Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Japanese Yukata - (2) - Buying tips

PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

Yukata is a type of Japanese Traditional Clothing, commonly known as Kimono.Yukata is considered as a Summer Kimono and it is the most casual Kimono. Even though Kimono has changed from everyday clothing to a ceremonial clothing, Yukata is still the most popular type of Kimono and worn by many Japanese and foreigners today.  The reasons for its popularity are probably because it is easy to wear, relatively inexpensive, requiring fewer items, and requiring fewer rules to follow.

If you are interested in Japanese Kimono, Yukata is always the best one to start with.

Here is what you may want to know before purchasing a Yukata.

Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

1.    Fabric
If you already started to search for Yukatas, you might have come across with Yukatas (so they call) with satin like fabric. Those are NOT Japanese Yukatas. There were some silk yukatas back in a day however, cotton, linen, polyester blend are the ones we see today.  So watch out for shiny satin like Yukatas (?)  !!

Yet, please note that most (but not all) of the Yukatas in the market today are patterned in foreign countries using Japan made fabric under Japanese Company’s supervision. I would still considered this type of Yukata authentic since they are distributed to Japanese market and worn by many Japanese just like other Made in Japan Yukatas.

Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

2.    Items Need
Unlike all other types of Kimonos, the numbers of items (accessories) you will need in order for you to wear a Yukata is just a few.
  • Yukata
  • Koshi Himo (2)  (cloth string to adjust and stable the Yukata length)
  • Obi (Hanhaba Obi or Pre-tied Obi)
  • Geta (Sandals for Yukata and Kimono)
  • and that’s it !!
The additional items you could use are:
  • Kanzashi (Hair Piece)
  • Erishin (Collar piece to make the collar shape nice)
  • Datejime / Magic Belt (Wide flat belt to stable the Yukata or Kimono)
  • MaeIta / ObiIta (Flat plate used to make the Obi look neat)
  • Kinchaku Bag (Small hand hold bag for Yukata)
  • and so on… but they are optional. 

    Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
    PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

    3.    Size

    Yukata size is much flexible compared with western clothing because you can adjust its total length and Ohashori (folded Yukata fabric area under the Obi Belt) length by using koshihimo.

    Women’s Yukata sizes are based on the height and they are normally these three.
    • Petite (S)       4'9" ~ 5’3”
    • Regular (M)   5’ ~ 5’6”
    • Tall (L)            5’5” ~ 5’9”
    If your height runs into two sizes, pick smaller one if you are slim or medium build and pick larger one if you are large build.

    Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
    PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

    4.    Design
    Yukata shapes are all the same.  It is not like western clothing where there are round neck, v-neck, turtle neck, short sleeve, long sleeve, boots fit to skinny fit….   So enjoy the styling by picking the color and design you love !!

    Many Kimono masters believe 3-1 rules. 3 Obis for 1 Kimono (Yukata).  The different Obi could give your Yukata a totally fresh look ! After you get your Yukata, find more Obi, Obi, and more Obi !!

    Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
    PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

    5.    Price
    All the kimono related items are relatively expensive. Many ceremonial Kimonos can be easily over $10,000. Even though Yukata is considered reasonable, the average single Yukata price range would be somewhere from $70 ~ $ 800.  I understand there is a big difference in $70 and $ 800.

    Yukatas around $70 is probably the good quality non-brand items and the Yukatas around $800 is the name brand Yukatas which are made using well-known weaving or dyeing technique. So below this range, you will probably get what you pay for…

    Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
    PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

    6.    Dressing

    One problem all the kimono starter may face is to dress the yukata. Luckily, Yukata dressing is not as complicated as other types of Kimonos because you do not have to wear layers of Kimonos and also you don’t need much dressing items.

    However, it will not be like western clothing where you just have to put your head, arms, and legs and ready to go. You will need some practice especially if you never worn a Yukata before.  If you are planning to wear your Yukata for certain occasion or event, my advice is to purchase it in advance so that you have time to practice dressing.

    Oh!! and if you want to wear a yukata but don’t have time to learn or don’t want to spend time on tying your Obi, look for pre-tied Obi which has a pre-tied Obi knot. This is especially handy for yukata/Kimono starters.

    Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata

    PHOTO: Japanese Women's Kimono Yukata
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