A mother and her two daughters pose in kimonos at the studio of John S. Fritz in Reading, Pennsylvania. There was a time when wearing this Japanese style clothing was quite popular in parts of the United States. This is apparent because it is not uncommon to find cabinet card era photographs with subjects wearing kimonos. A number of historical fashion experts visit the cabinet card gallery and hopefully some of them will weigh in on this subject. To learn more about photographer J. S. Fritz and to view more of his photographs, click on category “Photographer: Fritz JS”.

Published in: on August 1, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. I am not a historical fashion expert at all, but I thought I’d weigh in anyway. In very general terms, after Japan opened itself to foreign trade in the 1850s, interest in Japanese culture swept the West, and Japanese influences could be found in everything from fine art to decor to fashion. Various World Fairs and Expos did a lot to contribute to this. (This went both ways, too, as the Japanese began to adopt Western dress styles.) There’s even a term for this called “Japonisme”, and I saw a very interesting art exhibit at a museum demonstrating Japanese influences on Western artists in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This is similar to the way pseudo-Egyptian styles swept fashion and design after King Tut’s tomb was discovered. Even knowing that, I can’t help but think it must have seemed odd to see these folks traipsing around Reading, Pennsylvania in kimonos in those days. 🙂

  2. I’m not sure what you’d like input on, but I can tell you that the kimono are not worn properly at all. They all look like they are wearing the under belts- date-jime instead of full obi. The ohashori is painfully long on most of them and the hems on the younger girls’ kimono are way too high. The older lady looks like she is wearing a kimono with a padded hem, which is odd- since only formal kimono tend to have padded hems. Based off of the patterns and color, I’d bet she’s wearing a irotomesode- a formal kimono that is only worn on certain occaisions. Usually, we find kurotomesode- which are black, but they do exist in colors, from time to time. The pattern on the kimono doesn’t extend above the waist. If the kimono is older, usually the pattern will be mirrored on the bottom (I can’t see enough to know that). It looks like her kimono might even be crested- which also leads to one of the most formal styles. It also looks like she might have been going for a dounuki style. I dunno 🙂 That’s pretty much all I can add! At least they got the ‘left over right’ part correct!

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