Kyoto Kimono – How to Wear Kimono

Kyoto Kimono – How to Wear Kimono


So I’m going to demonstrate how the Japanese layer their kimono. Now this is not the official, certified way to put on a kimono But it works….in America. If you’re not Japanese. So, first you start with undergarments that….she’s not wearing. Normally there’d be a white top and a white skirt, made of cotton. However this is the piece that maybe most of you would be the most familiar with. It’s called an underkimono. And it is worn like a slip. And as beautiful as this is, it doesn’t show to the public. The only thing that shows would be a little bit of the collar underneath the over-kimono. So when you put this on….. …notice that the underkimono is fairly short – it doesn’t touch the top of her feet – because it doesn’t show – it’s not meant to show under the kimono. You also want to make sure that you wrap it left side over right side with the opening on your right leg. Don’t do it the other way – to do it right over left – this is how they wrap corpses before they bury them. So we want to avoid that. (I meant cremate, not bury!) So left over right…like this…hold that here…. And since this is an undergarment, it does need to be tied to close… …but this isn’t going to show. Tie it tightly… And tuck in the ends. And now….the over kimono…. You’ll notice this is orange, and this is slightly pink… It doesn’t matter. Pink is a very common color for an underkimono. Now, here we are with the gorgeous…. Shibori formal kimono Now you’ll see that the sleeves of the underkimono fit neatly…. into the sleeves of the over kimono These kimono that are formal are worn off the back of the neck Folded over so, again, you only see a very little bit of the underkimono. And it follows across the front… Folded down… Folded down…. Now remember, it’s left over right, but look – it looks very long! It’s not too long. And this is how you adjust the height. (I meant length!) Across the top of the toes, again, left over right… What you’re looking for is a straight line here….and a straight line across the bottom You’ll notice there’s some extra blousing up here Very typical… In olden days…. Women used to have kimono made quite long As you might think, Japanese women were more my height than her height… So why are the kimono so long…? Well, you have this fold, here, at the waist You have another fold of kimono here And when you wear it with a belt on top You’ll see just a little bit of a fold here And it means that she or her family could afford to have the extra fabric in her kimono So it’s a very understated sign of wealth. Now normally also you would have another tie here that wouldn’t show to the public Now in Japan, if a woman was to become a kimono dresser …and she would work at a beauty salon or a bridal salon, she would have to study for many years in order to do this correctly. So for example, exactly how much neck should be showing… …in the front, and in the back… How long the kimono should be down her arm Should her wrist show and how much? So it depends on how old she is, what the occasion is… you have to learn all of that before you can become a certified kimono dresser in Japan. And finally… The obi. Now, if you’re going to a formal occasion …you might prefer a more formal obi. A lot of gold, glitter – a different style of obi, actually So this is a less formal obi called Nagoya style… …which means it’s folded over for three-quarters of the length where the belt shows in the front but the bow section is wide in the back So, I’ll demonstrate a very quick and easy way to put these on. This is not the traditional style. You put a 45 degree angle here, and you spin this way. Keep going, keep going, stop! Pull it tight. Keep going…going….alright…. And then we tie it off here. Tight. Alright. And then here is a very quick and easy way to make the bow in the back. And you make that, by bringing the short tail around and tucking it in. And you can adjust it… (and the scoot it around to the back) and adjust it a little bit more in the back Arms up….adjust here if you need to tuck it in here… And voila! (Go ahead, take a spin, turn around…) Thanks for watching!

4 Replies to “Kyoto Kimono – How to Wear Kimono”

  1. Please note that, while I have been working with vintage kimono for many years, I have no training in kitsuke (formal kimono dressing) and mean no disrespect to the art of kimono dressing or those who are willing and able to undertake it.  This video is only meant to show the complete novice how she might wear a kimono and obi to an informal affair, where being dressed "correctly" is not at issue.  (And I apologize for mis-speaking in the video when I say that the deceased in Japan are buried – they are, of course, creamated.) 

  2. For some vocabulary the underwear worn against the skin is called Hadajuban (肌襦袢) and Susoyoke (裾除け), Hadajuban being the top and Susoyoke being the underskirt. Next comes the Nagajuban (長襦袢), which in this video is referred to as the Under Kimono. Then finally the Kimono (着物) itself. This particular type appears to be a Furisode (振り袖). The tie that separates the folds of the kimono and hold the kimono in place is called Koshihimo (越し紐), but they sometimes go by other names. Finally comes the obi (帯). Just thought that may be helpful for someone looking for more information and comes across this video, which is pretty well done, as it is hard to find kimono videos in English. 🙂

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