Although many people think that a kimono is nothing more than a really fancy looking bathrobe, to the Japanese it is anything but. Unlike your bathrobe that you may just throw on to fetch the morning paper and not give any thought as to how you are doing it, wearing a kimono is a process and some steps even have a specific purpose or meaning.
If you want to properly wear a kimono you must have a little patience and a few articles accessories to go with it. Here are the proper steps to properly wear a kimono in the traditional Japanese way:
1. Put on white socks first: Once your kimono is on and on properly, you will find it difficult to get to your feet, so save yourself the hassle and put your socks on first.
2. Put on the Juban: The Juban is the white slip that actually goes under the kimono and features a collar. Once the kimono is on, only the collared part of the Juban will be visible. For this reason, you can now buy a Juban that is shorter and still features the collar, though it is not traditional.
3. Put on the kimono: Put your kimono on much like you would a bathrobe. Make sure that the seam on the back if the kimono is lined up with the center of your back. Wrap the right side of the kimono over you and then overlap it with the left side. This is a very important step and it actually signifies that you are living. When wrapped the opposite way it means that you are a corpse at a traditional Japanese funeral. At this point you will notice that the kimono is too long. No you didn’t get the wrong size; it is designed to be that way. When the kimono is in place, be sure that the collar of the Juban is visible and even around the neck area.
4. Use your koshi-himo: A koshi-himo is a belt and you will need it for this next step. Pull up the excess kimono material until the kimono is even with your ankles. Now tie the koshi-himo around you and allow the extra fabric to hang over it. Be sure that the hanging fabric is even all the way around.
5. Use your date-jime: A date-jime is the second type of belt you will need when putting on your kimono. Take the date-jime and wrap it over your mid section so that you can tie it in the back. Place it over the koshi-himo on the outside of the fabric but make sure that the fabric is still visible by a couple of inches. Once in the back, tie the date-jime and bring the ends to the front and then tie it once more. Tuck the ends under in a secure fashion to hold it in place.
Once everything is secure, make one last check to ensure everything is even and you are ready to go in your kimono worn the traditional Japanese way.