Kimono translates roughly into ‘ wearing thing ‘. There are many different ranks and types of Kimono worn by both men and Women, there’s a huge variety and one can spend days sifting through racks of vintage and new kimono in second hand shops and markets here. There’s also a tonne of accessories, endless fun. But let’s say you know nothing about Kimono but you’d like to wear one? Here’s a basic guide to Yukata – the summer kimono – originally worn as pyjamas but now popularly worn at summer festivals and fireworks.
So let’s begin! Here’s my Yukata, in my fave colour, pretty huh. Then we have three belts – two slimmer rough belts called Koshi-Himo plus the wider and brighter Datejime belt. We start by popping on your yukata and pulling the fabric by the sleeves to get it centred on your body. One it’s settled you pass the front panels LEFT OVER RIGHT (because the other way round means you’re dead). Lifting the bottom a few inches from the floor secure that line by tying your first Koshi-Himo belt around your hips/lower waist. Tie firmly, this is your anchor. You don’t want to be flashing everything.
There are long slits on either side of the Yukata beneath the arms, pop your arms in there and ensure the layer of fabric covering the belt is neat and straight, use your chop action here. This overlap is called the Ohashori. And there should be at least a couple of inches showing under your final obi belt. Short people like me have no problem with this.
The back of your Yukata should expose your neck a little, very sexy. Pop your fist between the back of your yukata and your neck, this is the correct width. The higher your neckline at the front the more youthful it is. To secure your neck like use the second Koshi-Himo under your bust and tie at the front/side securely. Pull spare fabric to the sides to get rid of unsightly extra material and folds. Secure this line further with the wider and prettier Datejime belt (red one pictured). This is secretly my fave belt, it’s subtle and hidden but really pretty.
This is the most decorative belt, it goes on the outside. Past it around yourself twice and make a bow at the front (easier). Describing how to tie the obi here won’t work, look on YouTube, there are some great obi tutorials. Once you’ve tied your obi swing it round the back.
Not done yet! Personally I then like to insert an Obiita into the layers of obi, it keeps everything neat and flat, getting rid of those pesky folds and bumps from the layers of belts underneath.
And finally we add accessories such as the sandals which are called Geta – they make a great sound while you walk about, and I’ve got a fan called an Uchiwa popped into the back there. This one is from Tokyu Hands which just opened downtown. I love their simple patterns.
There, you’re ready for a day or night out at a matsuri (festival), or simply a walk down the river, or some fireworks, or take a taxi ride somewhere and have a cheap trip to a museum because here in Kyoto people who wear Kimono receive discounts. I love Kimono, and if you do too and have any questions just ask away. This was a pretty rushed and rough guide and there are much better ones on the net, give it a search.
For now I’m off to get an ice cream as it just hit 36°c.
All the best,