I would much rather answer a million questions beforehand than clean up a giant mess afterwards :) I think I've covered everything you might want to know here, but if you still have questions, I am happy to answer them. (No personal questions. Unless you own a vast kimono empire and want to marry me!)
All items are second-hand and may have imperfections appropriate for their age. Returns are not accepted, so please read the descriptions carefully and scrutinize the pictures. Each item is described and photographed as precisely as possible. Please understand that colors described/photographed may differ due to translation and/or screen/monitor differences. Please read "How to Determine Wearable Condition" (below) to learn more about where imperfections may or may not show when wearing kimono and obi. If you have a specific concern about an item, it is your responsibility to ask before you buy it.
I accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. I also have a Paypal Checkout option. Unfortunately, I cannot accept any other form of payment at this time. My Paypal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
***The Paypal checkout process might seem odd, so here's a walk-through:
1. Click "Checkout with Paypal"
2. Log into your Paypal account.
3. Choose Paypal funding source and address info.
4. Click "Continue" - you will be re-directed to Ai no Kimono to choose the shipping method.
5. Choose the desired shipping method (the total will refresh at the right of the screen).
6. Click "Complete purchase." If you change your mind or want to return to the shop, click "Cancel, and return to store".
Currently, all items ship from Korea. Orders will be sent within 2 working days of payment. There are three shipping options. I highly recommend EMS - it is quick and very reliable. Only the actual value of the items will be declared - any Customs fees/ duty/ taxes incurred by your country are your responsibility. Smaller items may actually cost less to send - any overcharge will be refunded to original payment source.
- EMS - This is an express mail courier similar to DHL. It provides tracking and insurance. Delivery time is 3~5 days.
- Airmail - Items are sent via Korea Post. It provides tracking and insurance. Delivery time is 10~14 days.
- Surface - Items are sent via Korea Post. Tracking is provided, but not insurance. Delivery time is 50 to 120 days, depending on your region: http://www.koreapost.go.kr/eng/sub/subpage.jsp?contId=e1010403 . Korea Post does not offer Surface Mail services to the following countries and regions: Africa, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Maldives, Middle East Region, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, South America, South Pacific Region, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vatican, West Indies.
- NEW! Small Packet (Accessories Only) - For small items that fit into a bubble envelope (obidome, obijime, obiage, haneri). Delivery time is not stated on the KoreaPost webpage, but estimated to be 10~14 days.
The tracking page is here: http://trace.epost.go.kr/xtts/tt/epost/ems/ems_eng.jsp
What is a Kimono?
Kimono is Japan's traditional attire and is still worn today. They are constructed from bolts of dyed and woven silk (typically 35x1200cm). There are a thousand rules dictating how, when and where to wear certain fabrics and styles. People nowadays actually enroll in Kimono Schools to learn these rules. First, you must unlearn Western misconceptions:
- Kimono does not equal Geisha. Everyone in Japan wears kimono, not just geisha.
- Kimono is not sexy satin bathrobes. There is no cleavage and no curvy lines. Kimono look best on a cylindrical figure.
- Yukata is the equivalent of shorts & a t-shirt. Furisode (fancy long sleeve kimono) is a ball gown.
More info about choosing the right kimono can be found HERE. (Click "A Kimono is Chosen")
How to Fold Your Kimono
Kimono are basically rectangles sewn together, so they are easily folded along the seams. There are many video tutorials online - here is a video that shows precisely how to fold along the seams (it's in Japanese, but the video is clear enough). Always hang your kimono and obi for a few days before putting them away, so they are dry and won't grow mold.
Cleaning Your Kimono and Obi
Disclaimer: I am not a fabric expert. I am too scared to wash my own kimono, so I take the utmost care NOT to get them dirty. The comments below are only what I have heard from other kimono owners and are in no way to be construed as absolute gospel!
Silk - Silk garments are prone to react to chemicals and detergents. Dry cleaning or machine washing may permanently damage the fabric and design. If you are confident you can clean it yourself, look online for information on how to wash delicate, dyed silks. If you are in Japan, know someone in Japan,or can speak Japanese, there are professional kimono cleaners who offer "araihari 洗い張り" or kimono cleaning service. They will take apart the kimono for cleaning/repairs and then sew it back together.
Silk/Polyester Blend - The presence of polyester may make the garment less prone to damage during dry cleaning, but do not be certain. Seek out advice before cleaning the garment yourself.
Polyester - 100% polyester garments are machine washable. It is best to put your garments in a mesh bag to prevent any stitches from breaking.
How to Determine Wearable Condition
So you've found your dream kimono - and it's stained! Oh noes! Before you walk away, make sure those stains will actually be visible when you're all dressed up! Here are some handy guides to help you:
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