Kimono – 3 elements of the collar

The most interesting cultural feature of the Kimono for me is the collar and it’s meaning in terms of placement and position. I think the Japanese use the collar similar to we in the US, but they are much more specific and subtle.

In Japanese kimono there are 3 elements of the collar that change to express the specific state of the woman wearing the kimono. One is the form of the V shape on the front of the kimono as it overlaps. Another is the angle of the back part of the collar, which must be sure not to disrupt the line of the kimono. The last is the amount of skin shown at the back of neck. The neck is seen as an erotic zone, and although the Japanese are interested in the back, the collar still serves the same function as it does for us here in the US in terms of the breasts. This question of where the collar should be is also very important in the US. It is not a standard reserved only for a specific type of dress, like the kimono, but all tops (for women). Children are not often seen wearing low cut shirts, nor are conservative people known to wear low collars that expose large amounts of their chest or back. Low collars are most often seen when people are dressing up to go out and want to look attractive. Women who wear low collars are seen as more sexually attractive where as those who have on turtlenecks look more reserved. I think that we are also very aware of the subtle degrees in meaning that can be expressed with the placement of the collar, even if it is less formal and unofficial.

What do you think?

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