O-Hanami & Taiko at the Montreal Botanical Gardens

On Sunday, a few members of the Montreal kimono club got together at the Montreal Botanical Gardens to have our own little O-hanami. The climate here isn’t ideal for sakura, but we’ve got lots of crabapples which look almost as lovely and are almost as transient and ethereal.

I had a blast. We met lots of awesome people, posed for a bunch of photos, and generally had a great time. Although it was slightly marred by me tripping at one point and pulling the hanao out of my zori. I spent the bulk of the day walking in tiny awkward steps, gripping my shoe with my toes to prevent falling off. Eventually I just gave up and walked around in my tabi, since they’d gotten dirty when I tripped initially. A bit gauche, I know, but better than spraining something. Especially since I’m still recovering from falling down the stairs a few weeks back.

This post is going to be incredibly image-heavy, because everything was lovely and also we’re a bunch of silly people who like to ham things up. Click through for kimono, taiko drumming, and a lovely ikebana show!

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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

着物着ます – Gofuku no Hi 2016

Today is 着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), a worldwide day to wear kimono and share love of kimono. Last year, I cheated a bit by dressing my mannequin. This year, I decided I had to go big or go home. And big is the operative word. I dug out the widest kimono I own, which happens to be the lily furisode I got from Jess last year. The wingspan on it is fantastic, but it was still a bit narrow in the hips, so I dug out my favourite lifesaver, my hakama. I really need to invest in a few more. The obi is actually the reverse of the adorable whale obi I got last week, the pink side happened to perfectly echo the pink of the flowers on the furisode. I had basted a soft cream haneri with flowers on it onto my collar, but in the process of wrestling with everything to get dressed I popped the stitches and it got all wrinkled, so I just removed it and stuck with the white.

I know that look a little rumpled and a little out of practice, but this is the first time I’ve worn kimono since September of 2013, and size issues aside, it felt fantastic. I’m so happy I fought through things and got out there. It’s encouraging to know I can still do this. I’m not going to buy anything else until I invest in another hakama or two, since they help enable me to wear kimono right now. There are a few on eBay I’ve got my eye on. I also made a friend at the park! His name is Luka and he loves to roll around in the grass.

Did you dress for gofuku no hi? If you did, I’d love to see photos! 😀

Liz in Bunny Kimono!

I’ve often said that being my friend is dangerous, and coming to visit me generally results in the guest being subjected to kitsuke. I decided to level things up this time, and when I went to Baltimore to visit my friend Elizabeth a few weeks back, I brought a kimono with me. She chose the bunny komon based on the photos of my collection, and I brought a selection of accessories that I thought would coordinate well with it and be easy to tie without too many accessories. We ended up choosing the taupe arabesque hanhaba obi, a hot pink obijime, and spade obidome.

For someone who has never worn kimono before, Liz took to it like a pro! Next time, maybe she’ll come up here to visit me and I’ll put her in something really elaborate.

I have to admit, this kimono fits her much better than it fits me. Oh, to have a shorter wingspan!

Par For the Course

As you may have noticed, it’s become a bit of a thing for me to dress house-guests in kimono. Several months ago, my dear friend Dino of Alternative Vegan came to stay with me. Our friend Frances came by as well, and I had the pleasure of subjecting them both to the blissful discomfort of kitsuke 😉

I had fun playing with gender conventions here. Dino has a very fabulous and flamboyant personal style, so I put him in a woman’s kimono and obi but dressed in a manly style, similar to my own experiments in otoko-poi style years ago. You’ll notice that he’s wearing the same Victorian Gothic London houmongi that Elise wore when she visited. This tends to be a popular one with guests; I suppose the motif is both quirky and familiar, which makes it accessible to people who aren’t really used to kimono yet.

Frances is wearing a woman’s kimono and obi, but with a very neutral, muted palette and no accessories. They are also much tinier than I am, and even my smallest kimono ended up being big and a little awkward to work with, especially since I have been out of practice so long. Alas! At least they both had fun 😀

Dino’s laughter is infectious, by the way. I don’t think our house has been consistently so full of random crack-ups as it was when he was visiting.