A kimono bathrobe, known as yukata, is a T-shaped, cross-front robe with wide sleeves that can be worn by both men and women. It is traditionally worn indoors after a bath, but this Japanese robe may also be worn outdoors as a lighter, casual alternative to the more formal kimono, particularly in the summer months. It is wrapped about the body, the left side going over the right generally, and tied about the waist with a sash known as an obi; in the privacy of the home, the obi may be replaced by a simple belt. The kimono bathrobe is generally of ankle length, but modern styles can be shorter. The robe may be worn on its own, or over inner garments, pajamas or trousers.
Unlike a formal kimono, which is lined and usually made of silk, a kimono bathrobe may come in cotton, wool or a synthetic fabric type. Silk is not a favored material in this Japanese-style robe, as silk is less water-absorbent than cotton and wool, and therefore not of much use for drying the body after a bath. Silk garments also require more maintenance.
Cotton is a popular choice for bathrobes since, apart from absorbing water readily, it is a cool, breathable organic fabric. Thick terry cloth cotton bathrobes can serve the same function as a good towel. A wool wrap robe is excellent for warding off the chill and may be preferable to the cotton robes in cold climates. Like the cotton robes, woolen bathrobes comes in different types of fabric thicknesses. Both cotton and wool can be woven into a variety of weave types, allowing for different kimono bathrobe types.
Polyester and other synthetic fabrics, sometimes intermixed with cotton and wool, are also widely used for making kimono bathrobes. They can be as good as the purely cotton or woolen garments. It is possible to get a soft, silk or satin-like feel with the synthetic materials, and the robes can be quite light-weight.
Natural dyes were used in the traditional Japanese fabric pattern for a kimono bathrobe, but modern versions may make use of safe chemical dyes. It is possible to find a very wide choice of single color and multicolor design patterns, ranging from bold and bright to pale and subtle, and covering flora, fauna, geometric prints, calligraphy, cartoons and so on. Depending on the dyes, the designs and the materials, the bathrobes can range in price from cheap to very expensive.