How to Wear a Kimono: A Guide to Traditional Japanese Dress

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The kimono is a traditional Japanese dress that has been worn for centuries. It is a beautiful and elegant piece of clothing that can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. However, for those who are new to wearing a kimono, the process of getting dressed in one can be a bit daunting.

Types of Kimonos

There are many different types of kimonos, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common types of kimonos include:


This is a formal kimono that is worn by married women during special occasions, such as weddings and tea ceremonies. Tomesode kimonos are typically black and have intricate designs on the hem and sleeves.


This is a long-sleeved kimono that is worn by young, unmarried women. Furisode kimonos are brightly colored and have large, ornate sleeves.


This is a solid-colored kimono that can be worn by men and women. Iromuji kimonos are typically worn on more casual occasions.


Homing kimonos are made of silk and are worn by women during special events such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and other formal events.


A casual summer kimono that is often made of cotton and worn at festivals and events.

What this article includes

In this article, we will walk you through the steps of how to wear a kimono, as well as provide some tips and tricks to help you look your best.

Step 1: Choose the Right Kimono

The first step in wearing a kimono is to choose the right one. There are many different types of kimonos, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common types include the formal kimono, the everyday kimono, and the yukata (a casual summer kimono). Formal kimonos, also known as “tomesode,” are typically worn to black-tie events, such as weddings and funerals. They are made from luxurious fabrics like silk and feature intricate patterns and designs. Everyday kimonos, also known as “furoshiki,” are worn for more casual occasions, such as a day out or for running errands. They are made from a variety of fabrics and often feature simpler patterns. Yukatas, also known as “summer kimonos,” are made from lightweight cotton or linen and are typically worn in the summer. They are often brightly colored and feature floral or geometric patterns. When choosing a kimono, it’s important to consider the occasion for which you will be wearing it, as well as your own personal style.

Step 2: Lay Out the Kimono

Once you have chosen your kimono, the next step is to lay it out on a flat surface. Make sure that the kimono is spread out with the sleeves facing down and the collar facing up. The right side of the kimono should be on your right side.

Step 3: Put on the Undergarments

Before putting on the kimono, it’s important to put on the proper undergarments. This includes a traditional undergarment called a “had Cuban,” which is worn directly on the skin. It also includes a “fundoshi,” which is a type of loincloth worn by men, or “emoji,” a type of tabi, which is a traditional Japanese sock.

Step 4: Put on the Kimono

Now it’s time to put on the kimono itself. Start by slipping your left arm into the left sleeve of the kimono. Next, bring the kimono over your head so that the collar is around your neck. Slip your right arm into the right sleeve.

Step 5: Tie the Obi

The obi is the sash that is worn with the kimono, and it serves to keep the kimono in place. There are many different ways to tie an obi, but the most common method is the “taiko musubi” (drum knot). First, take the obi and fold it in half lengthwise. Next, take the folded end and bring it around your waist so that the ends are hanging down in front. Tie the ends in a knot, making sure that it is tight enough to keep the kimono in place.

Step 6: Adjust and Accessorize

Once the obi is tied, it’s time to make any final adjustments to the kimono. Make sure that the kimono is straight and that the sleeves are at the right length.

You may need to adjust the collar and make sure that it sits properly on your shoulders. To complete the look, you can add some traditional accessories such as a “geta,” which are wooden sandals worn with the kimono, or a “Yamaguchi,” which is a small branch of a sacred tree often used as a decoration for formal occasions. You can also add some jewelry, such as “yuzu,” which are Buddhist prayer beads, or “kanzashi,” which are hair ornaments. Accessorizing can help to add a personal touch to your kimono and make it more reflective of your personal style.


Wearing a kimono can seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps, it can be a beautiful and elegant way to embrace traditional Japanese culture. Remember to choose the right kimono for the occasion, lay it out properly, put on the right undergarments, tie the obi correctly, and accessorize to your personal taste. With some practice and patience, you can wear a kimono with confidence and grace.


Do you wear clothes under a kimono?

When wearing a Kimono, you are expected to wear a “hadajuban” and “koshimaki” directly on your naked skin (the “juban” comes over those). Traditionally, you don’t wear panties, but nowadays most women do.

Can you wear a kimono if you’re not Japanese?
To get straight to the point: As long as a kimono is worn out of respect and appreciation of the Japanese culture, it’s perfectly fine to wear a kimono as a foreigner

Can I wear a kimono casually?
Is it OK to wear a kimono casually? There are no rules about when you can and can’t wear a kimono. Don’t forget kimono were still worn daily in Japan by most people just a few decades ago, so kimono are really just normal clothing.

What do kimono colors mean?
Kimono colors can be interpreted in many ways. The most important color, according to Japanese culture is green which represents new beginnings and good fortune. The secondary colors are white for growth, blue for peace and red which symbolize love.

What is a yukata vs kimono?
A kimono has a soft, full-width collar; whereas a yukata has a half-width and stiffer collar, due to the material it is made from. In addition, a kimono typically has at least two collars, one close to the neck and one just below called a juban collar. A yukata only has one collar as a juban collar isn’t worn below.

Can you wear a kimono with jeans?
When paired with your favourite pair of jeans, this outfit can create a personal style that is timeless yet on-trend. A combination of old and new, kimonos pair beautifully with a ton of outfits, especially jeans.

Is it OK to wear kimono with dress?
Although it’s true they look stunning with jeans, kimonos also look perfect worn with midi skirts, long dresses, culotte trousers or knitted shorts. And remember you can wear it open or closed.

Can you sit in a kimono?
To sit seiza-style, put sit on your knees with your feet directly behind you. Of course, your kimono should be neatly folded under your knees when sitting. Make sure you move slowly and gently keep the kimono in place as you lower down onto the floor.

What is a male kimono called?
If you find a thinner men’s kimono with more patterns and colors, then you’re probably looking at a yukata. An alternative to the yukata for men to wear in the summer is jinbei. Jinbei are two-piece garments consisting of a kimono-like top and loose-fitting, mid-calf length trousers.

How can you tell if its a real kimono?
Authentic kimono are closed with an obi, which are quite thick and never made with the same material as the kimono. These matching thin belts are a dead giveaway that these are not authentic kimono. The only exception to this rule is bathhouse yukata, which you may get when visiting a Japanese onsen.

What is a casual kimono called?
A yukata (浴衣, lit. ‘bathrobe’) is an unlined cotton summer kimono, worn in casual settings such as summer festivals and to nearby bathhouses. Originally worn as bathrobes, their modern use is much broader, and are a common sight in Japan during summer.

Is it OK to wear kimono everyday?
There are no rules about when you can and can’t wear a kimono. Don’t forget kimono were still worn daily in Japan by most people just a few decades ago, so kimono are really just normal clothing.


  • Riley Jun

    Men's fashion has evolved over the years, but some combinations have remained timeless, such as black shoes and blue pants.

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