A wide sash fastened in the back with a large flat bow, worn by women in Japan as a part of the traditional dress.
An obi is a type of belt, typically tied together rather than fastened with a buckle. Adapted from traditional Japanese fashion, obis are a popular method of adding Asian flair to modern outfits. An obi can be purchased or easily made with basic sewing skills. The obi, meaning “sash” in Japanese, was traditionally worn by both men and women, beginning around the 16th century. Men's sashes are typically narrow strips of fabric, while women's can be more than 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Obis can be very long, but may be doubled or tied in elaborate, decorative bows. There are dozens of styles of obi, each associated with traditional tying and tucking methods. Traditionally, an obi is made out of silk, cotton, or brocade, and may be plain or feature a decorative pattern on one or both sides. The color of the fabric can be significant to the wearer; modern Japanese brides, for instance, often wear a pure white obi with their wedding dress. An older custom also calls for white obis to be worn as mourning clothes by widows, but in modern times a black sash may be worn instead. Traditional obis are often made to match or complement a specific kimono, thus people may own several different varieties and colors to match a large wardrobe.