Outfit of the Week: Pretty Poppies

I really should rename this feature to Outfit of the Whenever I Have Time, but I digress. You may or may not know this, but my mother’s name is Poppy. Because of this, we have a lot of poppy-themed stuff in our house, and for the longest time I had made it a goal of mine to find a kimono with poppies on it. When I found this one, I knew I had to have it. I love the slightly abstract, retro style of the dye-work. I actually did dress my mother in this once, but nobody managed to take photos, so I decided to put it on Tsukiko. I went with a simple red tsuke-obi to highlight the lovely red of the poppies, and a brown and green obijime to echo the khaki green in the hem. I also used a green haneri to reinforce that green accent. The obiage is actually a much darker, richer purple, closer to the eggplant colour of the kimono, but no matter what I tried, it photographed as this bright electric indigo. Oh well!

Gofuku no Hi, a day late and a dollar short.

Yesterday, May 29, was  着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), or Wear Kimono Day. It is a day to encourage kimono enthusiasts around the world to get out and wear kimono and have fun. Unfortunately, yesterday was an absolute no-go for me. I had work, I wasn’t feeling well to begin with, and it was incredibly hot and humid. So I decided to dress Tsukiko today instead.

I have been dying to pair this basho (banana leaf) houmongi and kikyou hakata obi for years now, and just never found the right opportunity until now. This kimono is one of the few that actually still fits me properly, but it’s still much more comfortable for me to dress the mannequin. I absolutely love the hints of icy blue in the leaves on the kimono and decided to accessorise in the same colour, to emphasise the cool feeling. I love how this outfit turned out, nearly monochrome but with the hits of blue for punch.

Royal blue tsukesage/houmongi with kiku and botan

I found this beauty on eBay, and was initially drawn to it because of its length – a whopping 69 inches or 175 centimetres. At my height, finding long kimono is always exciting. The thumbnail makes it look quite odd – almost unfinished, like there are just big white blobs on a blue surface, and I think this worked in my favour, because nobody else bid on it.

Up close, however, the white “blobs” are incredibly soft, delicate botan with gentle pearly grey shading and gold centres, and then these interesting solid white kiku. They are definitely hand-painted with white and grey dye, not unfinished. The contrast, though, gives the kimono a very bold, modern look while still being soft and girly.

I absolutely can’t wait to wear this, I am thinking of pairing it up with the gold and white obi from this bundle. It will be nice to have both a kimono and an obi that fit me very well and don’t require fussing and fidgeting all evening ;)

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

Royal blue tsukesage with botan and kiku

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 one Tokaido lover to another

In which I am yet again treated far too kindly by my friends and family on the Immortal Geisha forums.

BikaBika is an awesome forum member with a great sense of personal style, and she is also an afficionado of the Stations of the Tokaido motif. We’re generally careful not to step on each others’ toes when we see items, which is just another sign of the sense of community the forum has in general.

Several people brought this particular kimono to my attention, but I’ve spent a lot more than I should lately, and I thought it was a bit narrow for my fatty hips. After a fair bit of deliberation I decided to let it go. Fast forward a few weeks and BikaBika has dropped hints that she’s mailed something to me, but I honestly just assumed it was a little accessory or something. Unfortunately, Canada Post went on strike right around this time, so the package fell into a kind of dispatch limbo. While I didn’t outright forget about it, I shunted it into the back of my mind so I wouldn’t stress too much about it potentially getting lost. So I was pretty surprised and confused when the mailman brought me a package I wasn’t really expecting yesterday morning.

Needless to say, when I got it out of the package I was stunned, and very touched. There was a note included that mentioned she’d gotten my address from Suara, who sent me the stunning Tokaido obi a while back, with strict orders to wear them together. I ran downstairs to thank BikaBika and to photograph it. Unfortunately it’s too hot even for yukata right now, so there’s no way I’ll be able to dress in a full formal outfit for a while yet. Thankfully, nothing’s stopping me from sharing photos of the stunning artistry of this piece though.

Grey Tokaido Houmongi

It’s a soft dove-grey with three distinct stations repeated around the hem. It’s sort of a strange merge of tsukesage, with the stations each being distinct and on a separate panel, and houmongi, since while the designs are discrete from a distance they form a continuous design around the bottom hem. There is also a single blue tsuta (ivy) crest, which helps merge the formality upwards from tsukesage to houmongi.

The front hem has one of the loveliest versions of Station 16, Yui, that I have seen so far. It’s also the only station on the kimono that crosses over multiple panels.
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

The other two stations are both repeated on the back hem and the sleeve, both in front and back.

Station 1, Shinagawa
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

And this is the interesting one Bika helped me figure out, it’s a loose artistic interpretation of Station 52, Otsu, but what threw me off is that while most of these pieces are done using the Hoeido edition, this particular variation is from the Kyoka edition, which is much less common.
Grey Tokaido Tsukesage-Houmongi

Yet again, I am flabbergasted at the kindness of others, and in awe of how it always seems to come when I need a pick-me-up.