Which Kimono Style is Right for You?

If you’ve been looking for the perfect layering piece for the summer, you may have already stumbled upon kimonos as an option by now. And if you haven’t, your world is about to be flipped upside down.
Kimonos are a staple in Japanese fashion and culture that have become popular worldwide. Translated literally, kimono means “thing to wear.” But they’re a lot more than that. They’re silk, T-shaped robe-style garments that can be traced back to the year 300 C.E. when traditional Chinese clothing resembling kimonos first began to appear in Japan. Images dating back to the 4th century show some of Japan’s high-society figures appearing in kimonos, and from there, the style continued to evolve. Through periods of history, certain elements on a kimono were restricted (like, at one point, red or purple coloring). Still, as the centuries rolled on, the variety of accepted kimono styles became wider and wider. Today, there’s a kimono for just about any occasion and style you can imagine. So which one should you choose? Here’s a few options and styles to get you started searching for the perfect summer layering piece.

Classic Long Kimono

We’ll start with the classic look. If you search “kimonos” online, most of what shows up first are images of long (nearly full-body length) silk robes, often featuring floral patterns and nearly always very colorful. This kimono style can be for just about anyone, but if you’re a jeans-and-a-tee kind of gal, this style is the perfect, hassle-free way to dress up any outfit. Of course, it’s not always easy to step out of your comfort zone and add a unique flair to your look, mainly if your style stays consistent with solid colors or common patterns. But with this style of kimono, you can replace the usual cardigan or sweater for layering with something incredibly unique that will brighten up any scene. It’s perfect for summer, layering, and bring a whole new vibe to your typical look.

Short Kimonos

On the flip side, you could take a different approach to your kimono choice and go with one that’s closer to waist length rather than full-body length. This style works particularly well for two different types of people: those who like to keep it casual and those who have a unique style that they want to show off - particularly if you have a selection of pants or bottoms that are exceptionally trendy. On the casual side, the short kimono is perfect with shorts or pants, and it doesn’t have to be reserved for a dinner party or an evening out. Rather, short kimonos with a casual outfit can match perfectly with a pair of sneakers and a tank top and can be the perfect way to layer your outfit if you’re just running out for errands.

Contrarily, If you’re somebody who has a pant collection that goes far beyond skinny jeans or straight leg pants, this style works well for you, too. The kimono acts as a highly light outer layer with a shorter cut, allowing you to show off your trendy-wide leg pant choice or your colorful bottoms. Some even pair this kimono style with an equally bold-colored pair of pants, like colorful silk jogger-style bottoms or stretchy yoga-style pants that complement the colors of the kimono on top. Either way, since this kimono style covers less of the body, you can show off your unique outfits even more. So if you’re set on a kimono, but don’t want to hide your fashion, then a short kimono is a perfect choice for you.

Solid-Colored Kimonos

If the vibrant colors of the traditional kimono designs don’t speak to you, you’re still in luck. Kimono styles extend beyond floral patterns and multicolored geometrical shapes. A solid-colored kimono is still a kimono and serves its purpose just as well. There are even options within the genre of solid-colored kimonos, as the material can be used to add to the design. While you could go with a simple black silk kimono, you could also go with a fabric like rayon, with accents and designs stitched in to add texture. Solid-colored kimonos are perfect for those who don’t favor the attention that a colorful, classic kimono might draw to you. Instead, a solid-colored kimono will allow the outfit underneath to shine, and you might just find that people will be noticed throughout the night just how perfectly the fine layering piece complements your look.

Animal Print Kimonos

Once again, for every person that favors a solid-colored kimono, there’s probably one who wants to take things up a notch - even one higher than the traditional, flower-patterned kimonos. And to that, I raise you: animal print kimonos. Animal kimonos are sometimes the best of both worlds. You may find the color schemes and patterns of a more traditional kimono featured as an outline of the robe-style garment, while the rest of it features an animal-print design. If you’re bold, if you want to capture the attention of everyone in the room, if you're going to stop traffic with your outfits, these are the way to go. The bright colors will draw your eyes to you initially before the animal print choice takes center stage. It’s a new way to feature animal prints, and it’s a blend of bold fashion with the Japanese style that’ll make an impression.

Other Styling Tips

Regardless of the kimono you choose, a few general do’s and don’ts can be helpful as you style your outfit.
●    If you’re wearing a long kimono, choosing wedges or heels for your footwear can seldom hurt. It gives you a few extra inches and ensures the kimono won’t look too long for you, no matter your height.
●     Kimonos seem like the perfect way to dress up an outfit, but that doesn’t have to be the case. They’re incredibly versatile, and if you want to throw one on with sneakers, that works too. Your outfit can remain casual, but it’ll also be a little more unique and give you a confidence boost.
●     Wearing a kimono open rather than closed will add length to your look. So depending on your body shape and height, this could be a boost or something you want to avoid.

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