What Did Samurai Wear?

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Samurai warriors wore kimonos, obis, loincloths, kamishimos, hakamas and occasionally long-sleeved coats and hats. Their clothing varied in quality and style depending on their socioeconomic status and level of mastery. All warriors wore loincloths, which served as underwear, along with belts and swords or other protective weapons, at all times.

Although the types of clothing worn by samurai remained the same throughout their lives, the colors of those garments changed. Young children and adolescent samurai wore bold, bright colors, but switched to darker and more conservative colors upon reaching adulthood because the samurai society considered bold colors immature and immodest.

In everyday life, samurai men wore kimonos. Most kimonos contained an inner and outer layer, and were made with silk fabric of varied quality depending on the warrior's income. Samurai fastened kimonos around their waists with obis, or long belts. Obis resembled modern belts, but contained openings on the left side of the body to fit swords.

Outside the home, warriors covered their kimonos with loose, flowing jackets called kamishimos, which paired with equally loose and comfortable trousers. Samurai traded kamishimos for fitted long-sleeved jackets when traveling. They often wore hats to conceal their identity, and wore their hair in tight side knots called chomages.