Drape in Elegance with Women's Kimonos
The kimono for ladies can have either twelve or more pieces. Usually, at the kimono rental and kimono studios, you need assistance or help to wear the kimono.
These professional dressers help with tying the obi and with the layers of clothing. A tomesode is known as the most formal kimono and is worn by married Japanese women. The fabric has a pattern and is always below the waist.
Women's Kimono Origins
Each layer of the kimono represents an element of Japan's history and led to the style we know today. When the kimono first appeared in the eighth century, noble women of the Heian period wore twelve layers, symbolizing both the seasons and events during the peaceful Heian period from 794 to 1192 AD.
- Geishas and Kimonos
Geisha are the world-famous traditional Japanese female entertainers who are trained in various performing arts and also act as hostesses, mainly to receive male customers.
The kimono has long been a feature of the geisha, along with their white faces, hair ornaments such as flowers and blossoms known as kanzashi, and their beautifully applied make-up.
As with other indigenous dress traditions around the world, the style of Japanese kimono for the geisha depends on the season, the festival and the event she is attending.
The different colours and embroidery patterns also reflect the age of the geisha herself. A junior's collar will be predominantly red with silver, gold or white embroidery. In the second and third years of training, it will be embroidered with subtle white details when seen from the front, and will be completely white when she is a fully trained geisha.
Traditional Kimono for Ladies
Traditional Japanese kimonos have beautiful patterns and designs that can be intricate or simple, but are all unique.
They are made of natural materials such as silk, hemp and cotton, which together with the pattern and weaving of the fabric determine the type of kimono, such as dresses, dressing down, black formal, fine patterns and spun silk.
These kimono are suitable for both casual and formal occasions such as parties, cosplaying, cherry blossom viewing, attending wedding ceremonies and other events.
Modern Kimono for Women
The modern kimono can really take basic pieces you already have in your wardrobe and help create a fashionable outfit.
It is also a garment that is suitable for women of all ages and body types as it is not form-fitting. Kimonos are a great addition to your summer wardrobe.
Take the modern kimono with you on your next trip as it is easy to pack and can double as a swimming costume for the beach or a jacket for dinner on the boardwalk. Here you will find kimonos of all types and different lengths, from thigh to below the knee.
Nowadays, (traditional) kimonos are a very rare sight, but the modern kimono is very popular for its comfort and style. There are still many people interested in wearing modern kimonos, including younger people around the world.
The long-sleeved kimono or "furisode" is completely covered with beautiful patterns that are even more intricate compared to other kimonos.
The patterns also make these kimonos a beautiful piece of jewellery. While furisode are popular because maiko and geiko in Japan traditionally wore them, they are now also worn by ordinary women for ceremonies and special occasions.
The kimono jacket or "haori" is a jacket worn over a kimono. It is used to protect your kimono from dust and to keep you warm in the colder months. It is also worn as a jacket for more formal occasions.
Wedding kimono or 'uchikake' is a heavily embroidered kimono and is completely covered with patterns in different colours. Traditionally, these kimonos were worn as bridal kimono at Japanese wedding ceremonies.
The colourful, intricate designs also make this kimono beautiful for decorative purposes.
Geisha Kimono Style
Since geisha are not ordinary Japanese housewives, they differ not only from the appearance in the face, but also in the wardrobe, for example.
- Susohiki is the traditional kimono for the geisha. The length of the sleeves is reminiscent of a tomesode. The colors vary, depending on the season or occasion, from black to purple. Mostly, however, they are muted colors that are not flashy, as the geisha wants to attract attention with her art, not so much with her appearance. In addition, the Susohiki kimonos are very long when worn, it would drag across the floor when walking normally. However, a geisha would never do that. Geisha wear with a refined, very elegant handle in front of the upper abdomen their kimono always gathered, so that it never touches the floor unnecessarily. Only for photo opportunities, like the wedding kimono uchikake and shiromuku, a susohiki is placed on the floor, but is picked up again at the first step. With the susohiki, she wears either silk zori or, when it rains, the wooden getas.
- The hikizuri is the traditional kimono for the maikos (geisha apprentices). The maikos also differ in appearance from the geishas. While the geishas, who are older, wear less conspicuous make-up and behave in a less conspicuous manner, the maikos wear bright colors, luxuriant Kanzashi hair ornaments and high platform shoes, which also look very childish, because the maiko is supposed to look young. The traditional training starts at about six and a half years of age, but today it is possible to start at the age of 16. Therefore, the hikizuri often has lush, colorful patterns and the primary colors are usually bright green, or blue, as the maiko is supposed to appear childlike to show the lack of maturity in contrast to the trained geisha. Furthermore, the Hikizuri has long sleeves, but they are shorter than the Furisode, because such long sleeves would interfere with dancing. Also, like the Susohiki, the height is very long. The maiko wears to her hikizuri not like the geisha simple, but colorful, striking and lush Kanzashi hair jewelry. She also wears the typical platform shoes, the okobo.
The hikizuri kimono is also often used in kabuki to play the role of a young girl (e.g. Bandō Tamasaburō in Sagi Musume).
Other Types of Kimonos for Women
- Uchikake: The uchikake is a part of the bridal costume. It is a long-sleeved kimono richly adorned with brightly colored embroidery and motifs usually of cranes, pine trees, flowing water and flowers. It is made from the finest silk, and the lower part is padded to give it more volume. It is worn on top of the shiromuku as a cape and without obi.
- Shiromuku: The term shiromuku is used to refer to the all-white uchikake. It literally means "pure white". Originally worn by noblewomen for formal occasions, it is now an essential component of Japanese bridal attire.
- Kakeshita: Kakeshita is a single-color furisode. Like the uchikake, it has a padded hem. Uses: during the ceremony.
- Shitagasane: Another layer of kimono worn under the kakeshita and is a little shorter than the others. Uses: wedding ceremony and ceremony reception.
- Hikifurisode or hanayome: A wedding furisode worn by the bride after the ceremony. It has long sleeves and brightly colored patterns all over the kimono. Uses: after the wedding ceremony (banquet, etc.).
- Mofuku: Mofuku is the traditional Japanese kimono worn when expressing sadness, for example, at funerals or Hōji (Buddhist memorial service). It is worn by women of any marital status. It is totally black without any ornamentation, except for the family crest (the mofuku carries five crests). Uses: burial or Buddhist memorial service.
- Furisode: The furisode is the most formal kimono worn by young women, particularly unmarried women. It is characterized by very colorful and exuberant motifs and long sleeves, which generally reach the ankles. These characteristics are to attract potential suitors. Uses: Bridal ceremonies (only for young, unmarried women), for the first tea ceremony of the year, high school graduation, etc.
- Kurotomesode: The kurotomesode is the most formal kimono for married or engaged women. The pattern of these kimonos is governed by more conservative rules. Therefore, the colors are more sober and the sleeves are shorter (between 55 and 70 centimeters). It is black on the bottom and has magnificent motifs on the lower part placed asymmetrically, with the most important part concentrated on the left. The older the woman is, the smaller the motif is and the more it is placed towards the bottom. In the case of a younger woman, the larger the motif and the brighter the colors that compose it. It is the most formal and therefore has five shields (mon or kamon) printed on it, four on the top of the sleeves and one on the back. The matching accessories must always be gold or silver colored. Uses: wedding ceremony and ceremony reception. It can only be worn by the closest relatives of the bride and groom (married mothers and sisters). The rest of the married guests, according to the etiquette, would wear an irotomesode with five mon.
- Irotomesode: This type has a background color, and like the kurotomesode, the motifs are on the bottom. In Japan the irotomesode can also be worn by single women. Depending on the number of mon (shields), the formality of the kimono is decided. It can have five, three, one or no shields. An irotomesode can be replaced by a hōmongi in a formal ceremony. An irotomesode with a shield is more formal than wearing a hōmongi. In the case of a wedding ceremony, the guests who would wear this kimono would be married but not directly related to the bride and groom (mothers and sisters). Therefore, both female friends and other relatives should wear it on such an occasion. Matching it with silver or gold obi and zouri, as required by etiquette. Uses: Wedding ceremony and formal ceremony.
- Hōmongi: Houmongi literally means visiting kimono and can be worn by both single and married women on semi-formal occasions (visits or parties). It can be of any color and the asymmetrical patterns are dyed around the body without breaking at the seams. It is less formal than the previous ones and usually differs the outer material with the inner material (lining). The length of the sleeves varies according to marital status.
- Iromuji: Its main characteristic is a single color. It can incorporate motifs of the same tone (as can be seen in the detail). It can be worn on semi-formal occasions and is ideal for the tea ceremony. By incorporating a shield on the back of the back, it becomes a more formal attire. A piece that can be worn regardless of age or marital status. It is made of silk crepe or tsumugi.
- Tsukesage: they do not carry any crest. They are for semi-formal wear. The embroidery, dyeing and weaving come from the shoulder on the left hand, as well as on the right hand and to the back.
- Komon: The komon is a kimono for everyday wear, so it is the most informal. Delicate small patterns are regularly distributed decorating the fabric, which is dyed using stencils. Uses: for shopping, an informal lunch, daily wear, etc.
- Edo Komon: Edo-komon is a type of komon characterized by small dots arranged in larger patterns. It is the only komon that can carry shields. When looking at a kimono of this type from a distance, it will appear to be of a solid color, so it is equivalent in formality to an iromuji and can be worn on the same occasions. This technique originated and spread during the Edo period, when the samurai class was the dominant (no shield, mon) tea ceremony (it has the same formality as an iromuji).
- Yukata: is a kimono made of cotton, which in turn is divided into two types: a more elaborate one, used for festivals and typical parties, and a simpler one (called nemaki), which the Japanese wore to sleep.