A Little Maiko Inspiration

Sometimes, despite my best efforts to avoid it, I find myself browsing Kijiji for local kimono-related things. Imagine my surprise when I came across someone right near my work, selling a pre-tied darari obi! A darari is the very long, dangling style obi maiko wear. Han-darari means “half-darari” and they’re still cute and dangling, but a much more practical length. They’re typically worn by minarai, the young women in training to become maiko, but can also be worn for stage performances or as a dramatic stylistic choice. This one is actually a bit longer than a standard han-darari, but not long enough or thick enough to be a full darari. I suspect it may have been for a young teenage girl, or a stage show.

Colour-wise, this one was such a perfect match for the beautiful kakeshita a very kind friend sent me, so I thought I’d steal a little bit of maiko inspiration and go for some bright, youthful drama with the bold colour scheme, long obi, and trailing hem of the kimono.

I won’t lie, I’m a little jealous of the mannequin right now! These pieces just look so good together. I think I will make an attempt to wear this outfit later myself, when it’s not 40 degrees centigrade out. Even just coordinating this outfit made me feel gross and overheated. I forgot how many layers this kimono has; not just a secondary hiyoku but it’s got a layered collar and fully double-lined sleeves as well. You could almost get away with not wearing a full juban with it, and that’s very likely what I’ll if I ever get around to putting it on myself.

The nice thing about wedding kimono is that in general, they tend to fit me right now even though I am, to put it delicately, not very small. There’s another fun hint for you all – kimono that are meant to be worn trailing will often be wider as well as longer, giving a bigger person more “wiggle room”.

Items used in this coordination

Fudangi First Friday – Funky Punk Yukata

We’ve got a true first for this month’s Fudangi First Friday – I’ve actually never put a yukata on the mannequin until now! This coordination is actually something I had set out to wear to an event. On Wednesday, the lovely folks at Kimono Vintage Montreal organised an outing in yukata to the Montreal Jazz Festival, and what better place to wear something funky and non-traditional?

Unfortunately, the whole province was in the middle of a lethal heat wave (which has thankfully broken now).  Even when I was younger I never handled the heat well, and my chronic health problems only exacerbate the issue. I decided to be prudent and stay home, and thought it would be a good opportunity to feature the outfit on Friday instead.

I love this yukata so much, and I’ve worn it out to a street festival before. It’s got a really unusual pattern of flames, skulls, handcuffs and snakes, amongst other things. The obi came with it and from a distance looks like it’s just got butterflies on it, but up close you can see that there are skulls in their wings. It seemed like the perfect thing to wear to a big outdoor music festival.

Rather than fight against my figure and try to bind my chest in this heat, I’d already decided to use a coordinating cotton tank top underneath and wear the yukata in a loose, open fashion. I stuck with that choice on the mannequin, as well as hiking the hem up shorter than standard, and I love how it looks! I was also inspired by Nichole and her epic kimono style to use a belt in lieu of obijime, and I really love how it all looks together. I think I will make a point of finding somewhere to wear it out like this, because it seems a shame not to!

Items used in this coordination

MonoKimono Challenge – Misty Mint

Does anyone else love Misty Mint candies? If you’ve never had them, they’re these wonderful, creamy, melty mint candy drops in beautiful pastel colours. They don’t make them anymore, sadly, and even if they did I couldn’t eat them since I’m allergic to dairy now, alas. However, the colour of this iromuji makes me think so fondly of them!

This coordination is basically a revisit of this monochrome outfit, but I wanted to do something softer, and without the hakama. This one feels more wearable, overall. I used the same kimono and haneri, but switched up to this shiny fukuro obi and accessories that blend in with the kimono itself. I had fun doing a sort of bunko variation with the obi, I quite like how it looks and it was very quick to do.

It’s also very interesting to me how this colour family photographs. In the original outfit with the hakama, it looks much more blue, today’s photos look much more green, and the catalogue photos below feel somewhere in between. All due to ambient light, time of day, and other external factors.

We’re halfway through the #monokimono challenge! I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and already have plans for the second half of the year. Are you doing the challenge? If so, please share links in the comments, I would love to see!

Items used in this coordination

Concert Style

You might have seen this awesome treble-clef obijime knot going around lately. Youandi over at Chayatsuji Kimono posted a great video showing how to tie it, and it’s actually deceptively simple once you’ve got the basic concept down.

This rich purple nami-chidori irotomesode has always been one of my favourite kimono, and it’s always given me a dramatic stage vibe with its bold contrast and large scale design. It seemed like a good opportunity to pull it out and show it some love. I wanted to go for something you might see on an enka singer, bridging the gap between traditional and modern.

The obijime knot and the kimono really needed to be the focus here so I kept the obi and accessories simple. A white haneri with white sakura and a geometric white-and-silver obi help to bring a subtle bling to the outfit without being distracting, and my ice-blue obiage echoes the pale end of the obijime. It’s a very simple, classic, elegant coordination and I think it would look absolutely perfect up on a stage. I definitely accomplished what I’d set out to, which always makes me very happy.

Items used in this coordination

Pride Rainbow!

June, as you may know, is Pride month for the LGBT+ community. Here in Montreal we have a Pride festival of our own in August, but I wanted to do something for June. I don’t really own any rainbow-themed items, but I realised I could assemble a rainbow of solid-coloured pieces! My fabulous purple komon with silver lamé designs, complemented by a red haori, yellow haneri, orange obiage, green obijime and blue hanhaba obi. I love how bold and vibrant this outfit is! It would be fun to wear this to an event, but it’s all lined synthetic and incredibly hot and heavy, even just to dress the mannequin.

The finishing touch was a beaded rainbow choker I’ve had for eons. I know necklaces aren’t technically proper for kimono but this outfit is already all over the place formality-wise to suit the rainbow theme, so I just ran with it.

I do apologise for the photos, my flash batteries are close to dying and I didn’t realise how badly balanced they were until I got downstairs and started processing them. Unfortunately, it’s nearly 40 C (100+ F) in my living room right now and I can’t deal with the idea of going back upstairs and taking more photos.

The world is a scary place right now. Just know that I love you all, whatever your orientation and gender may be. Stand tall and never be ashamed of who you are inside, even if you’re in a place where being yourself openly puts you at risk.

Items used in this coordination