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Japanese Kimono

Rich, beautiful silk. A vibrant, red color. Delicate patterns of flowers. Dazzling threads of gold.

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you wear”? The owner of this Japanese robe must have believed this was true. Through fabric, color, and design, the young woman who wore this outer coat on her wedding day was trying to tell us something about herself.

Robe with wisteria and stylized waves, Tokugawa (Edo) period, 18th-early 19th century
Silk, couched gold threads, silk embroidery, shaped-resist dyed
The John C. Weber Collection

Ever-changing styles
Tell us about yourself
Rules were meant to be broken

Fashion through the Generations: Fashion trends change continuously. Interview your parents and grandparents to learn about the clothing they wore as children. Compared to modern dress, what things have remained the same? What things are different? Did social or economic factors affect what your older relatives wore? Write a short essay about your findings.  

Design Your Own Kimono: Use the kimono template to create your own design for a kimono. What will the pattern and colors tell us about the wearer of your kimono?  

Your Personal Style: How does your clothing reflect your personality? Make a list of five things your clothing can tell us about you. Then write a poem based on your list.  

March 2008