Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)

Kits-Mas Day 9 – Softly Subtle

As we get further and further away from December 25th, I’m trying to stick to the theme but keep things a bit less obvious. This softly subtle and desaturated coordination is still within the realm of festive greens and reds, but in a much less in-your-face way.

The flowers on this kimono may lean more towards the pink spectrum since they’re so pale, but I think pulling in the darker tones on the haneri and obiage bring it back towards the richer tones. This is definitely a more transitional outfit than some of the previous ones, but I think it still accomplishes what I was aiming for so overall, I’m pleased.

While I’m happy with the coordination, the kitsuke itself is a mess. The mannequin’s shape has never been perfect for kitsuke (I have to use padding on her!) but it seems more obvious than normal today. I also couldn’t get the obiage to cooperate, so I tied it in a Lyuba-style bow. I’m sure there’s a proper name for that, but I will forever associate it with Lyuba of Strawberry Kimono, so there you go. The ohashori is also a rumpled mess but it’s late and I have work tomorrow, so I don’t have the energy to redo it and take new photos.

By the way, next time I get a harebrained idea like changing the mannequin every day for twelve days in a row, someone please talk me out of it! The end is in sight but I’m running out of steam. XD

Kits-Mas Day 8 – Sho Chiku Bai

Sho Chiku Bai (松竹梅), or Three Friends of Winter, is an auspicious motif comprised of plum, pine, and bamboo. I’d initially wanted to do an ikebana on this theme, but finding flowering plum branches here at this time of year proved utterly impossible. But then I remembered that this beautiful vintage kurotomesode I got recently had it as a motif, along with other bright and auspicious items. I know it hasn’t been long since I coordinated it last, but it still felt like the perfect start for today’s outfit.

I debated doing a simple and traditional coordination with a metallic obi and white accessories, but something felt lacking so I ended up doing a more geisha-styled outfit with the red obiage and then coordinated with a wide red-and-green obijime. I tend to do this a lot with my vintage kurotomesode, but somehow I feel that it does them more justice. Also, these accessories just feel so much more vibrant and festive, don’t they?

I love how these pieces look together but this obi is in really rough shape – there are several places where the weave is basically just shredded. So there’s my first (and likely only) resolution of the year; I’m going to convert this into a tsuke-obi because it’s beautiful but I don’t want to risk tying it again in the state it’s currently in.

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start! I’m hoping this will be an excellent year for all of us.

Kits-Mas Day 7 – Midnight Bubbly

The last day of the year is upon us! I think we can all agree that 2017 was a bit of a dumpster fire. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad to see the end of it!

When I was younger, I enjoyed going out on New Year’s Eve, but the older I get, the more content I am to stay inside in a nice fuzzy pair of pyjamas. We’re also still in the depths of a record-breaking cold snap here, as is the rest of Canada and the eastern United States, so going out to watch fireworks at midnight was just not remotely appealing to me. Instead, I thought it would be fun to run with a New Year’s theme for the mannequin tonight.

I thought this gold-accented men’s odori kimono would be the ideal place to start, since it’s so bold and flashy. I considered of all the trappings of a really fun party; sparkling champagne, glitter, fireworks, laughter. The next logical step seemed like this fun hanhaba obi I bought recently with stars on it. It’s a little dull next to the kimono, so I pulled out some gorgeous silver ribbon to use as an accent and a haneri. I still don’t quite have the hang of using a men’s kimono like this, as a woman’s outfit, but all I can do is practice, right?

While the obi still feels a bit subdued against the kimono, I do think this is a bubbly, sparkly, fun outfit that seems like a fitting end to the year.

I am utterly terrible at keeping resolutions, so rather than enumerate things I will inevitably not complete, I am just going to head into the new year with an open mind, an open heart, and a wealth of unbridled enthusiasm. I hope the coming year brings you all sorts of amazing things!

Kits-Mas Day 5 – Festive Florals

Today is sort of a double-whammy. I know I said I’d only commit to doing the first Fudangi Friday of each month, but I figured since I was doing this project anyway I may as well do something that’s applicable to both challenges. These casual but still festive florals fit the bill perfectly. I realised while I was plotting out coordinations that these two pieces I have both fit into the colour scheme I’ve got going for Christmas and have somewhat seasonally appropriate motifs. Kiku is generally a late fall/November flower, and ume is a late winter/February sort of thing, but since we’re sort of smack-dab in the middle of the season I feel like putting them together works out well.

The green haneri and obi help pull out the bits of green foliage in the haori, but red and creamy white still dominate this outfit, which is fine with me. The Christmassy aspect of this one feels much more subtle to me than yesterday’s, for example, but in the right context it feels no less thematic. This outfit wouldn’t feel out of place at a relaxed holiday gathering, but it also wouldn’t feel out of place at any other event during the winter, even if it’s not a holiday-specific thing. I like that. It’s versatile!

Also, I don’t know if anyone other than me noticed this but the poor mannequin has been progressively sinking lower and lower lately and I finally got fed up and tightened her up. Considering one of my primary considerations when buying kimono is my own height (newer readers who are mostly familiar with the mannequin and not photos of me might not be aware but I’m 179cm or 5’10” tall) so as she shrank, the kimono I was putting on her were getting longer and more unruly XD

Lastly, here’s a better photo of today’s furry guest star, since in the main ones he’s kind of hiding behind everything. Poor Vinnie, can’t catch a break!