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August 17, 2008

Kimono Seasons II 着物の四季

The end of summer has come upon us, with the calling of the cicadas (noisy things aren’t they), and once again the question arises “what to wear?” kimono-wise. I am going to a “Kimono in Ginza” event on the second Saturday of September, and this is just at the cusp between summer and fall in kimono seasons, when the different styles overlap to some extent.

UK Winter 2006 Awase Kimono (Iro-Tomesode)Basically there are three seasons in kimono. The winter season in kimono runs from mid-October to mid-May (10月〜5月中旬), for which you wear a lined kimono called an awase 袷. This is the most common kimono you will see, since it has the longest period when it can be worn. Until recently, most people, if they bought a kimono at all, would buy a formal winter kimono called a hōmongi 訪問着, literally a “visiting” or “paying call” kimono, which would be acceptable to wear for nearly all formal events. Most lined kimono of this formality will have designs of multiple flowers (chrysanthemums, Japanese maple leaves in green and red, plum and cherry blossoms, bamboo, and pine) so that the design will work for any of the winter months, and be specific to none.

UK Spring 2006 Hitoe with Momiji & Sakura
The second season in kimono is spring and fall which includes the months of mid-May through June (5月中旬〜6月) and September through the first week or so of October (9月〜10月上旬). During this period an unlined kimono is worn called a hitoe 単衣, which is made of “plain weave” (simple over-under weave) silk. Many people buy a Iro-muji (single color) or Edo Komon (small repeated dyed pattern) for their hitoe, so they can wear it in both spring and fall, since these patterns are not seasonally specific. Iro-muji and Edo Komon are almost as formal as a hōmongi, so they likewise can be worn at most formal events, if dressed-up with a formal obi. Otherwise, the designs for the fall hitoe will have flowers specific to fall (chrysanthemums or waremokō) and a spring hitoe will have flowers specific to spring (hydrangeas, lilies, and irises). I have a bamboo hitoe I wear in both spring and fall since bamboo is not seasonally specific, and only change the obi to match the season.

UK Summer 2003 Pink Ro Houmongi
The third season in kimono is summer, which is technically July and August (7月〜8月), but can be extended from late June to early September (6月下旬〜9月上旬). In the case of a ro 絽 (leno gauze) weave, this can be stretched even further, from June to early September (6月〜9月上旬). A ro-weave hitoe is the only formal summer weave and can be seen in komon (repeated design, usually printed) or hōmongi (usually either yuzen-dyed or hand-painted) styles. A ro-weave hōmongi is the summer version of the winter awase hōmongi and has the same formality. If one wants to get really fancy about it, and has lots of money, the ro kimono for the first half of summer (7月) would have early summer flowers (morning glories, fringed pinks, cooling waves), and for the second half of summer (8月) it would have late summer flowers (ominaeshi, aki-kusa fall flowers, and dragonflies).

Bamboo Hitoe (Tsukesage)
Back to the question at hand about what to wear on the second Saturday of September. I had have been debating with myself of whether to wear a ro-weave hitoe with a design of aki-kusa (fall grasses) or a plain-weave hitoe with a design of bamboo. At the moment, I am planning on wearing the bamboo hitoe, and finally after consulting with various kimono charts have decided to pair it with a ro-tsuzure style obi. Now to figure out what obi-age sash and obijime cord to match with it.

Various Kimono Seasonal Charts
(* click on images below to enlarge, then click on icon in lower right corner to enlarge further)

Year-Round ChartUtsukushii Chart 2006 May to September

Utsukusii Chart July-SeptemberUtsukushii Chart May-June

* See also, previous post: Kimono Seasons--What to Wear When

Kimono & Yukata Archives Kimono & Yukata Archives

*Click Blogmura logo for other blogs (in Japanese) on Kimono
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にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物・和装へ

auberginefleur at 23:19│Comments(2) Kimono: Terms & Info 


1. Posted by 88ihsara   September 15, 2008 19:28

I live in Australia where the seasons are in reverse, so i was wondering if I were to follow the chart, do i stick to it by season, or by the months?

(for example, would I be wearing summer kimono while everyone else is in awase winter kimono, or do i stick to wearing winter kimono eventhough it is summer in Aus?)
2. Posted by auberginefleur   September 15, 2008 23:42
Follow the seasons where you live, so you would wear summer kimono in your summer, and winter kimono in your winter, etc.


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