Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No540





Today we like to talk about Iromuji. Iromuji literally means `solid color'.

You may think kimono with no patterns is just so simple and there is nothing particular about it. However, there is so much complication!

Iromuji, solid color kimono is not considered as `casual' type of kimono. For people who do ocha, way of tea, iromuji is the most familiar kimono. If you need to have one kimono, iromuji is the one to have as the first kimono, if you learn ocha. 

Except ocha, when do people wear iromuji?  

Iromuji with mon(family crest) is considered to be semi formal, so it is quite useful. You can attend wedding wearing iromuji and a nice, decorative woven pattern obi. That is appropriate. You can attend parties, tea ceremonies and other fancy occasions in iromuji. Iromuji with subdued colors as beige, gray, dark blue and other cold colors are used for a wake held before funeral. (This tradition differ depending on each area. Why not black funeral kimono for a wake? That is because wearing black funeral kimono can give impression of `prepared'. To visit for a wake, `prepared' attitude is not considred to be nice).

Here is a quiz. Which iromuji is more formal?




The answer is 2, a kimono with dyed mon in the back is more formal than iromuji with sewn mon. Dyed mon is more formal in general.


Also, iromuji can have variation....iromuji has to be solid color but shading colors is all right as this kimono:


This also can be included:



Solid color and no pattern is simple but actually, most iromuji has woven patterns:



We hear, real kimono lovers(wearers) love iromuji after all. Just as simple and nice design formal western party dresses, ultimate kimono fashion might end up with iromuji.

However, there is a danger wearing iromuji!

At fancy Japanese restaurants or ryokan, women workers(waitresses) usuallly wear iromuji. Sometimes it actually happens, women wearng kimono who visit restaurants are stopped by other customer to bring a cup of water....

There are advise for people who like to wear iromuji for oshare(fashion) not as working wear(not to be mistaken as a waitress):

*wear a nice and decorative obi and obi bow should be something fancier rather than simple square bow

*add embroiedere color or color with some decorations

*wear fancy hair style

You should appeal you are a customer, not working at that restaurant!

There is such risk but it seems iromuji is more popular recently. The photo on top shows iromuji with patterns at the bottom. Is it iromuji? Yes, those too are considered as iromuji. 



It seems, these kimono are close to the kimono we call tsukesage(one of the type with partially patterned).  

Also very fine patterned komon called, edo-komon(also called as same-komon) are also worn as iromuji, for they look solid color kimono from distance.

For example, these fine pattern komon are considered as more formal than regular komon(fully patterened):



Iromuji with three crests are most formal(actually ore formal than houmongi, semi formal), then one dyed mon and then sewn mon.

You know that Japanese are fussy about trifles, by now. You can call it paranoia! Details, details....that is typical Japanese!

If there are only a few people who notice the hidden patterns of the kimono, the wearer feels ecstasy. 

Kimono lovers tend to have such obsession, so if you notice the clue, you can tell that to wearer and the wearer will be so happy!