How to Style a Kimono for Summer

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Updated on July 31, 2022 by
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The kimono is a beautiful garment traditionally worn by the Japanese (it’s their national dress). Culturally, it is often wrapped around the front and has square sleeves with a rectangular body. However, while the Japanese kimono is still one of the most eye-catching pieces of fashion created, and truly a work of art, the modern kimono has come a long way. 

The Kimono of today can be styled in numerous ways, and are socially acceptable in all situations. True to their cultural heritage, kimonos stand out from other items of clothing as being colorful, classic, and very comfortable to wear.

If you’re thinking of getting a kimono, or have one but aren’t sure quite how to wear it, here are eight ways to style a kimono for the summer.

Over jeans

Kimonos look great over a nice pair of jeans. You can choose to wear a long or short kimono over a tank top or t-shirt that’s tucked in, or even a crop top, and let the kimono steal the show. Throw on some accessories to make it as casual or trendy as you’d like—a hat, tote bag, and statement earrings. With a kimono, you’ll instantly transform your everyday jeans look into a head-turner. 

With whites

Kimonos are, both culturally and modernly, very colorful accents in any wardrobe. A great way to style a kimono for summer is to pair it with whites. Just like the style with jeans, the kimono will make an all-white outfit pop immediately. Because the kimono acts as a cover-up of sorts, white pants and a sheer white top would compliment the look very nicely. You can put on a large necklace to complete the look.

As a dress

Just like they are worn in Japan, kimonos make for exceptional dresses. But unless you are going for the traditional Japanese style, many modern kimonos are tailored for wider use and appeal. So you’ll stand out but just enough. Find the one you like most and keep the look as simple as possible. Because kimonos are colorful enough, you’ll want the attention on the dress. So wear studded earrings, hair up or slicked back, neutral tone shoes, and less is more on the wrists and hands.

Grab a belt

To keep your kimono closed this summer, pick a belt that will accent it just enough but also keep it closed. Kimonos might come with fabric ties, but typically don’t have zippers or buttons. With a belt, you can still maintain an open kimono look but add a little personality by pulling it to hang over the belt or merely to accent your waist.

Layer it

Just like you would with jeans or whites, you can layer your kimono over a dress or other long shirt or garment. Kimonos look great layered and have a very artsy appearance to them. As you choose your layers, take that look and implement it throughout your style. Layer your necklaces from long to short, go for several bracelets on each arm, grab your favorite rings and go for three or four on each hand, and make your ears pop with dangling ones. If you love foot jewelry, go for the ankle bracelet and toe rings. All of this will make you Boho Chic and fabulous.

Fall for Flats

Long kimonos look great with flats. The elongated look of a kimono that goes to the floor might seem risky to wear with flats but it actually will make you appear taller, rather than shorter. Kimonos with flats also have the ability to make an outfit feel as formal or casual as you’d like. For a formal look, wear a kimono dress or kimono over whites. For a casual look, grab a belt, style it with jeans, or layer up. With flats, you’ll have comfort as well as fashion.

Style with heels

When you style a kimono with heels it is best to pick a solid color shoe. You can wear kimonos with heels of all types and heights—wedges, stilettos, kitten—but what you want to try and do is keep other people’s eyes on the kimono and not your feet. A nice way to style this is to have the kimono either come all the way to the ground, about an inch or two above the bottom of your shoe, or three to four inches above your ankle, where the heel cuts off. This gives you a taller appearance.

Bring it to the beach

These days, a long way away from their original use, kimonos are made for the beach. Yes, kimonos are cover-ups! Style your beach or poolside outfit with a colorful kimono, with heels or flats, dependent on your surrounding, and a big-brimmed hat with knock-out sunglasses for a look that will have everyone talking. You can wear the kimono over a one-piece or two-piece.

This summer, take your kimono to every occasion and get the most out of it all summer long with these eight kimono styling tips.

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