Obi (帯, おび , literally "sash"?) is a sash for traditional Japanese dress. There are many types of obi, most for women: wide obis made of brocade and narrower, simpler obis for everyday wear. The fanciest and most colourful obis are for young unmarried women. The contemporary women's obi is a very conspicuous accessory, sometimes even more so than the kimono robe itself. A fine formal obi might cost more than the rest of the entire outfit. Obis are categorized by their design, formality, material, and use. Informal obis are narrower and shorter. The wide women's obi is folded in two when worn, to a width of about 15 centimeters (5.9 in) to 20 centimeters (7.9 in). It is considered elegant to tie the obi so that the folded width is in harmony with the wearer's body dimensions. Usually this means about a tenth of her height. The full width of the obi is present only in the decorative knot, known as the musubi. A woman's obi is worn in a fancy musubi knot. There are ten ways to tie an obi, and different knots are suited to different occasions and different kimonos. There are many different types of women's obi, and the usage of them is regulated by many unwritten rules not unlike those that concern the kimono itself. Certain types of obi are used with certain types of kimono; the obis of married and unmarried women are tied in different ways. Often the obi adjusts the formality and fanciness of the whole kimono outfit: the same kimono can be worn in very different situations depending on what kind of obi is worn with it.
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