Maedare (前垂れ)

Maedare (also 'Maedara' in Edo dialect), sometimes known as Maekake, was a cloth worn by shop workers or housemaids to protect their clothes from dirt, which hangs from an obi, a kind of belt for a kimono. These days Maedare is sometimes worn with western clothes, however, it was originally a work outfit designed to cover the bottom of a casual kimono. Later it also began to be worn decoratively to match a casual kimono.

Maedare has a simple design of an oblong cloth with a string attached to the upper part to tie around the hips. It is made of cotton or muslin when used for working outfits, and with silk or other materials when used for more dressy designs. Maedare for men use mostly quiet colors such as black or blue, while those for women use a variety of brighter colors, especially red as trademark of maids. Maedares were traditionally made of a plain, simply-woven cloth but these days there is a wider variety, including pieces dyed elaborately so that a name of a shop is revealed in white. Also some have pockets for convenience.

In addition both a maedare and a haneri (neckpiece) were given by young men to the target of their affection as they are relatively inexpensive part of a kimono ensemble.

Derived from an actual outfit, the word 'maedare' or 'maekake' is sometimes also used to refer to merchants and their employees (as opposed to craftsman or other professions) as they often wore a maedare.

[Original Japanese]