Kimono Dress

AKA: 

How to say it:  kihmohno  dress

Traditional Features: 

Kimono Dress

  • kimono sleeves
  • usually has a v- or wrap-neckline
  • made in soft, draping fabrics
  • waist defined by a sash or belt
  • can be a full wrap dress or have a zipper closure

21st Century Kimono Dresses

In the 21st century kimono dresses are plentiful on the market and come with a variety of sleeve sizes, and in feminine prints or classic plain colours, making the kimono dress a great go-to garment. While the majority of the styles available are short (probably to balance all the fabric in the top half of the dress), long versions can be found and are a great option for more formal occasions.

ASOS Carolina Herrera

ASOS, Carolina Herrera

Etro Love Kimono

Etro, Love Kimono

Origins…

…of the style: The kimono dress is, not surprisingly, inspired by the traditional Japanese Kimono; it mimics the sleeve shape, neckline and often the wraparound closure of the original, but is generally made from a softer, silkier fabric than its cousin to the East.

The defining feature of the dress is the kimono sleeve, which is cut as part of the main body of the dress so there is no armhole sleeve. The sleeve is wide and roomy and results in a beautiful drape when worn. To counteract the wide sleeve, the kimono dress usually features some kind of waist  definition – this is most often a sash or belt, but can also be a pattern piece or seam that pulls the fabric it at the waistline and stops the style from swamping the female figure.

This style of dress was apparently introduced into Western women’s wardrobes in the 1940s as Asian cultures became more accessible after WWI. However it was first worn as a robe or house coat, and didn’t appear as a fashion daywear garment until the 1960s.

The Kimono dress has had a lot of popularity in the early 21st century, with the style being particularly popular in 2006 as an alternative to the common wrap dress. Kimonos have come back on trend for Summer 2014 and as such there are plenty of versions currently available in the marketplace in both designer and high-street brands.

…of the name: The style of this dress is inspired by the Japanese kimono, hence the name.

Random Facts

  • the level of formality of a woman’s kimono in Japan is mostly demonstrated by the level of colour and pattern of the fabric. The more colour and pattern, the more formal the kimono. There are also different types of kimonos to be worn by married and unmarried women.

For more info on Kimonos and Kimono dresses try Wikipedia, eBay, PopSugar or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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