A kimono dress is a traditional full-length Japanese robe worn by both genders. In the 21st century, the kimono dress is predominantly worn on special occasions, but it was considered everyday attire until the beginning of the 19th century. A woven silk is cut into rectangular strips to allow the kimono dress to be easily taken apart, repaired and re-dyed. The kimono dress is not figure-flattering because of the straight-edged pattern, but it provides glamor with intricate prints, colors and various styles.
The male kimono is less extravagant, and there is a wider variety of styles for women. The yukata is a summer robe that is made from extremely light cotton and has flowery spring prints. The furisode kimono, which is made of the finest silk with flowing floor-length sleeves, symbolizes that a woman has turned 20 years old and has officially entered adulthood. The houmongi robe, an elegant solid-colored kimono dress, is a representation of marriage and sophistication. Kimono dresses far exceed a simple fashion statement because they exhibit different phases in life.
The obi, a wide satin belt, is a vital accessory for the kimono. This cross-front dress is accentuated by the embroidered, hand-painted or gold-and-silver woven sash. The male kimono is often made with dark materials and nearly invisible patterns. The dark colors represent enlightenment and have been rumored to ward off evil entities.
Although the kimono dress is simplistic in pattern, it often takes an experienced family member or friend to assist in the dressing process. The robe requires certain creases to be smoothed and adjustments to be made to its length by creating folds and overlapping. A number of less-visible ties called koshi himos are used to hold the different folds and alignments in place.
After all of the material has been properly arranged, the obi ita, an oval-shaped piece of cardboard, is set across the stomach to allow the sash to keep its wide form. The price of a kimono dress depends on material, pattern and occasion. One of the more expensive kimono dresses is the furisode, which can cost thousands of US dollars (USD). The summer kimono and used kimonos are drastically cheaper and typically can be purchased for less than $200 USD.
The expensive material and personalized designs distinguish these dresses from average bath robes and housecoats. The kimono style has been incorporated into Western fashion, but alterations have been made. The shortening of a kimono dress to knee length has become popular as a design for prom dresses. Although the kimono has become a modernized commodity, it still represents tradition and culture in Japan.