This website is made possible by readers. I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links in this article at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
It begun when Stella asked me along for the Natsu Matsuri festival, held yearly in Singapore. It’s usually held 1 month after the actual festival in Japan. In traditional Japanese fashion, most Japanese would wear a yukata to such a festival. A yukata is a casual version of the kimono, often worn during summer. While you might see people wearing a yukata along the streets of Tokyo as a fashion statement, I still wouldn’t go as far as some blogs to say this is common. A yukata is considered as a fashion statement by some teens, often matching it with a kick-ass straw hat and bracelets. As you can see, the picture of Tamaki Hiroshi in a yukata fulfills my ideal of a fashionable style of yukata wearing.
Trolling through countless blogs, search engines and forums, I was mostly directed to online vintage kimono/yukata stores such as Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya, Shinei, and some eBay stores like Ryu Japan, Kyoto Collection and MZKStudio, all of which come highly recommended by most of the blogs I visited. Rakuten Global Market would undoubtedly top that list when it comes to the luxury of choices. I would also recommend to those buying their first yukata, to go for a set which consists of the obi (sash), geta (sandals) and dai (small pouch), which will be usually cheaper as a package and better coordinated.
Still, being an art director and brand whore, common run-of-the-mill yukatas isn’t enough. Further research yields me some very upscale designer brand yukatas such as the Genbei Yamaguchi collection for United Arrows as covered by Monocle, a denim yukata from glamb and extremely eclectic ones from Tsukikage. And there’s no need to reiterate the usual place where you can find affordable anything, Uniqlo. One of my favourite Japanese brand, Tsumori Chisato, also has a place in the yukata game, with most of her quirky designs sold out. Eley Kishimoto destroyed an entire alternate universe somewhere with this monogrammed yukata in a collaboration with Kimono Breath, which led me to realize that Kimono Breath has one of the best obi‘s (worst priced, but what’s new?) in the market.
But that wasn’t enough. When I think a perfect yukata, I imagine walking into this traditional styled shop with tons of garment lined wall-to-floor. An old master would come out from intricately patterned curtains and take my measurements and produce a top-notch, understated yukata that encompasses the best quality of material. My question on Yahoo Answers has open a whole new world of immaculate yukatas involving famous dye artists, where people will buy exquisitely hand-dyed fabrics by the meter and get a tailor to craft a yukata to fit. That was excessive, even for me.
My concluding purchase due to the short time toward Natsu Matsuri in Singapore would have to be from one of my most trusted menswear names from Japan, United Arrows. Fret not if you encounter any online shops that doesn’t deliver internationally, White Rabbit Express is always a reliable way to obtain your goods.
However, with that outrageous price tag (then again, I’m an outrageous buyer), there is little chance of me buying another one ever again. This one better last me a lifetime.