Iro tomesode: One of the most formal kimono

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What is tomesode?

Tomesode is the most elegant and the most formal kimono for married women. It corresponds to an “evening dress” in Western style, although this kimono could be worn at any time of the day. Tomesode in black overall is called kuro tomesode (black tomesode), and the ones in other colors are called iro tomesode (colored tomesode). Both kuro tomesode and iro tomesode are worn mainly by relatives attending a wedding ceremony. Kuro tomesode can only be worn by married women, but iro tomesode can be worn by single women as well.     


The basic attire for iro tomesode

Iro tomesode is kimono in colors other than black as its main color, worn for auspicious events, along with kuro tomesode. In old times, iro tomesode, just like kuro tomesode, was the formal kimono worn only by married women; but in modern times it can be worn regardless of the marital status. Iro tomesode come in various colors and elegant patterns. It can be worn as a formalwear or a semi-formalwear, and is very useful.  


The manner and the scenes for wearing iro tomesode

Iro tomesode can be worn for auspicious events, such as a wedding or a conferring of decorations. Since iro tomesode is the most formal kimono next to kuro tomesode, it is not suited for casual occasions.

You can choose from kuro tomesode, iro tomesode, houmongi (visiting wear) and furisode to wear for a wedding ceremony; only when invited for a wedding ceremony of your acquaintance or a friend, you can wear iro tomesode.

If you are a relative of a bride or a gloom, you should wear kuro tomesode. However, if you are young, you can choose to wear iro tomesode of itsutsumon (with the family crest on five places in the back, the back of sleeves and the chest) sohiyoku shitate (single garment made to look double at the sleeve and skirt), and it would be considered equal to wearing kuro tomesode.

Iro tomesode has a brighter and gorgeous look than kuro tomesode, so it should be one of the options. If it is not a wedding but a formal auspicious event, iro tomesode is the most formal and approved way to dress.

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The formality of iro tomesode changes by the number of the family crest on it. Iro tomesode with itsutsumon (the family crest on five places) is the most formal kimono along with kuro tomesode, while mitsumon (the family crest on three places) and hitotsumon (the family crest on one place) are semiformal kimonos. The more the number of the family crest, the more elegant it becomes, but these days it is increasingly popular to make iro tomesode of mitsumon or hitotsumon and wear it like houmongi (visiting wear).


Iro tomesode with itsutsumon is suited for auspicious events such as a wedding banquet of a relative or a conferring of decorations. When it comes to iro tomesode with mitsumon or hitotsumon, it is great to wear for a wedding banquet of an acquaintance or a friend, or a party.  

Iro tomesode can create a softer impression with various colors. Pale colors which bring out femininity of a wearer, such as salmon pink or light green, represent geniality and softness; these colors would surely create a brilliant atmosphere.


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As for obi, normally fukuro (double-woven) obi made of nishiki ori or kara ori in profound gold, silver or white is to be chosen. If the kimono has itsutsumon, you should choose the accessories which would match kuro tomesode; obi age, obi jime and a bag all formal and in white. For wearing mitsumon or hitotsumon iro tomesode for a wedding and such, choose accessories in silver, gold or white.    


The manner for wearing iro tomesode

When wearing iro tomesode you must be careful that it would not lose shape, unlike Western clothes. Be sure to control your movements and actions, so that it would be in a good manner.


The manner for iro tomesode is not difficult

As long as you are careful of the “formality” and “movements and actions”, the manner for iro tomesode is not so difficult. Make sure not to choose iro tomesode for a very formal place or to wear it casually; elegant iro tomesode in gorgeous colors are sure to be well received.