A furisode (振袖?, lit. swinging sleeves) is a style of kimono distinguishable by its long sleeves, which average between 39 and 42 inches in length. It is the most formal style of kimono worn by unmarried women in Japan. The furisode is made of very fine, brightly-colored silk, and is commonly rented or bought by parents for their daughters to wear when celebrating Coming of Age Day the year they turn 20. By wearing a furisode, a young woman signifies that she is both single and a legal adult, and thus available for marriage. In this sense, a furisode might be likened to the formal gowns worn by debutantes in the West.
The furisode is generally worn for formal social functions such as the tea ceremony or wedding ceremonies of relatives. Since furisodes can be quite expensive, many women rent them as needed rather than purchasing them.
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