7 Ideas of What to Wear Under a Kimono
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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

7 Ideas of What to Wear Under a Kimono

Updated: May 3, 2023

Kimonos have become a popular choice of outerwear in recent years. The modern day kimono is worn by many young people on top of shorts, jeans and skirts during the summer months. They can be spotted at summer festivals across the globe in a range of colors and prints.

Although nowadays we can use kimono robes as a light piece of outerwear in the hot weather, it is important to understand the history of the garment. I would like to start this blog post by sharing what exactly a traditional kimono is along with is significance.


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 wear.

Kimonos were originally made by using what was called the straight-line-cut method.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. A traditional Japanese kimono has long sleeves and features a beautiful print.

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.

Image source here

You can see that what we currently call a kimono is a modernized version of this traditional garment. It’s important that we acknowledge the Japanese people and the Japanese culture as it has influenced the modern day take on this garment. Nowadays, kimonos are not reserved for just formal occasions. There are many different styles and lengths of kimonos, and they can be worn for various occasions.

In today’s blog post, I would be sharing some of the best ways to wear a kimono. I would be showing you both casual outfit ideas as well as more formal looks I would also be providing you with ideas on how to wear a kimono during the colder months. Keep reading if you want to find out how to style a modern kimono.

Before we dive into the different kimono undergarments and ways to style yours, I would like to share some great options for kimonos. If you are looking for a kimono to add to your wardrobe, you should check out the list below. It’s important to start with an eye-catching kimono seeing as it would be the focus of your outfit.

Get the kimono HERE

*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.

Where to buy a kimono

i) Etsy

Etsy is a great place to shop for traditional Japanese kimonos. They come in several pieces, including an obi sash. Long kimonos are typically worn for more formal events such as tea ceremonies. You could pair them with socks and sandals for a more traditional look. Japanese women also add flowers to their hair as a nice accessory for their kimono robe.

ii) Shein

For kimonos to dress up your casual wear, Shein is a great destination. You can find affordable kimonos of varying lengths and also many different colors. These kimonos could be paired with shorts during the warm season or a pair of skinny jeans and a sweater in the Fall. A short kimono in a bright color can help elevate your summer outfit.

iii) Boohoo

Boohoo offers some great options of kimonos you can dress up or down. You could add a kimono on top of a little black dress to elevate your formal wear. You could also add one on top of your mini skirt and tank top to create chic summer wear. Complete your look with a pair of heels if you’re headed to a fancy event. A pair of sandals work fine for a more casual look.

iv) Amazon

Kimonos in bright colors are the perfect outerwear during the summer months. They are not too heavy to become a nuisance while protecting your arms from the sun’s rays. Not forgetting that they also make any outfit more interesting without even trying. Amazon offers many short and longer kimonos that can be paired with casual pieces in your closet.


When it comes to casual kimonos that can be worn as beach cover ups, Asos is a good destination to check out. They offer many styles and length of light and airy kimonos, perfect for a beach getaway. Pair your kimono with short shorts, a beach bag and a pair of sandals for the perfect vacation outfit. Don’t forget the oversized sunglasses too!

In recent years, kimonos have become a more casual piece of outerwear. Their ease of wear and different color variations have made them a popular choice at both casual and formal events. Now that you have an idea of where to shop for kimonos, let’s talk about the different ways to wear one in the modern world.

How to wear a kimono

1) Tank top and jeans

An easy way to style your kimono for a casual gathering is by pairing it with a pair of jeans a simple tank top. For less casual events, opt for a pair of dark wash jeans instead of light denim. A white tank top is a great choice if your kimono has a lot of busy prints and colors. You could also choose 1 of the colors on the kimono and go with a top in that color.

Get the look HERE

If you’re feeling a little sexy, choose a crop top instead of a tank top and show a little belly. Skinny jeans are my favorite option to go with but any style of jeans would honestly work to create a chic kimono look. Complete your outfit with a pair of wedges or sandals during the warmer months.

2) Crop top and shorts

One of the most popular looks you can spot at any festival is this one right here. It’s such an easy look to pull off and you most likely already own all the other elements. A cute crop top paired with your favorite shorts makes for great clothing to wear underneath a kimono. Create the perfect look by choosing a top and shorts in a neutral color.

Get the look HERE

This would prevent your outfit from being too busy. Denim shorts, cargo shorts or any other type of shorts could be worn with your kimono to create a stylish summer look. Complete your outfit with a pair of strappy sandals or a pair of white sneakers. Slip on a pair of heels if you’re headed somewhere fancy later.

You can read up some more on styling short shorts on my post: 10 Chic Ways to Wear Short Shorts.

3) Top and mini skirt

Another great way to wear a kimono is by pairing it with a cute skirt and a simple top. Once again, white is a good idea to go with because of its neutral color. It’s easy to pair it with any color of kimono and skirt. Create the perfect look by choosing a skirt that compliments the colors on your kimono.

Get the look HERE

Elevate your overall look by choosing a pair heeled sandals or strappy heels. If you’re headed to a beach barbecue, opt for a pair of flat sandals. You may need to take them off after all and walk around in your bare feet so it’s easy to wear a pair of shoes you can easily slip off. Don’t forget your tote bag and your shades.

4) On top of a swimsuit

A common way of wearing a kimono on a beach vacation is by using it as a swimsuit cover up. A long kimono could be worn on top of your swimsuit while you frolic around a resort. This way, you’re ready to hop into the pool for a quick dip at any moment. This works with both a one-piece swimsuit as well as a bikini.

Get the look HERE

Do note that most kimonos that are sold as cover ups tend to be at least a little transparent. Keep this in mind in case you’re looking for a more conservative cover up. You could opt for a regular swimsuit if you want more coverage from your kimono. Also make sure you choose a belted kimono if you want to avoid a wardrobe malfunction.

5) With leather pants

During the colder months, you can still rock your kimono. Pair your long kimonos with warmer bottoms such as high-waisted leather pans to create chic looks for the colder weather. Winter kimonos can be made from thicker and warmer fabrics to offer some extra warmth.

Get the look HERE

In terms of tops, choose fitted sweaters rather than tank tops and t-shirts. You could also opt for cropped sweaters if you’re looking to create a sexy outfit during the cold months. Complete your outfit with a pair of ankle boots in a Fall color. Black leather pants would provide the most warmth and would also be the easiest to style.

THIS kimono would be a great option to go with during the winter months.

6) With culottes

If you’re looking to create an edgier look with a kimono, consider pairing it with culottes. Culottes are the perfect bottoms for those who don’t wear shorts but don’t feel like wearing full length pants. They’re also formal enough to be worn to the office so that’s a bonus. Pair your new kimono with a pair of matching shorts to create a chic high fashion look.

Get the look HERE

Choose a button-down shirt to go with your culottes if you’re headed to a more formal event. For front row at Fashion Week, choose a chic crop top or tank top. For a night out an NYFW, try opting for a bralette or sexy bodysuit. Complete your look with a pair of mules or heeled sandals. A pair of flats or mules work if this is an office look.

7) A hadajuban

If you are sporting a traditional kimono, a hada-juban is the typical kimono underwear. It is a long piece of cloth that keeps sweat off of your kimono and helps preserves its shape and structure. Its interesting to note that nothing is typically worn underneath a geisha kimono. This is because underwear disrupts the lines of the kimono.

Get the look HERE

To make sure the kimono does not come apart, an obi knot is tied, typically in the back. This keeps the kimono closed and secure. Although both men and women tie obi knots with their kimonos, women’s kimono obis are much longer than men’s.

I hope I have provided you with lots of outfit inspiration and ideas for what to wear under your kimono. I have tried to include different styles of kimonos as well as the original traditional Japanese kimono. This T-shaped robe has been modernized and can be worn on the daily or reserved for special occasions.

Get the kimono HERE

Do check out my post: 7 ways to wear a kimono with jeans and other items for some more kimono outfit ideas with jeans.

If you're headed to a boat cruise or yacht party, check out my post: 14+ Outfits to Wear on a Boat Cruise.

I also have a post titled 8 Items You Can Wear Over Your Cocktail Dress or Formal Attire where I show you how to add chic outerwear to your cocktail attire.

Until the next post,



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