Kimonos and yukatas are traditional Japanese dresses that are popular in kawaii and J-fashion. Both of these dresses are beautiful, but it's pretty easy to mix them up. However, I'll teach you to look out for some key differences between kimonos and yukatas.
Yukata Vs Kimono: What Are The Differences?
Yukatas and kimonos might look similar, but there are small distinctions. The important differences are:
- Shape: Kimonos have two collars and varying sleeve lengths. Yukatas have one collar and the same sleeve length.
- Material: Kimonos are silk. Yukatas are cotton.
- Season/occasion: Kimonos are worn in winter. Yukatas are worn in summer.
These are the basics to identifying a kimono vs a yukata. Still, there are many specific details about both types of dresses that reflect their purpose, Japanese culture, and history.
One of the most significant differences between kimonos and yukatas is the shapes of the dresses. Kimonos and yukatas both have different types of collars, sleeves, and the way the dress fits are different because of the different materials.
Kimonos have two collars, an outer layer and an inner layer (which can also be called a juban collar). This is because kimonos are layered garments. Can you believe the traditional Japanese Kimono had 12 layers originally? Imagine how hot it was! Kimono collars are also very soft because they're made from luxury fabrics. Another thing to point out is that kimonos have a full-width collar, which means that the collar is thicker than a yukata's collar.
Yukatas only have one collar since they aren't worn with a juban collar or any inner layer. Yukata collars are also usually stiffer because they're made from cotton or synthetic fiber. The collar will sit around your neck differently. The collar is also only a half-width collar, so the collar will be thinner compared to a kimono.
Sleeves are also a big part of comparing kimonos and yukatas. This is because kimonos can have varying sleeve lengths. Their sleeves could range from a regular sleeve (~50cm) to a floor-length sleeve! Extremely long sleeves are popular among single/unmarried women because it shows their marital status to potential love interests. Yukatas, on the other hand, will always have a regular sleeve length. This is because they are more for casual wear and not to make a statement. At least not a marriage statement… you could always make a fashion statement with a yukata!
Another way to tell apart kimonos and yukatas is the fabric. Kimonos and yukatas are made with different fabrics because they're meant for different seasons and occasions. Kimonos are considered a luxury garment for important events or Japanese formal wear. Yukatas are much more casual.
Kimonos are usually made out of silk, brocade, or other expensive fabrics. This makes kimonos pricey garments, but they're soft and sturdy. Kimonos are overall much heavier and thicker than yukatas because they have many layers and are made out of luxurious fabrics.
Yukatas, which are more "wearable", are made out of cotton or other synthetic fiber. This makes them lightweight and much more affordable compared to kimonos. They are one layer, so they are also much thinner than kimonos. This makes them ideal for everyday wear since they are comfortable. They aren't as soft as kimonos because of the difference in material.
You should also keep in mind that fashion is always changing and evolving! J-fashion and kawaii fashion include a lot of Kimono and yukata inspired dresses. Now it's much more common to find kimonos made of cotton or yukatas made of silk for aesthetic purposes. Sleeve length is also something that has the potential to change with fashion trends. Material is subjective when looking to expand your casual kawaii wardrobe: you can find anything for anyone!
This is another easy tip to identify kimonos and yukatas: what's the weather like? Kimonos have so many layers, and they really bundle you up! This is why they're worn in cold weather during the winter. It helps keep you warm while also looking stunning.
Yukatas are only one layer, which makes them light and breathable. They're popular in the summertime when it's too hot to wear a kimono. They also don't have the potentially so-long-you-trip-over-them sleeves. This is a big plus in the summer when you're outside! They can be worn casually any time as long as it's hot enough. In casual/fun events like summer festivals, yukatas are usually worn.
The occasion is also a big factor when the question "yukata vs kimono" comes up. Since kimonos are luxurious traditional dresses, they are worn to important events such as weddings and other ceremonies even when it's hot out! This just shows the importance of wearing a kimono to an important occasion. Shorter kimonos for situations like this exist, but they aren't too common. Yukatas are meant for casual/fun/aesthetic wear and would probably not be worn at a big ceremony.
So now you know!
At first glance, kimonos and yukatas might have tricked you with their subtle differences. Now that you know what to look for, you'll be able to easily tell them apart. The shape of the dress, the material, and the weather are all things to look out for.
Overall both kimonos and yukatas are beautiful garments that pay respect to Japanese culture and fashion. Even though they're different, they're both amazing for various reasons!
If you're looking to invest in something for luxury wear, important ceremonies, or celebrations, I would recommend you look into kimonos. They'll make sure you're dressed for the occasion! If you're a J-fashion and kawaii fashion lover, I would recommend getting some yukata inspired pieces for your wardrobe. They're easy to wear and absolutely gorgeous!
Whether you're just looking or actively looking to buy a kimono or yukata, it's important to know the differences! Both of these garments will make you look and feel amazing. And just a last little tip: make sure to wear the left panel over the right! This is a sign of respect in Japanese culture.
Remember to have fun learning and searching for the Kimono or yukata of your dreams!
Written by Jia L