Art Gallery – Spring by Tsubame-Kimonoya

This precious piece was done by Tsubame-Kimonoya on Tumblr. I love how she was inspired by the adorable dog Luka in my original photo from Gofuku no Hi last year, and added not one but two dogs! The only thing better than one dog is two dogs. And the details in my outfit are perfectly spot-on.

The weather here in Montreal is finally turning a corner. We got snow on Friday but it’s been lovely since then, and this art feels like a welcome breath of the spring that’s to come.

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 2: Modern and Monochrome

For this week’s outfit featuring my mint iromuji, I wanted a big departure from the very standard coordination from last week. This adorable kitty haneri is a very deep rich teal, and it struck me that I had a bunch of similar items in various shades of the same colour. I think pairing the iromuji up with them and using cooler lighting than last week’s photo really drives home the point that I was trying to make, that one kimono can look incredibly different with different accessories, and in different situations. Surrounded by the cool tones of the haneri, obi, and hakama the kimono itself leans much more towards the blue side of things than it did against the gold and lavender of last week.

So far, I think this experiment is going swimmingly! I look forward to seeing what else I can do with this piece.

One Kimono Four Ways

Back to School, Meiji-Style!

I have always loved the look of the traditional Meiji/Taisho era schoolgirl outfits; the youthfulness of the hakama, the timeless feel of the yagasuri kimono, the modern and almost masculine touches of little leather ankle boots. When I splurged on this teal hakama a few months back, I’d imagined pairing it with my red and white yagasuri komon. What I hadn’t thought of was including this vintage taffeta haori I love to death, but as soon as I saw the three pieces sitting together in a pile I knew I’d found the perfect finishing touch to this outfit and with lots of schools starting this week, it seemed like an ideal time to pull it all together.

I knew I wanted to use a black obi to help anchor everything, but I don’t actually own a black hanhaba obi. Thankfully, because I was just dressing the mannequin, I could fudge things a little. I used the waist part of a two-piece tsuke-obi and a big obi-makura in the back to give the hakama something to anchor to. The plum motif of the haneri might not be totally seasonally appropriate for a “back to school” outfit, but the colours felt so right I had to run with it.

Aside from the haori (which is incredibly narrow, even by vintage standards), these pieces are all quite large which means I can totally fit into them. The hakama especially makes it easier and more comfortable for me, so expect to see this coordination on yours truly at some point in the near future. A cute pair of ankle boots would make things easy and still be appropriate to the ensemble. I just need to invest in a proper black hanhaba obi and then find somewhere to go and hope that the cooperates!

Vintage style with modern convenience

After Gofuku no Hi, I realised owning at least one other hakama would greatly expand my kimono wardrobe. Even though I’m still far too chunky to fit into most of my kimono properly, they do a great job of hiding a less-than-ideal hip wrap. I found a lovely modern teal polyester hakama from ebay seller Yoshihori and snatched it up. The seller had embroidered ones too, which were utterly lovely, but significantly more expensive. So I decided to be reasonable and buy the plain one. So imagine my surprise when the seller contacted me, incredibly apologetic, telling me the plain one was sold out and would I like the embroidered one instead, for no extra charge? Of course I said yes!

A few days after I bought it, but before it had arrived in the mail, a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was selling off a large chunk of her collection, including a gorgeous mauve kofurisode that was clearly meant to be worn with hakama. The colours were gorgeous, and it had a wonderful sort of large-scale Taisho-inspired feel to it. I knew it had to come live with me, and be paired up with the new hakama as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Initially, I’d planned to wear the ensemble to Otakuthon, Montreal’s big anime convention. However, it’s in the middle of August and we’re already regularly breaking the high 30s temperature-wise. Even in a heavily air-conditioned convention centre, there’s no way I could wear synthetic awase and not die. So I decided to put the outfit together to see how it looks. Everything is very heavily decorated with sakura, so of course I chose a coordinating haneri. I waffled a bit between yellow and purple obi, but decided to use the purple so it sort of disappeared. The kimono and hakama are busy enough, the outfit didn’t need another level of contrast.

I know I say this a lot, but I love love love how this turned out. I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear it. Maybe for my birthday, in November?

着物着ます – Gofuku no Hi 2016

Today is 着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), a worldwide day to wear kimono and share love of kimono. Last year, I cheated a bit by dressing my mannequin. This year, I decided I had to go big or go home. And big is the operative word. I dug out the widest kimono I own, which happens to be the lily furisode I got from Jess last year. The wingspan on it is fantastic, but it was still a bit narrow in the hips, so I dug out my favourite lifesaver, my hakama. I really need to invest in a few more. The obi is actually the reverse of the adorable whale obi I got last week, the pink side happened to perfectly echo the pink of the flowers on the furisode. I had basted a soft cream haneri with flowers on it onto my collar, but in the process of wrestling with everything to get dressed I popped the stitches and it got all wrinkled, so I just removed it and stuck with the white.

I know that look a little rumpled and a little out of practice, but this is the first time I’ve worn kimono since September of 2013, and size issues aside, it felt fantastic. I’m so happy I fought through things and got out there. It’s encouraging to know I can still do this. I’m not going to buy anything else until I invest in another hakama or two, since they help enable me to wear kimono right now. There are a few on eBay I’ve got my eye on. I also made a friend at the park! His name is Luka and he loves to roll around in the grass.

Did you dress for gofuku no hi? If you did, I’d love to see photos! :D