My kimono flower crest - October

how men can wear a kimono

Creator of this kimono webpage
about me
Men in kimono lined up

Gathering info on men's kimono materials and patterns to make an informed choice on choosing a kimono

After my first kimono i wanted to buy a new one that had a good feel but was cheap enough to be able to use it as a daily wear. My polyester kimono is perfect for learning how easy it is to get it stained, torn, cut and so on but somehow the feel is not quite right. Polyester is not a very breathable fabric and is quiet slippery. My silk kimono feels really comfortable and raises my confidence and spirit but being made of silk with an appropriate price tag I rarely wear this one. Too afraid to damage it I guess (looks back at the many times I had to wash my polyester kimono.

This is a record of my search to find out what my options are as a male kimono wearer regarding material, pattern and price range, so I could (and hopefully you now also) make a better informed choice for the next kimono. In my case the kimono that fitted the requirement of "comfort but forgiving" was a (tailored) wool version, also my wallet was very thankfull for this choice. (see below at the wool part for more info)

Price indications are the prices I have found for new kimono's, usually M-LL size, unlined and excluding postage.
Error in shop prices: I have fallen many times in the trap of looking at a nice silk kimono only to find out that the material itself was polyester and only has the 'look/texture' (風合い) of the named variation.

Quick list Kimono web shops in Japanese language

Kimono sugata store logoKimono sugata

Menz kimono store logoMenz Kimono
Seems to be out of business
Fujikiya Kimono store logoFujikiya Kimono

Otoko Kimono kato store logoOtoko Kimono kato

Kimono Asobi store logoKimono Asobi

Rakuten store logoRakuten

Samue store logoSamue

Menya fabric store logoMenya fabric

Kanaiya, vintage shop store logoKanaiya, vintage shop

Otoko no Kimono, vintage shop store logoOtoko no Kimono

For Kimono Web Shops in the English language, please go to the links page, section: Kimono Web Shops

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kimono pure silk cloth silk cocoons
正絹 (しょうけん) Pure silk / シルク100% - silk

Pure silk, a natural fiber made from the cocoons of the silkworm. Silk has a smooth, soft glossy texture that is not slippery, unlike many synthetic fibers. Silk flows beautifully, and is difficult to crease. Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers, but it loses its strength when wet. The fabric can be weakened if exposed to too much sunlight, the colors will also suffer from prolonged sunlight.
The problem part of silk is that it is (very) difficult to clean and wash.

The price range of a silk kimono can reach from a bit expensive to way out of my league.

Price range indication: 136.000円 - 235.000円
(though with silk, the sky is the limit for pricing)

136.080円 - Otoko Kimono koto (M-LL size)
235.600円 - Motoji (unlined, tailored)

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Different versions of pure silk (正絹) kimono's

men's nishijin brocade kimono
西陣織 (にしじんおり) Nishijin brocade

Woven fabric originated in Kyoto. The name "Nishijin"(west position) came about because these gorgeous fabrics were produced in the area in Kyoto where the position of an army, then called "West Army" was in a civil war("Onin no Ran") which lasted 10 years, ending in 1477.

Price range indication: 35.000円 - 50.000円

35.000円 M-size at Otoko Kimono
91.800円 M-LL size at Otoko Kimono (Kimono + haori)

men's chirimen kimono
縮緬 Chirimen silk (silk crepe)

The cloth has the unique feature of soft wrinkles. The woven cloth is at first flat, but the wrinkles suddenly emerge after rinsing dirt out of the thread. This is the moment when the breathtaking beauty of the wrinkles is born.

Price range indication: 38.000円

men's meisen silk kimono
銘仙 Meisen silk (meisen silk)

Price range indication: 98.000円

Otoko Kimono Kato

men's omeshi silk kimono
御召し Omeshi silk (silk crepe)

Price range indication: 98.000~円298.000円

98.280円~200.880円 - Online Kimono
118.000円~128.000円 - Kimono Sugata (lined, tailored)
283.100円 - Motojo (lined, tailored)
119.800円~196.800円 - Tango Tomari (119.800 is machine sewn, 196.800 for hand tailored)

men's rinzu silk kimono
綸子 Rinzu silk (figured satin)

A monochrome figured satin-weave silk imported in substantial quantities from Ming China in Momoyama and Early Edo, and subsequently woven in Japan after development of the twisting machinery required for production of the high-quality warp yarns. Though rinzu is often referred to as “damask,” it is not a true damask since the pattern is not reversible; that is, it appears on only one side of the material.
A Rinzu kimono is an odori (dance) kimono ?

Price range indication: ???円~???円

Sha kimono cloth Ro Kimono Cloth
絽 Ro and 紗 Sha silk (silk gauze)

The fabric for an airy and comfortble summer kimono. In short: Ro is done with weaving large gaps that also creates the typical stripes. The Sha summer kimono is evenly spaced.

Sha is a light, somewhat stiff silk gauze, introduced from China at a very early stage and woven throughout Japanese history down to the present day. The basic construction is the plain gauze weave, in which the positions of each pair of warp yarns are transposed after the insertion of each successive weft. The wefts are thus tightly held by each pair of criss-crossing warps; whence the characteristic crispness of the fabric. Variations of the basic gauze weave permit the introduction of a great variety of woven patterns, some of great complexity

Ro is a soft silk gauze woven with a combination of plain and gauze weaves, sometimes referred to as a leno wave. In contrast to ra and sha (q.v.), which were woven in Japan in the Nara period (710-794) and earlier, ro is a comparatively later material. Softer and more pliant than sha, it was popular for summer kosode during the Edo period and remains in use today. The basic construction is a plain weave with periodic horizontal or vertical rows of open “eyes” created by gauze weave. In “horizontal” yoko-ro the “eyes” are created by wraps after each set of three, five, seven, or nine plain-woven wefts; in “vertical” tate-ro selected pairs of warps are transposed after each weft insertion, the remainder of the warps being left in plain-weave position. Variations of the basic weave permit the introduction of woven patterns.

Price range indication: 59.000円~146.000円

59.000円~146.000円 - Wabitas

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pongee cloth pongee silk cocoons
紬 (つむぎ) Pongee

Tsumugi is a kimono woven from silk yarns, taken from cocoons that were not fit for sale due to contamination of the pure white threads. By spinning these broken strands together silkworm farmers created a fabric for for their own use. The spinner uses saliva to adhere the new threads to the old ones, this produces the characteristic sheen and stiffness of tsumugi. After spinning, the threads are dyed and then woven into tsumugi. After weaving, the fabric is steamed to set the dyes and then made into kimono.
It's color and design is plain and rough however it is highly valued as a quality kimono and one of the most expensive kimono fabrics.
The most popular patterns include shima, ichimatsu, and kasuri.

Be warned, you see often a pongee 紬 kanji appear with a kimono but the raw material is 100% polyster. The pongee character only indicates that the kimono has the look of pongee.

Price range indication: 49.000円~78.000円

49.000円~78.000円 - Kimono sugata for all size?

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wool cloth sheep
ウール wool

Wool is increasingly used as it is warm and supple, does not easily hold creases, can be sewn by machines and by hand, and can be more easily cleaned. An unlined wool kimono can be easily dry-cleaned without being disassembled.
Note: once a kimono has been dry-cleaned, it should always be dry-cleaned. The residual chemicals from dry-cleaning can react with water to cause stains.

Winter kimonos are made from heavier wool fabrics, and are lined. Unlined summer kimonos are made of a wool fabric that is light and allows air movement. The wool is dyed before it is woven, with the weight of the threads determining the warmth and transparency of the resulting fabric.

Wool kimonos are not worn on formal occasions, but are popular as every-day wear, both in winter and in summer. For a comfortable kimono where accidents are not the end of the world, the woolen kimono is a excellent choice.

Price range indication: 18.500円~40.000円

$250 - Kimono Style by bonimum5 (unlined, tailored)
28.000円~39.800円 - Kimono sugata (unlined, tailored ?)
39.800円~49.800円 - Kimono sugata (unlined, tailored ?)
18.360円 - Samue (unlined, S-2L)
Kimono made from wool

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polyester cloth polyester pallets
ポリエステル polyester / 化繊 (かせん) synthetic fibres

The safe choice to start with at an affordable price.

Polyester fabric is crease-resistant, durable and colour-fast. It is also easy to clean in the washing machine. However, it breathes less than natural fabrics, often feels like plastic and may be clearly audible when moved.
Still it is a good choice to experience the feel of wearing a kimono and the dangers that you will come across. Not only grease and other stains will force you to reconsider your actions but there is a good chance you will be sitting behind the sewing machine more often than comfortable. Those door knobs are funest for the kimono sleeves to stick behind and rip open.

Price range indication: 5.000円~52.000円

38.000円 Kimono Sugata for any size?
19.980円~51.840円 - Otoko Kimono kato for M-L size
14.000円~16.200円 - Samue for S-2L size
5.300円~23.760円 - Rakuten for S-3L size

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cotton cloth cotton plant
綿 (わた) or 木綿 (もめん) cotton

Cotton fabrics are traditionally used to make unlined yukata and informal summer kimonos. The fabric is cool and breathable in summer, and to many, it feels less confining than silk. A cotton kimono is a feel free experience like wearing jeans.

Price range indication: 16.000円~188.000円

20.000円~38.550円 - Menz Kimono for M-4L size. (out of business)
16.200円~23.760円 - Samue for S-2L size.
29.400円~52.500円 - Menya fabric for M-LL-3L
28.000円~39.000円 - Kimono sugata for any size ?
41.000円~52.000円 - Otoko Kimono koto for M-L size.
188.000円 - Masaya for any size

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denim cloth cotton plant
デニム denim

Denim is a material made from 100% cotton. This is a cotton thread that is used to make a particular weave. It has warped threads in which a weft thread is placed under. This forms the traditional diagonal ribbing on the surface of the material. The most common denim is indigo denim, in which the warp thread is dyed, while the weft thread is left white.
An interesting choice looking at the price and the known qualities of denim.

Price range indication: 13.000円~45.000円

12.900円~29.000円 - Kimono Asobi for M-LL size
16.200円~18.360円 - Samue for S-2L size
30.240円~32.400円 - Samue for any size?
45.000円 - Fujikitya Kimono for any size?
An haori and kimono made of denim cloth

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linen cloth flax grass to make linen
リネン Linen

Devided in 麻 (あさ) Hemp and 苧麻 (からむし) Flax
Unique firmness and coolness full feel of the pleasant summer kimono.
A fine handwoven linen or hemp can be used to make durable but light summer kimonos (jofu). Jofu fabric was originally made in Okinawa and Oshima and worn by those in the samurai class.

Threads were originally resist dyed before weaving by hand, but now, with machines often used to complete the weaving, stencil dying may be used on the loosely woven fabric.

Jofu kimonos are not worn at formal occasions, and the patterns are often based on blue (indigo dyes), or white colour schemes.

Price range indication: 25.000円~57.000円~188.000円

57.240円~49.616円 - Otoko Kimono kato (yukata)
37.870円~42.190円 - Menz Kimono for tailored (Out of business)
25.600円~29.920円 - Menz Kimono for M-3L sizes (Out of business)
47.250円 - Samue
188.000円 - Masaya (hemp)

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banana cloth for kimono banana plant
芭蕉布 (ばしょふ) bashofu

Bashofu is an extremely light weight material ideal for the subtropical climate of Okinawa, where it is produced. When made into a kimono the fabric has a slight stiffness that allows a space between the cloth and the body when it is worn, making it particularly comfortable for the wearer.

Bashofu kimonos are hand made and is now only produced in the small village of Kijoka in northern Okinawa. If one person was to spend a year making bashofu, the maximum that they could produce is three tans or rolls. That is, the material necessary to produce just three kimonos. This situation of low supply and high demand does not help to lower the price.

Price range indication: ~2.000.000円

1.980.000円 - B.R. Online

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suits cloth suit cloth
スーツ生地 (すうつ きじ) Suit cloth

Like we have several sellers that started creating kimono from Denim cloth, there is now a shop which makes kimono from the same material as business suits, a fabric also familiar to most people.
Business suit cloth is made in a variety of fabrics, but most commonly from wool. The versions I have found consists of 50% wool and 50% polyester.

Price range indication: 47.000円~52.500円

19.600円 - Rakuten for M-L-LL sizes
47.250円 - Fujikiya Kimono (tailored)
52,500円 - Fujikiya Kimono (tailored)
Brown kimono set made from suite cloth

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Material mixes

Not everything has to be black and white concerning kimono materials. Combining the strength of different materials or reducing the cost of production, a mix of materials can be used like Polyester and Wool or even better, Wool and Cotton. Usually one material is used for the weft threads (horizontal) and the other material is used on the warp threads (vertical).
warp and weft threading

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江戸小紋 (えどこもん) Edo-Komon , small pattern

Edo komon are very fine patterns that will look from a distance as a solid color but close up the pattern will show it's full glory.
Edo-dyed cloth is considered a form which has a high formality among Komon kimono variation because it has a pattern based on Samurai's ceremonial dress. However, due to bruising competition among several feudal lords that they tried to beat each other by more and more gorgeous decorations, it was finally regulated. As the result, Edo-dyed cloth ended up to be fairly humble that its pattern became much dimmer as if it was merely plain at a glance. Most representative pattern is Same-Komon (a fine shark shin pattern) that was used by Tokugawa lord. It consists of many small dots like shark scales and is considered extremely expensive.
Since Edo-dyed cloth looks plain from a distance, it comes as formal as undecorated colored kimono if you have one emblem on it and therefore you can wear it on happy events.Same-Komon is considered more formal than undecorated kimono even without an emblem.

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plain kimono

無地 (むじ) plain

Muji (無地) is a type of kimono without any pattern at all. The kimono has only one solid color. One could say this is the standard 'pattern' for the men's kimono.
kimono plain pattern

Kimono pattern sharkskin

鮫小紋 (さめこもん) Shark

Fabric with Same komon (Shark Skin Pattern) is believed as protecting you from something evil or illness. Traditionally, bride will bring new Same-komon Kimono with her. We believe the Kimono will protect her from illness and evilness in her new family.
This pattern is the most well known of Edo Komon.
closeup sharkskin pattern

Kimono pattern stripes

万筋 (まんすじ) Ten thousand stripes

Ten thousand stripes, “Man” means ten thousand and “suji” is stripe. Some ten thousand stripes are dyed on about 30cm(12inch)-wide cloth. An extremely high level of skill is entailed to make a pattern paper of mansuji.
closeup stripes pattern

Kimono pattern small grid

通し格子 or 通し (とうしこうし or とうし) Small grid

Toushi features small dots lined up in a neat manner, and it derives its name from the threads that run through both horizontally and vertically.
closeup stripes pattern

Kimono pattern checkered

市松 (いちまつ) Checkered

Looks similar to toushi, but the alignment of the dots becomes diagonal. This print derives its origins from a retirement ceremony.
closeup pattern checkered

Kimono pattern fish scales

魚鱗 (ぎょりん) Scale

Uroko -scales- pattern are also believed as protecting you from sickness and evilness. For example wearing Obi (belt) with Uroko Komon while you are in YAKUDOSHI (Age of unfortunate) will be protect you from the year's unluckiness.
closeup pattern fish scales

Kimono pattern pine tree

松 (まつ) Pine

closeup pattern pine tree

Kimono pattern turtle shell

亀甲 (きっこう) Turtle-shell

Kikkou, the pattern lining of hexagons is just like a shell of turtles. This is because this pattern is called Turtles' shell (亀甲=亀の甲羅). Turtles are symbols of longevity and the hexagon is wishes for enlightenment of power to all direction.
closeup pattern turtle shell

Kimono pattern splashed pattern

絣 (かすり) Splashed Pattern

closeup pattern splashed pattern

Above selection is only a small part of the komon patterns that are available. More komon can be found at Bokunan-do and Project Japan - Edo komon.

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Men equels boring kimono ?
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Can I have a NO for that statement ?
I found these interesting kimono's and more at the following shops:
I think it is needless to say that above kimono outfits fall in the category 'casual' if not 'very casual', but that should be formal enough for most of us :)

Kyoto-based kimono company releases stylish new kimono looks for men.
Wazigen Shizukuya, the Kyoto-based fashion brand that has been reviving traditional Japanese men’s wear with modern design and colors, has just introduced their newest line of samurai-inspired fashion in their 2017 spring collection. The line-up includes 13 different looks, with hakama pants, short-sleeved kimono kosode, and various shawls, hoods, and accessories to compliment each outfit.
spring lineup kimono
Spring lineup for kimono fashion warriors
summer lineup kimono
Summer lineup for kimono fashion warriors