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Kimonos: A Travel Essential from the Plane to the Beach and Everywhere in Between |

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

We have all seen the pictures on Instagram of a beautiful kimono gently flowing while a woman walks on a beach. Take away the beach and you see the most practical piece of clothing to take on your next vacation. I use kimonos when I travel, especially flying. I live in Texas where we can wear shorts almost year-round. I can dress up a pair of shorts with a kimono and don’t have to worry about sitting down in an airport, restaurant, bar, or airplane seat. No more waffle imprints on the back of my thighs from chairs! Kimonos also keep the chill from the airplane off my legs while en route. If you are traveling from a colder climate to a warmer climate, a kimono makes the transition to warm weather super simple. Just roll it up and toss it in your bag once you land and you won’t look like a tourist dressed for a winter storm in sunny Zihuatanejo Mexico. Keep that kimono close by, because you can wear it all around Zihuatanejo shopping, dressing up a pair of shorts for dinner, or swimsuit coverup to the beach.

The key to wearing a kimono is the right style or else you will be walking around looking like you just threw your bathrobe over your outfit. First, the fabric is the single most important factor to consider when choosing a kimono. The weight of the fabric will depend on the climate that you will be wearing the kimono. If you live in cooler climates you can wear a satin-type material. But if you plan on wearing a kimono on the beach or in a warm climate, stick to the semi-sheer chiffon fabrics.

sheer kimono not styled properly
Sheer kimono with tassels

Leave sheer kimonos alone, they belong in the bedroom and they won’t add to your outfit and unless they are extremely well made. This sheer black kimono works better over a solid slim-fitting dress to really make the flower details pop.

white lace belted kimono looks like a robe
Belted kimono the big no no!

Secondly, let’s look at the style or cut of the kimono. Less is more when it comes to kimonos. No ruffles, no tassels, and for all that is holy NO BELTS! A belt on a kimono makes it a bathrobe! Tassels do not travel well, they tangle and get caught up, these are better suited for non-travel outfits. Ruffles tend to be a little overwhelming for casual wear. A simple tie attached to the front for closure is great, but it should not wrap around your waist. The arms can be long, but the best length tends to be around the bend at the elbow. The arm opening should be large and draping with no cuffs.

palm printed kimono cover up
floor length semi sheer kimono

The third item to consider when purchasing a kimono is how long should you go? A good rule of thumb is the lighter the fabric the longer you can go, chiffon to the floor, silk to mid-calf, and satin to the knee or higher. I go floor-length, even with heels. But I live in Texas and Mexico so a kimono for me is an accessory rather than a piece of clothing. Think of it as a statement necklace rather than a blazer. The palm-printed kimono makes a simple white one-piece swimsuit stand out poolside.

Finally, the best part of a kimono is the print! Tie-dye, animal prints, flowers, graffiti, and combinations of all types of prints. Monotone or colorful there is no right or wrong when it comes to the print. It is all about what you like and what works for you. Mixing prints is perfectly okay as well. Pick up an element in the kimono print, like leopard print for your swimsuit.

Travel Tip: Style your travel outfit with cutoffs, then swap out for your favorite jeans when traveling from cooler climates. Stash your cutoffs in your purse and change on the plane and you are vacation-ready!

Shop a great selection of kimonos from Amazon!


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