How to Wear a Kimono – Women’s edition: PART 1

Whether you are  celebrating New Year’s, attending a tea ceremony or simply taking a stroll around the neighbourhood, wearing a kimono adds a special elegance to any outing -as well as being super fun!

Putting on a kimono is a fine, detailed art which can take years of careful training to master. But if you are looking for a simplified guide, look no further!


Wearing Kimono: What You Will Need

This list CAN be quite extensive if you want it to be -there are lots of extra bits and pieces and accessories, some of which make the process easier but are mostly superfluous.

The basic essentials include:

Tabi (足袋)                      

Socks with separate big toe, ankle-high, to be worn with zōri or geta.

socks with separate big toe, ankle-high, to be worn with zōri or geta

Nagajuban (長襦袢)      

Undergarment to separate the kimono from your body. 

Koshi-himo (腰ひも)     

Thin sash to tie the nagajuban and various parts of the kimono (need at least 2).

Kimono (着物)        

Decorative silk robe (not to be confused with yukata, made of cotton).

Japanese traditional costume, Kimono


Date-jime (伊達締め)    

Wide sash to tie the kimono underneath the obi.

Obi (帯)      

Large outer belt tied around the kimono in various styles and materials.

Obi is the belt to tip up kimono

Obi-jime (帯締め)          

Decorative cord tied around the obi to keep it in place.

Zōri (草履)                      

Traditional sandal footwear, made in a variety of materials.

Zori is Traditional sandal footwear, made in a variety of materials

How to Wear Kimono

Step 1

Put on your tabi. Simples!

Step 2

Put on your nagajuban. Fold YOUR LEFT side OVER YOUR RIGHT (right side over left is reserved only for those who have passed away). Tie in place, around the waist, using a koshi-himo (thin sash).


  1. Make sure that the back of your neck is revealed (about 5cm) and the front is close to the bottom of your neck.
  2. Both sleeves should be symmetrical and the hem not too close to your feet.
  3. Eventually, only a thin layer of the neck of the nagajuban should be seen under the kimono.

Step 3

Put on your kimono. Slip the sleeves of the nagajuban into the sleeves of the kimono. Hold one side of the kimono in each hand, measuring from the bottom to the top of your hip (don’t worry that it’s too long, simply hoist up all the material in one swift motion). Check the hem is just above the feet. Once again, fold YOUR LEFT side OVER YOUR RIGHT and tie in place, just above the hips, using another koshi-himo (thin sash). Insert your hands through the slits under your arms to pat down the top half, creating a neat single layer of material over the koshi-himo.


  1. The top layer, the LEFT side, should be ever so slightly raised from your feet.
  2. Make sure the back of your neck is revealed, with a thin layer of the nagajuban showing.

Step 4

Tie your date-jime. Wrap the date-jime around your waist, just under the bust, tying it at the front and tucking in the ends.


  1. Some date-jime come with velcro -much easier, no knots necessary!

To wear kimono needs a lot of tools and steps!


Next time, I will talk about ‘How to Tie an Obi‘, enjoy wearing the kimono!