There are a few types of obi that you can wear with your kimono. Here, I will go over the basic types of obi and when you can wear them. This list goes from most formal to most casual.
So you've never worn kimono before and you don't know where to start. Or maybe you've just started learning, but feel a bit lost on how to progress. Well, here I've compiled all of the useful information I have added to this blog over the years. You can reference back to this list of topics any time you feel stuck to help you find your way.
An Introduction to Kimono
Basic Types of Kimono
Basic Types of Obi
How to Start Wearing Kimono
I know new people always have a lot of questions about kimono when they first start. So I thought I would just write out some answers to some of the most common and useful questions newbies have.
1. What are the different types of kimono?
2. Are there different kimono for different ages?
3. What size kimono do I need?
4. How does seasonality work for kimono?
5. How formal are kimono and when can I wear them?
6. Does color have any meaning with kimono?
7. Do the motifs and patterns on a kimono have any meaning?
8. What types of fabric are kimono made from?
9. How do I clean a kimono?
10. How should I store my kimono?
11. How much do kimono cost?
12. What do I need to wear kimono?
13. Are there any kimono meetup groups or online communities?
I have personally worked with Ohio Kimono (I do mean literally in person), and I can attest that the owner knows kimono. Not only that, but her business ethics are top notch. I can't tell you how many times I've seen kimono dealers selling women's kimono to men or men's kimono to women without informing the customer. Now, I have no issue with people wearing whatever they want. In fact, I like to wear men's kimono myself! But I think it is your DUTY as a seller to make sure your customer is fully aware of what they are purchasing and are comfortable with what they're buying.
The first kimono I ever bought was a cheap fake. But the kimono shop told me it was authentic kimono, straight from Japan! It was really heart breaking when I found out the hard way that I was wearing a cheap tourist bathrobe. No one wants to find out that they've been lied to, or at least information has been kept from them just to insure you spend lots of money.
So I want to wholeheartedly recommend you check out Ohio Kimono's new online store at: https://www.ohiokimono.com/
Some great points of their website are you can not only buy kimono, obi, and all the accessories... but you can also follow their convention schedule, learn more about kimono, see a list of other kimono blogs, and get some EXCLUSIVE PRODUCTS ONLY SOLD BY OHIO KIMONO. This is a legitimate business guys!
Recently I went to the Myoken Festival in Yatsushiro. And I saw a lot of wonderful outfits. We may see modern kimono on the streets, but there were so many kinds of outfits throughout the Edo period (when the festival was founded). So I'd like to use the Myoken Festival as a case study to pick apart the less commonly seen clothing from Japanese history. All photos, unless captioned otherwise, come from the official photo contest for the Myoken Festival which you can find on the festival website here.
If you see any mistakes or have some information to add, please let me know!
A kimono with hakama (the skirt) and Kataginu (the sleeveless vest with pointy shoulders). By the Muromachi-Momoyama period, this was daily wear for samurai. And while it was wildly popular by the Edo period, it was mostly worn for more formal occasions.
The hat that he is wearing, and many others in these photos, is called a ichimonji gasa or sometimes yakko gasa. It was a standard straw hat good for blocking sunlight or protecting your head from snow and rain. The ichimonji gasa is a type of military hat.
Having developed a love of everything Japanese at an early age, Ara has been exploring various aspects of traditional Japanese culture both in the US and Japan. Occasionally they also find the time to write a blog post or two.