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Kitsuke Fun: How to Wear Kimono

July 15, 2009

Anime and cosplay fans aren’t just crazy people. Many of us are interested in learning about Japanese culture and tradition, right? RIGHT! One of the first things that sparked my interest in anime, and subsequently, in cosplay, was traditional Japanese garb. Therefore, today KawaiiClare brings you….

Kitsuke Fun:  How to Wear Kimono!

We practiced our kitsuke on Fancy India.  Kawaii, ne?

This will be a step-by-step guide on how to wear a casual woman’s kimono ensemble.  The kimono Fancy India is wearing even has a matching haori(?!) but I forgot to put it on her.  Oops.  It would have been so stylish and chic!

Anyway, our first step was to put on a juban so that the kimono wouldn’t touch any skin directly.  This helps preserve the kimono’s condition .  This particular kimono is wool, so it would be itchy without a juban, too!  As you may or may not be able to tell, Fancy India is wearing her regular clothes under the juban lol.  In real life, the juban may not be your first step.  There are various methods of wrapping and binding in order to get a better tube-like shape for kimono wearing, there are also slips and other undergarments to be worn with kimono.  Some people also use padding over the juban to get the cylindrical figure.

Here’s step 1:

Step 2:

Put your kimono on! Fold the collar in half after it’s on.  Notice how the collars don’t sit right against her neck?  You should be able to fit a few fingers in the space between your neck and the collar.  Geiko and maiko can wear their collars back even further.  It’s so elegant!

Step 3:

Adjust the kimono to the correct length.  The hem should just brush your ankles.  You’ll do this by grabbing the ends of the collars in either hand and pulling up slowly until it’s just right.

Step 4:

Wrap yourself up.  Bring the right side of the kimono to your left hipbone.  You’ll want the bottom corner to be about 6 centimeters higher than the left corner.

Lookin’ good!

Step 5:

Bring it around town!  Line the left side up with your right hipbone.  Make sure the bottom hem is straight.   Pull all the excess fabric up and make sure the kimono is smooth over your tooshy!  You need all that excess fabric to make your ohashori (aka waist-fold).   Tie your himo around your waist.  Here, you can see me helping Fancy India to get everything wrinkle-free.

Step 6:

This one’s easy and it’s fun!  We’re going to karate chop that excess fabric to give us a nice, smooth, even ohashori.  Just reach your hands right in and chop it all the way around!  You can use the openings under the kimono sleeves and the opening at the front.


Chop, chop, chop!

Step 7:

This one has a part A, B, and C, but it’s not hard!
A) Pull the right side of the kimono out of the ohashori and fold it in a triangle, with the point at the right hipbone.

B) Stick it under the left side.

C) Pull the left side so that it’s nice and smooth and then tie your next himo over your torso.

Not necessary, but very helpful. Put a date-jime over everything you just tied.

Ok! So now your kimono is on. But it’s still missing something, isn’t it? That’s because it’s time for the obi!

Select an obi that works for your kimono. There are so many rules about kimono and obi coordination that I won’t go into them now, but you may want to check the CosplayCute.com forums or check my blog at a later date for some helpful hints on coordination! ^^

Each obi type has it’s own unique shape and dimensions, and can be used to tie different musubi. Today, we have a pretty black nagoya obi with embroidered camellia flowers and we’ll be tying the otaiko musubi. To tie this musubi you’ll need an obi, an obi makura, an obiage, an obijime, an obi ita and as many chords, belts or himo as you please.

Step 1:

Depending on your obi, you may have to fold it in half lengthwise until the point where there is a seam in the obi. Then, toss the narrow end of the obi over your left shoulder.  If you have an obi ita with ties, stick it on before you start the obi.

Step 2:
Reach your hand behind you and make a triangle fold in the obi so that the fold is toward your feet and the open side is toward your head.

Step 3:
Wrap, wrap, wrap the obi around your body.  If you have the obi ita with no ties, you can put it on by sticking it into your obi now.

Step 4:
Stop when the seam is in the center of your back. Throw the tail over your left shoulder make a triangle fold with the point going toward your feet.

Step 5:
Get your obi makura and wrap it neatly in the obiage.

Step 6:
Most obi makura will be kidney shaped. The curved part goes toward the top when you wear it. Press the obiage against the triangle fold you just made and use it to hold the fold flat against your back.

Tie the obi makura strings in front of you.

You can see we skipped a step, didn’t we? If you look closely, you’ll see Fancy India holding that tail from the beginning in her left hand. All she did was pull it from the back to the front.

Step 7:
Make the obiage neat and tie it in the front over the obi makura ties.

You can see the tail just hanging out at the right side.

Step 8:
Fold the tail at the back into itself so that it makes a nice square. There should be a flap inside the square. Then, pass a string carefully through the first loop created by the folding.

Tie that string in the front. It’s temporary, so it doesn’t have to be pretty.

Step 9:
Put the little tail through the second loop.

Step 10:
Tie the obi jime. All you have to do is put the obi jime over all the folds except the outermost one in the square and then tie it in front in a square knot. Here are several pictures to illustrate this.

Step 11: Tuck everything into the right places, take off the temporary string and you’re done!

There! That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Ok,  so now that we know how to wear our kimonos, let’s put together lots of cute ensembles and send pictures to CosplayCute!!!!!!

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