically worn over a piece or a set of kimono undergarments, which, initially were made to protect the ancient Japanese wearers from the cold weather in Japan, but today, it has become more of a protective underclothing, so as to protect its delicate and expensive fabric from sweat. Wearing the tabi socks is the first step to dressing up in a Japanese kimono, followed by the underclothing, the kimono robe itself, and then the tying of the obi belt.
Brief History of the Japanese Kimono
The earliest history of the Japanese kimono dates back to the Jomon period, where the kimono was in the form of a tubular dress with holes to put the arms through and that is draped loosely over the body since the wearers did not have much use for clothing as their main activity was pottery, hunting, and gathering.
Between 300 and 550 AD, the Japanese clothing became a two-piece garment consisting of a round-necked, wrap-type top and trousers (for men) and long skirts (for women), which design was greatly influenced by the dress of the Chinese who arrived and settled with the Japanese. At this time also, the Chinese introduced silk from silkworms, which were then used by the Japanese to make a kimono in a single color, that's white, but by the end of the Nara Period, its sleeves became long and wide – a style that became distinct to Japan.
During the Heian Period, colorful kimonos became popular among the Japanese women, especially among the courtesans and Kabuki entertainers, who wore them in layers to protect themselves from the cold and to showcase different colors on their dress, plus a new kimono-making technique was developed, known as the straight-line-cut method, which made it easy to layer the different types of garments. This kimono style was adopted for years and is what we now know as the Japanese traditional clothing.
Occasions for Wearing the Japanese Kimono
Japanese kimonos are now considered as traditional Japanese clothing and usually reserved for special occasions, like attending tea ceremony; weddings; the Coming-of-Age Day, which is an annual national holiday that aims to encourage 20-year old Japanese to become self-reliant members of the society; graduation ceremonies, and, Shichi-Go-San Festival, which is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for girls aged 3 and 7, and boys aged 3 and 5, to celebrate the growth of being young children.
The Japanese kimono also adds color to the Japanese New Year, Hanami Festival (cherry blossom-viewing), summer festivals in Japan, special ceremonies, and other special occasions celebrated by the Japanese.
Basic Types of Japanese Kimono
Know which kimono type to pick for everyday use, casual celebrations, and formal occasions by having the following basic types of Japanese kimono for your kimono buying guide:
Japanese kimono for women, particularly, for formal occasions are of different styles for the married and unmarried women, distinguished for their long arms, and include the following:
Furisode Kimono. A very colorful kimono for a single Japanese girl or woman. It features extra long, swinging sleeves, which signify that she is unmarried and is a legal adult, and worn at the Coming-of-Age Day, graduation ceremony, wedding party of relatives, and formal party.
Tomesode Dress. A formal Japanese kimono for married women and is of two (2) types:
- Kuro-tomesode: A black tomesode or Japanese kimono for married women that features an image of five (5) family crests, a colorful design on the bottom of the dress or below the waistline, and usually worn with a gold obi or an obi sash that matches the design on the bottom of the dress. It is worn by the mother or close family member of the bride or groom to a Japanese wedding ceremony.
- Irotomesode: A colored tomesode or Japanese kimono for married women. In terms of design, it is similar to the kuro-tomesode in that it features designs below the waistline only and can be worn at weddings by married women who are not closely related to the bride or groom and other festive occasions.
Homongi. Formal kimono dress for married women. It takes over the role of the Furisode and worn at a wedding party, tea ceremony, graduation ceremony, and other formal occasions.
Kakeshita. An elaborate type of Furisode, which is worn under an Uchikake or on its own. Typically, a white Kakeshita is worn on top of a white Uchikake, and a colorful kakeshita is worn under a colorful uchikake.
Bridal Kimono. The Japanese bride wears several kimonos on her wedding day, including the:
- Shiromoku. A white, heavily-embroidered kimono worn by the Japanese bride on the wedding ceremony itself or on a wedding in a shrine, often matched with an elaborate headpiece, called a tsunokakushi.
- Uchikake. This highly formal kimono is the ornate and unbelted, often colorful, and the most exuberant bridal kimono worn by the bride at the wedding reception. It is usually brocaded, heavily embroidered, or painted, have a thickly-padded hem and a trail, and worn over another kimono, called the Kakeshita.
Casual kimono for women, on the other hand, include the:
- Tukesage. Semi-formal kimono for women and distinguished for its design that is facing upwards. It is worn on a party, tea ceremony, and important events.
- Komon. The "normal" kimono dress for women and characterized for the very small patterns that lie everywhere in the kimono. It is worn at a house party and when going out around town.
- Iromuji. Solid-colored kimonos usually pastel-hued. It can be worn on any occasion, but when it features the family crest, it becomes a formal kimono.
- Susohiki. Mostly worn by geishas or by traditional Japanese dance performers. This kimono for women is long enough to trail on the floor and is padded at the hem.
Kimono for Men. They are, typically, dark-colored or feature simple patterns. The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon on the chest, shoulders and back, while slightly less formal is the three-kamon kimono.
Other types of Japanese Clothing for Men and Women
Kimono for Summer. They are typically unlined to keep their user cool during the warm summer months and include the:
- Yukata. A light cotton kimono robe that is used by men and women during the summer months and after bathing at hot spring resorts or traditional inns. Originally worn to the bath house by the upper class and made of plain white cotton, the yukata became popular among the common people and were often stencil-dyed.
- Jinbei. A casual, summer kimono consisting of a pair of shorts wrap-type top and matching shorts.
Hakama. A general term for the wide-legged trousers or pleated, skirt-like garment that is tied at the waist and worn with kimono, except with the yukata. Both men and women wear the hakama on certain Japanese martial arts, like archery, and because it increases the formality of the kimono, men wear it frequently on formal occasions, like tea ceremonies and weddings, and women wear it almost exclusively on graduation ceremonies.
Haori. Also known as traditional kimono jacket, is a lightweight, hip- or thigh-length jacket that is not meant to closed in the front and worn by both and women with kimono for warmth, for keeping the kimono clean and dry, and for adding formality to an outfit, such as when it is worn by the groom.
Mofuku. A black kimono for men and women that is worn exclusively to a funeral of a close family or friend. It features five (5) family crests and has to be worn with black accessories, except for the undergarment and tabi socks.
Learn more about the History of the Kimono and tips on How to Wear the Kimono and Yukata Robe here on AsianIdeas.com.