Taisho Blues

I know, I know, I said the last outfit I posted would be around for a while. Work continues apace on updating and redoing my visual catalogue, and when I took out this Taisho-era beauty I love so much, I realised I’d never coordinated her with this vintage orange hakata obi and that seemed like a crime. They feel like they were made for each other. But then again, I think hakata goes with everything. When I first got it, I paired it with an orange obi and while I loved the colour contrast, the obi was a metallic, Showa-era blingfest that felt incongruous with the soft vintage feel of the kimono. Springy green accessories were the perfect finishing touch, including a brand new obiage I’ve never used before.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that for whatever reason I’ve always had bad luck with tying obi in tsunodashi musubi but I was really in the groove after putting this outfit together and I figured I’d give it another shot. I’m really glad I did, because it worked out perfectly. The ohashori is quite puffy-looking, which is unfortunate, but sometimes it’s inevitable due to the shape of the mannequin.

Now this is definitely an outfit I’m happy to leave on the mannequin until I’m finished everything else I have in the works.

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.