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Tip For Buying Your First Kimono

Speaking from experience, it can be a little overwhelming figuring out what you should buy as your first kimono. Authentic Japanese kimono have a rather extensive history that dictates the cultural rules to wearing kimono, which adds layers of complexity that at first can intimidate but ultimately act as a great guide to help you navigate the world of wearing Japanese kimono in a culturally respectful way.

#1 - There are authentic Japanese kimono, and then there are play costumes: they are different. Japanese kimono have a very specific construction and set of seams that are strictly observed. There are many places that sell "kimono" which are better suited as children's play costumes. In modern fashion, the word kimono gets thrown around a lot, even onto things that are most certainly not a kimono: pants, generic boho style shirts, wrap shawls, and more as all examples of things that would not qualify as traditional Japanese kimono that get called kimono. Just because its called a kimono, does not mean it is one that would be considered authentic by Japanese guidelines. #2 - What is your purpose intended for the kimono? Do you plan to wear the kimono traditionally, or do you want it as something such as lounge attire? Wearing kimono in a traditional manner will require measurements and considerations for your body type, while informal wearing for the lounging is a matter of personal preferences.

To measure yourself for Japanese kimono that are intended to be worn traditionally I have a simple guide here:

Do you want something like an easy to wear a coat with great kimono sleeves? Check out the haori, which are super easy to wear, and practical for everyday attire.

#3 - Gender expressed matters. There are male types of kimono, and female styles of kimono. Each gender wears their kimono differently, and even have different sizing rules. As a note, masculine attire is much easier to wear than feminine in our opinion.

#4 - What kinds of materials do you prefer? Authentic kimono can be made from a wide variety of fabrics: cotton, polyester, silk, denim, and more! Yukata for example are always made from cotton, as are onsen kimono. To find the best silks you typically need to look at more formal kimono attire.