May the Fourth Be With You

It’s no secret that a huge part of Star Wars’ visual identity owes much to traditional Japanese aesthetics. From Darth Vader’s samurai-like helmet to the kimono-inspired robes of both the Jedi and Sith, the influence is apparent in many facets of the Universe. May the Fourth is known as Star Wars Day to many people, a play on words about the date sounding so much like the traditional May The Force (be with you) greeting.

I had been wanting to do a Jedi-inspired kitsuke using beige and brown toned items ever since I did the Star Trek themed one a while back. What can I say, I am an equal opportunity fangirl! I found these two iromuji for a song a while back and thought today would be the perfect day to do it. I tried to keep the actual dressing manner quite traditional, aside from taking the liberty of using a second kimono as a long over-robe, instead of finding a haori. I wanted something I could try to fake the appearance of a hood with, and something that would flow to the ground. I used my spider obi flipped inside-out to get a rough-textured beige obi, and a brown mottled leather obijime to replicate the belts usually worn by Jedi. The finishing touch was one of my Jedi symbol earrings clipped to the obijime as a little decoration.

I really like how well this all came together. It’s really evident to see the kimono origins of the Jedi robes when it’s all set up like this, and now I’m very tempted to adapt this outfit to wear to a convention. Maybe I’ll hike up the hem and wear brown leggings and boots underneath it for comfort and ease of movement. Of course, this means I’ll have to get myself a lightsaber!

Steampunk Adventuress

I was so pleased with the end result of using the high-necked Victorian-style blouse under the pink iromuji a few weeks ago, I thought I would try it again! Rather than simply re-hash the outfit with a different kimono, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a full Steampunk-style ensemble. I purchased this corset recently for a cosplay, but it seemed like the perfect jumping-off point for this outfit. While I use it fairly frequently, this outfit screamed for my Gothic Victorian Landscape houmongi. A ruffly black crinoline and a brown faux-fur stole pulled everything together neatly, and a brooch from Scotland was the perfect finishing touch. I couldn’t be happier with how this one came together. I could totally imagine myself wearing this outfit – with a fabulous hat and knee-high boots – on the front deck of an airship, travelling to Japan to do some more shopping!

They followed me home, I swear.

If you’re an avid collector, it can get to the point where kimono and related items really do just start following you home. As I mentioned in this entry, I came home with a bunch of kimono in my suitcase, despite my best efforts. One of them is a gorgeous Tokaido piece I’d actually purchased on eBay and had shipped to my friend Jamie, due to the postal strike, and it will be getting its own entry. Here are the other two.

Mauve-brown pussywillow komon
Pussywillow Komon

Pussywillow Komon

We were out browsing and shopping in Soho and Jamie started getting amusingly evasive and vague about our next destination. I was so touched when we ended up at Kiteya, a beautiful gem of a shop. The front of the store is filled with wonderful Japanese handicrafts, jewelry, art objects, etc. The back room has two big comfy chairs (which made the rest of our group very happy) and a bunch of kimono (which made me very happy). The service was wonderful, everyone was very friendly and helpful. There were some incredibly gorgeous vintage pieces, but their prices were pretty much gallery-standard, and while they were not unreasonable they’re more than an online bargain-hunter like myself is used to paying, and the only piece I was tempted to justify a big price on (Taisho houmongi with gorgeous peacock design) was just waaaaay too short for me. I was about to give up when I noticed this modern synthetic piece buried under a bunch of other things.

This colour is not only impossible to describe, it was impossible to photograph too. It’s sort of a dusty mauvey brown taupe something I dunno. A pinkish brown, a brownish pink, I’m not sure? But I do know it’s completely adorable. I love pussywillows, they remind me of my grandmother, who always had a bundle in her living room. The ones on here are very adorable too, in soft springy shades of pink and blue. It’s a nice versatile spring kimono, and I look forward to wearing it. I needed more wearable, unlined pieces anyway.

Black tsukesage-komon with diamond fan design
Black fan tsukesage-komon

Black fan tsukesage-komon

This is kind of a funky oddity – it’s a half lined komon but arranged in very specific stripes, there’s even a seam across the hips to help ensure the pattern falls properly. I actually won this awesome piece in a raffle at the street fair mentioned a few entries back, and it’s not only unique and quirky, but it fits me really well. It’s so awesome. It’s half-lined in bright red, but the top is unlined which will help keep it airy and breathable. I also love how the design from afar just looks like little diamonds, but up close they’re actually fans. It’s so charming.

Why being my friend is dangerous, the sequel!

My dear friend Elise (whom I have known since kindergarten!) was back in town and spent a few days at my house recently, and I forcibly subjected her to kitsuke, as I have done with other friends in the past. I asked if she had a preference for a particular kimono, and she told me she really liked the gothic landscape houmongi, so I decided to just pair it with the obi that it was bundled with when I bought it.

It’s not the most adventurous outfit I’ve ever put together, but it works well and suits her, so I am happy. Her kitsuke is not fabulous, but for such a slim girl, she’s surprisingly curvy (tiiiiny little waist!) and I didn’t want to subject someone who had never worn kimono before to really tight himo and tons of padding, especially not in the murderous heat we’ve been dealing with lately. So everything is a little bit shifty, but since we weren’t actually going anywhere I was not too concerned.

From the Archives – two casual fall outfits

Hello, dear readers! I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately, life has just been kind of hectic. A few weeks ago I went to a comic convention and had grand plans to wear a kimono. Unfortunately, as I was getting ready in the morning I stepped on a metal belt buckle and the hook that holds it closed embedded itself into the bottom of my foot. I’ve been limping around since then in a state of abject misery. Thankfully, it is getting better! I am also going on vacation in a week, so I’ve been trying to hop around getting everything ready for that. Crossing my fingers that my foot will be healed by then!

To fill the lull, I thought I’d share a couple of older fall coordinations I put together a while back. The weather is getting cooler here and the trees are starting to turn, so it seems like a good time for these motifs :)

Green komon with swirling water and kiku

Buttery soft sage-green silk with dusty brick-coloured kiku. I really love this kimono, and looking at it here I wonder why I’ve never worn it out. I found this outfit very boring when I first put it on, but in retrospect I think it’s a really nice subdued combination.

Brick-red wool komon

If this outfit doesn’t scream “fall”, I don’t know what does. The kimono is wool, which even feels appropriate texturally. It’s a warm red colour with woven lines in brown, mustardy-yellow, and a few in green and a pale icy blue to balance it out. The obi has a motif of changing maple leaves, which emphasizes the season further.

Hopefully when I get back from my trip my life will settle down a bit and I’ll have more time to dress up and more shinies to share with you all!