Kimonos are mostly associated with traditional Japanese textiles, granted with typical colors and length requirements that reach from head to toe. Historically, this traditional Japanese piece of clothing is meant to be worn during public appearance. Literally translated kimono means “a thing to wear”. ‘Ki’ being equal to wear, ‘mono’ being equal to thing.
Obviously, with this in mind, there remains room for explanation on how to wear a modern style of kimono. At studio wanderlust we have a slightly different approach towards designing and wearing kimono fashion. Modern kimonos are often used as a cover-up garment, with printed or hand-crafted design. They are presented with an experimental range of fabrics, colors and length requirements.
So, when and how to wear modern kimonos?
It’s not that difficult to find suitable occasions for wearing a kimono as part of an outfit, as the pairing diversity of the garment is unbelievable. Whatever fabric is used, kimonos easily compliment your jeans, tees or skirts. They can also be worn over swimwear as a beach cover up. Speaking about complementary outfits, let’s dive into the variety of occasions that are suitable for modern kimonos.
Modern kimonos with a full length and midi length (also known as dusters), especially in the Australian market, are not necessarily considered as formal in appearance. Lindsay, owner of Studio Wanderlust, describes it as follows: “I would say that if they are produced out of a fabric that has a shine to it, such as a silk or poly satin, they offer a slightly more formal appearance. However, when produced out of a more casual fabric, like viscose and rayon, in a sheer georgette or a matt silk quality, then they will attain a more bohemian look, especially when printed or embroidered. In their more casual form they are often worn at festivals or as a beach style. Overall the full and midi length, also refered to as dusters, look very feminine and elegant and suit being worn for different occasions.”
At formal occasions modern kimonos offer a wide variety of possibilities, depending on the focus on length, colour or fabric. Playing with these elements will determine the outcome of your appearance. Appearances such as a bohemian, goddess or an elegant look are most suitable with cocktail- and evening parties. Therefore printed (bohemian), one-color (goddess) and floral-graphics with a sash (elegant) will help you get there. However, if you are looking for a more sensual outcome of the evening, you should go for satin or silk kimono.
Casual Summer Vibe Appearance
During our well-deserved summers modern kimonos require fabrics that breathe, colors that saturate and length requirements that fit the season. For more casual looks you can think of balancing off your kimono with shorts, tees and sandals. The length of these kimonos should be between waist and below bottom. This will offer you a comfy casual look.
What are the length requirements of modern kimonos?
Modern kimonos come in a variety of length requirements, depending on the occasion or the season in which you’d be wearing the garment. The maximum length would be the so-called ‘maxi length’. This is a full length wear, from the shoulders to the ankle. The midi-length style kimonos have a slight difference in length as opposed to the maxi length, as they are worn from shoulders to mid calf. Another popular length is to knee, or just below the knee length. Our current length of the Studio Wanderlust style is the one that drapes until just below the bottom. A very suitable length for a comfy summer vibe appearance.
What fabrics are modern kimonos made of?
Seasonality and formality are surely the most determinant factors during the design-making process of kimonos with regard to the choice of fabric. The range of fabrics to choose from vary from silk to polyester. At Studio Wanderlust we use silk crepe. This type of fabric is made of a matt silk quality, that doesn’t possess that typical shine as some silk fabrics do.
Silk Crepe Kimono
The silk crepe comes in varying weights and densities. The Studio Wanderlustquality owns a medium thickness-to-weight dimension, which doesn’t make the kimono appeal as a see through fabric, although it still drapes nicely on the body. A great advantage is that crepe has a deeply sensible and absorbent characteristic, which makes it very suitable to be dyed into a variety of colours and designed with various types of prints.
Silk Satin Kimono
Another silk fabric that is used for modern kimono styles is silk satin. This has more of a shine and lustre to it. The fabric offers more of an evening wear aesthetic and is suitable for formal appearances. Satin that is completely made out of silk offers an ability to breathe, like most natural fibres do. In contrast polyester satins can’t and can get quite hot.
Silk Georgette Kimono
A commonly used silk quality for kimonos is silk georgette. This is a sheer fabric. The advantages of using silk is that the fabric is made of very good quality. It is a natural fibre (not man made) and it lasts a long time. In regards to prints, the colours are very rich and offer a saturated appearance on the fabric. You can also create very fine details in the print which look great on a silk fabric and won’t blur.
Viscose or Rayon Kimono
A very popular fabric for kimono styles is viscose or rayon. This is a cheaper fabric. These fabrics are produced from natural fibres and are man made (no static problems). Viscose and rayon are also more casual in appearance and the fabric can be hand washed, and therefore offers an easier maintenance. The biggest negative is that it wrinkles quite quickly and can shrink if not washed correctly.
Poly Georgette Kimono
There is also poly georgette, named after the French textile designer ‘Georgette’. This is a sheer fabric made from synthetic fibres, like polyester. Again it is a cheaper option and easy to maintain. Due to the lightweight property of the fabric it offers a slim appearance as it drapes well alongside the body and offers a balanced look. The fabric, as it doesn’t crease, won’t require a need for ironing and thus becomes more durable. The fabric requires being hand-washed in cold water with a mild detergent.
Now that we have lifted your knowledge of modern kimono characteristics, you should hopefully be confident in your future purchase. Have a look at our variety of options and get in contact for any suggestions, questions or recommendations.