Today, people wear a kimono mainly on formal occasions. They are required to wear them appropriately based on the time of year, place and occasion. Therefore, even most Japanese think it is difficult to know how to wear a kimono appropriately. However, sewing and dressing a kimono are actually very simple because it is originally rooted in common people’s everyday clothes.
A kimono is always made by cutting and sewing the cloth in a straight line. Roughly speaking, the dressing is quite a simple process of uniting front cloths and fastening an obi belt.
Because the temperature and humidity in Japan are so high during the summer and cooler in winter, a shape and way of dressing a kimono has been formed.
Since Japan’s summer is quite hot, the parts called Miyatsuguchi (the slits on the body of kimono under the armpits) are loosened to increase its breath-ability.
By pulling back the collar(“Emon wo nuku” in Japanese), the back of the neck is exposed to wind.
In addition, by making Ohashori longer, the kitake (dress length) is adjusted so it’s shortened to meet the ankles. Therefore the feet are exposed to the wind and feel cooler. Also, one’s stomach does not get cold as an obi is tied around the trunk.
On the other hand, the way to wear a kimono in winter is by not pulling the collar back, making dress length longer, and wearing a Nagajuban (a long undergarment) beneath the kimono to block a cold wind.
Thus, kimono can be said to achieve an efficient function, especially for a woman’s body that generally does not do well in the cold.
In the old days, people unthreaded a garment and put floss silk between threads to make it even warmer. Thus, floss silk has a property of heat-retaining.
Along with changing of seasons in Japan, people also switch their clothing for summer and winter. It is called “Koromogae” where by people arrange their clothing according to the season and weather, air temperature, and their physical conditions. By doing so, health management can be efficient.
As just described, kimono has been preserved and developed by Japanese wisdom of coping with seasonal changes.
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