May 6, 2010

The one where I go on and on about kimonos

Photo via Flickr
Kimonos are one of my lifelong loves. Of all traditional costumes in the world, I think that kimonos are the most elegant, colorful and sophisticated. (They are not, however, very comfortable.)

Most Japanese people only wear them for special occasions such as weddings or graduation, but a few older people wear them every day. There are many types of kimonos, with different cuts, materials, and colors, meant to be worn on particular occasions.

I got to try one on when I visited Japan. It was such a beautiful kimono; too bad it probably cost over $1000!

Image via Modcloth
Slightly cheaper, this top from Modcloth (of course, why do they have everything cute?) reminds me of kimonos because of the wide waistband, flowing sleeves, and embroidered wings.

Japanese artists loved to draw the flowing folds and contrasting patterns in kimonos. The beautiful women wearing them were drawn as tall and slender, the kimono emphasizing their column-like figures. (I've heard that in ancient Japan, small breasts were considered more desirable on women because they fit better with kimonos!) Many of these drawings were used as fashion plates, so Japanese women could see the newest styles from around the country.
I did this drawing of a maiko (a geisha in training) about two years ago with pens and colored pencils. The kimono isn't terribly accurate, but drawing all the little folds and patterns was fun.

Really, I could go on and on about kimonos all night. Their history, their style, when and where to wear the right ones. But I have a splitting headache so I think I'll wrap this babbling up for now. Do you like kimonos too?


  1. great post~ and your drawings are amazing.
    thanks for your comment on my blog :)

  2. Well, I hope when your headache is gone you will do another post on kimonos! This one was very interesting and left me wanting to know more!!!
    Your drawing is beautiful!

  3. kimonos are so pretty. i have never had a chance to try one though... looks like a very intensive process. looks good on you! ;)

  4. Yes, I do - I visited Kyoto when I worked as a designer to see textile prints in a factory and I bought a child's kimono - which I have tucked away.
    I need to frame it or sell it...

  5. lovely! I've been slightly obsessed with kimonos lately too :)


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