Home > Articles > Clothing/Accessories > Japanese Clothing

Japanese Clothing

Like other clothes in cultures around the world, traditional Japanese clothing -- called "wafuku" -- is worn to compliment the seasons. Japanese clothes are worn also based off a person’s age or by the event.

Japanese Clothing and the Season

In the spring, bright colors and springfloral patterned Japanese clothing is worn. In autumn, Japanese clothes with fall colors and fall patterns are worn. Japanese clothing designs may include chrysanthemums or maple leaves. In the winter, especially near the holidays, Japanese clothing with patterns and designs such as the bamboo, pine trees or plum blossoms or worn for they signify good luck and prosperity. The fabric of the Japanese clothing also plays a role in the seasons. In the summer, cotton clothes are worn whereas in the fall and winter, heavier or lined clothing is worn.

Japanese Clothing and Events

Customarily, woven patterns, dyed clothing and repetitive patterns are considered informal Japanese clothing. Examples of traditional informal Japanese clothing are cotton yukata, woven cotton haori and dyed ikat kimono. These types of Japanese clothes would be used as daily wear, for bath houses or for informal friend and family visits.

Formal Japanese clothing normally takes on either of two characteristics; very elaborate designs or a simple elegant design. A few examples of elaborate designed Japanese clothes worn for an event are uchikake wedding kimono and festive happi coats. The more elegant designs, subdued colors or solid pattern formal Japanese clothes would be worn for paying formal visits, funerals or by married women for weddings or formal functions.

Japanese Clothing and Age

For women in particular, traditional Japanese clothing like the kimono is not only worn based on the person’s age but also by their marital status. Young and unmarried women wear kimonos with long sleeves that are very vibrant, colorful, and elaborately patterned. Married and older women wear simpler and more subdued clothes.

Traditional Types of Japanese Clothing

The traditional forms of japanese clothing or japanese clothes in general is called wafuku. Traditional japanese clothing can be broken down into the following clothing categories.

Kimono - meaning clothing or things to wear is the basic Japanese clothing
Yukata - the summer kimono
Nagajuban – undergarments for the chest
Clothing Accessories - obi, shoes, socks, hair sticks, etc.
Haori - short jackets patterned after a kimono from the waist up
Michiyuki – Overcoats
Hakama - Japanese loose pants
Uchikake - most formal kimono
Shiromuku - white wedding kimonos

Shop our selection of traditional Japanese clothing