In modern-day Japan the meanings of the layering kimono and hiyoku are usually forgotten. Only maiko and geisha at the moment use this layering performance for dances and subtle erotic suggestions usually emphasizing the back of the neck.
Modern Japanese brides may also wear a conventional Shinto bridal kimono which is worn with a hiyoku.
Habitually kimonos were worn with hiyoku or suspended linings. Hiyoku can be a second kimono worn under the first and give the traditional layered look to the kimono. Frequently in modern kimonos the hiyoku is basically the name for the double-sided lower half of the kimono which may be exposed to other eyes depending on how the kimono is worn.
Old-fashioned kimono styles predestined that hiyoku were entire under-kimono, nevertheless modern day layers are usually only incomplete, to give the impression of layering.
The method to fold up a kimono
In the past, a kimono would repeatedly be exclusively taken apart for washing and then re-stitched for wearing. This traditional washing method is called arai hari.
The reason is because the stitches must be taken out for washing, traditional kimonos need to be hand sewn. Arai hari is very luxurious and complicated and is one of the bases of the declining popularity of kimono. Modern fabrics and cleaning methods have been developed that eliminate this need, although the traditional washing of kimono is still practiced, especially for high-end garments.
New, custom-made kimonos are generally delivered to a customer with long, loose basting stitches placed around the outside edges. These stitches are sometimes replaced for storage. They help to avoid bunching, folding and wrinkling and also keep the kimono’s layers in exact alignment.
Like many other traditional Japanese garments, there are specific ways to fold kimonos. These methods help to preserve the garment and to keep it from creasing when stored. Kimonos are often stored wrapped in paper called tatoshi.
Kimonos need to be aired out at least seasonally and before and after each time they are worn. Many people prefer to have their kimono dry cleaned. Although this can be extremely expensive, it is generally less expensive than arai hari but may be impossible for certain fabrics or dyes.
In the modern era, the principal distinctions between men’s kimono are in the fabric. The typical men’s kimono is a subdued, dark color; black, dark blues, greens, and browns are common. Fabrics are usually matte. Some have a subtle pattern, and textured fabrics are common in more casual kimono. More casual kimono may be made in slightly brighter colors, such as lighter purples, greens and blues. Sumo wrestlers have occasionally been known to wear quite bright colors such as fuchsia.
The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon on the chest, shoulders and back. Slightly less formal is the three-kamon kimono.