A kimono is an influential and significant garment in Japanese history. It still retains its impact today on the nation's fashion. Today, most of Japan takes a liking to Western garments and does not wear their traditional kimonos unless for special occasions. Still, the historical garments of Japan are admired greatly by both citizens and outsiders, as the dresses are graceful and known for their design and history. Although they are typically considered traditional garments, the kimono can also be incorporated into modern outfits and look just as elegant. This is not difficult to achieve as the kimono itself is very versatile, and it already went through several long periods of evolvement before becoming the dress we see today.
What is a Japanese Kimono Dress and Kimono Cardigan?
The average lifestyle in Japan today is quite work-oriented and busy, a way of living that can not accommodate a garment like a kimono for everyday tasks. The Japanese are frantic, fast-moving people who are known for their efficiency. The kimono, therefore, is not the most viable option for the working class, and they instead look towards casual Western clothing such as types of denim, t-shirts, collared shirts and more. The kimono is difficult to assemble, and it can be very time-consuming to put the garment together in the morning. It also hinders your movement, which is why the Japanese save the dress for their unique events throughout the year and do not wear it casually.
However, the streetwear and casual outfits in Japan worn mostly by young people tend to include aspects from the kimono in honouring the dress and its significance. These altered versions of the kimono consist of the kimono dress, cardigans, and kimono dressing gowns. These garments may include patterns, sleeve designs, or belts similar to those found on a traditional kimono. It should be noted that customizing the kimono is a common practice of outsiders who take a liking to Japanese culture and traditions.
The kimono cardigan is worn over everyday clothing as stylish outerwear. The front of this cardigan is left open to show off the inner shirt's patterns and colours. You can pair this cardigan with your everyday work clothes as it uplifts an ordinary outfit and makes it look twice as appealing. Kimono cardigans are usually crafted from silk, linen, or other costly materials, keeping in mind the makings of an actual kimono. The thin fabrics are chosen to enhance the lines and textures of the kimono and show off the delicate prints on the garment. The kimono cardigans are widely popular among young Japanese women, and the West admires this outerwear just as much.
Much like the kimono cardigans, short dresses inspired by Japan's traditional dress are vivid and boldly patterned with a generous amount of flower or abstract art. The modern kimono dresses are wrapped around the best with a thinner belt than those found on a kimono. The structure of the dress is also contemporary because it embodies Western fashion and Japan's ancient traditions. Some women even wear kimono-inspired dresses at their weddings, with large sashes and fun patterns along the hem. These altered garments are an exciting way for young people to express themselves and add a splash of historic features to their otherwise dull outfits.
What are Kimono Dressing Gowns?
A kimono dressing gown is a delightful option for those who are not a fan of casual clothing and prefer something fancier. Much like kimono cardigans, kimono dresses are also long-sleeved and do not close at the front. They are left open to show off the wearer's figure and any garment you may have underneath. Contrast and colours are taken into account when designing a kimono dressing gown. For example, a gown in white or black would have a more boldly coloured dress underneath that would properly showcase its structure.
The length of a kimono dressing gown is bound to vary from the wearer to wearer. Medium-length gowns are often preferred as they are both modest and reflect the original kimono's image. However, the customization is entirely up to you. A kimono dressing gown that reaches the middle of the thigh enhances your figure and makes you look slimmer. It is also preferable in the summer, where you can look your best and be comfortable despite the heat. Most tourists opt for kimono dressing gowns in bright colours and interesting patterns, such as pine trees, cherry blossom flowers, and pictures of animated Japanese women. These gowns worn over denim jeans look particularly enchanting, as they mix two very different cultures into one yet look charming.
A kimono dress or dressing gown is perfect for your evening events. Although they are mostly worn to formal and significant occasions, you can wear these around the streets of Japan over your casual clothing and look just as good. The kimono dress designed in a modern way is tied together with strings or sashes along the waist, so they do not need the Obi belt that hinders one's movement and makes the dress look stiff. The stylish drawstrings on your kimono dress will draw attention to your figure, especially if you are petite.
Kimono Dresses and Cardigans for Formal Events
The original kimonos are costly to produce and wear and may require a few months' notices to get properly tailored to your size. However, kimono cardigans and dresses are easier to obtain, and with their versatile strings, they need not be your exact size. If you happen to be invited to a Japanese ceremony or party, you will need a more formal kimono to wear. Real kimonos are hard to get on such short notice. The wiser thing to do is buy a kimono dress in a formal fabric. These options include silk or linen variants that look charming, especially when bought in silver or gold. You will not look under-dressed in front of your guests who wear their fully assembled kimonos.
It is important to consider the colours of a formal kimono cardigan or dress carefully. Try not to go for outlandish colours such as red, magenta, or purple. These tones only look best when they are arranged in the arts and patterns of a real kimono. On a kimono cardigan, the colours need to be downplayed and look modest. For example, you can wear a pair of dress pants with your best collared shirt and put on a kimono cardigan in black or blue over it. If your cardigan has silk embroidery, it will stand out in the evening light and make you look well-dressed.