Kimono (着物,きもの) literally means a “thing to wear” and clothing in Japanese. But in more recent years, the word has been used to refer specifically to Japanese traditional garments. Kimono is considered as one of the world’s instantly recognizable traditional clothing and also a representative of polite and formal custom. There are different types of kimono for different seasons and occasions, but most of them are T-shaped with long, wide sleeves, straight-lined silk kimono robes and wrapped around the body. They often come into different color combinations that represent either the seasonal colors or the political class to which one belonged.
Traditionally, the art of putting on a kimono was passed from mother to daughter. When wearing a kimono, it is important to first put on the tabi (足袋,white cotton socks); then the undergarments (a top and a wraparound skirt), and next is the nagajuban (長襦袢, under-kimono which is tied with a datemaki belt); finally, to secured it by a obi (sash, 带,おび), which is tied at the back. About an inch of the haneri (collar) of the nagajuban should be showing inside the collar of the kimono. When putting on a kimono, it is important to wear it with the left side over the right because right over left is used when dressing for burial.
Began in the Heian period (794-1192), kimono was the form of dress worn by everyone in Japan until the mid 19th century where that began to change slowly by the import of suits and dresses and other western fashion. Nowadays, kimonos are most often worn by Japanese women for important festivals or special occasions including weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies and other formal moments.
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