Subtly Spooky

Happy Halloween, everyone! I had tons of fun last year doing a month’s worth of various Halloween coordinations but this month was too busy to devote myself to anything like that. I knew I had to do something though, and that’s where this suitably subtly spooky outfit came from!

The starting point was unsurprisingly the obi. Obi with seasonal, spooky, or gothic motifs tend to be quite popular, and as such, also quite expensive. This one cost me nearly nothing, since it’s the reverse side of an obi I already owned! I found this gorgeous iridescent gemstone skull sticker at a craft store. It’s actually a Martha Stewart brand product, of all things. Once I had the skull, I knew I wanted to decorate an obi with it but I was worried it would be too plain, but then I found a spool of adhesive ribbons and trims and I was all set.

I knew I wanted a fairly plain kimono so that the focus would be on the bling-tastic obi. I waffled over a few choices, debated buying something, and then I remembered I had this little beauty, a gift from the same dear friend who sent me the vintage kakeshita a while back. This piece is quite old, and quite fragile. The silk itself is very clearly sun-damaged, faded in spots, and has several tears and frays where the seams are coming apart. It’s also one of those odd hybrid kimono that we hardly ever see anymore. From a distance, it is (or was, before the fading) a solid uniform purple shade with a single crest, which would place is straight in iromuji territory. But up close, it’s shot through with gold stripes, which is not something you’d generally see in a modern iromuji. Whatever you want to call it, I’m so glad I finally found a way to use it!

The finishing touch for this outfit is a brooch I made a while back with supplies from the very same craft store. It wasn’t made with kimono or any particular event in mind, I was just feeling creative. But it works so well with this outfit, you’d think I’d done it on purpose! I tied everything together with black, red, and dark raspberry pink accessories and came up with what I think is a very spooky but also very wearable coordination!

Are you dressing in kimono this halloween? If so, please share photos!

May the Fourth Be With You

It’s no secret that a huge part of Star Wars’ visual identity owes much to traditional Japanese aesthetics. From Darth Vader’s samurai-like helmet to the kimono-inspired robes of both the Jedi and Sith, the influence is apparent in many facets of the Universe. May the Fourth is known as Star Wars Day to many people, a play on words about the date sounding so much like the traditional May The Force (be with you) greeting.

I had been wanting to do a Jedi-inspired kitsuke using beige and brown toned items ever since I did the Star Trek themed one a while back. What can I say, I am an equal opportunity fangirl! I found these two iromuji for a song a while back and thought today would be the perfect day to do it. I tried to keep the actual dressing manner quite traditional, aside from taking the liberty of using a second kimono as a long over-robe, instead of finding a haori. I wanted something I could try to fake the appearance of a hood with, and something that would flow to the ground. I used my spider obi flipped inside-out to get a rough-textured beige obi, and a brown mottled leather obijime to replicate the belts usually worn by Jedi. The finishing touch was one of my Jedi symbol earrings clipped to the obijime as a little decoration.

I really like how well this all came together. It’s really evident to see the kimono origins of the Jedi robes when it’s all set up like this, and now I’m very tempted to adapt this outfit to wear to a convention. Maybe I’ll hike up the hem and wear brown leggings and boots underneath it for comfort and ease of movement. Of course, this means I’ll have to get myself a lightsaber!

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 4: Cute and Casual

At last, we’re coming to the end of this month’s theme project. It’s been fun, but honestly I am glad it’s over. I’m getting a little tired of this iromuji! For the last outfit, I decided to try to accomplish the one thing this style of kimono can be very difficult to do; a simple, casual cooordinate. Typically, iromuji can be a lot of things, but relaxed town-wear is not one of them. To make it work, I stuck with otherwise casual pieces. A coloured haneri, a bright meisen haori, and one of my favourite nagoya obi all in shades of purple all pop against the cool mint tone of the kimono itself. The early-afternoon sunlight today helped to keep things soft and warm. I’m not sure this outfit was as successful as some of my other attempts during this experiment, but I do really love how the haori and kimono look together.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with his whole experiment. It’s been really interesting to work within the constraints of the one single kimono. I may do it again sometime later with something other than an iromuji, to make it more of a challenge. I’ve also got some fun craft projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

One Kimono Four Ways

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 3: Punchy and Popping

One of the great things about iromuji is how they can allow you to really focus attention on something other than the kimono itself. They make a great neutral canvas for a really bright or busy obi. I decided for this week’s entry that I’d do a really high-contrast coordination with a lot of “punch” to it, and this obi was the perfect place to start. It’s a very special obi; I received it anonymously from some lovely person online. I suspect their intent was to have me coordinate it with my Shah Mosque houmongi, but in the end the styles and colours were too different and I could never get them to work together. This kimono, however, is ideal. It’s a similar background colour to the houmongi and the orange-red of the obi really pops against it, but it doesn’t compete with the pattern on the obi itself. It’s a wonderfully neutral foil for the gorgeous obi, and the colours couldn’t work better together if they’d been made to go together. I’d initially thought of using a third bright colour (yellow or pink) for the obiage and obijime but then I remembered these pieces, and everything just clicked.

We’ve also got a special guest photobomber today! Those of you who are longtime readers have probably seen Vinnie before. He usually avoids the mannequin but today he decided he wanted to be the star of the show.

I hope you’re enjoying seeing these posts as much as I’m enjoying doing them! We’ve got one left, and then it’s time to focus on newer things.

One Kimono Four Ways

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