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LifestyleFashion and Shopping

Kimonos mark summer fashion trend

The traditional Japanese robe has become the season's wrap star.

Big, bold flowers meet colorful embroidery on this

Big, bold flowers meet colorful embroidery on this traditional kimono style, $325 at select Johnny Was and johnnywas.com. Photo Credit: Johnny Was

The Japanese word “kimono” translated means “thing to wear.” This season, kimono-inspired toppers are the "it'' wardrobe staple.

The market is bursting with variations on the traditional Japanese garment – these long robes, sewn into a T-shape with wide sleeves, tied with an obi or belt. There are short styles with drawstrings and hoods, and long, flowing versions with wide belled sleeves, many blooming with bold florals or bursting with graphic prints. But one thing is consistent: They are easy to wear and can amplify virtually any look, from beach to ballroom.  Bottom line, kimonos are the season’s wrap stars.

“They’re flattering on everybody -- and confidence-building. No matter what size or weight you are, you will look great in a kimono,”  says Adam Glassman, creative director of O, the Oprah Magazine. “They’re also great layering and traveling pieces and a really nice way to ease into florals or prints if you’ve been hesitant about wearing them.”

At Boho brand Johnny Was, kimonos have been a staple for decades and range in price from moderate to one-of-a-kind, handmade varieties that cost thousands.  “It’s a core part of our brand,” says vice president of design Biya Ramar.  “It’s loungewear that looks just as great on the outside of the house as in.  With their bold prints and embroidery, they feel exotic,” she says, adding the despite the fact that kimonos are steeped in “tradition and culture,” today they feel modern and new.

Glassman warns against overdoing the house robe aspect of the look. “I think there’s a fine line between looking stylish or looking like you just stepped out of the boudoir and you forgot to get dressed,” he says. (Note to self: Don’t pair matching pants with your kimono.)  To wear them best, “keep your underpinnings simple and streamlined, and let the kimono be the hero of your outfit,” he says, recommending cropped jeans and tees and even an evening dress with a clean silhouette as a foundation.

The garment is a perfect summer cover-up. 

Please,” he begs, “retire your pashmina.”

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