How To Wear Kimonos When Staying In And Going Out

Here it is, the beginning of 2021, and many of us are still spending more time than we want in our homes. But much like the rest of the world, we continue to take it in stride. We know that sooner or later, we will see things return back to some version of normal. That being said, I know I’m still making an effort to look better while at home. I think the perfect item to achieve that goal that is the kimono. Let’s take a close look at how to wear kimonos for staying home now and for going out later.

Whether working from home or just lounging, basic leggings and a sweatshirt are no longer appealing. I’ve been looking for pieces that are a little more upscale, that I can transition when I start working outside of the house or going out again. A kimono is an ideal topper piece that can look amazing paired with joggers or leggings as well as jeans or slacks when the time comes.

What Is A Kimono?

A kimono is a traditional Japanese article of clothing marked by its T-shaped, wrapped-front with square sleeves and rectangular body and is worn with a belt called an obi. However, it has been adapted in the western fashion world and now has multiple variations of shapes and details to mark a more modern design (and with no formal traditions attached).


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Kimonos are adored by fashion lovers because of their versatility, feminine silhouette and forgiving body type among other things. I like them because they bring a playful element to dressing and can sway both casual and dressy. Their shape has been adapted into many other articles of clothing like tops, dresses and cardigans. So you can find all kinds of new ways to incorporate them into your personal style.

how to wear kimono cardigan jacket fountainof30

How To Wear Kimonos To Stay In

Kimonos are one of those pieces that can easily replace a robe or your old beat-up cardigan. Sometimes we even call them kimono robes or kimono cardigans. So let’s do ourselves a favor and take a close look at what we are lounging around the house in. Now, take one of those older items and replace it with a kimono and you’ve instantly elevated your stay-at-home look.

My favorite go-to look with a kimono is the standard legging and t-shirt base. I’ll add my kimono on top with my shearling slippers and I’ve got my cozy, yet stylish at home uniform.

If you live in a cooler climate like I do, opt for a kimono made from sweater-like fabric. The Ambrose Knit Wrap from Anthropologie is a really lovely option. The multiple thickness in the striped design gives it a nice depth. You can also wear this wrap once spring time arrives if it’s too warm for a jacket but still too cool to go bare.

For warmer areas, the functionality is not so important so you can go for something light and airy like this loose knit Day Dream Washed Kimono by Free People.

Kimonos To Wear Out

When you are ready to get out of the house, you can opt for any of these above kimono jackets or you can mix it up and try a kimono top. Play with proportions and wear one with wide leg pants or keep it simple with your straight leg jeans. Something like this volume sleeve top from ASOS would be perfect. The sage color is beautiful and enhances the feminine details of the top. I feel this kimono top would flatter many body types and skin colors.

Expert Kimono Styling Tips

Have fun with your kimono. Kimonos traditionally are fabricated with bright colors and intricate, bold patterns. So lean into it and find something that will brighten your look (and likely your mood). The Nightbird Burnout Kimono from Free People comes in a plethora of rich colors and even some fun fringe that lines the bottom.

Try something subtle and sophisticated. I love this Fringed Kimono from Zara. It’s very understated, even though you’d think a fringed kimono would be the epitome of flashy. As soon as I found this one online, I scooped one up for myself. I also love the rich finish and feel of this Velvet Kimono Cover Up from Express.

No need to worry about size. I love that so many kimonos are one size fits all. There are very few clothing items that can successfully pull off that label. I was on the hunt for some fun pieces last year and ended up buying a beautiful floral Japanese-inspired kimono cardigan… that was in a maternity collection. I didn’t think twice about getting it. It was fabulous and one size fits all. No one has to know.

Opt for a cozy style. Keep comfortable and warm during these remaining winter months with a sweater-like kimono cardigan like this Cozy Plaid Kimono from Jane (and it’s only $22!). No one said all kimonos need to be light and whimsical. I love a kimono made from a substantial fabric that you can have a nice snuggle in. Mix it up and try something like this instead of that chunky cardigan sweater that has unintentionally become your stay-at-home staple.

My personal belief is that kimonos will not go out of style, so I think it’s perfectly OK to invest in a high end piece if you are able. I’ve been doing a little aspirational shopping myself, for when we are able to go out and really be in the world again. I think this Natori Gold Flower Jacquard Kimono Jacket is a beautiful aspiration piece. Yes, the price point might be high for those of us trying to be more mindful of our spending as the economy starts to rebuild; but a woman can dream can’t she?

Shop Kimono Wraps, Cardigans and Jackets

(Pictured above from left to right)

Anthropologie Ambrose Knit Wrap, $88

Free People Day Dream Washed Kimono, $48

ASOS Design Kimono Volume Sleeve Top, $45

Free People Nightbird Burnout Kimono, $88

Express Velvet Kimono Cover-Up, now $49

Jane Cozy Plaid Kimono, $21.99

Natori Gold Flower Jacquard Kimono Jacket, now $279

– Carmen Turner

You may like to read more of Carmen’s trends posts like The Best Fall Makeup Trends For Women Over 40 and The Latest Fall Pants Trends For Women Over 40.

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