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How it all started: kimono love

April 24, 2017

How it all started: kimono love

At the end of March I made a trip that I've been wanting to make for a very long time! [See my next post.] Tokyo had been on my travel wish list for as long I've been in love with traditional Japanese fashion.

It all started with a couple of kimonos I bought  from a Japanese lady at Battersea park car boot sale one Saturday afternoon more than 10 years ago. That lovely lady was going back to Japan and she was selling off her wares including two exquisite kimonos. I hadn't bargained on spending so much at a car boot sale so had to frantically rush out to find a card machine so no one would get their hands on them.

And so began my love affair with kimonos, the exquisiteness of the most beautiful garments handmade with such precision and accuracy and detail. I had always thought that kimonos were beautiful garments but it wasn't until I started wearing them over my regular clothes that I felt a deep appreciation for them. Just how they transformed the way any old outfit looked once I wore a kimono over it. I began researching about the kimonos and learnt a great deal of amazing Japanese fashion history.

Paula & I at the launch of Mero Retro Dalston in 2015

At that time I was already selling vintage, secondhand clothing in Camden market and I wanted to share my new found love of kimonos with others and began slowly selling them in my shop. I've always believed that I have to love each piece of clothing that I sell in my shop. Otherwise I can't muster enough enthusiasm to convince my customers to like them. And boy, was I enthusiastic about the kimonos! So much so that I had quite a few regulars who also got hooked on them as much I was. We abandoned our spring/summer jackets for kimonos and haoris (the shorter ones that were/are actually worn as jackets over kimonos).

I'm planning to do another post with the different kinds of traditional Japanese clothing soon, so watch this space! In the meantime have a look at our vintage kimonos to see what we're currently have available online (there are plenty more in our Dalston shop) and check our Instagram feed to see our lovely customers and the kimonos they've bought.

Clare and Tatsiana in their Mero Retro vintage kimonos

Some of our beautiful vintage kimonos

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Sizing Chart

Please use the size charts below to help you determine your size. As sizing and cut can vary greatly between brands, use the charts as a general guide to compare sizes and the measurements for listed item to ensure a good fit. If you need assistance selecting the right size, please contact us at info@meroretro.com or +44 (0) 207 6866807.

Women's Clothing Size Conversion  (source: Wikipedia)

UK 8 10 12 14 16
USA 6 8 10 12 14
Europe 36 38 40 42 44
Japanese 9 11 13 15 17
Bust 34" 36" 38" 40" 42"
Waist 26" 28" 30" 32" 34"
Hip 37" 39" 41" 43" 45"


Shoe Size Conversion


UK Sizing US Sizing AUS Sizing Europe Sizing
2.5 5 3.5 35
3 5.5 4 35.5
3.5 6 4.5 36
4 6.5 5 36.5
4.5 7 5.5 37
5 7.5 6 37.5
5.5 8 6.5 38
6 8.5 7 39.5
6.5 9 7.5 40
7 9.5 8 40.5
7.5 10 8.5 41
8 10.5 9 41.5
8.5 11 9.5 42


Vintage Sizing and Measurements

Vintage sizing and modern sizing can be very different. Because of this, we provide detailed measurements of all vintage clothing to help you determine whether or not a garment will fit correctly. An assessment of the estimated modern size will be noted, as well as any sizes on the tag, but please refer to measurements to best determine fit.

A good way to determine fit:

* Find a similar item in your wardrobe.
* Measure it according to our measurement guidelines.
* Compare your measurements to those of the vintage item you are interested in.
* You're done. If it's a good fit, make it yours!

We do occasionally pin clothing to fit our models, so please read all measurements carefully. We do not accept returns for vintage merchandise that does not fit. If you have any questions about our sizing/measurements, please contact us at info@meroretro.com.

Measurement Guidelines

All bust, waist, and hip measurements are taken straight across while garment is laid flat. Please double bust, waist, and hip measurements.



Shoulders Shoulder seam to shoulder seam
Bust Armpit to armpit, and sometimes stretched for strapless or form-fitting pieces
Waist Measured at the smallest part of the waist
Hip Measured at the largest part of the hip, straight across
Sleeves Shoulder seam to cuff; for dolman sleeves, measured from collar
Length Top of garment, from shoulder seam to hem
Rise Taken from crotch seam to top of garment
Inseam Taken from crotch seam to ankle
Swing Taken across bottom hem of garment, then doubled




Length Sole of shoe, from toe to heel, measured on the bottom of the sole
Width Measured at widest part of the sole of the shoe, typically at ball of foot
Height From bottom of shoes (including heels) to top
Heel Taken at the very back of shoe, from floor to top of heel








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