What’s the difference between a kimono, a haori and a juban?
Confusingly, the word “kimono” can refer to both Japanese traditional clothing in general and to a specific kind of garment. Below is a quick guide to the three different types of kimonos we stock at Kyoto Vintage Warehouse.
- Kimono - The iconic long robe overlapped at the front that was once the everyday clothing of Japan. Kimonos make stunning outfits on their own, especially when paired with just the right belt.
- Haori - A shorter piece worn on top of the kimono like a jacket. Haoris are a great match with t-shirts, athleisure and casual clothing in general.
- Juban - A garment traditionally worn beneath the kimono. Generally shorter and lighter, jubans have dimensions that are somewhere between those of a kimono and those of a haori.
A haori paired with athleisure.
A black haori paired with a t-shirt and jeans.
What sizes do kimonos come in?
Vintage kimonos were hand-sewn to the measurements of some specific individual, so there is no standardized sizing system. We encourage customers to carefully check the dimensions shown in the description of each product before purchasing.
What should I do if my kimono is too long?
Customers often find their dream kimono, only to discover that the length of the garment stretches a little longer than they would like. If this happens to you but you still can’t get that piece out of your mind, we recommend using one of these tricks to make the piece work.
- Use a belt and pull up the kimono. Japanese vintage belts work great, but the right leather belt will work just as well.
- Stitch the hem inwards.
- Cut off the hem; you can create a matching belt with the leftover fabric.
Who made my kimono?
Each piece was made to fit the original wearer by a skilled seamstress, a family member or sometimes even the wearer herself!
Where do you find the kimonos?
We work with small independent dealers in Kyoto and other cities who specialize in the highest quality vintage kimonos.
Should I be concerned about ‘cultural appropriation’?
Sometimes we hear from customers concerned that wearing a kimono might be seen as cultural appropriation. We assure you that there is no such worry. In fact, Japanese people are delighted to see their heritage appreciated and incorporated into the lives of people around the globe! (Kimono industry insiders especially love seeing photos of our happy clients wearing our kimonos in new ways and expressing themselves.) Everyone who played a part in bringing you your garment, from the seamstresses and embroiderers to the silk farmers and dyers, would have wanted just one thing: to have their final product worn and loved.
Sadly, kimono culture in Japan has long been in decline. Many of the pieces we dig up would not have seen much further use if it were not for our clients. By incorporating kimonos into your wardrobe, you are joining the fight against the disappearance of this beautiful tradition and helping keep these garments a living, breathing part of global fashion. We in Japan have only gratitude towards those who do so.