Fashion is a worldwide means of self-expression. Many things are factored into an individual’s fashion choice, from color, to style, season, and even accessories. Fashion has no boundaries or age limit, and it is a universally popular phenomenon. In doing research, the fashion choices of the Japanese culture was really intriguing; from the unique shape and intricate designs of their kimonos, to the more modern and outrageous fashion style of the Japanese youth. Traditional Japanese fashion is timeless, and many time unchanging. Although the Japanese have taken to fashion quite a bit in the last few centuries, they are still very traditional and continue to wear their traditional garment. The traditional garment worn in Japan is called the Kimono. The word kimono means something that one wears. It originally referred to all types of clothing worn by the Japanese, however in today’s times it usually refers to a full-length garment worn by the Japanese people of all ages. The kimonos that are worn by people tend to reflect their personalities and social status. Specifically, how many layers the kimono has and the sleeve length. For many people, the wear of kimonos truly give credibility to the statement, “you are, what you wear”. Similar to other countries, the style, print, color, etc of their kimonos vary by age group, event, and season. The style of the kimono has changed significantly throughout the years. The history of the kimono in Japan is one that spans over many periods and has changed over time to reflect the society and culture of the current period. The kimono began to take its shape in the Heian period (C.E. 794-1185). The custom of elaborate layers of colored kimono robes became popular with Japanese women. Since then, the basic shape and cut of the kimono hasn’t changed. It is a T-shaped, straight lined robe that falls to the ankles, with a collar and sleeves that most times fall to the wrist. In most informal styles, when the arms are held out, the length of the sleeves, hit the waist. In more formal kimonos, the lengths of the sleeves can be as long as floor length. The robe is worn wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right, secured by a large belt, called an obi. The belt is usually tied in the back. Shorter sleeves, called kosode were introduced into kimonos, during the Kamakura period (C.E.1185-1133). The influence of the military class and warriors, influenced people to want more informal garments, and they lost the desire to wear the more elaborate garments with longer sleeves.
There are also many different styles of kimonos. The formal kimono is broken down into two categories based upon age and marital status. Children wear a Hanten. Hantens are a smaller version of an adult kimono. They are just as elaborate and worn the same way as adults. At the age of 20, a young Japanese girl transitions into adulthood. At this time, they transition from the Hanten to the Furisode. Young, unmarried women wear Furisodes. It is just like the traditional kimono with long sleeves, but they feature vibrant colors with complex patterns. The furisode is considered a subtle advertisement that the woman is single and available for marriage. Married women wear the Tomesode. It is a kimono with short sleeves and the designs are smaller with solid or subdued colors. It is most commonly worn to wedding ceremonies of close relatives. The other types of kimonos are broken down into many categories. They consists of the Homongi, Tsukesage, Iromuli, Komon, Uchikake, Hikazuri, Yukata, and the Shiromuku. The Homongi and Iromuji’s are both kimonos that are worn to formal parties, by both married and unmarried women. The designs of the Homongi, consists of patterns on the shoulders, seams and sleeves of the kimono, while the Iromuji is single colored and plain. The difference between the two is that the Iromuji is usually worn to tea ceremonies or afternoon events. The Tsukesage is a formal...
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