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How To Wear A Kimono Male How To Wear A Kimono Male

For Men

How To Wear A Kimono Male

Written by: Alida Fite

Discover how to stylishly wear a kimono for men with our comprehensive guide. Learn the best tips and techniques to rock this traditional Japanese garment.

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Table of Contents


Welcome to the world of kimonos, where traditional Japanese fashion meets modern style. Once exclusively worn by women, kimonos have now become a fashionable choice for men as well. The timeless elegance and grace of the kimono make it a versatile garment that can be worn for various occasions, from formal events to casual outings. If you’re curious about how to wear a kimono as a male, this article is your ultimate guide.

The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is characterized by its straight-cut, T-shaped silhouette, wide sleeves, and vibrant patterns. It is typically made from silk or cotton fabric and is known for its meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. Originally worn as everyday clothing in Japan, the kimono has evolved into a symbol of Japanese culture and is now worn mostly on special occasions such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and festivals.

While the traditional kimono can be a bit formal for everyday wear, modern variations and adaptations have made it more accessible and adaptable to different fashion styles. Whether you’re looking for a classic, authentic kimono or a contemporary take on the traditional garment, there are plenty of options available to suit your personal taste and style.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about wearing a kimono as a male. From understanding different types of kimonos and how to select the right one, to proper dressing and styling tips, we’ll help you navigate the world of kimonos with confidence and flair. So, get ready to step into the captivating world of Japanese fashion as we unravel the secrets of wearing a kimono as a modern man.


Understanding the Kimono

To fully appreciate and embrace the art of wearing a kimono, it’s important to have a basic understanding of its design and cultural significance. The kimono is more than just a piece of clothing; it is a reflection of Japanese history, traditions, and values.

The traditional kimono is made up of several components that come together to create its iconic silhouette. The main body of the kimono consists of two large rectangular panels that wrap around the body and are secured with a sash called an obi. The sleeves, known as “sode,” are wide and voluminous, allowing for ease of movement. The length of the kimono varies depending on the occasion and the wearer’s age or social status.

One of the defining features of the kimono is its intricate and symbolic patterns. Traditional kimono designs often include motifs inspired by nature, such as flowers, birds, and waves. These patterns not only add beauty to the garment but also hold deeper meanings and cultural significance. For example, cherry blossoms symbolize the fleeting nature of life, while cranes represent longevity and good fortune.

The fabric used in making a kimono is also an important element to consider. Silk and cotton are the most commonly used materials, with silk being reserved for formal occasions due to its luxurious and elegant appearance. Cotton kimonos, on the other hand, are more casual and comfortable, making them suitable for everyday wear.

It’s worth noting that the kimono is not solely limited to Japan. Many cultures around the world have been inspired by the kimono’s aesthetic and have incorporated similar styles into their own fashion. However, it’s important to differentiate between authentic Japanese kimonos and other cultural variations to respect the traditions and craftsmanship associated with the Japanese garment.

Now that you have a better understanding of the kimono’s design and cultural significance, let’s dive into the process of selecting a kimono that suits your style and occasion.


Selecting a Kimono

When it comes to selecting a kimono, there are various factors to consider, including the occasion, style, and personal preference. Whether you’re looking for a traditional, vintage kimono or a modern, fashion-forward piece, there are options available to suit every taste.

If you’re attending a formal event or a traditional Japanese ceremony, it’s best to opt for a classic, authentic kimono. These kimonos are often made from high-quality silk and feature intricate patterns and designs. You can choose from a wide range of colors and motifs, depending on your personal taste. Floral patterns, geometric designs, and traditional Japanese motifs are all popular choices.

For a more casual or contemporary look, you can consider a yukata, which is a lightweight, cotton kimono. Yukatas are commonly worn during summer festivals and are available in vibrant colors and playful patterns. They are often paired with a simple obi and can be accessorized with a wide-brimmed hat or a woven bag for a modern twist.

When selecting a kimono, pay attention to the fit and length. It’s important to choose a kimono that is the right size for your body to ensure a flattering and comfortable fit. The length of the kimono should also be considered, as it can vary depending on the occasion and your personal preference. A longer kimono exudes a more formal and elegant look, while a shorter length can give a more relaxed and casual vibe.

Additionally, consider the season when choosing a kimono. In warmer months, opt for lightweight fabrics such as cotton or silk blends that allow for breathability. For colder months, consider a heavier fabric, such as wool or lined silk, and layer it with a haori (a short kimono jacket) for added warmth and style.

Another consideration is whether you prefer a pre-tied obi or a traditional self-tie obi. Pre-tied obis are convenient and easy to wear, making them a popular choice for beginners or those who want a fuss-free dressing experience. On the other hand, self-tie obis require some practice and skill to achieve the desired look, but they offer a more authentic and customizable touch to your kimono ensemble.

Remember, selecting a kimono is a personal journey, and it’s important to choose one that reflects your style and makes you feel confident and comfortable. Experiment with different colors, patterns, and fabrics to find the perfect kimono that suits your personality and the occasion.


Choosing the Right Size

Finding the right size kimono is crucial for achieving a flattering and comfortable fit. Unlike Western clothing, kimonos are not sized based on arbitrary numbers or letters. Instead, they are traditionally measured in terms of length and width, which allows for a more inclusive and versatile fit for different body types.

To determine the right size kimono for you, start by measuring your height. Stand tall against a flat wall and measure from the top of your head to the floor. This measurement will give you an idea of the appropriate length of the kimono. Ideally, the kimono should come down to your ankles and create a graceful silhouette.

Next, measure your sleeve length from the center of your neck to your wrist. This measurement will ensure that the sleeves of the kimono are not too short or too long. Traditional kimonos typically have longer sleeves that extend beyond the wrist, while modern variations may have slightly shorter sleeves for a more contemporary look.

In terms of width, kimono sizes are often categorized into different widths, such as small, medium, and large. The width of the kimono is adjustable, thanks to the obi, which can be tied tightly or loosely to create the desired fit. However, it is still important to choose a kimono width that is proportionate to your body size to ensure comfort and ease of movement.

If you’re purchasing a kimono online, refer to the seller’s size chart and measurements to guide your selection. Each seller may have their own sizing guidelines, so be sure to measure yourself and compare your measurements to the chart provided to find the best fit. If you’re unsure or in-between sizes, it’s usually advisable to size up, as it’s easier to make adjustments to a kimono that is slightly larger than your measurements.

Keep in mind that kimono sizes can vary between different brands and designers, so it’s always a good idea to try on the kimono or consult with a knowledgeable salesperson if you have the opportunity to shop in person. They can provide valuable guidance and ensure that you find a kimono that fits you impeccably.

Choosing the right size kimono is essential to ensure that you not only look stylish but also feel comfortable and confident. Take the time to measure yourself accurately and consider your body proportions when selecting a kimono. Remember, a well-fitting kimono will enhance your overall appearance and allow you to fully embrace the beauty and tradition of this iconic Japanese garment.


Kimono Accessories

No kimono ensemble is complete without the right accessories to complement and enhance the overall look. Accessories not only add flair and personality to your outfit but also play a functional role in ensuring that your kimono stays in place and maintains its shape throughout the day.

One essential accessory for a kimono is the obi. The obi is a wide belt that is worn around the waist and serves to secure and cinch the kimono in place. There are various types of obi, each with its own unique style and tying method. The most common type is the Nagoya obi, which features a narrower section that wraps around the waist and a wider section that is tied into a decorative bow at the back. Another popular type is the Fukuro obi, which is wider and more elaborate in design, often used for formal occasions.

Along with the obi, consider adding an obijime, a decorative cord that is tied around the obi to add visual interest and hold it firmly in place. Obijimes come in different colors and materials, allowing you to customize your look and coordinate with the rest of your outfit.

Haori, a short kimono jacket, is another accessory that can elevate your kimono ensemble. Haori adds an extra layer of style and warmth to your outfit while showcasing beautiful patterns and designs. They are typically worn over the kimono and can be left open or tied with a decorative cord or a haori himo.

Accessories such as kanzashi or decorative hair ornaments can be worn with kimono to add a touch of elegance and femininity. Kanzashi come in a variety of styles, from delicate floral designs to intricate metalwork, and can be worn in different ways depending on the occasion and hairstyle.

To complete your kimono look, consider footwear options such as geta, traditional wooden sandals, or zori, which are flat, woven sandals. These traditional Japanese footwear provide both style and functionality, making them the perfect finishing touch for your kimono ensemble.

Remember to choose accessories that complement your kimono and enhance its overall aesthetic. Consider the colors, patterns, and materials of your kimono when selecting accessories to ensure a cohesive and harmonious look. Don’t be afraid to experiment and express your personal style through your choice of accessories, as they can truly make a difference in elevating your kimono outfit to the next level.


Dressing in a Kimono

Dressing in a kimono is an art form that requires precision and attention to detail. While it may seem complex at first, with some practice, you can master the art of putting on a kimono effortlessly. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you dress in a kimono:

  1. Start by putting on a juban, which is a thin, white, kimono-like undergarment that helps to keep the kimono clean and absorb any perspiration. Wrap the juban around your body and secure it with the ties.
  2. Next, put on the kimono by sliding your arms through the sleeves and holding the collar close to your neck. Adjust the kimono so that it hangs straight and the front panels overlap evenly.
  3. Secure the kimono with a koshihimo, which is a long, narrow cord. Wrap the koshihimo around your waist, crossing it over at the back, and tie a secure knot at the front. This will help to keep the kimono in place.
  4. Adjust the length of the kimono by folding up the excess fabric at the hem. The ideal length of the kimono should be just above the ankle.
  5. Wrap the obi around your waist and tie it securely at the back. Make sure it is tight enough to hold the kimono together but still comfortable to move in.
  6. Once the obi is tied, adjust the kimono so that it sits smoothly and the front panels are symmetrical. Take a moment to ensure that everything is aligned and in place.
  7. Complete your look by accessorizing with the appropriate kimono accessories such as sandals, obijime, and haori. These accessories add the finishing touches to your kimono ensemble.

Remember, dressing in a kimono takes practice, and it’s perfectly normal to make mistakes in the beginning. Take your time, follow the steps carefully, and with each attempt, you’ll become more comfortable and confident in dressing yourself in a kimono.

It is also worth mentioning that there are many variations and styles of kimonos, each with its own unique dressing techniques. The steps mentioned above provide a general guide, but it’s important to adjust and adapt them to match the specific style of kimono you are wearing and the occasion. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to seek guidance from experts or consult instructional videos that provide detailed demonstrations.

Dressing in a kimono is a beautiful experience that allows you to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and showcase your personal style. Embrace the grace and elegance of this traditional garment as you perfect the art of putting on a kimono.


Tying the Obi

Tying the obi is a crucial step in completing your kimono ensemble. The obi not only holds the kimono together but also adds a decorative element to your overall look. There are various tying techniques and styles to choose from, depending on the formality of the occasion and your personal preference. Here, we will guide you through the basic steps of tying an obi using the most common tying method, the taiko musubi.

  1. Start by wrapping the obi around your waist, ensuring that the front ends are of equal length.
  2. Take the right end of the obi and cross it over the left end, forming an “X” shape at the front of your body.
  3. Wrap the right end of the obi behind your body and bring it back around to the front, crossing it over the left end once again.
  4. Tuck the right end of the obi underneath the left end and bring it up through the gap between the obi and your body, creating a loop.
  5. Hold the loop with one hand and adjust the obi so that it forms a neat and symmetrical knot at the front.
  6. To secure the knot, wrap the excess obi ends around the back of your body and bring them back to the front.
  7. Tie the ends of the obi in a simple knot, making sure it is tight enough to hold the obi in place.
  8. Take a moment to adjust the shape and position of the knot until you are satisfied with the final look.

The taiko musubi is just one of many tying techniques for the obi, and you can explore different styles to achieve various looks. Some tying methods involve intricate folds and twists, while others focus on creating decorative bows or knots at the front or back of the obi.

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to tying the obi. It may take several attempts to achieve a clean and polished knot, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come easily at first. Watching tutorials or seeking guidance from experts can also provide helpful tips and tricks to master the art of tying the obi.

Keep in mind that the obi is not limited to just one style or material. There are endless variations available, from plain silk obis to ones adorned with intricate patterns or embroidered designs. The obi you choose can greatly influence the overall aesthetic of your kimono ensemble, so take the time to select one that complements your kimono and reflects your personal style.

Tying the obi is a beautiful and essential part of wearing a kimono. The process allows you to express your creativity and add a unique touch to your outfit. Embrace the art of tying the obi and take pride in creating a stunning and harmonious look with your kimono ensemble.


Proper Kimono Etiquette

Wearing a kimono is not only about the garments themselves; it also involves a sense of respect for Japanese culture and tradition. Understanding and following proper kimono etiquette is essential to ensure that you honor the garment and the occasions in which it is worn. Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind when wearing a kimono:

  • Pay attention to the occasion: Different types of kimonos are appropriate for different occasions. For formal events, such as weddings or tea ceremonies, opt for a traditional silk kimono with a more intricate design. For casual outings or summer festivals, a lightweight cotton yukata is more suitable. Dressing in a kimono that matches the formality of the event shows respect for the culture and traditions associated with each occasion.
  • Observe proper dressing order: When putting on a kimono, always remember to wear the appropriate undergarments, such as a juban, to maintain cleanliness and modesty. The kimono is then layered on top, followed by the obi and other accessories. Each layer and accessory serves a purpose and contributes to the overall aesthetic of the ensemble.
  • Show respect through modesty: Kimonos are known for their elegant and demure style, so it’s important to maintain modesty when wearing one. Avoid plunging necklines or excessive exposure of the skin. Ensure that the kimono is properly wrapped, and the obi is securely tied to maintain a neat and dignified appearance.
  • Mind your posture and movements: Wearing a kimono requires a certain level of grace and poise. Pay attention to your posture and walk with small, delicate steps. Avoid slouching or excessive gestures that might disrupt the flow and harmony of the kimono. Practicing good posture and mindful movements elevates the elegance and beauty of the kimono ensemble.
  • Respect cultural symbols and meanings: Kimono patterns and designs often carry symbolic meanings rooted in Japanese culture. Familiarize yourself with some of the common motifs and their significance, such as cherry blossoms, cranes, or waves. Understanding these symbols allows you to appreciate and honor the cultural heritage associated with each kimono.
  • Seek guidance and learn from experts: If you’re unsure about proper kimono etiquette or need assistance with dressing or tying the obi, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from knowledgeable experts or attend workshops. Learning from those who have experience in wearing and caring for kimonos ensures that you uphold the traditions and customs associated with this beautiful garment.

By observing proper kimono etiquette, you not only show respect for the Japanese culture and tradition but also enhance the overall experience of wearing a kimono. Embracing the etiquette associated with kimono wearing allows you to fully immerse yourself in the elegance and grace of this iconic Japanese garment.


Styling Tips for Men in Kimonos

Wearing a kimono as a man is a unique opportunity to showcase your personal style and embrace the rich cultural heritage of Japan. While traditionally considered a garment for women, men can confidently rock a kimono with the right styling choices. Here are some tips to help you create a fashionable and modern look:

  • Opt for masculine colors and patterns: Select kimonos in darker or more subdued colors such as navy, gray, or black. Look for patterns that are bold and geometric, such as stripes or checkered designs. These elements can add a masculine touch while maintaining the essence of the kimono’s traditional aesthetic.
  • Experiment with different obi styles: The obi is a significant accessory that can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a kimono. Consider using a wider obi in a contrasting color or pattern to create a statement and draw attention to your waist. Additionally, try different obi tying methods, such as a simple knot or a decorative bow, to personalize your style.
  • Layer it up: Add layers to your kimono ensemble to bring depth and dimension. Pair a haori, a short kimono jacket, with your kimono for a stylish and contemporary look. The haori not only enhances the overall aesthetic but also provides an extra layer of warmth during colder seasons.
  • Choose complementary accessories: Accessorize your kimono with items that enhance your overall look. Consider incorporating a kaku-obi, a type of obi belt with a masculine touch, or add a pocket square in a contrasting color to your haori. These small touches can elevate your outfit and make it more personalized.
  • Experiment with footwear options: Step away from the traditional geta sandals and explore alternative footwear choices. Consider wearing modern loafers, boots, or even sneakers to give your kimono a contemporary and stylish twist. Just make sure the style and color of the footwear complement the overall look.
  • Play with layering pieces: Explore the art of layering by adding a necktie or a vest under your kimono. These additional layers can add sophistication and a touch of modernity to your kimono attire. Pay attention to color coordination to ensure that each layer complements one another harmoniously.

Remember, the key to styling a kimono for men is to strike a balance between traditional and modern elements. Embrace the elegance and cultural heritage of the kimono while bringing your personal flair into the mix. Be creative, have fun, and let your own sense of style shine through.


Final Thoughts

Wearing a kimono as a man is a captivating way to embrace Japanese culture and create a unique fashion statement. Whether you are exploring the traditional roots of the kimono or experimenting with contemporary adaptations, incorporating this iconic garment into your wardrobe opens up a world of possibilities.

By understanding the history, design, and etiquette of the kimono, you can confidently navigate the realm of men’s kimono fashion. From selecting the right kimono for the occasion to mastering the art of tying the obi, each step in the process allows you to appreciate the craftsmanship and cultural significance that accompanies wearing a kimono.

Remember, the key to wearing a kimono successfully is to balance tradition with personal style. Embrace the opportunity to express your creativity through pattern and color choices, obi tying techniques, and accessorizing. Allow the kimono to showcase your unique personality and make a statement that is all your own.

It’s also important to approach wearing a kimono with respect for the culture and traditions it represents. Immerse yourself in the beauty and grace of the kimono, paying homage to its history and the customs that surround it. By observing proper kimono etiquette and engaging in ongoing learning, you can deepen your appreciation for Japanese culture and forge a connection to a timeless art form.

Whether you’re wearing a kimono for a special event, a casual outing, or simply to experience the elegance of this traditional Japanese garment, remember to enjoy the journey. Embrace the artistry and craftsmanship, take pride in wearing a piece of history, and let the kimono become a reflection of your personal style and cultural appreciation.

So, go forth and confidently step into the world of men’s kimono fashion. Embrace the elegance, tradition, and individuality that the kimono offers, and let your style shine. Whether it’s a classic silk kimono or a modern yukata, let the kimono become an extension of your personality, making a statement that is uniquely yours.

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