Choosing Traditional Japanese Clothing by Season

Traditional Japanese clothing changes by season, much like clothing worn in other parts of the world. However, the appropriate Japanese clothing can also vary by the type of event. Below, we explore the most common types of traditional clothing and when you wear them.

Seasonal Choices

During the spring, most traditional clothing favors bright colors and floral patterns. Fall colors are more muted and may include chrysanthemums or maple leaves. Winter designs include bamboo, pine trees, and plum trees to represent good luck. The type of fabric also changes with the season. During the summer, people favor kimonos of light cotton. While during the colder seasons, people like thicker, lined kimonos. If you have questions about our selection of kimonos, email us here!

Event Choices

Like an American woman wouldn’t wear a sundress to a black-tie event, traditional Japanese clothing is also dependent on the event. Formal clothing is generally more ornate and of thicker, higher quality materials.

Types of Traditional Japanese Clothing

Kimono – This is the most basic article of Japanese clothing. It is a long robe characterized by wide sleeves and is tied with a sash.

Yukata – This a casual, cotton kimono-style worn during the summer months. Generally unlined and worn by both men and women.

Uchikake – The most formal kimono. This is an unbelted style worn as an outer robe which women of noble status traditionally wore. Today, it is most often worn by brides or stage performers. Designed to trail along the floor and is often very colorful.

Shiro-maku (means pure white) – Traditional wedding kimono, most often in white. This kimono is worn during the wedding ceremony, and the decorated Uchikake is worn over the shiro-maku during the reception.

Nagajugan (also called a Nagajuban) – Similar to a kimono, worn by both men and women as an undergarment. Nagajugan often has detachable collars and can be changed to match the outer garment.

Haori – Mid-length kimono jacket worn by both men and women. Traditionally worn for more formal occasions.

Obi – Sash worn with a kimono. Often elaborately tied.

Michiyuki – The traditional kimono-shaped Japanese overcoat. Often decorated with ornate designs and patterns.

Hakama – Traditional pants which are worn over a kimono. Originally only men wear these; however, now either sex can. A looser style is the favorite of field workers.

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