Historically, most styles of kimonos are for women. Because until recently most people in Japan wore kimonos routinely in their lives, there are types of kimonos for every occasion, and they are ranked roughly by formality. Many are upscale or for special occasions only, but there are plenty of kimonos that can be worn out on the town as well. With a few different styles, you will be ready for any event!
"Shiromuku" are elaborately embroidered, all-white wedding kimonos worn only by the bride during her wedding ceremony. As with Western wedding dresses, the white of shiromuku symbolizes purity, a concept extremely important to Japan's culture and religions. Japanese Style carries shiromuku in our wedding kimono section alongside uchikake.
"Uchikake" are special kimonos worn only by the bride at her wedding. Thick and made from a brocaded fabric, they are overgarments worn open with no obi, like a flowing coat. They trail gracefully along the floor as the bride walks, like the train of Western wedding dresses. Traditionally, they are white or red and bursting with colorful overlaid patterns. If you are looking for an Eastern spin on wedding elegance, we have a variety of uchikake for sale!
"Furisode" are women's formal kimonos, with sleeves that drape nearly to the floor and a beautiful image across the entire robe that looks not unlike a framed piece of textile art. Like the shiromuku, they are commonly seen at weddings, worn by the bride's unmarried relatives. Rarely, furisode are worn for other occasions, such as Coming of Age Day for 20 year olds or at formal tea ceremonies for relatives.
"Tomesode" are worn by married women and have sleeves that fall to a much higher point than furisode sleeves. Their formality depends on their number of "mon," or crests, with more crests being more formal. Black is the most common color for tomesode.
"Houmongi" are simpler kimonos and have patterns across the shoulders, seams, and sleeves. They are common for formal parties and other elegant events. Just as a furisode is worn by the relatives of the bride, a houmongi would be worn by unmarried friends of the bride and other women at the wedding. They are slightly less formal than tomesode, but only just.
"Iromuji" are subtle but elegant garments that are monocolored, meaning that all their patterns are the same color as the background fabric. They are common at tea ceremonies and other traditional Japanese events, and they are the most informal kimono above the wear-around-town "komon." Iromuji are the basic kimonos for upscale and semiformal events.
"Komon" are the most common style of kimono and the kind which you will likely imagine when you think of one. They have fine, simple patterns that are repeated through the robe instead of one large painting-like design or the single-colored iromuji design. Casual in nature, they are the sort of kimono to wear around the outdoors or to pair with classy accessories and obi for a nice dinner. Most of our kimonos are komon, both vintage and otherwise -- check both sections!