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December 21, 2022 4 min read
Ever heard of the obi belt? This elegant Japanese ribbon that is wrapped around the waist to secure a garment? This piece is a perfect complement to traditional outfits such as kimonos and yukatas, but it has also become a very trendy fashion accessory in recent years. As a catwalk favorite in the biggest fashion shows, this colorful piece of fabric seduces fashionistas all over the world.
In this article, Japan Avenue reveals what to wear an obi belt with in order to spice up your style and enhance your figure.
Originally, this silk ribbon was used to fasten traditional Japanese clothing while adding a decorative touch. This ornament being part of the geisha outfit has evolved throughout the centuries. Nowadays, it can be worn on modern clothes, either high, medium or low waisted, depending on your desires!
There exist many different obi belt styles that correspond to different uses: The maru obi is a 33 cm thick belt that is suitable for very formal events like wedding ceremonies. The fukuro obi is worn with furisode kimonos while the hanhaba obi, thinner, is usually associated with a yukata or with the everyday kimono. The nagoya obi appeared in 1920 and is worn for more casual occasions. Its particular shape makes it easy to make traditional otaiko knots.
This piece of cloth also has an important place in Japanese martial arts where it is used to hold training clothes. It is similar to a cotton belt tied under the abdomen. The narrow obi is used for judo, karate or aikido while the large obi is used for other disciplines like iaido or kyudo.
To put on an obi belt correctly, we place it on the stomach, at the level of the waist before crossing it in the back. Then, we tie the two links on the front with a very tight knot, secured by a second one. What to do if the belt is too large? If the belt is too thick, you can fold the top part underneath or even fold it in half, lengthwise.
There are other ways to wear the obi belt: the bow loops can also be made on the side or on the back, by leaving the sides of the belt visible or by twisting them to hide them. You can also choose to wear this belt high waisted, by placing it under the chest. Lastly, you can position this band of fabric on your hips for a loose style by fastening the ties on the side.
Men's Japanese obi style belt - Aki / Japanese men's belt - Beiju / Burgundy obi belt - Akairo
Men will wear the obi belt on their hips and will opt for more sober models than those of women. Indeed, women are lucky to be given the opportunity to choose the most extravagant patterns and colors. Men will tie this ribbon with a traditional knot. Today there are obi with scratch to imitate the latter.
You can use traditional Japanese knots like the flat knot or the otaiko knot. If you wish to experiment, you can find tutorials on the Internet. But the easiest way remains to tie your belt as you like with a double knot or a nice bow tie for example.
The advantage with this wide belt is that it highlights all morphologies by refining your waist. Whether you are thin or curvy, small or large, this Japanese piece will fit your figure.
If you have an hourglass or figure eight silhouette, with feminine curves, this accessory will have the most beautiful effect on you.
Do you have some curves on the belly and hips? The obi belt worn under the chest will emphasize your upper body. It will also balance a V-shaped silhouette with broad shoulders and long legs. Finally, if you have a rather straight body type, we recommend wearing your belt low to structure your waist.
Sakura obi - women / Red plum blossom obi belt / Japanese wave obi belt
The obi belt is great for accessorizing your western clothing while adding the finishing touch. Available in many styles such as the leather obi, it perfectly complements a modern look. The more traditional models in cotton or silk will match a little dress, a long skirt, a tunic or a white blouse.
Does your dress follow your curves, but lacks a little sparkle? The obi belt will spice up your look with its vibrant colors and prints. Cherry blossoms, cranes, butterflies, geometric shapes and traditional motifs will bring a very chic Japanese touch.
If you have a slightly shapeless shirt, why not embellish it with an obi belt to redesign your waist? This is a very trendy way to recycle your old clothes or too neutral pieces in a very stylish way.
The obi belt can be used to keep a coat or a long jacket of solid color closed while bringing an exotic and refined note. An original way to wear this belt without buckle or clasp.
If the fit of your top doesn't match your pants or skirt, the obi belt will be the perfect accessory to match your outfit. By marking your waist, it will make the connection between your two pieces in a chic and glamorous way.
With its patterns and bright colors, the obi belt is nowadays a must have in our wardrobe. This Japanese ornament can be worn as a jewel in a traditional or more modern way to accessorize your outfits while enhancing your figure.
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