Kimono Jacket

AKA: Haori

How to say it: as it looks

Traditional Features: 

body template

  • wide, square sleeves
  • waist – hip length
  • soft, light fabric
  • often with a whimsical, feminine print
  • generally no front closure


…of the style: The kimono jacket is inspired by the Japanese Kimono. While the Kimono is a long robe, belted with an sash (obi) and often from stiffer fabrics, the fashion Kimono jacket is usually short – waist or hip length, made from a soft, silky fabric and often doesn’t close. The fashion Kimono jacket actually more closely resembles the Haori, which is a soft, shorter jacket traditionally worn over the kimono for added warmth – kind of a like a Japanese overcoat.

The feature that both garments share (and probably inspired the name) is the sleeve – the Kimono sleeve is traditionally cut as part of the main body of the garment, so there is no armhole seam. The Kimono Jacket tends to have a shorter sleeve than its Japanese counterpart, but both garments have wide, roomy sleeves that result in a beautiful drape when worn.

It is thought that the Kimono began to influence western fashion in the 1940s as Asian cultures became more accessible and the trend of strong shoulders and tailored styles began to fade, and women looked for softer, more natural garments to express their dainty, feminine side.

The Kimono Jacket had a spike in popularity in the early 2000s as pretty, soft jackets filled the stores from the designer boutiques to the high street retailers. While not as popular right now, they are definitely still available and will no doubt come back as soon as the next ‘Asian Inspired’ trend hits the fashion world.

…of the name: The jacket is named for the traditional Japanese garment that inspired it.

For a more in depth history of the Kimono Jacket, try these sites… Kyoto KimonoEbayWikipedia or get your hands on the Fairchilds Dictionary of Fashion

Random Facts: 

  • in traditional Japanese Kimonos the sleeve length signifies a woman’s age and marital status

21st Century Kimono Jackets

The armhole seams have crept back into some modern Kimono Jackets, but the influence is still there in the overall cut and soft, flowy styles.

Chalayan Kenzo topshopZero and Marcia

Top row – Chalayan, Kenzo

Bottom row – Topshop, ZERO+MARIACORNEJO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *