This post is generously sponsored by Umran Aysan, a sustainable and ethical resortwear label.
I have an obsession with silk kimonos.
Since before I can remember, from house to house to house, we’ve always had a set of two Japanese wedding kimonos hanging on our wall. They are exquisite works of art; thickly embroidered, padded, absolutely enormous, more than seven feet in length from collar to tip of the train. I couldn’t possibly fathom, until a field trip in middle school to the Japanese embassy in Washington DC where they demonstrated an obi folding technique, how a tiny Japanese bride wore such an imposing outfit. And yet, I always fantasized about having an opportunity to pull the robe down and wear it.
I still haven’t been invited to a black tie Halloween ball. But it doesn’t matter, because over the past few years, the kimono has migrated from the realm costuming into fashion’s favor.
And not a moment too soon, because the simple silk kimono is the sustainable fashion woman’s ultimate finishing touch. It lends a bit of elegance to any outfit, and fits almost any occasion. It flatters any body type, draping over your curves just right. But don’t get it wrong, you are not hiding when you wear a kimono – you’re declaring yourself as someone who is interesting, and a little mysterious. It’s hard to not feel something special when you slip it on.
As proof, I came up with four outfits that demonstrate just how versatile and essential the kimono is to your wardrobe. I’m using Ümran Aysan’s silk kimono. It is entirely made in Turkey, from the minimal needle lace (see the Turkish artisans work in this video) to the floral print silk, which is inspired by the foliage of the ancient Caria region in modern-day Turkey. It even has hidden side pockets, which are big enough to hold your phone, and is machine washable. Here’s how I styled it:
1. Cocktails or Dinner
Paired with a Organic by John Patrick slip, a 100% Cupro, A biodegradable And Oeko-Tex Certified cotton fabric; and ethically made Miista heels. (Belt brand unknown.) Photo taken in the Williamsburg Hotel’s bar.
When I belted my kimono over a simple silk slip, I suddenly felt myself ready for a literary cocktail party with a room full of published authors, or a reception for some industry awards at a conference. Any place where you want to keep sexy out of the equation, but don’t want to look frumpy or boring.
Paired with a crop top from the Williamsburg store Swords-Smith, Duo de Mar organic cotton shorts I bought in Tulum, Swedish Hasbeens eco-friendly wood and vegetable-tanned leather sandals, and a secondhand purse.
I love a crop top and high waisted bottoms so, so much. But it can be a bit much for 11 am on a Sunday. Throwing a kimono on top makes it more interesting, and let’s me relax a little bit.
Paired with a vegetable-tanned leather crop top from H&M’s Conscious Collection (a few seasons old), vintage Levi’s, a suede backpack/purse I bought from Etsy four years ago, and sandals I’ve also owned for four years and keep resoling every year.
I’m not enamored of what my thighs look like from the back. And yet, I can’t get over my short jean shorts. Putting a kimono on keeps my outfit casual, while helping me gracefully navigate the sartorial challenges of being in my 30s and attending music festivals.
4. The Beach or Pool
Ditch the tie-dye wrap. There really is no better waterside coverup than a kimono.
Bonus: In the Bedroom
No pictures for you here, but if you’re feeling shy, you can casually toss a kimono near the bed and slip it on before showing your backside to your lover.