|This one looks like a yukata|
|Dancers wearing matching odori kimono|
Odori kimono are wonderful for people starting out with kimono but will only wear one to a matsuri festival a couple of times a year or for cosplay. They are a nice alternative to yukata and used ones are often less expensive than yukata. Plus you can find both men's and woman's odori kimono. The advantages to odori kimono for an ocassional wearer are:
|Dyed to look like kasuri- a woven pattern|
- Bold colors and designs
- Unlined, so they are not as heavy as lined kimono
- Washable polyester
- A great choice if you do other Japanese art forms such as taiko and need kimono for special performances
- Not appropriate to wear to a more formal Japanese cultural event such as tea ceremony
- Synthetic material: if you live in a hot climate, these might not be suitable; if it's really hot, try a cotton yukata
- Color and design range is limited
- Not as easy to find as yukata and regular kimono
|Men's odori kimono|
Here are some examples of odori kimono I found today on eBay- you can see blue is easy to find right now!
|Detail of the blue kimono above|
Some of these have wonderful, subtle details and designs, like the dark green kimono below and the deep turquoise kimono to the right. These are more versatile since the less they look obviously like a dance kimono, the more places you can wear them.
|Detail of the crane motif on the dark green kimono|
|This is essentially a komon kimono|
|Cute fans are repeated all over this kimono|
This deep blue odori kimono with the multicolored folding fans kimono looks like a regular komon kimono! This would be a wonderful first kimono for a budding enthusiast. It could be worn with a variety of casual obi and would probably be OK to wear to a cultural event assuming the fabric is of high quality.
|A classic striped odori obi|
Of course where there are dance kimono, there are dance obi...the perfect accessory!
Odori or dance obi are usually of two types: hanhaba (half-width) or nagoya. Dance obi are always bright, metallic, and have a simple, high-contrast design like checks, stripes, fans, etc. Many have a different pattern on each side, sometimes with gold thread on one side and silver on the other. They are made of synthetic material and usually polyester but sometimes are seen in rayon. (Described as synthetic silk).
|A modern dance obi with lots of color and bling|
Here are a few examples of odori obi.
|The green side features a design of yukiwa or snowcrystals|
|White with silver on one side, gold on the other|
|A men's kaku dance obi with an elaborate design|
Of course, you could wear a regular obi in a simple design with a dance kimono. A hakata obi would be a good choice, or a hanhaba obi for yukata. Stay away from fukuro obi or formal nagoya obi, even if they have gold threads. They will usually look out of place. And make sure you wear a juban underneath- these kimono are not usually lined.