Purple embroidered hakama

Hakama, those pleated skirt-like garments worn over kimono, are one of those things I always sort of accepted as something I would never own. The standard modern lengths for hakama are between 91 and 97 cm, and I'd need at least 102cm to fit me properly. The few pairs that were long enough that I'd seen were incredibly, terribly out of my budget, and also usually a boring black or navy.

In rushes Kansai_gal to the rescue. She found these for me and sent them to me, and I am absolutely smitten! They're a gorgeous rich purple colour, a wonderful washable synthetic, and have charming embroidered mums, pinks, and bellflowers on the hem. The best part of all, however, is that they are a whopping 103 centimetres long. Almost too long for me! Amazing!

Hakama are a wonderful solution to kimono that may be a bit too short, or don't wrap across the hips properly. They're also a lot more forgiving than a standard kimono and obi might be. They're generally considered fairly youthful and casual, but as I've said time and time again I am hideously immature and tend to dress younger than I should.

A quick note about these photos – no, I have not repainted my wall pink. This shade of purple is notoriously hard to capture with digital photos, so I had to colour correct the photos to make the actual item accurate. The wall got distorted in the process XD

Purple embroidered hakama

Purple embroidered hakama Purple embroidered hakama Purple embroidered hakama

I am very excited to get to wear these, hopefully to a small local convention this weekend with my black kofurisode.

Haneri – the finishing touches

In my mind, one of the items in any kimono wardrobe that really helps inject personal style and flair into an outfit are haneri, or decorative under-robe collars. They are sewn onto the juban to protect it from dirt and oil as well as to add a coordinating colour and design. By default, most modern juban have a white collar already attached, but you can always sew a more brightly coloured or textured one over top.

White collars are proper and traditional on more formal and mature outfits, such as with kurotomesode, iromuji, and mofuku. However, on younger outfits involving furisode, or any outfit involving komon, tsukesage, or houmongi, the right haneri really adds a visual punch. I may even consider wearing them myself with iromuji with the right accessories (and to the right venue), and I have a few that are primarily white with some metallic accents that I wear with kurotomesode. However, I would never wear one with mofuku (funeral wear) as I feel it would be frivolous and disrespectful.

I have a relatively small collection of “real” haneri, but I have a lot of handmade and improvised ones as well. Really, any fabric that is lightweight and long enough to cover the juban collar will work fine.

White with seigaiha
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This is a beautiful and delicate white collar with pink and mauve seigaiha (stylized wave) and little squares. The white silk also has a subtle reflective fleck texture.

Mauve with spiders
Naomi got this one for me to go with my infamous spider obi. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up!
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Black with ume and bamboo
I love the slightly vintage feeling of this one. I also really like dark haneri in general, especially with casual outfits.
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Blue with sakura
A sort of subtle pastel one. I have an outfit in mind for this but I haven't had the opportunity to wear it yet.
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Shibori silks
These are actually scraps of silk Naomi sent me, but they are the perfect size to wear as haneri. I love how vibrant they are.
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Handmade cotton selection
These are hemmed quilting cotton I got in a trade with someone on the Immortal Geisha forums. They've all got a definite Japanese feel to them (except the striped one which is just freaking adorable) and look great with a bunch of different outfits.
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Red Kiku Tsukesage

I originally bought this kimono to go with a specific obi, my Stations of the Tokaido Hakata obi. It's a warm, rich brick red that really screams fall, which goes very well with the delicate kiku motif saraga nui embroidery around the hem.

It's a much more mature kimono than my tastes usually veer to, but I think sometimes it's nice to have simple, classic things to fall back on. It's also great for dressing people who may be older, or may not be comfortable with really crazy vivid vintage kimono designs.

The embroidery is very delicate. I've come to notice that between this and my shifuku houmongi, I'm starting to amass a collection of really intricate french knot embroidered kimono. Perhaps I can use this as an excuse to buy more!

I've only had the chance to wear it once, when I went out to visit Amelie, but hopefully I'll have more appropriate and seasonal opportunities to wear it in the future.

Shifuku and Usagi Houmongi

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've technically already seen this particular kimono, when I wore it out to the park (and then subsequently dinner, but I did not take photos of that) a few weeks back. I finally had some time to take proper catalogue photographs, and it's a piece that really needs to be appreciated in detail.

The kimono is a subtle pastel gradient. I honestly did not even notice the gentle lavender at the shoulders until I hung it up to take the reference photos. The gold is also really soft and gentle. I don't typically like large areas of gold leaf on a kimono, but on this one it's not in-your-face.

However, the real magic is the embroidery on the front panels. I was informed that they are shifuku, or silk pouches used to protect items used during tea ceremony. The embroidery is done entirely in french knots, a technique known as saraga nui. I cannot imagine the time, patience, and skill required to do this.

The most special shifuku in my eyes is by far the one with the adorable white rabbit on it. It's the sole reason I bought the kimono. He's just so charming and quirky, on what is otherwise a very subdued and mature kimono.

Recent Acquisitions – Obiage

Nothing exciting this morning, just managed to photograph some new obiage I got recently. I bid on a lot of three specifically to get one, but lucked out because the other two are nicer in person than they looked in photographs.

Peach rinzu obiage

This looked like a gross fluorescent orange in the auction photos – in person it's a lovely delicate peach colour. The rinzu's got a great subtle design of sayagata design and multi-seasonal flowers.

Vivid pink chirimen obiage

I desperately needed more casual obiage, so this was a nice addition. It's very pink, but I'll find places to make it work, I'm sure.

Lavender obiage with embroidery

This is the main reason I bid on the whole bundle. I was captivated by the tiny, delicate embroidery. In the auction photos it looked like a sort of a drab grey, and had what seemed to be some very visible stains. I was pleasantly surprised when it actually arrived, the grey was actually a warm dove grey, and there's some areas of a soft lavender too. The stains, so prominent in the auction, are barely visible at all in person.

What really makes this special though, is the embroidery. Each end has three fan-shaped areas filled with plants – one has ume, one has irises, and one has pines.

As a bonus, here's a random picture of my box of obiage. I just really like how they look when they're all folded and organized… not that it ever stays this way for long XD

I've got several kimono in the mail right now, so hopefully I'll have some nice new outfits to post in the near future, and yes, I'm still going to continue the series on size challenges in dressing. Just needed a break and a “mindless” entry to post.