Traditional Silverstari garb for men and women. Kimono are T-shaped, straight-lined robes that fall to the ankle, with collars and wide, full-length sleeves. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and secured by a wide belt called an obi, which is usually tied at the back. Kimono are generally worn with traditional footwear (especially zōri or geta) and split-toe socks (tabi).
Jūnihitoe - 12 Layer Robe
The jūnihitoe is an extremely elegant and highly complex kimono that is only worn by court-ladies in. Literally translated it means "twelve-layer robe". The various layers are silk garments, the innermost garment being made of white silk, followed by other layers of various names, which are finally closed off by a final layer or coat. The total weight can add up to 20 kilograms.
The colours and the arrangements of the layers are very important. The colours have poetic names, such as "crimson plum of the spring". The only place where the layers are discernible is around the sleeves and the neck. The arrangements of the layers and their colours are a good indication to any outsider what taste and what rank the lady has.
The layers of the Jūnihitoe consist of:
* The undergarments: Usually a two-piece cotton or silk garment.
* Kosode: A short silk red or white robe of ankle or lower calf length.
* Hakama: A red pleated split skirt which can also be worn by men.
* Hitoe: A light white, red or blue unlined robe.
* Uchigi: A series of brightly coloured unlined robes that create a layered effect.
* Uchiginu: A beaten scarlet silk robe worn as a stiffener and support for the outer robes.
* Uwagi: A patterned woven and decorated silk robe than is shorter and narrower than the Uchiginu.
* Karaginu: A waist length jacket.
Originally the word "kimono" literally meant thing to wear (ki 'wearing' and mono 'thing').
Kimono and obi are traditionally made of silk, silk brocade, silk crepes (such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu). Silk is still considered the ideal fabric, however, and is a must for formal occasions. The most formal style of kimono is plain black with five kaimon (family crests) on the chest, shoulders and back. Slightly less formal is the three-kaimon kimono. These are usually paired with white undergarments and accessories.
Customarily, woven patterns and dyed repeat patterns are considered informal; Formal kimono have free-style designs dyed over the whole surface or along the hem. During the Heian period, kimono were worn with up to a dozen or more colorful contrasting layers, with each combination of colors being a named pattern. The pattern of the kimono can also determine in what season it should be worn. For example, a pattern with butterflies or cherry blossoms would be worn in spring. Watery designs are common during the summer. A popular autumn motif is the russet leaf of the Japanese maple; for winter, designs may include bamboo, pine trees and plum blossoms.
In contrast to women's kimono, men's kimono outfits are far simpler, typically consisting of a maximum of five pieces, not including footwear.
Men's kimono have long sleeves which are attached to the body of the kimono with no more than a few inches unattached at the bottom, unlike the women's style of very deep sleeves mostly unattached from the body of the kimono. Men's sleeves are less deep than women's kimono sleeves to accommodate the obi around the waist beneath them, whereas on a woman's kimono the long, unattached bottom of the sleeve can hang over the obi without getting in the way.
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