Japanese fashion is known for its unique and beautiful clothes, from the traditional kimono to streetwear in Tokyo. What has changed about Japanese fashion? What do Japanese people wear most often?
Traditional Japanese Clothing–Wafuku
Wafuku is traditional Japanese clothing that consists of elaborate robes called Kimonos and sandals, either geta or zori. Can you picture elegant kimonos? Picture My Heritage will show you how you look in traditional Japanese style.
Traditional Japanese fashion is not the only thing. There are many variations, but the most common type of clothing is the kimonos.
Kimono is a multilayered, multi-layered dress which folds across the front like robes. The kimono is usually floor- or ankle-length with long sleeves. There are many styles to choose from, including layers, materials and accessories.
The most popular and widely worn traditional Japanese clothing is the kimono. The Heian period saw it rise to prominence (AD 794-1193), and has remained the main dress for men and women for over 1,000 years. Kimono were so popular as the most fashionable fashion, that their name, kimono literally means “things to wear”.
It’s easy to see why the kimono has lasted so long because of its versatility and elegance. The national dress for Japan is the kimono. They can be used to reflect social class, history and heritage.
What is the difference between Yukata and Kimono?
A yukata is a casual version the traditional kimono. The kimono is usually made with silks or satins. The yukata, on the other hand, is made with lightweight cotton and polyester with fewer layers. It is easier to wear in warmer weather and often features brighter colors. It’s also significantly less expensive than a kimono.
What is a Hakama?
The hakama, which is formal in Japan, is the alternative to the casual yukata. This is a full-length skirt that can be worn over kimonos by men and women. It is typically wide and pleated.
What is an Obi?
An obi is a belt or sash that can be worn with traditional Japanese clothing, especially kimonos. The obi is wrapped around the waist, and tied at the back. Modern obi are too thick and elaborate to be used as belts. Kimonos instead have internal ties.
There are many styles of Obi. They vary in length, width, material, pattern and the type of knot. The art of tying an obi is so intricate that it was passed down from mothers to their children. Today, the practice is taught in classes.
What are Zori?
Zori sandals or thongs are similar to the modern flip-flop. These sandals are typically made with leather, straw, or wood straps. Tabi, or toed socks, were worn with zori. Now they can be worn with both Western and kimonos.
What is Geta?
Geta sandals are Japanese traditional sandals made with wooden platforms and cloth straps. The only difference between them and the similar zori is that geta are elevated on two wooden slats. Geta were originally made to make it easier to walk on dirt roads without getting tripped. They are often used as an accessory to yukata.
What is the best time to wear traditional clothing in Japan?
Traditional Japanese fashion styles lost their practicality over time and were replaced by more casual, accessible Western designs. Japanese people no longer wear traditional clothing every day. Instead, kimono or yukata are often reserved for Ceremonies and special events.
Japan–Yofuku: Western Clothing
In the 1850s, Western styles (called yofuku) began to creep into Japanese fashion . In the beginning, Western clothing was only worn by men for business purposes. Western clothing became more popular in other settings as time passed. Western fashion became the dominant attire in Japan after World War II.
Japan has been a fashion leader since then. This was especially evident in the ’80s/’90s when “Japanese streetstyle” emerged.
Japanese Street Style
Japanese street style is bold and innovative. Although there is no one definition of Japanese street fashion, there are certain trends that can be identified. It is common to see loose, fitted clothing in muted colours.
It’s all about the silhouettes and mixing it up–layers of vintage, designer and other styles. Belt bags and stylish sneakers are two common accessories. They look similar to fanny packs, but they have a different function.
Other Japanese Fashions
Although Japan’s mainstream fashion is conservative, there are many other styles that are more popular. These are some of these more popular alternative trends:
- Harajuku – Harajuku is named after Shibuya, Tokyo’s Harajuku area. It combines Western and traditional Japanese clothes with bright, colorful styles. It was originally created as a rebellion against social norms. It is common to see multiple layers, bright colors, bold designs and multiple layers.
- Lolita – Lolita fashion is childlike or doll-like. This trend is part of the larger kawaii culture (meaning “cute”), which is a culture that emphasizes cuteness.
- Kogal – Japanese school uniforms are the inspiration for kogal. This term is a contraction from “kokosei”, which means “high-school student” and “gyaru”, also known as “Gal”. The typical look includes short skirts, jackets and loose socks. Scarves and boots are also included.
Japanese Culture: Explore and Share
Are you Japanese? Are you able to recall your experiences or memories with these fashion trends. Use FamilySearch Memories for a way to share and discover your heritage and to connect with your ancestors on a personal level.