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Giving Japanese Kimonos as Gifts

Having trouble choosing a kimono as a gift for a friend? Let Japanese Style help! We have a few tips for choosing an appropriate kimono as well as a wide selection of both kimono and yukata.


Seasons

Like many other nations, Japan associates certain colors with certain seasons, and that trend affects what people wear during certain parts of the year. Historically, when kimonos were the staple of Japanese wear, wearing the wrong style at the wrong time was a social faux paus. People were expected to have a wardrobe of at least the basic four seasons, but the calendar quickly became complex for those who stayed abreast of the latest fashion, such as socialites and the wealthy. In the spring, pale and bright colors are predominant, whereas in the winter, dark colors like black and deep red take over. Fall comes on a wave of ruddy gold and dusky colors, while summer trends toward "jewel tones" like emerald green or crimson.

If you're looking for a summer kimono, you may want a yukata instead! Yukata are simpler robes derived from kimono that are commonly worn to casual summer events, around town in hot weather, or to the beach. See the difference between kimono and yukata here.


Gender

While of course kimonos fit both men and women, to follow Japanese tradition, certain kimonos are worn by either a man or a woman. Women have the greatest variety of kimonos, from the ultra-formal furisode to the common komon. Their sleeves tend to be longer and rounder than men's, and their obis are wider and tied in a more elaborate fashion. They also have more complex and bright patterns and images on their cloth, unlike the simpler and darker men's kimonos.


Marital status

For formal events, married women in Japan wear different styles of kimonos than unmarried women. Furisode, which have very long sleeves and very obvious colorful patterns, are for unmarried women. Tomesode, their parallel for married women, are decorated with the family crest and otherwise are black. While they are both formal kimonos, the sort worn to weddings, they have very different implications on the wearer's status, so choose the correct one when buying a gift!


Formality

Like any other type of clothing, there are different kimonos for different levels of formality. A wedding kimono such as an uchikake would be inappropriate to wear on the street, while a casual komon would not be something to wear to a tea ceremony. Japanese Style has an in-depth guide to kimono formality , so that you can pick out a kimono that is most appropriate for when your recipient will wear it the most.


The kimono is a traditional and symbolic garment in Japan, so much that many are still handed down from parent to child as an heirloom. By gifting one to a friend, you are partaking of a historical tradition, so make sure to consult these details to treat your gift with the respect it deserves. The recipient will appreciate it as well!