Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back from Japan! Kimonos and Obiashis!

I had a wonderful holiday break in Japan! This is such a modern, clean and friendly place to visit! I enjoyed seeing historical sites, the coast, the country side and of course the cities! There is plenty of shopping to enjoy and Tokyo's districts of Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza and Harajuku are awesome! (I especially loved the crazy outfits and outrageous shops in Harajuku)! Though it is winter right now in Japan, I observed that young & fashionable Japanese women really don't dress very warm. The typical winter wardrobe observed can be described as such...Forget accessorizing with a knit hat, gloves or scarf. Boots that have heels are a must! Short shorts or a mini skirt should be paired with leggings or stockings-that match your stylish boots. Choose a comfortable and modern top to wear. For warmth, a simple thin wool coat that is about hip to thigh length, is ideal. Needless to say, I was quite the contrast with my knit hat, scarf, gloves, jeans, walking shoes and sweaters-I had to wear layers to stay warm enough!

In contrast to contemporary fashion I enjoyed browsing the small stalls and craft shops throughout the country. Of course, I had to pick up a kimono for myself as well as for family. The traditional silk kimono starts at around $5,000. So I opted for less expensive versions in cotton and polyester. I was particular to pick prints with Japanese icons in them though. I learned how to wrap and tuck the Obiashi which is the the large band of contrasting fabric that is worn at the waist over the kimono. A smaller cord is tied on top of both layers, around the waist, to keep everything in place. You can see the three pieces on the attached photo-the large kimono robe, the wide band at the waist in contrasting color and then the thin cord tied at the waist.

If you ever get an opportunity to go to Japan take it! Be sure to include time for shopping in both contemporary & traditional shops!

1 comment:

Madhu Srinvasan said...

Great observations ! What about men's wear ? Did you notice anything unique about Men's wear in Japan ? Does it reflect their busy "robotic" lifestyle ??