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How to Wear a Kimono?

  1. Put on white tabi socks.

  2. Put on the undergarment slips called juban, a white cotton top and skirt, a light colored kimono of cotton, or an eri-sugata, a false, white collar that goes around the neck.

  3. Put on the kimono.

  4. Make sure the back seam is centered.

  5. Cross the right side of the kimono over the body then cross over the left side.

  6. Adjust the collar of the juban, under kimono, or eri-sugata to show evenly around the neck just under the top kimono collar.

  7. Tie a woven cloth obi just under the breasts and tie in back.

  8. Pull up the kimono material so the length of the kimono is at the ankle. The excess will fold over top of the woven cloth obi.

  9. Straighten out the excess material so that the front and the back of the kimono are smooth.

  10. Now it is time to add the obi.

Obi Suggestions:


One or two obi can now be placed over top of the folded material. If two obi are used then the first should be wider then the second. The excess kimono fabric should hang evenly below the obi so that the fabric is seen.


The traditional long obi is very difficult to tie. It is much easier to have the assistance of another person to tie the belt for you. Tying the obi is an art and expression in itself. Pre-tied obi belts simplify the process.


First Obi

A woman's formal obi is usually 4 meters long and 60 centimeters in width and is made of a brocade or tapestry weave. It is often a complex process that requires at least two people to create, think of that bow you wrap around a present but make it very large, that is a formal obi. The width is folded in half and the obi is wrapped twice around the waist and then tied in the back.



The obijime is a decorative and functional braided cord tied over the obi and used to hold it in place.


Second Obi


A second narrower obi is 10 centimeters to 30 centimeters wide and made of satin, twill, chirimen, gauze weaves, cotton, nylon or wool. This obi can be placed over the first wider obi and then secured with the obijime for a more formal look.


Butterfly and Drum Pre-Tied Obi

A pre-tied obi looks like the complicated obi but is only a two step process to apply. It gives the impression of the complicated tied obi but is very simple to put on. There are two types, a bow or butterfly obi and a drum obi. The belt is 5 feet in length and 6 inches in width. This obi can be placed over a wider obi for a more formal look. Wrap the obi twice around the waist and tuck the strings under in back. The pre-tied bow is secured by hooking the wire hanger over the belt. Secure with obijime and obiage.


Finally, secure the obi bow by threading the obiage into the bow and tying at the front of the waist. Be sure to tuck in the obiage in a wavy shape across the front of the rib cage.