Yukata, often mistaken for kimono, are casual, kimono- like garments that are worn during the summertime. They are unlined and are typically made from light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, whereas kimonos, which are the older, traditional, more expensive garments are made form heavier materials such as silk and brocade. Kimonos also have an inner and outer layer. In other words, a yukata is a more casual version of a kimono.
Yukata means “bathing cloth” in Japanese, which is an appropriate name considering they were traditionally worn by the nobility before and after their baths, serving as a sort of fancy, towel dress.
The robe-like yukata is wrapped around the body and tied and fastened with a sash, called an obi. The appropriate footwear to wear with yukata are called geta, which are essentially wooden sandals.
Nowadays, yukata are popular attire to wear to summer festivals in Japan, and come in a variety of colors and designs. A quick tip for those of you who might be interested in wearing a yukata- ALWAYS have the left panel over the right. In the Japanese culture, it is considered extremely rude to have the right panel over the left, as this is how the dead are dressed!