Odori Otoko-Poi

I bought this dance kimono on a whim a while back, because I loved the graphic quality of it. The seller had listed it as a woman’s kimono but I was fairly certain it was actually a men’s dance piece. My suspicions were confirmed when it arrived. I don’t hold it against the seller, they list tons of items every single day and I’m sure it was an honest mistake. I was still very happy because it’s so fun and bold. I knew I wanted to do an otoko-poi or tomboyish look with it, and I wanted to keep the colour scheme really simple, so I pulled out my tenga obi with a gold side and stuck to black accessories. I would have preferred an all-black or monochrome haneri but since I don’t own one I thought the pink flowers on this one were neutral enough for the time being.

This is my first men’s kimono and I was actually quite surprised by how different putting it on was. I’m so used to slack in the collar, the extra length and ohashori, and the open sleeves that this was much more of a challenge than I’d initially anticipated. Despite that, eventually I’d like to try to wear this outfit, but I’d like a paler gold obi and a solid black collar first. I am curious to see if wearing a men’s kimono feels as different as using it on the mannequin did.

By the way, I am still on vacation, I just took these photos before I left so there wouldn’t be too huge a content gap while I was out of town :) I’ve got a few more things in the works, but this will be the last mannequin coordination until I get home. Thanks for understanding! ❤️

This One’s For the Birds

Thank you all for sticking with me during my unanticipated little hiatus! Life is finally calming down, and I wanted to celebrate the new year with a new outfit on the mannequin.

I got this hawk obi on eBay a few months ago for a whopping $9. I certainly didn’t need a new obi, but I loved how flashy it was and it was too much of a bargain to pass up. I love how it looks with my blue embroidered irotomesode and red accessories. I feel like this is a wonderfully bright and auspicious outfit to ring in the year. The obi is also brand new and very stiff, which makes it a pleasure to tie. It keeps its shape beautifully. I can’t wait to see what else I can pair it up with in the future.

I hope this year brings you all plenty of joy, health, luck, and fortune. Last year was a bit of a wreck for a lot of folks, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed for great things to come.

I will be going out of town this week and next but when I get back I am going to do my best to stick to a regular schedule. I have more coordinations planned as well as some reviews and a giveaway in the works! Please check back regularly and if you want a quick and efficient way to be notified of updates, follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Tokai-Dos and Tokai-Don’ts

I’ve had this 53 Stations of the Tokaido tsukesage for a long time now. I’ve never worn it myself, but I did put it on my friend Frances one day. The obi, by comparison, was an absolute impulse purchase a few weeks ago – I was buying another item from the seller and this was only $10 so I couldn’t say no! Especially since it’s a lovely stylisation of Station 49 – Saka-no-shita, which is a station I don’t have on any items in my collection yet. For the price, its absolutely gorgeous. The bulk of the design is woven in, and then touches are pulled out with beautifully lush embroidery to add depth and texture. It’s a bit slippery to tie, but definitely not the most challenging obi I’ve had to work with.

Generally the rules of kitsuke say not to match the motif on your kimono to the motif on your obi, and to contrast the colour of one against the other. However, when I saw these two pieces next to each other, my mind drifted back to my first experiment in very monochrome and matchy outfits, and I wanted to give it another shot. Rules are an excellent starting point, but sometimes breaking them with forethought and intention can produce some amazing results.

I’ve always loved the peachy pink sunset accents on the kimono and decided to make them pop with the accessories. I feel like this resulted in an overall very calm and serene outfit with a bit of punch, and I love it!

I do apologise for the quality of the photos today; my camera was being difficult so I used my mobile phone camera. It worked, but it’s not ideal. However, I make no apologies for the utterly terrible word-play in the title.

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