Japanese Dresses – Introduction

Japanese dresses are almost as popular outside Japan as inside. They have become a desirable fashion item. This site will help you choose Japanese dresses to buy, to locate dress shops, and also offers advice on how to care for your Japanese dresses properly.

The most well known dress from Japan is the Kimono, which can be worn by both men and women. The word itself means “A thing to wear”. Kimonos are full length T-shaped dresses of quite a simple design. What they may lack in complexity of shape, they more than make up for in their often intricate and very beautiful patterns and motifs. Repeating patterns are used for informal dress, while hand-styled individual motifs are used on more formal wear.

Kimonos tend to be brightly colored, although white remains the color of choice for the wedding kimono. Traditionally they are made of silk, and are cut from a single length of the fabric. However, cheaper Japanese dresses are available these days in modern fabrics like nylon or polyester. Whilst these are undoubtedly easier to care for that the silk dress, they lack the quality and charm of the real thing.

There are many variations on the basic kimono dress, including the furisode, a formal dress with sleeves that extend almost to the bottom of the dress, the mofuku, the traditional dress for mourning, and the komon, a casual dress.

Like any clothing item, Japanese dresses vary enormously in price, with cheap nylon dresses costing upwards of fifty dollars, to traditional hand creafted silk kimonos complete with undergarments and “obi” belts costing many thousands of dollars. These “haute couture” garments are, like their western counterparts, genuine collectors items.

Finding Out More

To see some wonderful Japanese dresses throughout history, visit the Victoria & Albert museums kimono page, they have a great collection.

Affordable kimonos (some less traditional and authentic than others!) are available from Amazon.

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