Festive Summer Apparel – The Yukata
With the summer heat in the air those wishing to wear a festive Japanese outfit are looking to the kimono’s casual relative, the yukata. The wide variety of colors and designs available, along with its light material, makes the yukata an ideal choice for any upbeat summer outing. Since I’d often wondered how to wear one, I was delighted when Yumiko from The Kimono House, a kimono shop in Soho, offered to show me how to pick out and put on a yukata.
A standard yukata ensemble consists of five main pieces: a white cotton undergarment (juban), the outer cotton robe (yukata), two to three long fabric ties (koshi-himo), a wide decorated waist sash (obi), and sandals (geta). Unlike the kimono, a yukata is worn without socks and a collar liner, making it more breathable. Adding to the excitement, there are many accessories that can be paired with a yukata. Foldable or fixed hand fans and fabric carrying bags (kinchaku) are two great accessories for any yukata ensemble. Another great part of shopping for a new yukata outfit is choosing a design. An expert piece of advice from Yumiko: select contrasting colors when choosing an obi and yukata to make the outfit very complementary.
Dressing began with the undergarment, which is worn like a normal robe. After putting my light blue yukata over that, I held the fabric at the torso. The fabric should be pulled up at the torso until the bottom of the garment is at ankle length. Then the right piece of the garment gets folded around the waist, followed by the left over the right. While I held the fabric up, Yumiko secured three ties: First, one under the extra fabric above my stomach, second, one over the fabric between my chest and stomach after adjusting the position of collar, and finally a wider one over the fabric under my chest. This keeps the fabric secured to the body at the desired length. This method also adds padding to a person’s middle section, giving the flat body appearance needed for a yukata look. Lastly, an obi is wrapped over the folded material and ties, where it is finished off with a lovely bow in the back. The trick to tying an obi by yourself is to wrap it backwards – tie it in the front and slide it to your back when you’re done! Practice is the best way to learn how to put on a yukata, so make sure to try on your outfit beforehand or take a class at The Kimono House to become an expert!
—– Reported by Melissa Perrier
The Kimono House
131 Thompson St., (bet. Prince & Houston Sts.)
New York, NY 10012
TEL: 212-505-0232 / www.TheKimonoHouse.com
The Kimono House offers an extensive variety of colors and designs for both men and women.
The main components of any yukata attire includes the yukata robe (left), obi (top right), and cotton ties (bottom right).
The undergarment is made of a thin white cotton to catch sweat and allow for air flow. Extra padding can be added.
It is important to wrap the left fabric piece over the right end. Folding the yukata right over left will mean that you are deceased.
A hand tied obi bow by Yumiko. Pre-tied obi’s do exist for those who do not have experience tying such sturdy material.