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What Is A Short Kimono Called What Is A Short Kimono Called

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What Is A Short Kimono Called

Written by: Celestia Otoole

Discover the different types of underwear for every occasion and learn about the short kimono, also known as a haori, a stylish garment that adds a touch of elegance to any outfit.

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The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that has been a symbol of timeless elegance and cultural heritage for centuries. With its flowing silhouette and intricate designs, the kimono has captivated people all over the world. While the traditional kimono is typically a long robe with wide sleeves, there are also shorter variations available that offer a more modern and versatile take on this iconic garment.

In this article, we will explore the world of short kimonos and uncover the history, uses, and styling possibilities associated with them. Whether you are a fashion enthusiast, a Japanophile, or simply curious about different types of clothing, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what a short kimono is and why it has become a popular choice in contemporary fashion.

Join us as we dive into the fascinating world of short kimonos, from their origins to their current relevance in the fashion industry. Discover the beauty and versatility of this unique garment and learn how to incorporate it into your own personal style.


History of the Kimono

The kimono has a rich history that dates back over a thousand years. It originated during the Heian period (794-1185) in Japan, when it was worn as the everyday garment for both men and women. The word “kimono” itself means “thing to wear” in Japanese, reflecting its status as a fundamental part of Japanese culture.

During the early years, kimonos were typically made from handwoven silk and featured intricate patterns and designs, displaying the wearer’s social status and personal taste. The style and color of the kimono also varied based on the occasion and season. For example, vibrant colors and bold patterns were often reserved for festive celebrations, while more muted tones were preferred for formal gatherings or mourning.

Over time, the kimono became not only a clothing item but also a form of artistic expression. Skilled artisans would spend hours embroidering and dyeing fabrics to create stunning works of art. The attention to detail and craftsmanship associated with kimonos made them highly coveted and treasured possessions.

With the Westernization sweeping Japan during the Meiji era (1868-1912), the popularity of the kimono started to decline as people adopted more Western-style clothing. However, the kimono made a comeback in the early 20th century as a symbol of national identity and cultural pride.

Today, while modern fashion trends have influenced clothing choices in Japan, the kimono continues to hold a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people. It is still worn on special occasions like weddings, tea ceremonies, and festivals, as well as by geishas and during traditional performances.

The influence of the kimono has also extended beyond Japan’s borders, with international designers and fashion enthusiasts embracing its unique aesthetic and incorporating it into their designs. The kimono’s timeless elegance and craftsmanship have made it an enduring and beloved garment around the world.


Types of Kimonos

The kimono is not a one-size-fits-all garment; in fact, there are various types of kimonos, each with its own distinct style and purpose. Let’s explore some of the most popular types:

  1. Furisode: This is a formal kimono worn by unmarried women on special occasions. It is characterized by its long sleeves, which can reach up to 114 centimeters in length, and vibrant colors and patterns.
  2. Hakama: Hakama are wide-legged trousers worn over a kimono, traditionally by men. They are often seen in formal settings such as weddings or ceremonies.
  3. Tsukesage: Tsukesage is a more casual version of the furisode, with smaller and more subdued patterns. It is often worn by married women for semi-formal events.
  4. Komon: This is a casual kimono that can be worn for everyday occasions. It features small repeating patterns all over the fabric and is suitable for both men and women.
  5. Yukata: Yukata is a lightweight and unlined kimono made from cotton or synthetic materials. It is typically worn in the summertime or at outdoor events like fireworks festivals. Yukata often features bold and playful patterns.
  6. Tomosode: Tomosode is an elegant and formal kimono with a solid-colored base and a pattern on the lower half of the garment. It is commonly worn by married women for events such as receptions and parties.

These are just a few examples of the wide variety of kimonos available. Each type has its own unique characteristics and serves a specific purpose, whether it is for ceremonial events, casual outings, or formal occasions.

As the popularity of the kimono continues to grow, contemporary designers have also introduced modern variations, combining traditional elements with a contemporary twist. This fusion of old and new allows individuals to express their personal style while honoring the rich history and cultural significance of the kimono.


Differences between a Short Kimono and a Regular Kimono

While the traditional kimono is known for its floor-length silhouette and sweeping sleeves, a short kimono offers a more modern and versatile alternative. Let’s explore the key differences between a short kimono and a regular kimono:

Length: Perhaps the most obvious difference is the length. A regular kimono is designed to reach the ankles or floor, creating a graceful and elegant look. In contrast, a short kimono typically falls around the hip or thigh area, giving it a more casual and contemporary feel.

Sleeves: Another distinction lies in the sleeves. Traditional kimonos have wide and flowing sleeves that can extend several inches beyond the fingertips. In contrast, short kimonos often have shorter and more tailored sleeves, allowing for greater ease of movement and a relaxed aesthetic.

Structure: Regular kimonos are typically made with several layers of fabric, resulting in a structured and voluminous appearance. Short kimonos, on the other hand, are often made with lighter fabrics and have a more lightweight and relaxed construction.

Occasions: Regular kimonos are often reserved for formal events and ceremonial occasions, such as weddings or tea ceremonies. They are steeped in traditional customs and carry symbolic meaning. Short kimonos, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be worn for various occasions and settings, from casual outings to social events.

Styling: The styling options for short kimonos are more flexible compared to regular kimonos. Short kimonos can be easily paired with different bottoms, such as jeans, skirts, or shorts, allowing for more experimentation and customization. Regular kimonos, due to their length and formality, typically require specific undergarments and accessories to be worn in a traditional manner.

While there are differences between short kimonos and regular kimonos, both types offer their own unique charm and beauty. Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of a regular kimono or the contemporary flair of a short kimono, these garments allow for self-expression and a celebration of Japanese culture.


What Is A Short Kimono Called?

A short kimono, as the name suggests, is a variation of the traditional Japanese garment that has a shorter length compared to a regular kimono. However, it is important to note that there is no specific term used exclusively for short kimonos. Instead, they are often referred to by their general name, “kimono,” with the understanding that they deviate from the traditional floor-length style.

Short kimonos can be called by different names depending on their specific design or purpose. For example, a shorter kimono with a length that falls above the hip or waist area is often referred to as a “hip-length kimono.” This style is popular for its youthful and casual appeal, and it pairs well with various outfits.

Another term used for short kimonos is “haori,” which typically refers to a jacket-like kimono that can be worn as a lightweight outer layer. Haoris are known for their shorter length and open-front design, allowing for easy wear and versatility in styling. They are often adorned with beautiful patterns and can be a stunning addition to any outfit.

In addition to these terms, some fashion designers and brands may come up with their own names for short kimonos to reflect their unique style or inspiration. These names can vary from “short robe” to “kimono jacket” or “kimono cardigan,” indicating that the garment is a modern interpretation of the traditional kimono.

Regardless of the specific name used, the essence of a short kimono remains the same – it is a shorter version of the classic Japanese garment, designed to offer a more contemporary and versatile option for wearers. This allows individuals to embrace the beauty and cultural significance of the kimono while incorporating it seamlessly into their modern lifestyles.


Traditional Uses of Short Kimonos

While short kimonos may be a more modern variation of the traditional garment, they still hold a place in traditional Japanese customs and events. Here are some of the traditional uses of short kimonos:

Festivals: Short kimonos, known as “happi,” are often worn during festivals in Japan. Happi are vibrant and colorful jackets that feature bold patterns and symbols representing specific festivals or groups. They are typically worn over a kimono or other traditional clothing, and they add a festive touch to the celebrations.

Casual Gatherings: Short kimonos, such as haoris or hip-length kimonos, are commonly worn for casual gatherings and social events. They offer a relaxed and stylish alternative to the more formal and elaborate kimonos. These shorter versions allow individuals to showcase their personal style while paying homage to the traditional Japanese garment.

Tea Ceremonies: In some tea ceremonies, a short kimono called “susohiki” is worn by the tea ceremony host. Susohiki is characterized by its long train, which gracefully sweeps the floor as the host moves. This type of short kimono adds an extra layer of elegance and ceremony to the tea ceremony tradition.

Stage Performances: Shorter kimonos, such as the kurotomesode or the chirimen kimono, are commonly worn by actors and performers in traditional Japanese theater, such as kabuki or Noh. These shorter kimonos allow for ease of movement on stage while still maintaining the essence of the traditional garment.

Weddings and Celebrations: Short kimonos can also be worn during weddings and celebratory occasions. While long kimonos are typically preferred for formal weddings, shorter kimonos, especially in bold and vibrant colors, can be worn as a stylish alternative by brides, bridesmaids, or guests who prefer a more modern approach.

These traditional uses of short kimonos showcase the versatility and adaptability of the garment. Whether it’s for cultural festivals, casual gatherings, tea ceremonies, stage performances, or special occasions, short kimonos continue to be an integral part of Japanese customs and traditions.


Modern Fashion and Short Kimonos

The world of fashion has embraced the short kimono as a stylish and versatile garment that effortlessly blends traditional Japanese aesthetics with contemporary trends. Here’s how short kimonos have made their mark in modern fashion:

Inspiration for Designers: The unique silhouette and intricate patterns of the traditional kimono have served as inspiration for many fashion designers around the world. They incorporate elements of the kimono, such as wide sleeves or delicate floral motifs, into their designs, including short kimonos. This fusion of traditional and modern elements creates captivating and fashion-forward pieces.

A Statement Piece: Short kimonos are often seen as statement pieces that can elevate any outfit. They can be styled with a simple t-shirt and jeans for a chic and effortless look, or paired with a dress for a more formal and elegant ensemble. With various colors, patterns, and fabrics available, short kimonos offer endless possibilities for creating unique and eye-catching outfits.

Cultural Appreciation: Wearing a short kimono is a way for individuals to show their appreciation for Japanese culture and tradition. It allows people from different backgrounds to experience and celebrate the beauty and artistry of the kimono, while also incorporating it into their own personal style.

Bridging East and West: Short kimonos have become a bridge between Eastern and Western fashion influences. They offer a sense of exoticism and cultural diversity that appeals to individuals seeking to incorporate elements of Japanese culture into their wardrobe. This fusion of styles promotes cross-cultural exchange and encourages a deeper appreciation for diversity in fashion.

Comfort and Versatility: Short kimonos are favored by many for their comfort and versatility. Their shorter length and lighter fabrics make them suitable for various climates and seasons. Whether it’s a summer beach cover-up or a layering piece for transitional weather, short kimonos offer functionality and style in equal measure.

In the realm of modern fashion, short kimonos have become more than just a cultural garment; they have evolved into a symbol of individuality, cross-cultural exchange, and timeless style. Their seamless integration into the global fashion landscape is a testament to the enduring allure of the kimono and its ability to adapt to contemporary tastes.


Styling Tips for Short Kimonos

Short kimonos are versatile and can be styled in numerous ways to create a variety of fashionable looks. Here are some styling tips to make the most of your short kimono:

Layering: Short kimonos are perfect for layering. Pair them with a basic t-shirt or tank top and jeans for a casual and effortless outfit. Add a belt to cinch the waist and create a more defined silhouette.

High-Waisted Bottoms: Opt for high-waisted bottoms, such as skirts or shorts, to pair with your short kimono. This creates a balanced look and accentuates the waistline while allowing the kimono to be the focal point of the outfit.

Belted Look: Create a more structured and polished look by adding a belt to your short kimono. This not only accentuates your figure but also adds a touch of sophistication to the overall ensemble.

Print Mixing: Don’t be afraid to experiment with print mixing. Short kimonos offer a great opportunity to play with patterns. Mix different prints by pairing a patterned kimono with striped or floral bottoms. Just remember to keep the color palette cohesive for a harmonious look.

Accessorize: Amp up your outfit with accessories. Add a statement necklace, a wide-brimmed hat, or a bold handbag to complement your short kimono and elevate your overall look.

Footwear: Consider the occasion and style of the outfit when choosing footwear. For a dressier look, opt for heels or ankle boots. For a casual and comfortable look, pair your short kimono with sandals or sneakers.

Play with Contrast: Create an interesting contrast by wearing a short kimono over a monochromatic outfit. A black kimono over an all-white ensemble or a white kimono over a black outfit can create a striking and sophisticated look.

Beyond Traditional: Embrace the modern aspect of the short kimono by experimenting with unconventional pairings. Layer it over a graphic t-shirt and denim shorts for a trendy and edgy vibe or wear it as a cover-up at the beach over a swimsuit for a bohemian-inspired look.

Remember, the key to styling short kimonos is to have fun and let your personal style shine through. Play around with different combinations, mix elements of tradition and modernity, and embrace your own unique flair. The possibilities are endless when it comes to styling these versatile and fashion-forward garments.



The short kimono, with its modern twist on the traditional Japanese garment, has captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts worldwide. From its long and storied history to its versatility in modern fashion, the short kimono offers a beautiful blend of tradition and innovation.

We explored the various types of kimonos, discussed the differences between short kimonos and regular kimonos, and delved into the traditional uses and modern fashion applications of this captivating garment. We discovered that while short kimonos may have a more contemporary appeal, they still hold a place in traditional Japanese customs and ceremonies.

Short kimonos have become a statement piece in modern fashion, inspiring designers and bridging Eastern and Western influences. Their comfort, versatility, and ability to effortlessly elevate an outfit make them a favorite choice for individuals looking to express their personal style while paying homage to the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

Whether worn for casual outings, festivals, or special occasions, short kimonos allow for endless possibilities in styling. From layering and print mixing to accessorizing and experimenting with contrasts, there are no limits to how you can showcase your short kimono and make it a reflection of your own unique taste and personality.

As fashion continues to evolve, the short kimono remains a timeless and cherished garment, cherished for its beauty and cultural significance. Whether embraced by fashion enthusiasts or sought after by those looking to experience the allure of Japanese culture, the short kimono continues to captivate and inspire, embodying the essence of elegance, artistry, and versatility.

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