Wedding kimono

If you’re a kimono lover, you’ve probably noticed that amongst wedding kimono, there are shiromuku, uchikake, kakeshita, and wedding furisode. What’s the difference?

Shiromuku literally means “pure white”, and refers to a pure white wedding set, usually shiromuku (here used to designate the white uchikake), kakeshita and nagajuban. There may also be a layer called “shitagasane” between the nagajuban and kakeshita. As you can see from my description, shiromuku also means just the pure white uchikake – it depends on the context. The other layers may be called “shiromuku kakeshita” and “shiromuku shitagasane”.

Uchikake usually refers to “iro-uchikake”, or colored uchikake, rather than a white one (shiromuku).

Kakeshita is a furisode that closely resembles a wedding furisode, but is usually one color. It may also be patterned to match an uchikake, although this is rather uncommon. It has a padded, two-layered hem that trails beneath the uchikake’s hem.

Wedding furisode are worn by the bride after the ceremony proper, to the reception, for example. In Japanese they’re called hikifurisode (“trailing furisode”) and hanayome furisode (“bride furisode”). You can see some photos at these sites:
Inoue hikifurisode
NijoMaruhachi Collection: hikifurisode

For those interested in the Japanese terms:
白無垢 – しろむく, shiromuku
打掛け – うちかけ, uchikake
掛け下 – かけした, kakeshita
引き振袖 – ひきふりそで, hikifurisode
花嫁 振袖 – はなよめ ふりそで, hanayome furisode

References: Furisode kitsuke to obi musubi hyakka, The Book of Kimono, KON wedding rituals and kimono forum discussions. Also, I’ve changed the gallery description of what I previously called my kakeshita to that of a hikifurisode, as I’m almost certain now that it’s a wedding furisode rather than a kakeshita.

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