Birthday splurging.

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to go visit my dearest friend in Boulder, Colorado. Aside from being a beautiful city with a firm grip on my soul, Boulder is also home to a rather unexpected Vintage Kimono Showroom. Janine, the lovely owner, was kind enough to give me an early start on her holiday sale, since I was only going to be in town for a week. I went on my birthday, of all days, since my friend was stuck at work.

I managed to snag some really awesome pieces. I did my best to not go overboard, buying only things that I found really special. One piece in particular was so special that it’s going to get its own entry soon, I am just waiting on an obi to coordinate it with. In the meantime, here are the other things I picked up, behind the cut!

First up, a great little vintage yabane komon.

Based on the colours and sleeve length, I’d guesstimate it at early Showa. The sleeves are lined in red, but just by a few inches, I think someone may have added it in on their own. The fabric on this one is quite odd, it feels almost like a cotton-silk blend. It’s nice and airy, despite being fully lined, and I feel as though I could almost wear it year-round.

I also snagged two gorgeous haori, including my first-ever vintage one. The modern one is lovely, a thick black silk with karabana (fantasy flowers) in soft pastels. The way it’s dyed gives it a great artsy feel.

I actually wore this out to my birthday dinner, along with a green cowl-neck sweater and jeans, as well as the lovely pearl necklace I got from my friend. No photos of the outfit, but feel free to enjoy a blurry shot of my ugly mug enjoying a stuffed scallop!

The other haori is amazing. It’s a lush, crisp taffeta silk in a great teal, red, black and white stripe. The sleeves are deliciously long, it’s nice to finally have a haori I can wear with my vintage kimono.

The other great thing about vintage haori is the lining fabric they used to use. Often times they were much more vivid and crazy than the haori themselves.

My last addition were two obijime.

A cute, straightforward two-sided red and black casual obijime

And an adorable vivid fluorescent red-orange obijime with pastel hakata detail. I’m really loving these hakata obiage I keep finding. Another great thing about this one is that I can wear obidome with it :D

Overall, I’m really happy with everything I got, and I am looking forward to sharing the other special piece soon!

Going Bananas!

I’d been trying to abstain from buying anything new, honestly! I was just idly browsing ebay when I found this beauty. I need to learn not to Windows-shop, it just leads to me spending money I don’t have!

Basho, or banana leaf, is a bit of a weird motif. I’d associate it with summer – tropical muggy climates and whatnot, but since it’s not native to Japan I keep getting conflicting information about seasonality. It’s lined, so definitely between fall and spring. I plan to just wear the hell out if it whenever.

The leaves are yuzen-dyed in vivid shades of pink – from a deep raspberry to a pale cotton candy, with some icy blue accents, all highlighted subtly in gold. The sleeves are deliciously long, almost two feet. Taisho length, but it’s definitely a more modern piece. The lining is pale cream, with dark pink around the edges.

I’ve got no idea what I am going to pair it up with yet, but you can bet there will be photos when I figure it out!

Cream Temple and Mountain Houmongi

No bad puns today, nothing remotely good was coming to mind. You can thank me later. ;)

I bought this one on a whim. The listing showed a few serious stains, but they’re all on the inside panel and are hidden when it’s worn. Also, because of the stains, I got it for a steal. It’s a little small on me (story of my life), but it’s so detailed and beautiful that I don’t mind.

It’s got a gorgeous temple and mountain design, with water around the hem, and flowers, glorious flowers! Every time I look, I find something new and interesting. So far I’ve found multitudinous grasses, plum, chrysanthemum, iris, pines, peonies, bamboo, pawlonia, maple.. well, you get the point!


I paired it up with an equally festive and floral orange nagoya obi, and blue and green accessories to bring out the water around the hem. Also, say hi to my kitty, Tribble. She also wears white tabi!

Bingata-style blue komon

This was a gift from the ever-lovely Naomi. I’d been meaning to wear it for a while, and had planned this outfit for a work event last weekend, but unfortunately I was sick as a dog, and ended up not leaving the house. Today the weather was nice and I had some time, so I figured I’d give the outfit some air, even if I wasn’t going anywhere.

The kimono is beautiful – deep rich indigo-type blue with patterns of woven fences and flowers. It’s new, but has a very vintage feel with the long sleeves. It’s also deliciously large, it gives me nearly a full wingspan, wraps well around my hips, and is long enough to get a great ohashori.

I paired it up with my red hakata hanhaba obi and a green sayagata (key/swastika motif) haneri, plain white tabi, and my black ukon geta with green hanao. Wearing them made me realize how urgently I need to adjust the straps, after a few minutes they were digging into my feet and causing hideous pain. I’d put the red headband on to keep my overly-long bangs out of my face while doing my makeup, but realized the red lips and red satin hairband gave the whole outfit a really cute retro feel.

A huge thank you to my lovely neighbour Tom taking the pictures in his yard. :)

Coat-ed in silk.

One of the questions I often get asked from people not into kimono is “What do you do when it’s cold?”. It’s a perfectly valid question – can you imagine stuffing those sleeves or a big fat obi musubi into, say, a wool pea coat? It would look profoundly silly, not to mention how rumpled you’d be when you got to your destination!

Thankfully, it does also get cold, wet, and snowy in Japan, so there is a solution. Haori are a form of jacket available in multiple thicknessess for all times of year, and michiyuki are longer coats, typically for cooler weather and precipitation. Not only are they practical, they’re also a great way to “finish” an outfit.

Purple “meisen” haori


I love the vibrant colours and vintage feel of this piece. I refer to it as “meisen” because I’m honestly not sure whether it’s true meisen that got wet and bled slightly, or it’s dyed to look like meisen. The edges aren’t quite sharp enough to have been woven. I got this one for a steal because of the water spot on the back. While it’s pretty apparent in the photos (due to the flash), it’s nearly invisible in person.

Black haori with yuzen flowers


A very nice, simple black haori with nice red kiku on the back. It’s probably the dressiest-looking haori I’ve got.

“Wrought Iron” batik haori


I love this haori. So much. From a distance, it looks like a black wrought iron fence, covered with spiderwebs. Up close, it’s dappled with vivid colour. It goes with so much stuff.

Celadon green “Tale of Genji” haori


Love it or hate it, The Tale of Genji is one of the most enduring and well-known stories ever, and motifs inspired by the stories within it are relatively common. This is a fun haori, I find weird new things on it every time I look at it.

Synthetic red haori with white flecks

Pretty straightforward. It’s red. It has white dots. It’s spot-washable. Yay!

Bamboo cluster ivory haori


I probably paid way more for this than I should have, but I couldn’t resist. It was at a booth at a matsuri this summer, and I just fell stupid in love with it. The silk is so amazingly buttery soft and rich, and although it’s hard to see in the photos, the bamboo leaves all have tiny patterns in them. They’re in many different shades of green, gold and bronze, and one of the greens perfectly matches my mint-green iromuji.

Red and black graphic michiyuki


Amelie‘s loss was my gain in this case. She purchased this michiyuki, and it was too long for her. I am nearly six feet tall, and it’s very rare that anything fits me properly, let alone being too long, so imagine my shock when I tried this on and it covered me nearly to my ankles! The fact that it’s red and black only made it even more awesome to me.