The furisode, a Japanese word that literally means hanging sleeves, refers to a type of kimono, a traditional Japanese garment intended for young girls belonging to the upper or noble classes of the past.
As its name indicates, the furisode is a particular kimono which is made with very wide, ample sleeves and has a shape that falls to the ground, even reaching the ground. The sleeves are used to hide the arms of unmarried girls, as it was customary not to show them until one was married. In this way, the wearing of the furisode shows that the girl is coming of age, i.e. she has reached her 20 years of age, and is free or ready for marriage.
Being considered a luxurious and valuable piece of clothing, the furisode is usually made of very fine silk or damask silk of superior quality. It should be noted that a furisode is extremely expensive. In fact, it was common and convenient to rent a furisode for special occasions.
On the other hand, the furisode is a formal kimono, usually worn for large events. It can have a wide variety of designs, often made up of flowers, in bright and cheerful colors.
There are three types of furisode, listed according to the size of its sleeves: the o-furisode, the chu-furisode and the ko-furisode.
The o-furisode is also called the large furisode. It is the type of kimono that has the longest sleeves, measuring approximately 114 to 125cm. In the beginning, the o-furisode was reserved for brides, it was used as a bridal rode. Traditionally, the o-furisode was made in black, demonstrating its formal use.
The chu-furisode is the medium type of furisode which is characterized by the sleeves which measure between 91 to 106 cm long. The chu-furisode is most commonly used among Japanese girls. Its medium sleeves offer a stylish and modern look. In addition, they allow more freedom of movement because the sleeves are much more comfortable than those of the o-furisode.
The ko-furisode is referred to as the small furisode. It is made with sleeves ranging from 75 to 87cm. It is much simpler than the two previous types. Moreover, the ko-furisode is worn very rarely.
The furisode is a type of formal clothing, designed to be worn for special occasions. In Japanese tradition, it is worn by young girls invited to wedding ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies or tea ceremonies for example.
Moreover, the furisode is obligatorily worn with the traditional Japanese belts called obi. The obi is chosen with colors in harmony with the furisode. To wear the furisode correctly, it is important to tie the belt from behind and form a big knot on the back.