The kimono, full-length robes which literally translates to “something to wear”, is a well-known Japanese traditional garment. Kimonos are straight-lined long robes, T-shaped and worn until the ankle, with collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimonos are worn by being wrapped around the body, secured by a sash or belt called an obi, which is neatly tied at the back.
Women, more often than not, wear kimonos on special occasions, but a few older Japanese though still wear it daily. Japanese men also wear the kimono for events, such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and other formal social gatherings. Sumo wrestlers are actually required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever out in public and they often choose to wear the kimono.
A History of Obi Belts
Early in the days, the obi was an approximately 8-centimeter ribbon-like sash. During the start of the 17th century, both male and female genders wore the obi. During the 1680s, the width of women’s obi has already doubled from its original size. By 1730s, women’s obis were already 25 centimeters wide, and by the 19th century, it has increased to as wide as 30 centimeters. During that era, separate cords and ribbons were already required to hold the obi in its place. For the men’s obi, it was widest during the 1730s, increasing to about 16 centimeters.
In the beginning, all kinds of obi were tied at the front. As time passed by, fashion began to influence the knot’s position, with the obi being tied at the side or to the back part. In time, as the obi increased in size and even its knots were bigger, it seemed bulky to be tied in the front. And by the end of 17th century, majority of obis were already tied at the back. The custom however did not become strongly established until the start of the 20th century.
Types of Kimono Obi Belts
By 18th century’s end, it was in fashion for a woman’s kimono to have overly long hems that were allowed to trail behind whenever indoors. For outdoors, the excess cloth was tied up beneath the obi with a wide cloth ribbon known as the shigoki obi. The modern kimono are similarly overly lengthy, but hems not allowed to touch the ground. Shigoki obi are still used, but merely for aesthetic reasons.
Unfortunately, the most formal type of obi are already about to be obsolete. The long and heavy maru obi is now just being used by maiko, the apprentice geishas, and by Japanese brides as part of their wedding ensemble. The lighter kind, the fukuro obi, replaced the maru obi. The common Nagoya obi is the one still being used today, with the fancy ones being widely accepted as part of a semi-ceremonial outfit. The use of decorative knots called musubi has also lessened, and Japanese women now prefer the simple drum knot or taiko musubi for their obi. Tsuke obi, obi that comes with the knots ready-made, have also gained popularity nowadays.
Wear a Piece of Japanese Tradition
Take with you a piece of Japanese history and tradition by completing your traditional kimono with Japanese Style’s kimono obi belts. Japanese Style carries a wide range of obi belts to choose from, depending on your style and character, and they will surely compliment your kimono and yukata. Each of these obi belts have been meticulously created with only high-quality and long-lasting materials.
Every kind of obi belt portrays a distinct function in completing your kimono ensemble. Feel free to click on each obi type to know more about it and view which unique function it defines. A handful of Japanese Style’s kimono obi belts come in pre-tied butterfly and musubi knot that’s easy to wear. Putting on these belts are as easy as a two-step process, yet their style gives a complicated and intricate knot look.
Place your orders now at Japanese Style and help keep this great fashionable tradition alive.