ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – How to Wear a Kimono


I cam into this panel late and only plan on staying for half of it.

By the time I got in she was already most of the way through showing how to put on a yukata.

When you wear yukata you don’t wear tabi with geta. The round fan goes with the yukata. If she gets tired of holding it she can stick it in the back tucked into the obi.

If the obi has any embroidery or paint you don’t want to put it through washing machines/dryers however if it’s plain you can put it through the wash as long as you put it in a garment bag.

I really like how this panel is run with the interactive demonstration where the panelist gets an audience member up to dress up in yukata/kimono.

Furisode are supposed to be worn only by unmarried women and is pretty formal.


Yukata – $15-20 (much less than I expected)

Kimono – $10-15 (everyday pieces)

I totally expected the prices to be hundreds of dollars and wow it’s way cheaper than I had thought.

Unlined outfits are generally yukatas. Kimonos can be very hot to wear since it’s so many layers.

Hitoe is a summer unlined kimono that is more formal. It’s similar to a yukata but one difference is that the seam in the back will be lined.

For men if it’s formal it’s almost always black. Men’s kimono usually are in very subdued colors but the inside is very interesting visually. Women’s kimono is the opposite with the outside being flashier.

Kimono is being brought back more into the mainstream albeit with some changes. For instance, one fashion style is “kimono-hime” which is very flashy and has large bows, frills, etc.

The next audience member is getting dressed up in a komon kimono. The collar has strings to help fold it in half while newer ones will have snaps in the collar. The kimono needs the jubon undergarment. The collar will be a different color and there is no front panel unlike the kimono. Don’t get suckered into buying a jubon when trying to buy a kimono. To make the jubon collar stiffer you can buy or make a collar stiffener using some thin plastic. Find the end there the hinari is open and just feed it through.

The panelist definitely knows her stuff since she was able to explain everything without the help of any aides such as powerpoint but it still seemed very organized.

It’s a shame I can’t stay for the entire panel but I wanted to listen to the Leiji Matsumoto panel. If this panel is offered in the future I would definitely recommend it for anyone that is interested in Japanese garments. I certainly learned a lot.

Nevermind, I decided to stay for this since it’s not as easy to learn about plus it’s just darn interesting. The panelist mentioned that most women in Japan don’t know how to wear a kimono anymore – it’s a dying art. It reminded me of the flower arrangement workshop at Ohayocon. I really appreciate these types of panels at conventions since it’s a nice respite from all the anime/manga/video game related panels.

It’s easiest to tie the obi in the front since you can see what you’re doing and your arms won’t get as tired. When she passed around a magazine there were a couple of tutorials in there showcasing a few different styles of tying the obi bow. I never realized there was so much variation but each one is quite complicated. There are actually quite a few pieces to tying an obi with no less than two pieces of cloth, a cord, and a piece of plastic underneath it all to hold the shape.

The more you wear kimono the easier it’ll get and the more graceful you’ll get at it. This entire process makes putting on gi and hakama seem as simple as slipping into a T-shirt.

Kimono shoes are zori instead of geta. An interesting fact about the cord that goes around – if it’s a happy occasion both are tucked up; if it’s a sad occasion both are tucked down; for normal wear it’s one tucked up and one tucked down. You can put things in the sleeves since the weight keeps it down. Some obi have pockets sewn into them.

A good book is “The Complete Guide to Kimono.” It’s a good basic book if you want to get into the nitty gritty and all of the rules and regulations based on age, etc.

Men’s pieces do not have the slit under the sleeve.

The group AndSewingisHalftheBattle have some questions about a specific obi knot. Seems like it’s going to be for their next group cosplay. It’s going to be interesting to see what the end result is.

Kerry Porter of Ohio Kimono has a beautiful, amazing collection and has done a lot for the kimono community.

If you’re trying to find the worth of something use They are notorious for showing every single flaw or stain on the piece. Apparently this panelist also does another panel sometimes about buying kimono without going broke. One thing is to make sure to measure yourself in cm since only the US uses inches.

Posted on June 3, 2011, in ColossalCon 2011 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: