5 Reasons to Wear a Kimono
If you spent large portions of the pandemic’s worst periods binging episodes of “New Girl” on Netflix (as I did), then you likely are familiar with Schmidt and his kimono. Is this beloved (albeit vain) character to blame for the rise in popularity of kimonos this season, or is it due to their fashionable, versatile style and their comfortable fit? I’m going to say it’s all of the above. Either way, kimonos are taking off, and before we dive into why it’s the item you need to add to your wardrobe this summer, let’s start with a quick overview of where they come from.
Kimonos are the garment that has defined Japanese style for hundreds of years. Though we can’t even begin to cover the cultural and historical significance of these garments, a brief history of them takes us back as far as the Wu Dynasty in China, where it’s believed the influence for the garment came from. Fast forward a few hundred years to the 8th century, and these robes had made their way to Japan, now with their own unique Japanese style. In short, they’re T-shaped robes, traditionally made from just four pieces of silk fabric, and they’re symbolic of good fortune. They come in various designs and colors for numerous occasions, but traditionally were often reserved for key moments in Japanese society, like wedding ceremonies. Now, they’ve made their way around the world as a fashion symbol, fit for most occasions, and serve as a tribute to Japanese culture and style everywhere. So if a kimono hasn’t made its way into your closet yet, then here’s a few reasons why it’s time to get one of your own.
There’s a Kimono Style for Everyone
It’s easy to have a vague picture of what you’d expect a kimono to look like in your mind, and frankly, there’s likely one out there that matches that expectation. But there’s also likely hundreds out there that don’t - and that’s what’s great about them. Kimonos aren’t all the same; in fact, there’s one for nearly every occasion. If you’re grabbing dinner with friends but want something to add some color to your outfit, there’s a kimono for that. And on the flip side, if you don’t necessarily want to add color, but you want to throw something on over your outfit, there are kimonos that fit that style as well. A sleek all black kimono with stitched detailing can be perfect for the occasion (especially if it’s too warm for a cardigan or sweater) by keeping your outfit formal enough, but also adding an extra layer.
Kimonos also come in both short and long styles, with some falling just below the knees in a typical robe length while others just reach the waist. And finally, there’s a color and pattern for just about everyone, from a traditional japanese style that features flowers complimented by other geometric shapes to ones that give off a different vibe, featuring animal prints or patchwork style patterns. No matter your style, no matter the occasion, there’s definitely a kimono that fits.
Kimonos Are Comfortable!
When I think of throwing something comfy on, a robe is, in fact, one of the first few things that come to mind. Now imagine a robe that you can wear in public. Kimonos, though likely not the first thing you’d picture when you think of a robe, do in fact meet the criteria. They can be worn open or shut, and with as much (or little) as you want on underneath. But unlike your bathrobe that’s hanging on a hook in your bathroom at home, this kind of robe isn’t just for your lazy days. The loose fit of a kimono makes it comfortable no matter what you’re up to, and their typical silk fabric is smooth and cool on your skin. So next time you’re reluctant to get out of your robe and head out of the house to do errands, consider this: you could just throw another robe on, and keep the comfort while you’re out and about.
They’re The Easiest Way to Make Your Outfit Unique
As a loyal t-shirt and jeans enthusiast, sometimes I struggle to add flair to my outfit in a way I feel confident about. If you’re anything like me and like to play it a little safe with your outfits, it’s not always easy to switch it up and throw on an outfit that may draw a lot of attention. I find myself second guessing myself, thinking, does this match? Does this outfit “work”? But a kimono has changed all of that. Once you get a kimono (or a couple) that you feel comfortable and confident in, it becomes the perfect piece of clothing to make your outfits stand out without putting any effort in. Kimonos bring a jeans-and-tee outfit a whole new vibe, with minimal thought or effort put in. As long as the colors don’t totally clash, you’re in the clear. Suddenly, you’ll find that you’re the one getting compliments on your clothes when you’re getting dinner with friends. Little do they know, you’re really donning your typical skinny jeans and a tee style - but the kimono on top has given you a brand new look.
They’re The Perfect Beach Wear
Another use for kimonos: beach cover ups. As I could say about many occasions, it’s like kimonos were made for this. They’re lightweight, so you won’t get too hot; they’re colorful, so they match the mood on a sunny beach day; and they’re more convenient than wearing a pullover style beach cover-up, like a dress, because they’re open in the front. Next time you see a cute beach pullover or sundress, take a second to think: would a kimono be just as comfy, just as cute, and probably even more practical? (Hint: yes to all of the above.)
You’ll Avoid Accidentally Matching With Someone
There are few things worse than getting a new piece of clothing that you’re excited about only to find your friend already has the same thing. With a kimono, that’s simply unlikely to happen. The sheer amount of possible patterns and styles, plus the numerous unique and high-quality kimono retailers make the chances of you ever matching someone else in your kimono extremely rare. And even if matching item-for-item isn’t your main worry, your look likely won’t be similar to anyone else at the table, or the function, or the event - and in the best way. A kimono is the perfect way to ensure that your outfit is going to be uniquely yours, no matter where or when you wear it.
If you’re not sold yet, there’s really only one thing left to do: find a kimono that suits your style, get it, keep the tags on, and try it on. Once you’ve done that, it’s pretty hard to go back. The tags will be on the floor in minutes.