Not many people outside of Japan know all the complexity of the traditions related to the art of wearing a kimono...Its history dates as far as Heian period (794–1192 AD) and had been greatly influenced by the Chinese fashion. Its peculiar that the word "kimono", so widely used nowadays, actually means just "thing to wear"! However, for the "thing to wear", kimono has incredible number of rules that must be followed by the wearer even in modern days. For instance, it should be wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial), secured by a sash called obi, which should be tight at the back in a very distinctive way. A complete kimono outfit usually consist of over 12 separate pieces, that should be worn, matched and secured in a specific prescribed manner and nowadays a help of special licensed kimono dressers is required to get it all correctly.

The cost of a complete outfit of kimono and the accessories might well exceed $20.000...

There are over 10 different types of women´s kimono, several types of men´s and couple of dozens types of accessories, all of which have their own prescribed traditions and occasions to be worn. Accordingly, kimonos range from extremely formal to casual, and the level of formality is usually defined by the pattern of the fabric, color and cut. For example, kimonos of unmarried women usually have longer sleeves and more elaborated patterns and embroidery than those of older and married women, although being similarly formal. Of course, accessories also play crucial role in defining the formality of the outfit, such as presence of absence of kamon (family crests), with five crests signifying the highest formality.

Silk is the most desirable, as well as the most formal fabric for traditional kimonos...

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