A Promissory Note for Spring

I am utterly, completely fed up of winter! I am tired of the cold and the snow, and I am tired of this awful ear infection/sinus/flu situation I’ve been fighting off since the beginning of December. I really needed to remind myself that this will come to an end eventually, and spring is on its way.

This kimono always feels good for this time of year, since it’s got multi-seasonal flowers and the colour scheme is pretty subdued, but with the right accessories it can really pop. I got the obi from Lyuba of Strawberry Kimono and I suspect it’s going to be come a fast favourite. I love the bold pattern, and it’s really nice and soft, but textured enough to hold well against itself. I tend to dislike overly soft formal obi because they can also be slippery and don’t hold a nice shape, but the slightly rougher fabric of this and the fact that it feels more casual means it’s great for relaxed, natural-looking obi musubi.

Soft leaf-green accessories helped reinforce the spring vibe of the outfit, and a pink haneri helped to emphasise the pink bits of the outfit. Of course, since I got the obi from Lyuba I had to tie the obiage in a bow shape that always reminds me of her kitsuke.

After the winter-heavy efforts of the 12 Days of Kits-Mas, it felt good to do something more transitional and bright. It was tiring working through being sick to do this, but I’m glad I did!

Fudangi First Friday

Hello! Welcome to Fudangi First Friday, a sort of new feature here on Kimono Tsuki. Naomi and Lyuba of Immortal Geisha were inspired by the recent Fudangi Fun event in NYC they were lucky enough to attend, to create a day where kimono-lovers can focus on relaxed, wearable, casual outfits. We all love the vibrant formality of furisode or the subdued elegance of kurotomesode, but it seems like fudangi, which includes things like wool and cotton kimono, simple komon, and other informal relaxed pieces, often get overlooked. So they decided to create Fudangi Fridays to encourage all us kimono lovers to appreciate these everyday pieces.

However, I know that committing to do something every single Friday is just a recipe for disaster, especially with the holidays coming up. For those of you who don’t know, I work in a specialty collectible toy store, so this time of year tends to be incredibly busy for me. So I’ve decided to combine Fudangi Friday with a phenomenon known as First Friday, an art/networking/entertainment community event that happens in a lot of big cities in North America on the first Friday of every month. People gather to share ideas, show off creative endeavours, etc. Forcing myself to do this once a month without fail is definitely more achievable for me. I may even manage to dress myself for these on occasion, since the majority of my wider kimono are casual pieces.

I purchased this haori on a whim from the same seller as the beautiful kurotomesode I got recently. In the auction photos, it looked like a creamy white with ume blossoms, so imagine my surprise when I opened the package and a leafy green haori with sakura on it fell out! I’m not complaining though, it’s even more adorable and charming than I was expecting it to be. I had no idea what I was going to pair it with, but I had it out while taking photos for my updated collection catalogue and saw it sitting next to the vintage-style blue komon Naomi gave me years ago and I realised how perfect they were for each other. The colours reflect each other perfectly, and they both have a young, spring feeling to them. I finished the outfit off with a hanhaba obi and cotton haneri in shades of cream and green, and a skinny orange obijime for a little pop of colour. This outfit is definitely fudangi, and it’s definitely fun!

Autumn Vintage

As fun as the Disney Princess Kitsuke Project was, I was definitely ready for something a little more straightforward. I lucked into a day off today, so I figured it was high time I did something with this amazing komon I got from Sayumi of Kimono Bijin. It’s a gorgeous vintage piece, really soft silk with a fantastic pattern of shishi and arabesque vines. Unfortunately, it’s also showing its age. A few of the seams are loose, and the lining is quite worn, but it’s so beautiful that it’s easy to overlook those problems. It’s a very tiny piece and I know it would never fit me even if I were to lose half my body weight, so after I take it off the mannequin it’s going to Naomi; she is much smaller than I am and loves all things magenta and teal and vintage and shishi, so I know it will be very loved.

My initial plan was to coordinate it with a black-based obi so all the attention would be on the kimono itself, but that choice felt very safe and a little bit boring. Then I remembered I had this gorgeous gold vintage obi with flowers, particularly some large botan. Shishi and botan are a very traditional pairing and the obi also has a really punchy Taisho/Early Showa feel to it, so I knew I’d found the perfect match. I did gravitate to black for the accessories though, which helps anchor the whole outfit and keep it from feeling too loud or clashy. I think it work

Menswear-Inspired Coordination

Several years ago, I came across a photo of a very handsome man in an excellent combination of western-style modern clothing and kimono. He was wearing a crisp white button-down and a tie in lieu of traditional undergarments. Recently, I was reminded of this photo and set out to track it down. Some savvy friends of mine recognised what I was talking about and pointed me in the direction of Kidera-san, the owner and stylist of men’s kimono shop Fujikiya. Lo and behold, there he was in all his dapper glory.

I was spurred on to do my own interpretation of this style, using women’s pieces but still keeping a decidedly masculine vibe. I’ve always loved this tartan kimono and thought it would be an excellent place to start. The colours in it have always reminded me of the tartan of the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment of Canada, so I asked my father if I could borrow his regimental tie. The plain side of my red grosgrain hanhaba obi and a thin green ribbon pulled it all together. Initially I’d planned to fold the obi in half and use it more like a men’s narrow kaku obi, but it’s quite thick and doubling it up made it impossible to tie. Instead, I went with a flat, fairly neutral karuta musubi.

I think the whole outfit ended up being really effective, and if I ever get back to the point where I can comfortably wear kimono I’m definitely going to do something like this at some point.

Whale, whale, whale…

What have we here?*

 

I found this obi online several months ago, and kept coming back to look at it. The whales are just so adorably goofy and charming, and I fell completely in love. Eventually I found myself with a bit of cash to spare on something special for myself, and after being enabled by pretty much every single one of my online friends, I went for it. I bought it from Murata, a store based in Vancouver, BC, here in Canada. It only took a few days to get here, and believe me, after over a decade of ordering almost exclusively from Japan that speed made me giddy. Kazue and Fumie were also both an absolutely pleasure to deal with, and I look forward to ordering from them again in the future.

I felt that this obi is so fun and special that it had to be the focus of the outfit, so I went the vaguely monochrome route again. I thought this modern poly komon had a bit of a watery feel to it, and I love how it matches the obi but still manages to fade into the background, making sure all eyes are on the whales! This obi is also incredibly long, to the point where I had to wrap it around the mannequin three times, rather than the usual two. This means I’ll be able to wear it myself, and be able to tie all sorts of fun musubi with it. I can’t wait!

(I would apologise for that terrible title, but I am not remotely sorry!)