Men’s kimono are basically one shape and are mainly worn in subdued colors. The formality of the kimono is determined by the type of fabric, the presence of family crests, and the detail of the stitching. Kimono are not inexpensive. Some of the more formal pieces can cost up to $20,000 (US)(Wikipedia.com, 2005).
Today, kimono are only worn on special occasions, and mostly by women. The style and formality of these garments are laden with symbolism and can convey subtle social messages. Choosing an appropriate kimono involves the person’s marital status, age, and the level of formality of the occasion.
The most formal of kimono are called kurotomesode, a black kimono patterned only below the waistline, and worn by married women only. They are often worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at a wedding. Kurotomesode usually have five family crests printed on the sleeves, chest and back of the kimono.
Furisode are the most formal kimono for unmarried women. They have patterns which cover the entire garment, and are usually worn at coming-of-age ceremonies and by unmarried female relatives of the bride at weddings and wedding receptions. The sleeves of furisode average between 39 and 42 inches in length.
Irotomesode are slightly less formal than kurotomesode, and are worn by married women, usually close relatives of the bride and groom at a wedding. An irotomesode may have three or five family crests on the sleeves. They are usually single-colored kimono and patterned only below the waistline.
Characterized by patterns that flow over the shoulders, seams and sleeves, houmongi rank slightly higher than their close relative, the tsukesage. Houmongi may be...