#monoKimono Challenge – Summer White

This may be the last weekend in August, but we’re still suffering the heat here. With the humidity factored in, they’re predicting temperatures in the high 30s again this week. So I decided to run with some cool summer white usumono coordination for this month’s monochrome outfit, even though I did a white/cream one not long ago with the wedding ensemble.

I often find myself breaking the rules a bit with these monochrome outfits. I guess I figure that if I’m playing with one rule, I may as well play with them all. So this outfit is sort of all over the place formality-wise and season-wise, but I really wanted to keep it all in that warm white/cream family with yellow accents to make the bells on the kimono pop out.

Also, if I’m being honest, I just don’t have much variety when it comes to actual summer-weight accessories, so I had to use normal ones. Maybe I should limit myself to only buying usumono for a while. I’ve already cut down on my buying habits lately, this would be even better motivation to stick to that.

I quite like how this turned out, even if it does have a lot “wrong” with it. And it wasn’t too terribly overwhelming to put together even in this oppressive weather. Win-win!

Don’t forget, there’s only a few days left to enter the stencil giveaway!

Items used in this coordination

Kits-Mas Day 10 – Eye of the Tiger

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…

Okay, I confess. Today’s coordination has absolutely nothing to do with the theme. I initially had a completely different outfit planned for tonight, more red and green. I had a long, tiring day at work. One of those days where nothing explicitly terrible happens, but lots of little things go very slightly wrong. I was already kind of dreading having to redress and photograph the mannequin before I’d even left work, but I knew I would persevere and do it.

However, this kimono arrived while I was at work. I actually won it back at the beginning of November, and it’s been in customs limbo for months. Part of me had already given it up as a lost cause. So imagine how excited I was when I found out it had been delivered! It completely changed my mood, and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked. When I bought it, I had suspicions that it would work well with my “tiger’s-eye” tsuke obi, and I’m really happy with the pairing. It also helped motivate me knowing I wouldn’t have to wrestle with an obi. While dressing a mannequin does have its advantages, it also has some disadvantages compared to dressing a person – there’s no passive resistance so you constantly have to be pulling fabric while pushing the form away. In my exhausted state, the lessened effort really appealed to me.

I think the obi works not only colour-wise but also thematically in a way. While I know the motif on the kimono is whirlpools and waves, I can’t help but see eyes with really lush eyelashes! The blue accessories just tied it all together neatly, pulling out the hits of pale blue in the wave design. I really like how it all worked out, and I kind of wish I could leave it on the mannequin for longer. Maybe I’ll put it back for a bit after this project is over.

Kits-Mas Day 5 – Festive Florals

Today is sort of a double-whammy. I know I said I’d only commit to doing the first Fudangi Friday of each month, but I figured since I was doing this project anyway I may as well do something that’s applicable to both challenges. These casual but still festive florals fit the bill perfectly. I realised while I was plotting out coordinations that these two pieces I have both fit into the colour scheme I’ve got going for Christmas and have somewhat seasonally appropriate motifs. Kiku is generally a late fall/November flower, and ume is a late winter/February sort of thing, but since we’re sort of smack-dab in the middle of the season I feel like putting them together works out well.

The green haneri and obi help pull out the bits of green foliage in the haori, but red and creamy white still dominate this outfit, which is fine with me. The Christmassy aspect of this one feels much more subtle to me than yesterday’s, for example, but in the right context it feels no less thematic. This outfit wouldn’t feel out of place at a relaxed holiday gathering, but it also wouldn’t feel out of place at any other event during the winter, even if it’s not a holiday-specific thing. I like that. It’s versatile!

Also, I don’t know if anyone other than me noticed this but the poor mannequin has been progressively sinking lower and lower lately and I finally got fed up and tightened her up. Considering one of my primary considerations when buying kimono is my own height (newer readers who are mostly familiar with the mannequin and not photos of me might not be aware but I’m 179cm or 5’10” tall) so as she shrank, the kimono I was putting on her were getting longer and more unruly XD

Lastly, here’s a better photo of today’s furry guest star, since in the main ones he’s kind of hiding behind everything. Poor Vinnie, can’t catch a break!

Green on cream hakata hanhaba

This is one of those lessons that reminds me that auction photos can be very inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely obi, a nice crisp hakata in a forest green on cream, but in the auction photos it looked very pink. I fell in love with the idea of green on pink. Thankfully I only paid a penny plus shipping for it, and I am sure I will find a good use for it, but it was a reminder not to get too excited or attached to things until they’re actually in your hands.

Green-on-white hakata hanhaba

Green-on-white hakata hanhaba

Hey, hey, wait a minute, Mister Postman!

Sometimes, I suspect the mail carriers in this area really dislike me. I’m constantly getting big packages. Today, I really surpassed myself with three separate deliveries! One, a book called When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan, arrived in the regular post and I will be writing a review of it when I have time to read it properly. First impressions are very positive though.

The other packages were larger, and more unwieldy, and the mail carrier was kind enough to leave them with my neighbours since I was at the cardiologist. Getting home was like having an unexpected birthday, or Christmas come early! So much pretty stuff! Since there are so many things included here, I have used smaller-than-usual photographs. Please click on them to view big versions, they will open in a new window.

Black zori with red chirimen accents

One of the few things I actually truly needed was another pair of casual, comfortable zori. Nearly all the footwear I owned prior to this was very dressy, all in shiny metallic vinyl or silk brocade. These fit nicely and I absolutely love the colour combo and the little chirimen silk insert in the stacked heel. They were a total bargain at $10!

Grey purse with kiku and black trim

This purse, and the one below it, were being sold by one of the sellers I regularly buy kimono from. They’re modern, and made of heavy denim-like cotton, but the designs are definitely kimono-inspired. This one in particular I can definitely see using every day. I love the contrast of the soft, girly fabric and the hard leatherette and metal details.

Red purse with ume and cream trim

This purse was bought at the same time as the previous one. It’s much bigger than I anticipated (I suspect the measurements listed were off), but definitely no complaints there! It’s fun and bright and while I don’t anticipate using it every day, it will definitely be a way to add a splash of colour and personality to a quiet outfit, either kimono or western clothing.

Now comes the find of the month, a bundle of five vintage obi for a total of twelve dollars (plus S&H). They were listed as “scrap fabric,” but as you’ll see four of them are completely wearable as-is, and the fifth one I am going to attempt to salvage and turn into a two-part easy obi.

Vintage cream nagoya obi with fans, thread spindles, and flowers

This is the main reason I bid on the bundle in the first place. I am just head over heels in love with this obi. The colours and style of yuzen make me suspect it’s late Taisho or early Showa, and even if it’s not it still evokes the feel nicely. I plan to wear it with my indigo Taisho houmongi sometime soon.

Mustard obi with flowers

I openly admit I am not very fond of the base colour of this obi, it’s a sort of a strange gold/mustard, but the woven flowers are very pretty and versatile, so I’m sure I will find a good use for it.

Cream obi with orange and silver waves

I’ve wanted something with a smooth wave motif for a while now, and this more than satisfies my urge. It’s vibrant and graphic and I like it very much.

White obi with red and gold flowers

The auction photos really didn’t do this one justice. It looked like a cute but relatively boring obi with some gold weaving and round dots. In person, both the gold and the red have such a rich silky shimmer to them that they look like rubies set in gold filigree.

Blue obi with herons

This was dubbed the Narwhal Bird Obi by my friend Kansai_Gal and I can totally see why XD. Unfortunately, it’s also the obi that is severely damaged – the silk is shredded to ribbons right above the folded area where the main heron is. Hopefully, I will be able to carefully cut it and sew it into a two-part obi. I will record my attempts and write an entry about that sometime in the near future. If worse comes to worst, I will simply turn it into haneri and possibly an obiage. The fabric will get used, one way or another.