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  • Japanese Fashion: Yukata or Kimono?

    Yukata or Kimono

    Yukata and Kimono

    Although we may have all come across these two terms, some may not know the details or differences.
    In Shoujo mangas, Yukatas are often mentioned as the Heroine wears one at the summer festival. Other animes show the traditional clothing being worn at Ryokan (inns) and hotsprings.


    So What are the Differences?

    Yukata and Kimono

    Yukata’s are made with cotton fabric and more suited for the summer weather. It is also unlined.
    The Kimono is made from silk fabric and has more layers. Kimonos are worn for formal occasions such as Seijin Shiki (a coming of age ceremony).
    Now that we know the basic foundation of each clothing, let’s start with the Yukata.


    The Yukata


    The Yukata is made from cotton and therefore more lightweight. It is also less formal, which means it is more often worn as loungewear. In fact, the word Yukata derives from Yu (bath) and Katabira (underclothing). Thus it is worn at Ryokans and summer festivals.
    Yukata’s are worn mostly by women, although men may also wear them. There are also fewer variations designs for Yukatas and they are worn with special shoes, Geta. Yukata’s also have collars that are half width and can be folded inwards. Since they are worn in the summer they have shorter sleeves. The Sodetake (known as a sleeve) is no longer than the thigh on Yukatas.


    The Kimono


    Kimonos are viewed as more glamorous and therefore are worn for formal occasions such as Seijin Shiki and weddings. The word derives from Ki (wear) and Mono (thing).
    Unlike the Yukata, both genders wear Kimonos and are more expensive since they are made from silk. Designs for Kimonos are unique, meaning no two Kimonos will be the same. However, as Kimonos are more formal, you must wear socks together as an outfit. This then leads the person to wear special shoes, the Geta or Zori. They also tend to have longer sleeves. The Sodetake is usually longer than the thigh on Kimonos.
    Kimonos have two collars, one close to the neck and the other slightly lower. The many layers in a Kimono make it a bad choice to wear during the summer and therefore worn in cooler weather. Young women tend to wear brighter colors.
    For men, the Obis (sashes that tie to the back) are more similar and the design more uniform and simple. In some designs, colors can define a man’s rank in the social hierachy. Although colors will be more subdued.


    Similarities Between the Two

    Both are traditional Japanese clothing that require Obis.

    During a funeral (or when a person passes), the left side of the Kimono or Yukata must be on top.


    Random Facts about Yukatas and Kimonos


    Yukatas can be washed ina  laundry machine, but a Kimono cannot and therefore often hard to wash.
    For Kimonos in Japan, Kyoto has the most shops to rent out a Kimono.
    Some Kimonos can cost 10,000 yen for cheap clothing up to 1 million yen for a luxurious Kimonos.
    Appropriate colors for Kimonos must be worn depending on the occasion, age and marital status.


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