The dress code for the party was "formal." So we all compared notes and decided it would be a good time to wear kimonos. As a married woman, for most formal occasions, I wear what is called a "houmongi," or "visiting dress." It's a kimono with standard length sleeves, and a large pattern that is either dyed or embroidered (tradition dictates that formal kimonos have large printed or embroidered patterns. Small printed patterns and woven patterns are considered less formal, even though they sometimes are more expensive. I guess it's like a JCrew cocktail dress being more affordable than a pair of Chanel jeans).
Of course, I do not own a houmongi (or a small print kimono or a woven pattern kimono, or for that matter, a JCrew cocktail dress or Chanel jeans), so I rented one. And I did not know how to dress myself in it, so I went to my trusty hairdresser (some Japanese hairdressers are also licensed kimono dressers). She did my hair and makeup, and then padded me in towels and gauze until I was the right shape (the design of the kimono is such that you want to be as cylindrical as possible) and then proceeded to
The sash, or obi is just as important, if not more so, than the kimono. The best are pure silk, and are frequently more expensive than the kimono. The way it is tied reflects your age social status. This plain flat tie shows I am an married lady.
Hair is always done up, although these days, most people (including me) get it done the way you would do for evening dresses.
Please don't ask me how I'm supposed to go to the toilet in this thing. Fortunately nor not, I didn't need to.