Hakama are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. Hakama cover the lower body and resemble a wide, pleated skirt. Hakama were originally worn only by men, but today they are worn (albeit slightly differently) by both men and women. Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles.
Women’s hakama differ from men’s in a variety of ways, most notably fabric design and method of tying.
While men’s hakama can be worn on both formal and informal occasions, women rarely wear hakama except at graduation ceremonies, though this is by no means a rule. While formal men’s hakama are made of striped fabric, women’s hakama tend to be of single-colour or gradated fabric.
Women wear hakama at the true waist, while men wear them slightly below. The method of tying the straps is also different, with women’s hakama being tied in a more simple knot.
Women also wear hakama as part of their martial arts uniforms, but only very rarely at tea ceremony.
Scarlet hakama are characteristic of miko, or female Shinto shrine attendants. Red hakama could be considered the Shinto equivalent of a Christian Nun’s habit. Monks also wear a garment that bears a small resemblance to hakama, though as it is shorter, tied differently, and made of lighter, usually orange silk, it more closely resembles an apron. Shinto shrine workers wear white kimono and white hakama.