How To Wear A Kimono

Japanese Style has a wide selection of elegant kimonos for any event, but they are complicated garments, as you might have guessed. How does one wear a kimono?

  1. First, put on your undergarments. We have a separate article about Japanese traditional undergarments and how to wear them properly.
  2. Put the kimono on over the underwear as you would don a typical robe. Adjust it, so its shoulders fit you well, then let it drape over you and hang down.
  3. Wrap the kimono across your body so that the left panel is outermost — so, left-over-right. The order is significant, as the only time a kimono is worn right-over-left is when the deceased is dressed for a funeral. Wearing your kimono wrapped backward is a serious faux-pas and will shock those around you, so be careful to wrap it the correct way!
  4. Once your kimono is wrapped, tie it about your waist with the included sash belt. This will hold it so that you can put your obi on without having to hold the kimono in the process.
  5. Adjust your kimono so that it drapes down to your ankles. If it is too long and touches the floor, pull up some fabric over the sash tying it, and let its hangover. Smooth it down gently so that it is a single flat fold of cloth, and your obi will hide it when tied. Kimonos are meant to be adjusted this way, so don’t worry — you don’t need to hem your kimono to your height if it’s close enough from the start.
  6. Tie your obi around your waist, covering the sash and any folds over it. Make sure to rotate your knot to the back. Next knots in the front were once a way to signal that the wearer was a prostitute! It remains a cultural no-no even after the practice faded.

You can wear kimonos with any shoes, but traditionally they are worn with tabi and sandals. Japanese Style carries authentic Japanese sandals to go with your kimono.

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