As you may know, there are so many kinds of Kimonos in Japan. Each of the Kimonos was used for various purposes depending on the situation. We are going to introduce you the minimum knowledge of Kimonos you should remember.
Kurotomesodes are worn by married women and regarded as the most formal dress for a celebration.The characteristic of Kurotomesode is its design. There are 5 Kamon marks on the center back, both of breasts area and both of sleeves on the simple black Kimono. Also they add some patterns on the hem area.
★When and Who to wear) Mothers of both bride and gloom, Wives of matchmaker, married women of relatives at the wedding ceremonies.
※Kamon；original family crest which are passed down in the family for generations.
※Tomesode；One of the Japanese style clothing and regarded as the most high class formal dress worn by married women. It is corresponded to the evening dress in the West. Although the evening dress can only be worn in the evening, Tomesode has no time restriction and can be worn regardless of the time of day or night. The original meaning of “Tomesode” itself is hooking up(Tome) the sleeves(Sode). In days of past, young unmarried women worn Kimonos without sewing on the sleeve i.e. Furisode. But when they got married, they cut out the sleeves of Furisode and saw them up and made shorter length sleeves as Tomesode Kimono. From this history, Tomesode can only be worn by married women until now.
2) Irotomesode(Colored-Tomesode, 色留袖 )
Irotomesodes are worn by both married and unmarried women and regarded as the most formal dress for a celebration. Irotomesodes are classified in Tomesode Kimonos except for the black Tomesode (Kurotomesode). If there are 5 marks of Kamon as mentioned above on the Irotomesode, it is regarded as kimono for ONLY married women.
At the wedding ceremonies or parties, the mothers of brides and glooms tend to wear Kurotomesode customarily. But women of their relatives often wear Irotomesode.
★When and Who to wear) Women of Guest of honor and relatives at the wedding parties. At high class tea celemonies, celabration gatherings and imperial garden parties.
Furisodes are worn by unmarried women and regarded as the most formal dress for a celebration. They are worn at the coming of age ceremonies, wedding ceremonies and parties.
Furisodes are Kimonos with long sleeves and regarded as the most formal dress for unmarried women. The longest sleeves of Furisode are about 114cm and they are hung down about the length of ankles of the women.
Depending on the length of the sleeves, we can classify it in 3 different types as Ohfurisode(large), Chufurisode(medium) and Shofurisode(small). It is said that the longer the sleeves are the more sophisticated it becomes. Because of this, brides at the wedding tend to wear Ohfurisode in once in a life opportunity.
The designs of Furisode are tend to be gorgeous and youthful. The patterns are drawn after tailored tentatively so that it become as if one big picture from the overhead.
★When and Who to wear)Unmarried women at the coming of age ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, awards ceremonies, New year’s party and formal parties.
Houmongis are worn by both married and unmarried women and regarded as informal dress for social occasion.
They are the most formal Kimonos next to Itrouchikake for women and can be worn at wedding ceremonies, tea ceremonies and various parties. If there are 3 marks of Kamon(or 1 mark when appreviated), they become semi-formal dress. The dye of Houmongi is done by method called “Eba”.
★When and Who to wear)Both married and unmarried women at wedding ceremonies, engagement ceremonies, awards ceremonies, tea parties, matchmaking parties, and formal visits.
※Eba; Generally, the dying is the first step to follow when making Kimonos. However, when making Kimonos with Eba method, craftspeople cut out the cloth into the shape of Kimonos and tailored tentatively. Then they draw patterns on it. After drawing the patterns, they wind of the cloth and finally they dye the cloth. Those procedures make Kimonos as if one art. There are no gaps on the seaming lines and the picture in front and the back of the Kimono are contiguous. It can be given an image of gorgeous atmosphere.
Tsukesages are the Kimonos regarded as in formal dress and can be worn by any generation of women. All of the patterns are designed to be upward when wearing it. The patterns are dyed in general way not like “Eba”. Because of the less patterns on the Tsukesage kimonos, the image of the Kimonos become not too jazzy and it is suitable for informal visit.
Because Tsukesage are not dyed with “Eba” method, the class of Tsukesage was lower than one of Houmongi. However there are varieties of patterns of Tsukesage these days and the gorgeousness is about the same as Houmongi
★When and Who to wear) Both married and unmarried women at wedding ceremonies, engagement ceremonies, award ceremonies, tea parties, matchmaking parties and formal visits.
Iromujis is Kimono dyed by only one color. If there are 3 marks of Kamon, it becomes semi-formal, if 1, it becomes informal and if there are none, it becomes casual stylish dress. Depending on its color, the usage varies.
The bright and gorgeous color Iromuji are for good occasions. The conservative dark color one are for bad occasions. Dark purple or bright grey one can be used for both good and bad occasions.
★When and Who to wear) Mothers of children at entrance ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, The 7-5-3 festivals, tea parties. Women at funerals, buddihist memorial services.
Mofukus are worn by relatives of dead at the events during the period of mourning.
Although there are differences depending on the areas or their family, the formal dress for non-celebrative events is supposed to be black Kimono with 5 marks of Kamon. The cloths and ways of wearing are depending on the areas.
★When and Who to wear) Hosts of funeral, families of the dead, assembled of funeral
Komon is all-inclusive term of casual Kimonos these days and there are so many kinds. It cannot be worn at formal occasions. The characteristic of Komon is its elaborated, detailed and small patterns on all over the Kimonos.
It is easy to wear as stylish garment and festive dress. If you feel wearing Houmongi is too dressy, wearing Komon might feel right.
★When and Who to wear)At New Year’s visits to a shrine, class reunions, dinners with friends, go watching play, tea parties and so on.
Tsumugis are a silk fabric made by stout twisted thread from bombic cocoon. It is said to be the best taste and very pleasant Kimonos and loved by many Kimono connoisseurs.
It is also called as “the world’s most delicate silk fabric” and these days undergo a shift from casual dress to stylish garment. Tsumugi is dyed in the wool that the patterns are tend to be geometry as strip, plaid or diamond shape and the more detailed patterns it becomes the more skilled technique are needed.
The image of Tsumugi is always casual even if it is really expensive. But if there are marks of Kamon on the plain Tsumugi, it can be used as semi-formal dress as well. You will be able to enjoy Tsumugi in various purposes.
★When and Who to wear)At casual events, informal visits, casual parties and so on.
Yukatas are tailored as unlined Kimono and dyed on the cotton cloth. Yukatas are tend to be draped on the bare skin after bath in summer time. It can be matched with sandal called Geta with your bare foot.
Going out with Yukata supposed to be only limited to a place like summer festivals or parties for enjoying summer evening breeze.
Nowadays, there are not only classic navy-white patterns but also colorful and printed Western designs as well and these become the most familiar among people in Japan.
★When and Who to wear)Summer festivals and so on.