Wearing kimono or yukata would be a lot easier were it contained to one or two simple garments or points of coordination. But this is simply not the case – even at most basic levels, appropriate accessories, make up, and hair arrangement are at once a part of kimono style. As the pressure increases, seasonal factors, body types, speech, and mannerisms all come into play. The days of everyday kimono wear have passed, and with them much of the nonchalance that probably once encompassed the garments.
Then again, this is why it’s fun to wear kimono and yukata in the summer. In recent years yukata has become a form of women’s semi-formal attire, but in hand with this popularity has come accessibility. Most everyone wears yukata sometime in the summer – well, mostly women – whether it be for dates, shopping, festivals, or fireworks.
To increase public appeal and meet demands, various new forms of yukata styling have flourished, with most every fashion sect staking a new and unique claim. In this sense, summer kimono and yukata are perhaps the most quickly evolving forms of “traditional” Japanese clothing. They are available to everyone, and are open to the most liberal interpretation while still maintaining a degree of social acceptance.
So – what a lengthy introduction. Today, I’m going to talk about hair.
Basically, you can style your hair anyway you want for yukata. But, (if you care about fashion points) the important part is for it to look styled. This comes with the whole “semi-formal” status. In the most recent kimono eras, women generally wore their hair up to show off their necks and collars. You’ve probably seen some wood-block prints from the Edo period detailing elaborate coiffures. Yeah, well, no one wears there hair like that now; but they do generally wear their hair up. Younger and more youthful styles tend to have a rather messy look, with the uneven ends of twisted hair shooting everywhere or falling in abstract curls. Older, more sophisticated styles tend to be more smooth, with either no ends showing or the tips neatly curling in formation close to the head. For both styles, the most popular hair accessory is something seasonally loud – often a huge flower or corsage, sometimes worn with other jewelled or jewel-like ornaments.
Personally, batsu is rather terrible when it comes to styling hair. I like to have one hair style and wear it like that everyday – just adding some accessories when I wear yukata. But this year, as I mentioned, I bought a book to learn more about styling hair for yukata. Let’s take a look… (click images to enlarge)
(Just in case you were wondering, style your hair before putting on your kimono. Don’t do like the girls in these photos.)
This is a cute style for medium length hair that doesn’t seem too crazy. The caption says, “A simply style, dressed up with a sparking tiara-like hair band. Using a hair band will accent your hair’s volume, but you can also use an ornate hair pin to glitz it up in the back.”
1. First, twist the top portion of your hair and secure to get out of the way. Now, leaving hair at the top, bottom and both sides, section off the hair on the very back of your head and braid, twisting into a bun. Secure firmly with pins as this will serve as the base for the rest of the style.
2. Take the bottom portion, twist once and secure to the braid. Repeat with top and sides, making sure not to secure the loose ends.
3. Take the top portion of your hair and tease the underside. Uniformly twist once, and pin to the bun. Arrange you bangs and accent with hair band at the part. Stick with ornamental hair pin.
“Straggling tresses of hair give this elegant up-town girl style a more retro feel.*” (*”Retro” is up for your own interpretation.) “Pay attention to the amount of hair trailing on either side – have neither too little or too much. For hair accessories, choosing something sweet and lovely will add a naturally innocent feel.”
1. First, twist the top portion of your hair and secure to get out of the way. Now, leaving hair at the top, bottom and loose hanging tresses on both sides, section off the hair on the very back of your head and braid, twisting into a loose bun. Try to secure the end inside, on a point intersecting a line between your ear and chin.
2. Twist sides inwards, securing near the end of the braid.
3. Let down your bangs and twist the top portion of your hair once, securing near the end of the braid.
4. Use 3-4 pins to secure any dangling ends, distributing loosely but evenly, creating a scattered shape. Finish by adding hair accessories.
“Lots of fluffy volume gives an air of romance.” This is a style for short hair, which is nice in that it has a real classic feel without using any fake hair. “Curling around the collar of the kimono transforms short hair into a refined bob-like look.”
1. Section off part of the top and then curl all of your hair inwards using a curling iron. Accentuating the collar is first and foremost.
2. Part your hair from the bangs and French braid both sides, securing with pins.
3. Section off the bottom of your hair into 2 or 3 parts, twisting each piece upwards and securing with a pin.
4. Twist and spread the remaining portion of your hair to cover the pins used in steps 2 and 3. Finish by affixing a clip to the braided portion.
A more punky and youthful style for short hair. “Cool and cute style using sharp vertical lines. Smooth and clean on the sides with lots of volume from the top and down the back giving a boyish feel, paired with cute hair accessories.”
1. Twist back your bangs and pin, forming a pompadour.
2. Split each side into 2 parts and twist firmly all the way back. Secure with pins starting a the back and moving forward through the twist.
3. Create volume in the back and top by pulling out chunks of hair and setting with hair spray. Finish off by securing small clips to the twisted portions.
This was my favorite style. It’s for long hair, which I don’t have, but I seemed to make something that worked anyway. “An air of ennui – or is that eroticism? A slightly sophisticated style for a young lady.” Oh, my! That was my first time to read the caption – lol. Perhaps this style was made for me!
“The trick is to start off by fixing the ends with a curling or straight iron. You want curling tresses peeking out here and there to give the illusion of movement. Stick with a small hair ornament to make the foundation of this natural look.”
1. Section off your hair as shown in the diagram, taking note of the diagonal part. Leave loose tresses on either side at the collar.
2. Split the left side into upper and lower portions. Twist the upper portion to the left, and the bottom portion to the right, then twist them together.
3. Secure the end with a rubber band.
4. Use your fingers to pull chunks here and there, giving a loose look.
5. Create a bun like shape using the dot in diagram 1 as the center, securing with pins. Let the ends hang playfully loose. Repeat steps 2-5 for the right side. Stick with the hair ornament of your choice.
It was secure without any product all day, which included walking around in the wind to test stability and baking a pie… to test my endurance.
In the non-styling portion were also quite a few examples of simple hair suitable for yukata.
The caption said something like, “Instead of getting all fancy, why not just do your bangs differently?” Simple is good.
Cute and simple. There’s not such thing as “too old for that” in Tokyo right now. Maybe all of Japan.
It looks like she just curled her hair a little bit and then pulled the top section back.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures with translations and commentary. Feel free to ask questions if anything is unclear. And if you try any of these, please let me know how it turns out!