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Styling Kimonos for Summer with Some of My Favorite Bloggers

July 17, 2020

Happy Friday, dear reader. I’m so pleased that you’ve stopped in for a little summer style inspiration. I’ve had a few requests recently for styling kimonos, ruanas, toppers and such. But, while I’m still enjoying the ones in my closet, I haven’t purchased a new one this summer. Nor have I been able to find one in a local store the few times I’ve been out.

So I decided that instead of featuring an outfit with a new kimono, I would just share some styling tips. But to keep the post more interesting, I invited some of my favorite style bloggers to send me photos of their kimono styles, too. While I’m sharing my tips for styling kimonos this summer I’ll also be introducing to you some of the beautiful style bloggers I follow and enjoy working with. I’m sure you know most of them. But maybe you’ll meet someone new today, too. Let the party begin!

Now keep in mind that none of the kimonos we’re showing you are still available…that we know of. But I’ve gathered a shopping widget full of gorgeous kimonos for you to try if the bug bites. Ha! And I bet it will after you see how beautifully these women have styled their wraps.

What is a Kimono?

Strictly speaking, a kimono is a traditional Japanese garment, but in recent years it has become the name we give to several styles of accessorizing toppers that softly wrap the shoulders and upper body in loose fashion, usually over another piece of clothing. But you could also call this garment a topper, a ruana or wrap, depending on the lines of the piece of clothing.

In truth, ruanas, toppers and kimonos are constructed a little differently. But for the purpose of this post, we’re just grouping them all together. Most brands and retailers certainly do. So in the photos below you’ll see “kimonos” with and without sleeve opening, with and without front ties and short, mid length and long.

Bottom line? A kimono {wrap, topper or ruana} is a lovely lightweight, draping garment that serves as an especially smart choice for accessorizing summer outfits. But of course, you’ll find kimonos that are perfectly appropriate all year long.

Kimono Styling Tip #1 – Choose a kimono that works best for your frame and height. Many kimonos come in petite sizes. If you’re petite, look for one that is constructed for the petite frame.

The beauty of me sharing photos from other bloggers is that you can see the styles worn by women with different body types from mine. I know, for instance, that Tania Stephens, who blogs at 50 Is Not Old, is a couple of inches shorter than me. But look how beautifully she rocks this multicolored fringed kimono.

Tania Stephens of 50 Is Not Old

Kimono Styling Tip #2 – You can also wear many of the kimonos as wraps, dropping them behind your shoulders and letting them hang loosely from your arms.

Tania Stephens of 50 Is Not Old

Above Tania has created a column of color underneath her kimono with what looks like tan linen or gauze separates. What a lovely summer choice! Below, you’ll see that Susanne Thomspon of Thompson Hill Blog created a striking and ultra slenderizing column of black under her long sleeveless kimono. What a chic look!

Kimono Styling Tip #3 – Create a column of color underneath your kimono with the color of your choice, either a color that you pull from the kimono, black, white or any other neutral. This is such a slimming look and perhaps the most classic way to style a kimono.

Susanne Thompson of Thompson Hill Blog

Below you’ll see that Debora Boland created a column of white under her colorful kimono. Deborah blogs at Fabulous After 40 and is Canadian. I also love the way Deborah has accessorized her look with fun jewelry in the colors of her wrap.

Debora Boland at Fabulous Over 40

Kimono Styling Tip #4 – To make your kimono look more like an intentional choice, pull your look together with additional accessories in the colors from your wrap. You could pull from the colors in your kimono for your earrings, bracelet, necklace, shoes, belt or handbag.

I frequently see Deborah style color masterfully. Because I recognize her hat (and have it myself!), I’m pretty sure her whole look is from Chico’s last year. You’ll find kimonos at Chico’s now right here. They have some lovely choices, and many of them are on sale.

Below, Jo-Lynne Shane also created a column of color under her kimono, but the notable difference is that her wrap and the column of color are both pale shades. This combination creates a beautifully soft look that’s perfect for summer.

Jo-Lynne Shane

Kimono Styling Tip #5 – Use a kimono to create a more monotone look by choosing one in the same tone as your other clothing. In this case, it’s smart to add a variety of textures to your outfit to make the look more interesting.

Jo-Lynne’s column of white is definitely elegant under her soft, sheer kimono. I love how she kept her shoes and handbag in soft neutrals, too. But Jo-Lynne has used this same coral and ivory kimono to create a more casual look over denim shorts below.

Jo-Lynne Shane

Kimono Styling Tip #6 – You absolutely can wear a kimono with shorts. You can also wear one with a skirt or dress. And there really are no rules as to which should be longer. Do what works for your proportions and height.

I think kimonos are a great accent piece to wear with blue jean shorts, as Jo-Lynne has done here. The combination creates such a casual but decidedly pulled together look for summer.

Cyndi Spivey, who lives just below me in Kentucky, created an equally pulled together look by adding a sheer leopard print kimono over a classic black and white combo. She’s wearing black mid-length shorts and a white bodysuit beneath her kimono.

Cyndi, who is 5’6″, created the proportions she desired with the longer kimono by wearing nude heels. Nude shoes, specifically heels, can elongate the appearance of your legs so that you can wear longer pieces like this beautiful leopard print topper.

Below, Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life shares how she styled a colorful floral kimono over her classic black tee and beige linen pants. Note her beautiful use of a bright pink handbag and colorful stacked heel sandals to pull the look together.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life

Kimono Styling Tip #7 – Use a kimono to add a splash of color or interest or pattern to an otherwise basic outfit. It’s perhaps the easiest way to add a “third piece” to any classic summer outfit without adding heat or weight.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life

It’s also worth noting that Jennifer, a personal stylist and image consultant, is a petite 5’4″. But she’s wearing this “below the derriere” length kimono beautifully.

Beth Djalali, seen below, blogs at Style at a Certain Age and has a YouTube channel, too. I especially enjoy following her for her classy style but also because she lives in the town where I went to college, Athens, Georgia, so I love checking out her photos.

Beth Djalali at Style at a Certain Age

Beth has also created a column of white under her bright orange front-tie kimono. I love how she has pulled the look together with her orange shoes and splashes of gold in her jewelry and handbag.

Beth Djalali at Style at a Certain Age

Beth’s outfit demonstrates that you do not necessarily have to wear a kimono over a close-fitting outfit. As she pointed out in the post where she featured this style, “fashion isn’t always about looking slimmer. if that were the case, we’d be quite limited in our style choices.” Amen!

Kimono Styling Tip #8 – A kimono will add volume to your outfit’s silhouette. But that’s part of the beauty of this fresh accessory. Let it be! If you’d like to minimize some of the volume, you might be able to tie the kimono in the front.

From this previous post.

Kimono Styling Tip #9 – Perhaps the easiest and most fail-proof way to wear a kimono is with jeans. Kimonos and jeans go together like peanut butter and jelly!

Whether your kimono is long or short and whether your jeans are blue, white, black or another color, you’ll look pulled together and just a little boho in this combo. Just have fun with it!

In the photo above, Susanne of Thompson Hill Blog added so much style to a simple white tee (or tank?) and blue jeans with this three-season kimono. I love how she used the pretty necklace to pull it all together.

Kimono Styling Tip #10 – For a kimono that helps you transition your wardrobe into fall, choose a topper in a woven fabric or one in colors of the season. But really, unless it’s pastel, tropical or especially beachy, most any kimono will work well into the fall.

From this previous post.

Finally, let’s not forget that, while kimonos are the perfect summer topper, they also can transition your wardrobe into fall beautifully. I’ve included woven kimonos like the one above in my shopping widget below.

Bonus Kimono Styling Tip – Really, my biggest tip for styling a kimono is “just do it!” Many women say they can’t wear kimonos because of their height, size, weight, bosom, whatever. But the truth is that a kimono is one of those pieces that takes a little getting used to. Sure, pick one that works best for your frame (a smaller, less voluminous kimono for a petite frame or something more sweeping and grand for a taller silhouette). But you absolutely can wear a kimono.

Shop for Kimonos

I’ve created a shopping widget full of beautiful kimonos for you to peruse and shop. If you do click through these affiliate links and make a purchase, I potentially earn a commission, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work by shopping my affiliate links. I truly appreciate you.

A Special Thanks

I’d like to especially thank the dear bloggers who sent me their photos for today’s post. I just reached out to them Monday, and they were so sweet and gracious to send in their photos so that I could make this post as interesting and diverse as it is.

I hope you, dear reader, will maybe click through to visit one or two of these gals and check out their posts today. I think all of them post almost every day. They’re beautiful, stylish and gracious women to a tee.

Thank you to…

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Blessed for My Day

There’s a difference between a discussion and a debate. If I enter into a conversation with someone and it turns into a debate, we’ve taken sides and set out to win at the loss of the other person. We’ll not come to a mutual understanding, nor will we learn anything about the other person.

But no one is won over in a debate. And really, nothing is gained at all…unless you’re on a debate team and a trophy is rewarded after the exercise.

Let’s choose instead to discuss. When we discuss things with another person we seek to understand, we relish the education we’re gaining by hearing what the person has to say. In a discussion, I ask relevant and honest questions so I can better grasp where the person is coming from and why they think the way they do. And I resist the drive to change their mind at all.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. ~ James 1:19-20

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xoxo, Kay
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33 thoughts on “Styling Kimonos for Summer with Some of My Favorite Bloggers

  1. I recently bought the gold kimono (or wrap?) from Chico’s and plan to wear it with a column of white and some gold accessories, probably some of the James Avery pieces I inherited when my mom passed. Just waiting for the right occasion, something that I’d dress up for, not just to go to work. Love all these looks you and the other bloggers have shared.

  2. Hello Kay! I just bought a lovely kimono from Loft. I just love the fabric and the drape of it. I just hope I can go somewhere soon to wear it! #pandemicprobs Love your BFMD today. We need more discussion and less debate and more listening and less anger. 🙂 Love you!

  3. GM Kay….I love wearing Kimonos! They just “add” that extra touch to an outfit.
    Love today’s post..

  4. This may be one of my all time blogger posts! Just fabulous to have so many options and looks styled by all the bloggers; I made sure to subscribe to everyone (including yours ?).
    Such fun, thank you!

  5. I follow all of these ladies, along with you, and so enjoyed this post. I have kimonos/wraps in my closet that I have never worn. After reading this post and looking over the pictures, I now need to pull them out and wear them. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. I enjoyed seeing the other bloggers join you for this post. I actually follow most of them! Great tips for me to check out.

  7. Thanks Kay for the great ideas! I do not have a kimono but I think it is time for me to add this look to my wardrobe! Being 5″4, I never thought I could wear one. Today’s blog has given me some great tips .

  8. Great post today! I enjoyed all the other bloggers as well. Thanks for sharing some of the bloggers that you follow with us.
    Kimonos are beautiful and add such interest to an outfit. I like that you included ornate, casual, and classic examples.
    The passage from the book of James is timely and one that I need to memorize. Thank you for sharing verses and wisdom about the verses. I always find something to challenge me.
    Happy weekend, Kay. God bless you and your family and all that you do.

  9. This was very creative and fun, Kay! Great job!!! I loved all the different styles from the different bloggers (I follow all except two of them!). So great of them to participate. I love the kimono with shorts look right now. Thanks!

  10. What a fresh and lively post! I loved all the colors and pairings of kimonos! I only have one and have only worn it once but now want to branch out and try some colors! I especially loved all the various looks from everyone! Thanks for linking to them.

  11. What a fabulous post, Kay! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing other women bloggers and how they styled kimonos. I do not own one, but I am going to purchase one in a fabric that I can wear pretty much year round, since I have seen how versatile they are. And they can turn a plain Jane outfit into a WOW outfit. I plan on following the bloggers that I am not already following. Great BFMD, especially during this unprecedented time we are in. Have a beautiful Friday!

  12. Thank you for the Blessed for My Day scripture and discussions that you’ve featured this week! I wish they could be shared on every news outlet across the country! If we all worked to practice the skills in James 1: 19-20, the world would be a much better place!

  13. I just loved seeing all the pictures of everyone. It was so fun to see all the different ways to style a Kimono wrap. It inspired me to try one. I was actually wanted a completer piece for this summer weather time and it seems like this would fit the bill. Thanks for taking the time to have all these others contribute to your blog today! I know its time to organize something like this. I loved it.

    1. That’s just great to hear, Kristin. Thanks so much for letting me know. I was just at the mall returning some things and saw the kimonos from Anthropologie in their store window. Sooo pretty.

  14. thanks for including me, kay! loved all of the outfits from my favorite bloggers. and yours! enjoy your weekend.

    1. Thanks so much for participating Beth. I’m sure many of my readers already follow you, but I know the rest enjoyed meeting you. Have a lovely weekend.

  15. As I get older i find I need a third layer for summer clothes. Clothing is getting thinner and a lot of it is see through, even buttonup shirts. This solves the problem of what to wear over it without looking or being hot. Jackets just don’t work when the temps are in the 90s.