It might seem a little odd to hear that yukata, the lightweight kimono worn at summertime festivals, fireworks shows, and bon dances, are in the middle of a revival in popularity in Japan right now, but it’s absolutely true. After several years in which young Japanese found yukata to be too expensive and troublesome to bother with, they’re back in fashion with teens and young adults in a huge way.
Part of this is no doubt due to more and more manufacturers offering reasonably priced yukata, as you can now often find sets that include the robe and sash for around 6,000 yen (US$48). And as for not knowing how to put everything on and tie it properly? That’s also a problem of the past, thanks to online explanations like this pair of videos from fashion and yukata retailer Uniqlo.
If you’re a guy, we’ve already taught you the steps to look yukata-stylish with the help of one of our very own RoccketNews24 models. For the ladies, though, we’re passing the baton to Uniqlo.
Uniqlo got into the yukata business a couple of years ago, and sells elegantly feminine examples like the ones seen above for 5,990 yen, including the sash, or obi, as it’s called in Japanese. To help you get dressed, the company has prepared two instructional videos, the first of which explains how to slip into and align the robe, and the second of which demonstrates how to tie the obi ribbon.
Let’s start with getting the yukata itself on. Surprisingly, women’s yukata are longer than men’s of the same size. That’s because they’re designed to be bunched up in the midsection. After sliding your arms into the sleeves, the next step is to raise the fabric so the bottom hem hangs down to your ankles.
An important thing to rememebr is that unlike women’s shirts, women’s kimono are folded with the left side on top of the right. In other words, you should be able to slip your right hand into the fold, so start by grabbing the right hem, bringing it over to meet your left hip, and then reversing the process.
While guys can sometimes get away with the roguish style of having a loosened yukata, for ladies, everything is supposed to be neatly squared away. After tying a cord (called an ohashori) around your waist, use the holes cut below the armpits to smooth everything out.
The one place a woman’s yukata is supposed to have some slack, though, is at the nape of the neck, where traditionally an alluring opening is left.
Finally, straighten out the collar so that its point in front lines up with the center of your collarbone, and add one more cord under the chest.
Next up is the obi, which you’ll notice is incredibly long.
It’s so long that after folding it in half widthwise, you’ll wrap it around yourself twice, starting at your left hip and going around your back.
You’ll want to wrap the obi snugly, not only because that’s what traditional fashion dictates, but also to keep your robe from slipping open while you’re out and about.
From there, Uniqlo decides that like a picture, a video is worth a thousand words, and simply instructs you to “tie.” Thankfully, the obi video walks viewers through the exact procedure, starting at the 2:02 mark.
You’ll end up with the ribbon in front of you, so rotate around your waist, moving left to right so as not to wrinkle the opening of the robe. And while men’s yukata look best with the knot jauntily off-center, for women the ribbon should line up with the center of your back.
It might take a few practice runs, but considering that both videos together are just a little over 10 minutes long, there’s still plenty of time to get the hang of putting on your yukata in time to enjoy what’s left of summer.