Experience: Wearing a Kimono

Kimono are beautiful, but they are WORK. Of course, I still stop and stare (as unobtrusively as possible, of course) whenever I see a woman in kimono walk by, but now I have a better appreciation for what all goes into wearing a kimono.

It all starts from the bottom up.

First come the tabi, two-toed socks that are zipped or buttoned at the ankle. The special toe split allows the wearer to sport sandals without suffering through the chafing bare feet would cause. (And it does. Ask my poor 3-year-old who didn’t get tabi socks for her 7-5-3 outfit in November. My bad.)

Tabi socks
Tabi socks

Next come the undergarments – the susoyoke (slip) and the hadajuban (the undershirt). After that, it’s time for the nagajuban, the long undergarment that has a collar that will stick out of the kimono itself.

datejime – the first of what feels like many – is tied around the nagajuban at the waist. This is a simple cloth belt that is knotted and then tucked under.

The koshihimo
The datejime

Next is the kimono itself. As a married woman, I was dressed in a short-sleeved formal kimono.

That’s only halfway done, though. Once the kimono is on, its held in place by a silk belt called the koshihimo. The word literally means ‘waist cord’ and it’s about 100-200 centimeters long.

The koshihimo
The koshihimo

After the koshihimo is tied, a korin beruto is added. It’s tied a little bit higher up on the waist and pulls in some of the sleeve material.

Yet another datejme is added to the waist.

Finally, it’s time for the obi (the belt). But first, you need an obi-ita, which provides structure to the obi itself and gives Japanese women that perfect diaphragm-squeezing posture. Then you need an obi-makura (the obi pillow) to give shape to the obi in the back. Aaaand you need a third hand and the obiage, the silk used to cover the obi pillow.

Putting on the obi-ita
Putting on the obi-ita

And THEN the obi itself is added, and tied with … wait for it … an obijime. (If you said datejime, you were close.)

The obi (with the obijime, if you can see it)
The obi (with the obijime, if you can see it)

Whew! That’s it! Only 14 separate pieces to struggle with to turn out one woman in full kimono. 🙂 Not easy. And yet, the result is worth it.

The final result
The final result

7 thoughts on “Experience: Wearing a Kimono

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: