For my taste, kimono is Japan's most elegant national dress for many reasons – it has a beautiful silhouette, it’s very neat, and it’s unique. Kimono for men are much simpler and universal while kimono for women can be considered a piece of art. The choice of colors, patterns and their combinations requires a national taste, I bet.
Kimono has a long history and was transformed from Chinese female dress. Modern kimono have a rather simple design cut and are made from a whole piece of silk. Kimono (there is no plural in the Japanese language) are sewn by hand and the silk for kimono is also painted by hand – that’s why good quality kimono are very expensive. Except for Kyoto, people wear casual clothes in the International style on an everyday basis. However, for special occasions such as traditional wedding ceremonies, many Japanese prefer kimono. If a woman has no family kimono she can rent one.
It was interesting to learn from a TV program that kimono are difficult to put on, and a person wearing one needs an experienced assistant to help. Kimono have one size and the length is regulated by a special fold fixed at the waist. A wide belt known as an obi is tied at the back in a special way and that operation also requires help. To wash a kimono, people open the seams and sew it back together again after washing – it’s quite complicated!
Kimono restrains movement and requires a special grace when it comes to walking and other movements. Also, it requires a matching hairdo, sandals known as geta, and accessories such as a handbag and hair clips with decorations. All together those elements form the unique image of a Japanese girl or woman.
To be honest, I never tried kimono as I’d feel uncomfortable and maybe ridiculous, but I always admire Japanese women in kimono – it’s so unusual, elegant, and beautiful! Also, I always stop by the windows of kimono shops and look at kimono similar to how I would look at paintings.