Types of Kimono - Yukata

 So, after a long hiatus, I'm back on my kimono tutorial posts! 
And today we'll cover the last "basic" type of kimono, the yukata.

The term yukata comes from "yukatabira", or "bath underclothes". As one may probably guess, this is the most informal kind of kimono, being used after the bath (commonly at onsen hot spring resorts), as well as for sleeping, relaxing at home or for attending at summer festivals.

Dark blue + white are the most classical colors for yukata
(also paired with light blue in this yukata from Kimonomachi).

Due to it's common use in summer, yukata is often described as "a summer kimono". Althou that is not completely wrong, it's also not ideal as a definition, because not all summer kimono are yukata.

Yukata are made of light cotton, with no lining. Other summer kimono are also characterized by lack of lining, but are made from other materials. Kimono summer fabrics, which include gauze-like fabrics like ro and sha silks, are called usumono.

 Usumono tsukesage from K-Bridal. The gauze-like fabric calls for adequate underkimono (since it shows through). In spite of being transparent and unlined, this is a formal tsukesage - only, made for wearing during the heigh of summer. Therefore, it's not yukata!

Apart from the different materials, yukata are also worn in a very relaxed, informal way: often without a juban (underkimono) or tabi (wafuku traditional "socks"). Other summer kimono, on the other hand, may even be made of light, transparent fabrics, yet they are worn more formally, with juban and other usual kimono accessories.

 From left to right: yukata from Soubien, and usumono tsukesage, from K-Bridal. Both summer kimono, but with different 
formality levels. The lady in yukata doesn't wear a juban, obi accessories* or tabi - all elements present in the other lady's 
more formal kimono. Also, the yukata patterns themselves are simpler, repeating all over the fabric in a way that 
resembles a komon - all signs of a casual style in kimono aesthetics.

Different from other kinds of kimono this tutorial covered so far, yukata is not exclusive for females. There are also yukata for men - althou, they have a different shape than the female version, with shorter sleeves. There's also no age or marital status restrictions for yukata, which means, everyone can wear it, from little kids to granny and grandpa. The differences will be in the colors and motifs: as usual in kimono aesthetics, female kimono tend to be more colorful than male kimono. Also, brighter tones and bigger patterns are commonly worn by the youger generations, while more mature wearers go with subdued, discrete fabrics.

Male yukata, featuring dark, sober colors - with a youthful touch given by the golden 
obi. The lack of a juban fits a super-casual look. This kind of  fan, called uchiwa
is a traditional summer accessory. From Kimonomachi.

 Kids wearing yukata. Notice how the girl's sleeves are longer 
than the boy's - a shape difference in the female and male yukata.

When using yukata as a sleeping garment, one will simply tie it with a narrow belt, of the same fabric from the yukata - like in western bathrobes. To wear it in public, thou, it's appropriate to tie it with a proper obi.

Beign very informal kimono, yukata are worn with informal obi as well. For tying a female yukata, a nagoya-obi with simple design, a half-leght casual hanhaba-obi, old-fashioned chuya-obi, or even super light heko-obi can all be used. For male kimono, there are only two kinds of obi - more formal kaku-obi, and male-designed heko-obi. Both can be worn with yukata, althou, I think good sense in choosing a casual designed kaku obi is required, so the combination won't look odd - same as with female nagoya-obi.

As for musubi (obi knots), the simple bunko and cho musubi are maybe the most popular knots for wearing with yukata. Another common option would be kai no guchi musubi, which is fit for both female and male obi. The classical taiko would be a way too formal musubi for yukata, but it's floppy casual "sibling", tsunodashi musubi (also known as ginza musubi) can be worn.

Yukata worn with bunko musubi (left) and cho musubi (right). The main difference 
between these knots is the bow position, horizontal in bunko and vertical on cho.

Couple in yukata. The lady wears what looks to me like a tsunodashi/ginza musubi variation (?). 
The gentleman wears kai no guchi musubi. Photo: Yoann Gruson-Daniel, in Kimonobsession 47.

 Another kai no guchi musubi, this time worn by a lady. Since female 
obi are wider than male obi, the knot ends up with a bigger size.

Besides those musubi, yukata also allows one to simply tie their obi in non-traditional ways - specially when wearing heko-obi, which, different from others, is not made from stiff/firm but very soft fabric. This creates a variety of floppy, informal knots that I like to nickname foofy mess musubi (not a proper kitsuke term, thou! lol ;p).

Maybe this could be considered a bunko or cho variation (?), but it's one 
of those heko-obi floppy knots I just like to call "foofy mess musubi".

Some girls and young ladies also add a second obi when wearing yukata (or, sometimes, komon). These are short, decorative, often gauze-like sashes named puchi obi, or puchi heko-obi, and are meant to be worn over a regular obi. The addition of a new layer of color and texture, and another bow, makes the overall look to be more frilly.

This lady wears a transparent puchi obi over her pink obi.

A puchi obi tied in front over the obi, in a bow or flower shape, 
makes a flashy accessory choice for yukata. From Cream Dress.

And this closes the basics about yukata, as well as the basic Types of Kimono topic! For the next topic of these tutorials/articles, I'll be holding a poll in my DeviantArt page, so vote on your favourite subject!

* The obi accessories, as obi-age, obi-jime and others will be explained later on this tutorial. ^^

This is also my 100th post on HANAMI! ^^
A big thank you to all my followers!
I hope this blog will go on for many more posts!

2 comentários:

  1. Welcome back :3 I missed your posts and pictures :) <3

    Could I ask a question? Is it safe to say that every japanese knows how to but on a kimono or atleast a yukata?

    1. Thank you! It's good to be back!

      Actually, during the 20th century, kimono went from normal wear to a special occasion garment in Japan, and nowadays most japanese don't wear it on regular basis. Specially for formal kimono, many people in Japan are not very familiar with how to wear it - in weddings and other special occasions, it's common for one to ask help to professional kimono dressers. With yukata, it's probably more common for people to wear it, but even so, there are nowadays some kinds of obi that come with a "fake" clip-on bow for yukata, for people who don't know how to make musubi (obi knots).

      So, you can't really say all japanese know how to properly put on a kimono. It depends on each person's interest/involvement with this tradition to learn how to do it - be they japanese or not.