Wearing a Yukata Kimono is the UK’s hottest trend at the moment. Led by the influx of kimono-style jackets dominating the high street, imports from Japan are booming, with some suppliers struggling to keep pace with demand. If you want a sumptuous, lightweight and super stylish garment to lounge about in, this buyer’s guide to choosing a yukata kimono will help you find one that looks great and makes you feel fabulous.
What is a Yukata Kimono?
Yukata is the authentic, casual style of kimono typically worn during the summer in Japan. This is not to be confused with the high street adaptation or the heavy, multi-layered kimono that is traditionally worn for formal occasions.
Choosing a Yukata
Yukata kimono are generally either three quarter-length (falling between the knee and the calf), or full-length (falling on or just above the ankle). While more traditional, longer length yukata look the most elegant, the shorter style is great for keeping cool during the warmer months – especially if you have great legs to show off!
When choosing a yukata, the material you opt for depends largely on your personal preferences and your budget. Silk kimono are the most luxurious and feel wonderful against your skin, but they’re also the most expensive and cannot be machine washed. Polyester kimono are the cheapest but also the lowest quality – the material is not ‘breathable’ so can feel uncomfortable during warmer weather. High quality, pure cotton kimono are the ideal middle ground as they look and feel deluxe, and are machine washable too.
As with any item of clothing, you should choose a colour that complements your skin tone so that you look bright and radiant, not sallow or washed out. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the colour of your skin but its underlying tone that is important: warm (olive/yellow) or cool (blue/pink). You can tell what your skin tone is by looking at the veins in your forearm. Greenish veins indicate a warm skin tone, while bluish ones are cool.
Another common misconception when choosing a yukata or any other garment is that those with warm skin tones should only wear warm colours (e.g. yellow, orange or red) and that the inverse is true for cool-toned skin, but again, it’s all about matching tones. So if you have a warm skin tone, you can get away with cool colours (e.g. blue, green or purple), so long as these are warm-toned. This great blog post contains further detail on choosing a kimono to suit your complexion.
What kind of design you opt for when choosing a kimono is, of course, down to personal taste. There are thousands of different plain, embroidered and patterned styles to choose from, with designs ranging from flowers, fans and cranes to geisha, dragons and scenes from traditional Japanese woodblock prints, so shop around until you find one that you really love.
The most important accessory is the obi, the belt that is tied around the waist. Many Yukata come with matching obi, but they can also be bought separately if you would like to mix and match colours or styles. Tie at the back with the left side wrapped over the right, as the other way round is used to dress a body for a funeral, while a bow at the front traditionally represents a prostitute – neither of which are probably the kind of look you’re going for.
Add Japanese sandals and a small clutch or drawstring bag, secure your hair in a bun with a pretty floral clip, and you’ll be the very picture of elegance, grace and beauty!
Choosing a yukata from The Japanese Shop is easy. We offer a fantastic range of kimono, available throughout the UK and overseas, with styles ranging from simple to elaborate. Each one comes in beautiful presentation box, making them the perfect gift – or a very special treat for yourself.
Here’s what one of our recent customers had to say:
“A big thank you for the beautiful kimono and obi sash and the gift wrapping gave it that extra special touch. The birthday girl cred when she saw it. I will certainly be back for more items from you. Everybody asked where it was from as they had never seen another one like it. Thank you again xxx”