I see these various "kimono" on eBay all the time and if you do an image search for "kimono", you can find this stuff easily. Ironically, if you do a search for "fake kimono", you won't find very much. So I thought I would offer a compendium of "kimono" so you can see how to spot a fake.
A couple of these dresses are actually labeled as a costumes or as kimono bathrobes, which better than calling them kimono; no fooling what they are. However, just because it says "Geisha Costume" or "Kimono robe" doesn't mean it's accurate and a real kimono.
Here I have gathered together 11 variations of fake kimono. Let's go through them one by one.
- This one is really a bathrobe and besides the shiny satin fabric, contrasting collar, and incorrect sleeves, it has pockets. Kimono do not have pockets. Never, ever, ever.
- I'm not sure what this is...a shirt? It's too short to be anything remotely kimono-like. It's shiny silk and has flared sleeves. Sorry. but this is not it.
- This one could easily fool a novice...it's cotton and looks somewhat like a yukata. However, check out the contrasting white collar (Kimono are all of one material, no contrasting cuffs or collars) and the flared sleeves. Not a kimono or a yukata.
- Again, contrasting collar give it away, but the fabric should scream fake to those of you who know better: shiny satin.
- You've probably seen #5 at Frederick's of Hollywood- "kimono" lingerie! This one is just wrong ten times over. Sometimes called "Sexy costume geisha kimono dress". There is no cleavage when a kimono is worn properly.
- This was described as a kimono coat. Shiny silk brocade, flared bell-shaped sleeves, right over left (Fastening with invisible buttons!), and very short. Interesting but not a kimono.
- This is actually supposed to be a "deluxe geisha character costume". It's pretty awful all around: satin fabric looks like Chinese brocade, the bell-shaped sleeves, the cinched-in waist and bunched up obi, contrasting trim, strange purple underskirt, and bizarre black cotton-candy wig! For the same price you could buy a real yukata, obi, and geta. But you wouldn't be nearly as scary.
- More shiny satin and contrasting trim; plus even some on the sleeves this time. Sleeves are wider on this version, the obi has a cute little bow in front! All this from a website supposedly selling "Japanese Fashion".
- More lingerie I believe. Maybe a short bathrobe? Too shiny, too short, too weird. Plus it's right over left...only seen on dead people in Japan. Don't become a kimono zombie!
- This is brilliant; it's reversible and unisex! All of this versatility is available in Thai silk in three different colorways! Hugh Hefner wold love this.
- And lastly, the "Vintage Yukata Japanese Haori Kimono with Obi". These are all over eBay unfortunately. Shiny polyester satin brocade, check. Contrasting collar and trim, check. Sewn-in obi of matching fabric, check. Weird "box" obi bow stuck on the back, check. I see this type at festivals all the time. Sadly, these are cheap, unattractive, slippery, and ridiculous if you are expecting to be taken seriously at a Japanese festival. Save it for lounging around the house.
- Kimono can be made from various silk fabrics, wool, linen, and even polyester. Yukata (Unlined summer dress) are made from cotton. Neither are made from Chinese brocade or satin.
- A kimono is made from a single bolt of fabric. Every part except a lining (If it's lined) is made from the same fabric. All contrasting bits you may see are separate but essential pieces: obi, under kimono, and separate collar worn under the kimono.
- Men's and woman's kimono have differences, they are not unisex garments.
- Kimono are worn in a way to accentuate a straight, almost boyish figure. The waist is not cinched, the bust is not prominent, and there is never cleavage.
- The basic shape of the dress is like the letter "T"; the shape doesn't vary. What changes the way it looks is the fabric, sleeve length and most of all, the wearer's personality.
- Kimono are not one size fits all. Originally they were custom made for the wearer.