How to wear a kimono with jeans and other items
Updated: Jan 4
Kimonos have become a very popular Summer outerwear over the years thanks to the many different ways they can be styled. Nowadays, we have both long and short kimonos and these breezy robes can be seen on the backs of women of all ages at music festivals, on the beach and at pool parties across the globe.
The kimono robe has certainly come a long way. If you're wondering how long, well I have the answers for you below. I think before we dive into various kimono outfit ideas, it would be great to discuss the history of this great piece.
What is a kimono? A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment showing the Japanese sense of fashion. Originally, "kimono" was the Japanese word for clothing. However, in recent years, the word has been used to refer specifically to traditional Japanese clothing. Kimonos were originally made by using what was called the straight-line-cut method. This involved cutting pieces of fabric in straight lines and sewing them together.
With this technique, kimono makers did not have to concern themselves with the shape of the wearer's body. Starting in the late 1800s, Japan was heavily influenced by foreign cultures and the Japanese government encouraged people to adopt Western clothing and habits. Nowadays, real Japanese kimonos tend to be saved for special occasions.
Get this kimono HERE
In the fashion industry today, what is referred to as a kimono is a flowy piece of fabric, almost like a cover up, which has no buttons or zippers and is meant to serve as casual and light outerwear. This is a very different look from the traditional Japanese robes of the 1800s! The modern kimono is a common item in many summer outfits because not only does it accommodate all body sizes but also because it's an easy way to make a casual look more sophisticated. For today's post, I would be taking you through multiple stylish ways to wear your kimonos, whether they're in a shorter length or longer one. I personally prefer a long kimono and so if you see me making reference to those more, please don't get annoyed. *Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.
1) Kimonos with crop tops
A great way to style a kimono to give off effortless chic is to pair it with a crop top and denim jeans. The denim serves as a neutral canvas and so pairing it with a printed kimono brings an otherwise basic outfit to life. This is probably the best way to elevate your Summer casual wear when you've run out of ideas for what to wear with your favorite blue jeans. It instantly creates a whole new look.
Image source here
To make this outfit even more fancy, opt for a statement necklace and you're good to go. Feel free to play around with different colors of crop tops, based on the colors featured on your kimono. As kimonos tend to feature an array of colors, this should be really easy.
2) Kimono with skinny jeans
Wearing a long kimono with a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans and a tank top helps create a slimming effect because the longer length of the kimono would make you appear taller while the high waist jeans would be holding you at the smallest part of your waist, making it appear smaller. To really create the perfect look, try adding a pair of high heels to your kimono style and watch your outfit come alive.
Image source here
If wearing heels is either not appropriate for the occasion or just not your personal style, you can try going with flats, open toe sandals or white sneakers. Kimonos already create a casual vibe and call for lighter footwear so just make sure you're keeping things easy breezy down there.
3) Kimono with shorts
This is a very popular look at all summer festivals and concerts. Whether your choice of shorts are a pair of tight denim pants or some looks cargo shorts, if you are going to be wearing shorts, adding a kimono to your outfit would give it more of a sophisticated look. If you ever find an outfit is too sexy, try adding a kimono with long sleeves and your problem is solved.
Get the look HERE
On a perfect Summer day, you can choose to go with a white t-shirt or crop top to pair with your kimono. To add more of a boho vibe, add a turban and some bold accessories and you're Coachella-ready. All that's missing is your big floppy hat!
4) Kimono with dresses
Kimonos can be paired with both shorter as well as maxi dresses. Add a beautiful kimono to your strapless dress the next time you're going on a date during the warmer months to create a more stylish outfit in a second. I find that kimonos in longer lengths work better for less casual occasions while the shorter ones work better for more casual occasions.
If you're going to a fancy dinner on a hot Summer evening, you could wear your LBD and drape your kimono across your shoulders, accessorizing with large gold earrings (or colorful jewelry if you are a fan of boho style).
Image source here
You'll look like you're one of the owners of the establishment :) On the other hand, if you're opting to hang with the girls casually, a long kimono may even get in the way of your movements and so a shorter one works great. Either way, adding a kimono does the job of making your look more elegant, regardless of your body shape.
5) Opt for a kimono cardigan
Nowadays, kimonos can even be taken into the Fall, thanks to the warmer kimono cardigans. You could pair this with your favourite pair of jeans and some ankle boots to create a stylish Fall look. I have seen a number of fashion bloggers wearing their kimonos in the Fall, styling them with light sweaters and cardigans. Fell free to try it and let me know how it works out for you.
Get the look HERE
6) Kimono with wide-legged jeans
This particular look works great with a white tank top (or one in a light neutral color) seeing as kimonos tend to have a lot going on already in terms ofcolor and print.
Opt for a pair of sandals instead of flats to keep the free and casual theme going.
Get this look HERE
7) Kimono with skirts
Another very common festival look is the kimono paired with a mini skirt. A great way to complete this look is with some 'John Lennon' shades, gladiator sandals and a small crossbody bag.
Of course there are other ways to style your kimono. Consider pairing it with culottes or use at the beach as a cover up. I personally prefer to wear a kimono over a swimsuit whenever I go on vacation as opposed to a regular plain-colored cover up. It makes even swimwear appear more interesting and stylish.
Get this kimono HERE
If you feel like living your best Gossip Girl life, try sporting one the next time you have friends over. In my mind, that's how the wives of the 1% dress to receive a casual gathering in their mansions.
One thing is for sure, kimonos make their way around every Summer and so investing in a couple which you could wear on rotation may be a good idea. You could have a more formal kimono (long wide sleeves and longer length) and a more casual one (shorter length) to start.
I hope this post has been useful and as usual, let me know if you have any questions.
Headed somewhere tropical for vacation? Check out my post on what to pack!
I also have a post on chic jeans with heels outfits to try out.
Check out my post on the shirts to wear with skater skirts if you're about to rock this style of skirt.
Until the next post,