Kimono Panel 2020

Hello everyone! Hope you enjoyed my panel on how to tie a casual obi 5 ways! Here’s some additional helpful information on casual kimono.

What is the difference between a kimono and a yukata?
So in general terms a kimono literally means “a thing to wear” in Japanese.  So a yukata is a type of kimono! There are several other types out there, but today we focused on casual kimono which include yukata and another type called “komon”. Komon are kimono that feature an all over print either big or small. The smaller and more subtle the print, the more they lean towards being dressy. Yukata are always unlined, have an all over print, and are always made of a light weight cotton or synthetic. Meanwhile, Komon can be unlined or lined, and may be made out of a variety of materials including silk, cotton, hemp, rayon, or synthetics. Yukata can be worn with no additional under layers, while other kimono types are meant to be worn with an under layer called a “juban,” which keeps the outer kimono off your body so you won’t have to clean it as frequently. You can see the collar of the juban, which is often covered with a decorative collar to show off at the neckline called a “han eri”.

What is a casual
Today we focused on a hanhaba obi, which means “half width”. It is one of the most casual types of obi and is only suitable to be worn with a yukata or komon. They are either a single layer or double layered. The single layered ones are intended to be worn with yukata only. The other ultra casual obi is called a heko obi, which is soft and fluffy, and is also most worn with yukata.


What are all those extra pieces you’re using to help you get dressed?
Kitsuke (a kimono outfit) has a lot more pieces than just the kimono and the obi, especially when wearing femme type kimono. There are several things we generally call “dressing aids/tools/accessories” that help you get dressed and make your overall look much neater. The things you most need if you’re interested in just trying out a yukata are a few koshihimo (waist ties), an obi-ita (a stiff board you use to keep your obi smooth in the front), and a date-jime (a wider stiff tie that goes under your obi). You can actually buy all of these things (and often a few more useful things) in sets in several of the web shops I’ll be recommending below. Another useful thing to have if you’re dressing yourself is an “obi clip”, which you can just use a clothespin or a chip-clip for. I often use cute chip clips instead of ‘real’ obi clips, as you saw in the panel.


Where can I buy kimono and kimono accessories?
Generally I shop on Rakuten’s global market, ichiroya, and some small local shops. Here’s a breakdown of the different online shopping:

  • Rakuten – Features items directly from Japan! Often are brand new, though you can find some used. You can pretty much find anything you want on here, the main draw back is they only offer EMS express shipping, and generally charge your card in YEN, so you might get charge foreign transaction fees. Check with your bank first. Use google translate plug in to navigate. Figuring out Japanese language search terms is pretty helpful though. This and Ichiroya are the best places to buy dressing aid sets. Sadly they shut down their global market recently, but you can still ship worldwide by signing up through this service:
  • Ohio Kimono – US based second hand kimono shop. They generally feature vintage and antique kimono, with a few newer obi included in the mix. I love the domestic shipping, and accurate item descriptions.
  • Kimono Yamato – sells a bunch of bigger brand names of kimono from Japan. They have an English language website, and ship worldwide. Pricey, but beautiful things.
  • 3 Magpies Studio  – a European based made to order company with really unique designs a prints.

Are there tutorials for the obi musubi (ties) you showed us today?
For the “musbanai” or no-musubi looks we tried, there is a whole new book out! ” 帯結ばない帯結び ” (ISBN 978-4813286684) Very useful right? Well I promise the whole book is step by step pictures on how to do several no-tie musubi like the few I showed you today. Luckily the author also has an instagram where she shows off her styles too so please give her a follow: @ayaayaskimono

For the basic “chou chou” or butterfly musubi there are several excellent video tutorials: or

And for the more complicated shidare musubi we have one video and one step by step photo tutorial: or

Lastly we did one more modern knot which doesn’t have an official name.  Here’s a step by step photo tutorial:


Are there some online kimono groups you recommend?
If you’re interested in show off your kitsuke or have questions about kimono I recommend:
They are very welcoming of new comers and try their best to answer questions. Please note there is NO MENTIONING OF SALES allowed, they are very strict about this rule. You can ask where to buy something, but never mention if you are planning on selling an item, or self promote an item or webshop. They also have strict rules against discussion of cultural appropriation b/c the topic has been brought up so often and discussed so much it feels like there is little left to be added at this point.

If you want to learn about making your own kimono items please check out:
This group has a ton of useful files on how to make kimono and other japanese cloth items including kanzashi and accessories. Please note that they do not recommend most western available patterns for kimono as they are not very accurate, but you can ask for a recommendation on where to purchase a Japanese one if you need it!

Are there any other resources you recommend?


My favorite modern kimono brands:

My favorite kimono Instagrams: