Japanese Clothes in Chicago?
April 17, 2006 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Are there any stores that sell traditional Japanese clothing in the Chicago area?

I'm interested in getting some traditional Japanese clothing for my girlfriend, but I don't think ordering online and guessing the sizing is a good idea. Are there any stores in the Chicago area that sell Kimonos and other traditional Japanese clothes?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total)
You might find something at Toguri Mercantile, at Belmont & Clark. If not, they'd probably be able to point you in the right direction.

There's also a Yaohan out in the 'burbs with a number of associated Japanese businesses. Not sure if they'd have anything that could help you.
posted by adamrice at 7:48 PM on April 17, 2006

I should also mention that genuine kimono, in silk, are really really expensive, and to wear them properly involves a whole slew of appurtenances that can cost as much again.

A yukata (a cotton kimono) would be a lot more reasonable. If your heart is set of a kimono, you might check some vintage shops.
posted by adamrice at 9:05 PM on April 17, 2006

Traditional Japanese clothing like kimonos doesn't really come in sizes, apart from adult vs. child. A kimono is made from a whole bolt of cloth and whatever size it turns out, the garment is adjusted to fit the wearer using the obi and various pads that are hidden inside the clothing. So any kimono for an adult woman should be able to fit your girlfriend. I don't know about other Japanese garments, but I suspect they don't come in particular sizes either.

Adamrice is right - there are a whole bunch of accessories that are necessary to wear a silk kimono properly. And tying an obi is an art unto itself. (The fancier obi knots have to be tied by a helper - you can't do it yourself.) If your girlfriend wants to be authentically elegant she'll need quite a lot of additional stuff and also an obi-tyer, who will also help her with the hidden pads. Also, people who aren't used to wearing kimonos often find them rather constricting and uncomfortable.

If she just wants a Japanese-looking comfortable garment, a yukata is lovely and practical. I've read that in Japan, hardly anybody wears kimonos in winter (the season for silk kimonos), but in summer many people wear yukatas, particularly for relaxing around the house after work.
posted by Quietgal at 9:34 PM on April 17, 2006

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