The Japanese kimono is a traditional garment worn by the Japanese population since the 14th century. The art of putting on and wearing a traditional kimono, the kitsuke in Japanese, is the result of a codified know-how that few people master nowadays.
In the Japanese tradition, the kimono is not a simple garment. Depending on the patterns, the material, the length of the sleeves or the size of the obi (the kimono belt), this traditional Japanese garment tells us about the social category and marital status of the wearer.
Nowadays, Japanese people have adopted Western-style clothing in their everyday life. The kimono is reserved for special occasions such as weddings, ceremonies, festivals and traditional artistic performances.
How to put on a Kimono ?
The Japanese kimono is a superb garment and sometimes a true work of art. This large T-shaped fabric is the privileged support of the artistic expression of Japanese painters and designers. The shape of the kimono is quite simple but the prints can be declined infinitely, from the traditional Japanese pattern to a much more modern design.
The kimono is a very salient garment which is not easy to put on. Indeed, it is an outfit that requires several accessories to be properly maintained. The art of dressing with a kimono, called "Kitsuke" is part of the traditional Japanese education. It is taught by parents and in some specialized schools.
How to tie a Kimono ?
1. Put on the Tabi
We start by putting on a nice pair of traditional white socks called tabi in Japan.
A susoyoke (petticoat) and a hadajuban (thin cotton top) is slipped over her underwear.
2. Put on the traditional undergarments
Then we put on a nagajuban, a kind of light fabric dress that provides an extra layer to protect the kimono from perspiration.
3. Put on the Koshi-Himo
A koshi-himo (kind of cotton belt) is placed under the chest to close the nagajuban as well as a small rigid band called erishin in the hem of the collar to give it a neat appearance.
4. Attach your Date-Jime
A date-jime (belt) is attached above the koshi-himo.
5. Put on the Kimono
When putting on your kimono, be sure to center it. The seams of the collar must be parallel to those of the nagajuban. A clip can be used to hold the collar in place, without raising it too much on the nape of the neck.
6. Close your Kimono
We always cross the left side over the right side. A second koshi-himo will be used to attach the kimono at the waist.
7. Adjust the Kimono
The kimono is adjusted by folding the excess fabric over the koshi-himo and then tied over an obi (traditional belt decorated with embroidery or patterns).
8. Adjust your Collar
The collar is adjusted and the last koshi-himo is tied below the chest to keep it in place.
9. Put on the Second Deta-Jime
The second deta-jime is fixed over the koshi-himo in order to maintain it.
10. Put on the Obi Belt
We complete all these steps with a beautiful obi belt which will come to hide the deta-jime. The knot is tied in the back.
Find your perfect Kimono
Once all these advices assimilated, it is time to find the perfect kimono according to your morphology:
- Morphology in 8: you have beautiful feminine shapes, nicely rounded shoulders and a marked waist. With such a well-balanced silhouette, you can wear it all. A satin kimono will sublimate your curves in a subtle and elegant way and the belt will perfectly mark your waist.
- H-shaped morphology: your hips are as wide as your shoulders and your waist is not very pronounced. To enhance your body, select a mid-long or long kimono so that your waist is not marked and wear it open to feminize your figure as much as possible.
- Morphology in A: you have hips more developed than shoulders. Choose a flowing, unsaturated kimono with a length that reaches to mid-thigh or longer and don't forget the belt to mark the waist.
- V-shaped morphology: you have shoulders more developed than hips. Opt for a long, flowing kimono with straight sleeves and a rather neutral color, and put everything on the belt to highlight your waist.
- Morphology in X: you are thin with harmonious proportions and a rather marked waist. To compensate for this lack of shape, you will have to bet everything on your waist to feminize your silhouette to the maximum. Opt for a short kimono with a neckline to highlight your small bust, floral prints and a belt to mark the waist.
- O morphology: you have beautiful feminine curves but a slightly marked waist. With a silhouette all in roundness, you should not belt but leave your kimono open to give an impression of vaporous fluidity. Opt for a printed and very colorful kimono, a flowing material without satin and a short or mid-thigh length.
What to wear under a Kimono ?
Traditionally, you don't wear any kind of underwear under your kimono, but nowadays most women do for the sake of comfort and hygiene.
When wearing your favorite kimono, you should wear a "hadajuban" and a "koshimaki" directly on your naked skin as mentioned earlier. (the "juban" comes over those).