“Confidently doll up with Kimono the best way!”

 “Confidently doll up with Kimono the best way!”

The Kimono is the national and traditional clothing of the country of Japan. The first ancestor of the kimono was born in the Heian period (794-1192). It is undoubtedly one of the world's most instantly recognizable traditional garments of the proud Japanese citizens and somehow widely known as the older, more traditional, and more expensive garment. But did you know that the origin of the Japanese Kimono or gofuku was derived from the garments worn in China during the Wu dynasty. The Han Chinese clothing or the silk robe greatly influenced the original Kimonos of Japan. It was an old type of dress that was worn prior to the Chinese Qing Dynasty during the middle of 1600s. As the rulers changed, the Kimono dress changed as well. From the 8th to 11th century, a unique Japanese style of layering silk robes was established after taking inspiration from the Chinese Kimono. The word kimono literally means “thing to wear” or basically "clothing", and up until the middle nineteenth century it was the form of dress worn by everyone in Japan. In more recent years the western clothing Kimono is worn often in the everyday lives of the Japanese people. Though, as time goes by, the influence of the other nearby countries as well as the modern trends such as the different millennial designs and styles of clothing affected the Japanese people in their preference of clothing. But still their love and pride for their cultures and traditions will never be forsaken. Their traditional clothing or dress Kimono is still apparently alive and striving, in fact this can be also seen not just in the root country but also in many different or international countries. The Kimono can be worn mostly to special occasions particularly in celebrating assorted ceremonies and special events, funerals, coming-of-age ceremonies or seijin shiki, and in different kinds of seasonal festivals. Kimonos are generally made of colourful, bright, and durable yet cosy silk or brocade material and have an inner layer and an outer layer, and are worn with at least two collars that are indeed vibrant and fascinating to wear for both men and women in all types of ages. The Kimono is a T-shaped, wrapped-front garment with large square sleeves and a rectangular body reaching from the shoulders all the way down to the heels, and is usually worn left side wrapped over right, unless the person wearing it is deceased, it is worn the other way.

Kimono is hundreds of years old yet still holding its unique quality and legend, it has the closest similarities with the female clothes or dresses that can be seen in the year fifty’s in most countries because of its snaps and straps and all sorts that are hidden beneath the clothing that are necessary designs. Well it is not as easy as wearing other types of clothing, but eventually wearing one the outcome or effect would be all worth the effort.

In this research article, it will discuss the proper way of wearing the traditional clothing of the rich country of Japan which is the Kimono. The steps are given one by one as a guide to follow carefully. Indeed with motivational love and passion there is no difficulty in doing anything, many might say it’s a bit hard and tricky but practicing it with those qualities anyone could be you can wear Kimono beautifully and confidently proud! Hope you readers will enjoy and learn in this simple yet educational research article and share it to others as well. Just be yourself, and do your best but most importantly you must enjoy it with a heart.

The following are the three main head topics to discuss and given underneath the numbers of their own subtopics:

  1. Necessary dressing tools and preparations before putting on a kimono

So first of all have a check list of the needed or necessary tools for preparation in wearing a kimono. As aforementioned a while ago, there are different types of kimono for different occasions and seasons, including those worn by men or females. Just like all fashion choices around the world, men's and women's kimonos also have differences. For the basic Kimono for men and women the differences are: Women's kimono tend to have more color varieties, usually with vibrant colors like red, pink and purple, while male kimono stick to the subtle colors of black, brown, navy and grey. Men's kimono don't often have strong patterns, usually only the kamon (家紋, family symbol) on formal kimono, if anything. But women's kimonos often feature patterns related to nature. While both men's and women's kimono can be one-piece or two-piece—with hakama (袴) pants worn on the lower half of body in formal situations—usually hakama are more commonly worn by men than women.Other than those worn daily by some older people and performers of traditional arts kimonos are a much less common sight these days but are still widely worn on special occasions such as weddings and graduation ceremonies.

But in today’s article we will tackle the basic or common type of kimono for women as for a start-up. There are several garments and accessories necessary for wearing kimono, some of which are necessary while others are optional. Given below are the following recommended pieces as essential to wearing kimono properly, starting with the layer of undergarments and working outward based on the reference from Voyapon website.

  • Hadajuban and Susoyoke and long johns - These are worn over the regular undergarments. If you have a kimono or sports bra that is flattening rather than uplifting, this is helpful. These are the first kimono specific articles of clothing. The susoyoke 裾除け is like a slip, though some women prefer a pair of long johns, which can make kimono more comfortable, particularly in warm weather. The hadajuban 肌襦袢 is like a thin camisole.
  • Nagajuban and erishin - The nagajuban 長襦袢 is a thin silk robe slightly shorter than the kimono, so the sleeves and hem cannot be seen underneath it. Only a strip of the collar of the nagajuban is exposed under the kimono. You can also sew on your own collars if you prefer a different pattern or color. Any strip of cloth 90cm x 15cm is fine. Along with the nagajuban, you should purchase an erishin, a strip of plastic that slips under the collar to keep it looking neat.
  • Korin belt and two koshi-himo - Koshi-himo 腰ひも is a thin cotton sashes used to tie the nagajuban and kimono closed. You’ll need at least 2 of these, perhaps 3, but they are simple and inexpensive. A more specific accessory known as a korin belt can be used in place of a third koshi-himo to hold the kimono collar in place.
  • Date-jime - The date-jime 伊達締め is a wide sash which secures the nagajuban and ties the kimono to the body before putting on the obi. It helps to define the cylinder-like figure that is the ideal body shape for wearing a kimono. You will need two of them, one on the nagajuban and one on the kimono.
  • Obi - The obi is the larger outer sash or belt tied around the kimono. It comes in a variety of styles and materials and is the primary accessory used to complement the kimono. Maru obi and Fukuro obi are more formal styles, often with metallic threads and elaborate embroidery. Nagoya obi were invented as obi of convenience, partially sewn together at one end to make tieing easier. Hanhaba obi are half-width obi generally worn with yukata or casual types of kimono, and which do not necessitate any extra accessories. There are endless styles of obi tying, some of which are incredibly complicated and others simple enough for even the first-timer to succeed at.
  • Kimono 着物 - The kimono is the garment itself. It can be made of silk, linen, cotton, wool or polyester. There are many types of kimono, though the most recognizable is the furisode 振袖 with long sleeves that nearly touch the ground. Furisode are worn by unmarried women and are sometimes associated with maiko, the girls studying to become geisha. Due to the length of the sleeves, furisode are not the most practical kimono to wear, so Nichole chose a lovely yet casual pink and blue komon 小紋, perfect for a stroll around town.
  • Tabi - Tabi 足袋 are split-toed, ankle-high socks designed to wear with traditional Japanese footwear. Tabi are traditionally white, but today, you can find them in many colors and patterns that can complement your kimono ensemble or personal style.
  • Zori and Geta - Zori 草履 and geta 下駄 are traditional types of Japanese footwear. Zori are flatter, and modern styles are made of synthetic materials that create endless options for colors and patterns. Zori are considered more formal footwear than geta. Geta are made of wood and make the familiar “clip-clop” sound as you walk in them. Some are rectangular in shape, while others are more elegantly cut in the silhouette of a foot.

1.1  Wear socks before dressing

Put on the tabi or the socks before dressing. This is an often-overlooked first step, but putting on tabi socks after getting dressed in kimono can be tricky. At the very least, it increases the chances that something will slip out of place as you bend and twist to get your tabi socks on.

 Japanese tabi are usually understood today to be a kind of split-toe sock that is not meant to be worn alone outdoors, much like regular socks. Tabi are worn by both men and women, with traditional formal footwear such as zōri, and sometimes the less-formal geta. Tabi are typically worn with clothing such as kimono. Tabi are sewn with a divided toe, in order to be worn with thonged footwear.

Historically, most people in Japan wore tabi, as most Japanese footwear was thonged; however, some, such as upper-class courtesans and the geisha of Fukagawa did not wear them, as the bare foot was considered to be erotic in Japanese culture. Others, such as lower-working class members of society who could not afford tabi, either did not wear them or wore boots such as jika-tabi instead.

In traditional Japanese spaces and buildings, such as Noh theatres, teahouses and for traditional stage performances, tabi must be worn, and shoes are not worn inside or on stage.

Additionally, contemporary tabi socks with a separation between the big toe and the rest of the toes are also available. This reflects the number of people who still prefer to wear zōri and geta, especially during Japan's hot, humid summers. Modern tabi occasionally have elastic openings instead of fasteners. A related item are toe socks, which have five separate compartments; these are known as gohon-yubi no kutsushita (5本指の靴下, five-toe socks) in Japanese.

 1.2  Put on the half-collar the night before

The following given steps below are the direction how to attach the collar from the reference by Bunka Fashion Research Institute website, please follow the directions carefully, slow but surely:

  • Confirm the match marks on body panel and collar.Lay the collar over the front body right sides together and mark with pins from the center back seam to the neck opening, the hem down the length of the strip, the tip of the strip and the tip of the collar.
  • Scoop one stitch with a small stitch at the tip of the collar to apply a loop knot*1.Apply a 2cm half back stitch*2, regular stitches until 2 cm inside the tip of the strip, and then half back stitches again to the tip of the strip. At this time, make sure that the tip of the strip, front strip and the collar are aligned.

-          Loop knot*1

At the beginning of a stitch, scoop a very small stitch, make a loop at the end of the thread, bring the needle through the loop and tighten the thread. This firm and non bulky knot is suitable for starting a stitch at the collar tip and at the end of sleeve attachment.

-          Half back stitch*2

Apply one stitch forward, return half the length, stitch forward twice the length of the last stitch, and return half the distance of the last stitch. It is a method of sewing back and forth repeatedly to reinforce the strength of the stitches.

  • Beyond the tip of the strip, remove the seam allowance of the front panel and attach the collar to the body panel.
  • Start sewing around the neck opening with 3 small half back stitches and sew around the neck opening with small stitches.
  • Apply reverse stitch at the center back. Similarly sew on the left side marking with pins.
  • Iron the seams and fold the seam allowance towards the collar. Adjust the edge of the kise from the right side by ironing with a trowel.

1.3  Correction is not mandatory

In this case, it is one's freewill to choose if they are going to modify the output of the collar from previous steps for correction. Though it is not necessary, for those who have a delicate décolletage or a material used, you can fold a thin handkerchief and place it under the clavicle, and for those who have a slight warp, you can put the handkerchief on your back. I don't think that the correction of rattling, such as the coming-of-age kimono dressing, is necessary for everyday kimono. Kimonos for everyday wear have shorter sleeves and a simpler obi tie, so you don't have to worry about losing your clothes even if you don't completely crush the unevenness of your chest and waist to create a body shape.

  1. Actually important! How to wear a long undershirt

Afterwards, you must put on the traditional undergarments. Put on the susoyoke (or long johns, if you prefer) first, then the hadajuban. Make sure the hadajuban is centered on your torso and pull it down on the back hem to expose the back of your neck, pull hadajuban down to expose neckline Hadajuban should not be tucked into the susoyoke or long johns.

Then, put on the nagajuban. You need to have an erishin, which slides under the collar to keep it stiff and wrinkle-free. If you don’t have one, you can use rolled up and flattened washi paper to push into your collar. Center your nagajuban on your body, leaving a space the width of your fist between the collar and the back of your neck. Take one of the koshi-himo and tie the nagajuban to your body, just below the bust, then take one of the date-jime and tie it over the koshi-himo, securing it. Pull any excess material of the nagajuban to the side seams to hide it.

If you are wearing your kimono in the summer, you only need to wear a single layer of form-fitting clothes underneath. If your kimono is light or see-through, wear white or skin-colored clothing so that they don’t show through. Otherwise, you can wear whatever color you’d like. If you are wearing a kimono in the winter and you would like an extra layer, you can put on a wrap called a juban that is made of cotton.

Doing so, the wearing procedure is not difficult at all and can be completed in just 4 steps.

-          Remove the crest

-          Align the left and right collars

-          Tighten the date tightening

-          Remove wrinkles

In the following paragraphs it will further discuss how the procedures will be done.

2.1  Pull out the clothing crest

To pull the clothing crest us as a guide the height of the shoulder blades and that should be used to remove the crest.

2.2  Match the left and right collars

When looking at the collars to both left and right, the front view of the cloth must look stylish and neat when it is made into a deeper V – shape based on the dented area of ​​the throat. If you want to make the half-collar of the pattern look full, on the contrary, fit it firmly. In any case, if the collar covers the bust top, it will not fall apart.

Make sure the folds on your collar meet in the front. Hold them together with your right hand. Reach your left hand to the back of your kimono and pull it down until your collar reaches just underneath your neck. Leave the excess room at the back of your kimono. As a general rule, the opening at the back of your neck should be big enough to fit your fist. If it isn’t, open the front of your collar more and adjust your kimono.

2.3  Tighten the date and remove wrinkle

Having wrinkles on the clothes might lessen the beauty of the clothes and cause annoyance so that is why we need to tighten the date firmly so that it will not come loose later. You can use a bow or a tight knot to treat the edges, but twice to prevent the knot from rumbling or biting into the epigastrium and causing pain. If you cross after entwining and pinch the ends, you do not have to worry about loosening.

  1. How to put on a kimono (long clothes)

Put the kimono on and slide your arms through the sleeves. Make sure the opening of the kimono is in the front. Set the kimono on your shoulders and put your hands through the sleeves. Do not wrap the kimono around your waist yet, because it won’t be the right length. Keep the sides even so that your kimono doesn’t end up looking unbalanced.

Center the kimono on your body by matching the lower seams of the collar to each other in front of your body. If one seam is higher than the other, the kimono is not centered. Don’t pull it too tight, but align it with the back of the nagajuban collar.

Particularly the dressing of the kimono is completed in to the following 7 steps, given bellow:

-          Attach the collar

-          Determine the hem length

-          Tighten the waist strap

-          Adjust the collar

-          Tighten the chest strap

-          Remove the wrinkles

-          Tighten the date tightening

3.1  Attach a collar

The two collars should be the same height at the back but the nagajuban collar should show by one or two cm at the front. You can use a clip or clothespin to hold the kimono and collar in place at the center back.

3.2  Determine the hem length

In performing the next step, make sure your second koshi-himo is easy to reach or already in hand. Grab the kimono about 10cm from the bottom of the collar on both sides, and hoist the bottom hem of the kimono just above the top of your feet. This is your starting point. With the collar in your left hand, wrap the kimono around your legs, pulling the left edge of the kimono around to the right side of your body. The left edge should end up about 7cm higher than the point above your feet. This is just for measuring. After measuring, keep your arm at that height and unwrap yourself. Next, wrap the right side of the kimono around to the left side of your body, this time raising the right edge of the kimono 10-15cm above the top of your feet. Hold it there and re-wrap the left edge of the kimono over the top. Because the right side was lifted higher than the left and is now under the left side, it will not be visible, which is how it is supposed to look.

Wrap the fabric pieces over your hips with the left on top of the right. Keep the fabric bunched in your hands so it is at the right length. Take the fabric in your right hand and wrap it over yourself so that your hand touches your left hip. Do the same with the fabric in your left hand but on the opposite side.

You must also remember that it is crucial that you wrap the left side of the kimono over the right, because the opposite way is only used to dress dead bodies for funerals! Keep in mind that there are some mistakes you can get away with while wearing kimono, but this is not one of them, this might cause disrespect because kimonos are always wrapped left over right except for the dead for funerals.

3.3  Tighten the waist cord

Now that you have everything in place, make sure your koshi-himo is handy because you have to tie it down. Tie the kimono right over your belly button, and tie it well, because this is the primary sash holding the whole thing together. Tuck the excess length of the koshi-himo into itself, so it doesn’t hang down anywhere. Keep the bunched fabric under the belt so that it will hold.

All of the excess kimono material should be above the koshi-himo, which you can now fold down over the sash to give the kimono a flat and neat look. It is perfectly normal to have this excess material, which will be mostly hidden under the obi later. During this step, you might have to readjust the collar to ensure you have the fist-sized gap between the collar and your neck.

3.4  Arrange the collar

After the excess material is neatly folded over the koshi-himo sash, you need to arrange your kimono collars. This can be done using the third koshi-himo or the korin belt. If you use a belt, clip it to the right side of the kimono, through the hole under your left arm. Pull it around your back and clip the other end to the left front collar on your right side, adjusting the collars so they are symmetrical with about 2 cm of the nagajuban collar showing.

3.5  Tighten the chest cord, remove wrinkles, and tighten the date.

Pull all the creases at the back towards the side seams. If you are using a koshi-himo, arrange the collars to be symmetrical and then put the middle of the tie at the center of your chest, draw it back with both hands, cross it at the back and return it to the front. Tie it in the center. Again, move any creases in the back to the side seams. Tie your second date-jime over the koshi-himo in the same fashion, again just below the bustline. Tuck in the ends of the sash so it looks neat, and you are finished putting on the kimono and ready for the next step, putting on an obi sash.

So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to how to wear a kimono by yourself. Don’t be discouraged if you have trouble at first; keep practicing and it will become faster and more natural to you. Before long, you’ll have the confidence to wear your kimono out for the world to admire you in. Giving thanks and credit also goes to the Doctor. Sheila Cliffe who has lived in Japan for over 30 years and is a noted expert on kimono history and fashion. She was also the reference of these steps and procedures.

Parts of Kimono:
For additional information, this article also provided the parts of the kimono, its name and where it can be found. The following is given bellow:

o   Yuki - sleeve length

o   Ushiromigoro - rear main section     

o   Uraeri - inner collar 

o   Doura - upper lining

o   Sodetsuke - armhole seam  

o   Fuki - hem guard               

o   Sode - sleeve

o   Okumi - front panel below the collar

o   Miyatsukuchi - opening below armhole   

o   Sodeguchi - sleeve opening 

o   Tamoto - sleeve pouch                

o   Maemigoro - front main section

o   Furi - sleeve below armhole

o   Tomoeri - overcollar

o   Eri - collar 

o   Susomawashi - lower lining

  1. Conclusion

In today modern days, though kimono are not essentially considered as “everyday” clothing, certain Japanese people and elders can still be found wearing kimono for special events and occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies, Kabuki performances or festivals, or worn by sumo wrestlers when they are out in public like what said in the introduction of this article. The design of the kimono depends on the rank of the sumo wrestlers; for instance, for a lower rank sumo wrestler that has to wear a yukata which is a light summer kimono when out in public. However, sumo wrestlers that are within the top three divisions are allowed to wear coats and scarves. Even the little details such as the obi or a kimono belt are dependent on rank and status. Makushita-ranked wrestlers and higher are allowed to wear formal hakataori; whereas, lower ranked wrestlers are allowed to wear a more casual chirimen (Gunning, 2018).

Moreover, soft power is defined as a nation’s ability to create government policies that encourage the diffusion of Japanese culture overseas. The Japanese government created an initiative called ‘Cool Japan’ to attract young people and create a stylistic image for Japan. Through education and tourism, foreign countries have widely acknowledged and consumed Japan’s culture and capabilities (Uchida, page 31-40, 2014). Japanese popular culture includes cuisine, anime, manga, and cosplay. Several examples of Japanese popular culture that have been globalized are video games (such as Pokémon, Mario, Final Fantasy) and anime, such as Akira, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z. In terms of fashion, cosplay has been widely accepted in Western societies as cosplay conventions are increasingly popular. For instance, people still wear kimono for cosplay conventions as it is a way to express themselves around their peers by showing their interest in cosplay and anime. Due to how kimono is a significant aspect of Japanese culture and history, tourists are able to rent kimonos to use for a day so they can be fully immersed within the Japanese culture, as they can take pictures of themselves wearing the kimono. Also, certain individuals wear kimonos in religious areas such as temples.

In modern fashion, fashion designers have recognized the cultural importance and aesthetic appeal of kimono. Due to the use of soft power to change perceptions of Japanese culture, American designers have incorporated various kimono patterns into their works. The kimono has influenced the ideas of many designers, providing inspiration for new fashion styles. For instance, Christian Louboutin, a French fashion designer, has designed a pair of boots for his 2017 autumn collection. Louboutin’s pair of boots are inspired by kimono within the late Edo period as it involves a kimono textile design with nature-like patterns such as bamboo, blossoms and cranes (Nippon, 2019). Another example is Tom Brown’s spring/summer 2016 collection for menswear, where it incorporates kimono-inspired design into a business-style suit.

To conclude this research article, Kimono is culturally significant in Japanese culture. Kimono symbolizes social hierarchy and a form of creativity through self-expression and camaraderie through the unified patterns and symbols. Kimono is seen as a modern fashion clothing as fashion designers are incorporating the elegant patterns into their fashion collections. Finally, by having visitors rent out kimono for a day, they are able to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and understand the intricacies of designing and producing a kimono.

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