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

Fudangi First Friday – Busy Beauty

It’s the first Friday in June, so you know what that means! Time for this month’s Fudangi First Friday. This kimono just barely qualifies. While it’s technically a komon a lot of effort was put into matching the pattern up, and there are metallic accents. This arabesque-patterned busy beauty gives me such conflicted feelings. The heavy, slightly rough quality of the silk and the bachi-eri (pre-folded collar) make it really easy to work with, but the pattern is so overpowering that it can be hard to coordinate.

I was determined to do something with it since it’s been languishing in storage for eons, and then I remembered I have this beautiful vintage nagoya obi that has a lot of very similar colours. It’s in bad shape, the lining’s coming unsewn and there are several moth holes in it, but it’s still solid enough to put on the mannequin. I really love how they look together, the colours are a great match and it’s just plain enough that it doesn’t compete with the obi but it’s not boring. Initially I went with all-green accessories but none of the obijime I tried felt right, so I pulled out a cream and red one that echoes the base colour of the kimono and I think it’s perfect.

I’m glad I’ve found another way to use this piece. There’s just something so captivating about all the different colours and patterns in it. I feel like I find something new every time I look at it.

Items used in this coordination

Fudangi First Friday – Kodomo no Hi

Tomorrow (May 05th) is Kodomo no Hi, こどもの日, or Children’s Day. So of course, as in previous years, I had to get out my beloved koinobori obi. This year, I thought I’d coordinate it with this vintage shishi komon that is eventually going to live with Naomi. Until then, though, I figured I may as well have a little more fun with it!

Koinobori, or carp-shaped streamer flags, are a traditional decoration for the holiday, which is why I always use this obi somehow during this time of year. The other pieces were chosen primarily for their look, not any real symbolism. The haneri is a new one I got in a package from Ichiroya recently and I really liked how the pattern meshed with the kimono. I used other pale purple accessories to pull it all together. As much as I love this obi, I tend to forget what a nuisance it is to work with. It’s got seams in odd places, it’s very slippery, and it’s short even by vintage standards. I’m pretty sure it was a kimono or a juban at some point in its life, before it was remade into an obi. I also can’t believe I was ever able to wear it!

Thankfully I’m already starting to feel much better since my fall last Friday. I should be back at work by next week, and I have a bunch of content lined up for this month!

Items used in this coordination

Slytherin Kitsuke

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

At last, we come to Slytherin. The kimono choice for this outfit was obvious; this green and silver yabane is the perfect colour combination. From there I decided to stick with a very vintage feel, which also suits the “old blood” mentality of many notable Slytherins. I’d never used this silvery-grey obi before, and I realised why as I was working with it. Not only is it frustratingly slippery, it’s a very strange size. Too wide to be a hanhaba obi, not wide enough to be full width, I had to fold it essentially in thirds. But because it’s stiff and slippery it fought me the entire time. I managed to get it to stay in place, but I don’t think it would last very long like this tied on an actual person. Thankfully the mannequin is good at holding still!

The haori is black, which isn’t a traditionally Slytherin colour, but it seems to me that when not in school robes, all the prominent members of the house tend to favour elegant black clothing. A long, sleek black silk haori with very subtle urushi crows on it seemed to fit the bill quite well.

The obijime is admittedly way too formal for the rest of the outfit, but the green shimmering beaded texture made me think of a beautiful snake when I first received it, so of course I had to use it to represent Slytherin house’s animal.

I’m also cheating a bit in that this outfit is doing double duty, it’s also entirely applicable for Fudangi First Friday. And with this, the Hogwarts House kitsuke project is complete! I had fun, but I’m looking forward to coordinating more “normal” outfits for a little bit. At least until another ridiculous theme project strikes my fancy.

Items used in this coordination

A Wild Diane Appears!

You guys! Look at this! Recently a friend drew my attention to the fact that Kimonomachi shop on Rakuten now carries a selection of modern poly komon in size 4TL. Even when I was thinner, it was nigh-impossible for me to find kimono that were actually long enough for me. Now that I’m also significantly overweight, I’d pretty much given up wearing a kimono comfortably as a lost cause, but this one borders on being too big for me. Isn’t that wild?

Sadly, I only noticed my obiage had slipped off my makura after I took the photos. Oops!

It feels so good to be able to dress myself again, and so easily and comfortably too. It’s amazing how much of a difference the proper fit makes. I’d love to buy myself another one, but these kimono are not inexpensive at ¥ 14,000. I managed to get this one for significantly less because I had Rakuten points a PayPal gift card that needed to be used. I may cave in and buy myself a different pattern if I get a large tax return this year. We’ll see.

For reference, I am 179cm (5’10”) tall with a 121cm (48″) bust and a 36K bra, a 91cm (36″) natural waist, and 120cm (47″) hips. I typically wear a size 18 or 1X in North American clothing sizes. This kimono wraps easily from hip to hip, a full one and a half times my widest measurement. So if you’re a similar size and looking for something that will actually fit you properly, I cannot suggest these enough!

I paired the kimono with this moorish arch nagoya obi that couldn’t match better if I’d bought them together. The rusty orange-red of the obi makes the red accents in the kimono pop, and the turquoise base colour of the obi is the exact same as the arches. Looking at the photos, it’s quite clear that a standard otaiko musubi done with an average-sized nagoya obi just looks disproportionately small and odd on my frame, so whenever I actually wear this kimono out to an event I will likely go with a hanhaba or chuuya obi tied in something I can control the size of better. Vibrant lemon yellow accessories made everything pop, and I couldn’t resist using my obidome with snails on it. It’s too cute for words, and ties in with the warm creme colour on the flowers of the kimono.

As a final note, a little reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I dressed myself in this outfit last Thursday and took photos, with the intention of posting it on Fudangi Friday. I transferred, edited, and uploaded the photos. And then on Friday morning I settled in at work, and during a quiet moment started drafting the entry. It was at that point I realised I had the kimono on backwards. Somehow I’d managed to dress myself and then take and edit photos without ever noticing! And as much as I encourage playing with rules when it comes to kimono, wrapping it backwards (right side over top of the left) is only ever done for a body being prepared for a funeral, and it is not a rule I would ever consider breaking unless it was for a very explicit purpose like a costume. So I scrapped my initial plan and re-dressed myself today. Honestly, I’m glad I did, because I managed to tie the obi much more neatly and the lighting was a lot better as well.

Items used in this coordination