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.

Chidori-ble! Chidori irotomesode.

Yes, that title was an attempt at a play on chidori and adorable. Sometimes my witticisms just kind of.. fail. Please accept it.

This is another one of those sort of beginner fluke things. I’ve always loved the chidori, or plover, motif. I think they are pudgy and adorable and quirky. When I saw this, I was struck by how cute and graphic it is, but didn’t really think more into it than that.

It is an iro-tomesode, a formal short-sleeved kimono primarily for older women. Usually they are far more subdued, and have simple soft floral type motifs, they’re worn for weddings and whatnot. It’s rare to see one with such a vibrant, graphic design, especially one that comes up so high. It does allow a great view of the goofy little birds though!

It was Erica who first suggested it may have been a stage item. It had never occurred to me because it is actual silk, not synthetic, and it’s fairly short, obviously not meant to be worn trailing. However, it may have been intended for a woman in a stronger or more manly role, I don’t know. One thing that does support this theory is that the kamon on it, a form of stylized tachibana, are apparently the kamon of a dance school in Kyoto. If anyone has more information about this, I’d love to know!

As for wearing this piece, I’ve done something a little different. At first, I wore it “normally”, pairing it up with a pale cream tsuke-obi and my awesome wrought-iron haori. Please forgive how I look in these photos, I’d just spent 20 minutes chasing a hornet out of the living room before I took them!

Quite some time later, however, I decided to see if I could live up to the stage-y nature of the piece, and dressed in an intentionally boyish style. Padded my tummy, tied my obi low on my hips, the whole nine yards. The obi is actually a hakata hanhaba obi folded in half to emulate the look of a man’s kaku obi. I had way too much fun styling myself for this one.


Ladies, lock up your daughters!

The one that started it all…

Have you ever bought something on somewhat of an impulse that you both cherish and regret? I sure as hell have! I love this piece to bits and I’m so proud I snagged it before I knew what I was doing, but my wallet still holds it partially responsible for this habit hobby.

Back in 2003, I’d toyed with the idea of buying a kimono for some time, due most likely to my paternal grandmother’s appreciation of Asian antiques and textiles. She’s not been with us for a very long time, but I’m sure she would heartily encourage this silly hobby. But I digress..

As I mentioned, I’d waffled with the idea but did essentially no research. A smart person would have probably started with a yukata or something, but I honestly had no idea of types, formality, eras, motifs, etc. I just saw this beast and fell head over heels. I had to have it.

It’s a gorgeous early-Showa era houmongi. The silk is thick and rich and delicious, and the design is sweeping streams of spider-style kiku in white with faint black and gold accents. The dramatic, graphic contrast is what drew me to it in the first place. The sleeves are long, not quite Taisho-era, but still elegant and draping, and the lining is a vivid red.


I love the subtle black to grey yuzen dyeing on the leaves so much.

I’ve paired it up with a black, red, and gold formal obi, but I’d like to try it with a softer, more vintage style at some point. Though, I have to say I love how it looks with the contrast of black, and how the red makes my skin and hair look. Is that conceited? XD