A Little Culture About a Little Kimono


Did you know that the Kimono isn’t actually Japanese? The word kimono translates directly into ‘Thing to wear’ and was once worn by both women and men. Though the kimono is generally synonymous with KIMONObackJapanese culture, we need to pay homage to its original Chinese roots. The kimono was adopted by the Japanese in the early 5th century as far as anthropologists can tell, worn by the Han people and sometime in the late 7th or early 8th century, it was introduced to the Japanese through merchants and dignitaries visiting and conducting business with China. As the centuries wore on, the kimono became less formal, and women began to stylize it by lengthening the sleeves, and using elaborate colour schemes. The more elaborate the design, and the more luxurious the fabric translated into a quick succession up the status ladder.

The most expensive kimonos were worn by Geishas, fetching prices upwards of $100,000 for a customized dress. However, unlike vintage designs by the most beloved fashion houses, kimonos don’t hold their value very well. Once they’re worn more than twice, they’re worth 80-90% less – That’s worse than driving a new car off the lot! There are plenty of theories to explain why the kimono went way of the Dodo in Japanese society,  however, its well known that Emperor Mejiji ordered his country progress and adopt a more western style of dress!

Well, here’s a little a little progress for you Mr. Mejiji. This may not be what his royal highness had in mind, but the modern kimono dress is one my favourite designs, and in my opinion, one of the most flattering on most body types. The kimono may have been on every summer 2014 style list (mostly as a cover-up), but it’s one of my go-to date-night styles allllll year long!




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Jordana is a Canadian based travel author, travel manager, and anthropology graduate with a passion for all things cultural.

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