It’s very confusing that there are so many different types of kimono depending on cloth, tailoring, or pattern. But the types referr to the pattern only. These types have nothing to do with seasons, but occasions a kimono can be worn.
① Kurotomesode 黒留袖
Can only be worn by married women (kuro 黒, “black”). They are black and have three family crests (kamon 家紋). They have an eba pattern (eba moyō, 絵羽模様) on the bottom part of maemigoro and ushiromigoro.
② Irotomesode 色留袖
Can only be worn by unmarried women. The pattern is the same as kurotomesode, but they are not black (iro 色, “color”). They also have three kamon.
③ Furisode 振袖
Furisode can only be worn by young unmarried women. They have long sode (袖 sleeves) and are the most formal Kimono for unmarried women. They always have a big eba pattern and no kamon. (You want to know more about furisode?)
④ Mofuku 喪服
This kimono is onlyt worn for funerals and it is all black and have three kamon inserted. There will be tied a black obi, black obiage, and black obishime. When you wear a mofuku, there are some special rules, I will write about later.
⑤ Homongi 訪問着
It is very hard to distinguish between ④ and ⑤, but I will try to explain the difference clearly. Homongi always have an eba pattern. The sketch of the pattern is drawn on the kimono which is swen provisionally. After this is done, all the seams will be taken and the real pattern will be painted over the sketch. That is why this pattern continues prettily over all seams without interruption, after the kimono is re-sewed. This pattern makes a kimono very expensive and gives it a formal rank.
⑥ Tsukesage つけさげ
The tsukesage pattern is painted directly on the role of cloth (tanmono 反物). That is why it can be cut by a seam after the kimono is made. It is also a pattern which looks upwards to katayama and sodeyama. The rank of this pattern is lower than eba pattern, but higher than komon and can be worn at formal as well as casual occasions.
⑦ Iromuji 色無地
If a semon (背紋) is inserted and you tie a fukuro obi, iromuji become formal. If not, they are casual. They have no colored pattern, because it is weaved into the cloth.
⑧ Edo komon 江戸小紋
The same as iromuji: if a semon is inserted and you tie a fukuro obi, they are formal. If not, they are casual. The pattern is made of small dots.
⑨ Komon 小紋
Komon means “small pattern”. This kimono type is casual and full of small or big patterns. Those patterns are never eba. A komon can’t be worn at formal occasions.
Every kurotomesode, irotomesode, homongi, etc. is an awase, hitoe, or natsumono. Depending on fabric and tailoring the season a kimono can be worn is limited. (Read more about the kimono seasons.) Depending on the pattern the occasion a kimono can be worn is limited.
Depending on the rank the occasion a kimono can be worn is limited. Never wear a komon or yukata on a wedding. That would be a mistake. But you can rank up a kimono as well as rank down. That’s a quite confusing theme… but don’t give up!
P.S.: If you liked the Kimono examples, you should take a look here Shinei !! 😉
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