Men’s Japanese Kimono Outfit

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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The full, formal, men’s wafuku outfit can be seen below. The full length kimono is worn tucked inside the hakama. Over the top, he wears a haori kimono jacket. Haori are fastened with a haori himo, which is hooked onto the inner edges of the haori. Men’s himo should not be untied, as they are very complex to re-tie, one simply unhooks the himo at one side to open the jacket. A himo is not essential for more casual wear of a haori kimono jacket. Himo are bought separately and moved from one haori to another. The white one in the picture is a very formal himo; for more casual wear, one would wear a smaller, simpler one, usually of a more muted colour.

One of the main differences between men’s and women’s kimonos is the sleeves. The sleeves of women’s are unattached from the body for over half their depth and are open at the inner edge, not sewn closed, whereas men’s kimono sleeves are attached either all the way down or with just an inch or so unattached at the body edge. Women’s sleeves have to be free from the body for a greater depth because they wear such a deep obi and the sleeve must not get in the way of it, so the sleeve hangs free of the body for much of its depth. Men’s obis are relatively narrow, so the deep sleeves can be attached much further down the body.

Another notable difference between men’s and women’s kimonos is the length; women’s kimonos are extra long, as they are worn with a large, length adjusting fold-over at the waist, held in place with a koshi himo tie, whereas men’s kimonos are worn without the length adjusting fold at the waist.

Setta sandals have thong toes and are worn with tabi socks.

Men’s kimonos are not always worn with hakama and haori, the picture above shows the full outfit for formal occasions. The kimono, worn underneath the hakama and haori, is held closed with a kaku obi, which is also used to help keep the hakama up.

Mens’ kimonos are usually very subdued in pattern and colour, although their under kimonos (jubans) and haori linings are often striking but the outerwear kimonos are usually muted in colour and design. The reason men no longer wear very brightly coloured and very decoratively patterned outer kimonos is that, way back, rich merchants started wearing extremely ornate, expensive kimonos, often more expensive and fancy than nobles or those of the samurai class could afford, so a law was passed stating that only nobles and samurai class could wear fancy outer kimonos, all other men had to wear only muted ones (unless worn for theatrical purposes such as dance performance or weddings etc). They took to putting wonderful textile art on their juban underwear kimonos and on haori kimono jacket linings, which became known as hidden beauty, since it didn’t show on the outside, and the merchant classes and commoners started to feel superior about that, it seemed more classy than the ostentatious garments of garish, vivid colours and numerous fancy brocades that the nobles and samurai class continued to wear.

Here’s a link to How to put on a man’s haori and attach and tie a man’s haori himo. Women’s himo are tied differently, you can see how to tie a woman’s haori himo here


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