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.
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!)
So my health is still a bit wobbly and on top of everything else I have a terrible cold, but I’d been itching to attempt the kamifusen (paper balloon) musubi and figured this sweet pussy-willow unlined komon I bought in NYC a few years back would be a great way to coordinate a pretty little casual spring ensemble.
I followed this great tutorial from Bangasa Kimono on youtube. Because the obi I chose to work with is incredibly slippery I ended up needing a hand from my eternally patient father, but we got it looking adorable in the end. Because the obi is quite long, the “bow” portion under the “balloon” portion ended up very wide, which I think makes it even cuter! I also love the pink and blue willow buds on the kimono, and chose to accent them with pink and blue in the accessories. I know I use this blue and pink haneri an awful lot, but it just works so well with so many of my coordinations! The obijime is pale pink on the solid side and blue, brown, and white on the other. I’d forgotten than I had it, but I don’t think I could have found a better one to tie all the colours in the outfit together.
I’ve often said that being my friend is dangerous, and coming to visit me generally results in the guest being subjected to kitsuke. I decided to level things up this time, and when I went to Baltimore to visit my friend Elizabeth a few weeks back, I brought a kimono with me. She chose the bunny komon based on the photos of my collection, and I brought a selection of accessories that I thought would coordinate well with it and be easy to tie without too many accessories. We ended up choosing the taupe arabesque hanhaba obi, a hot pink obijime, and spade obidome.
For someone who has never worn kimono before, Liz took to it like a pro! Next time, maybe she’ll come up here to visit me and I’ll put her in something really elaborate.
I have to admit, this kimono fits her much better than it fits me. Oh, to have a shorter wingspan!
So as most of you know, I am a moderator over at the Immortal Geisha webforums. I do this as a labour of love, not expecting anything in return. However, every so often, the kind and wonderful community of forum members there will flabbergast me with beautiful gifts. This year marks the incredible ten-year anniversary of the forum, and in thanks, Naomi and the members secretly arranged for the moderators to get incredibly generous gift certificates with which to buy kimono.
I’d been eyeing this particular synthetic komon for a while, mainly because I thought it would coordinate perfectly with my moorish arches nagoya obi, which, until now, I’d been unable to wear. That obi was also a gift from a forum member, so it seems incredibly fitting that not only did I get to wear them together, but they look absolutely perfect together. The kimono itself is quite a strange colour; the sale photos looked grey, in indoor lighting it looks navy blue, and in sunlight it looks almost purple. Thankfully, all three of those permutations happen to look fantastic with the brick-rust colour of the obi, and the cyan accents are a near-perfect match. The lining of the kimono is even a similar rusty colour to the obi.
I paired it up with my well-loved orange and blue shibori obiage and coordinating hakata obijime, and an awesome spade obidome from ChidoriyaWorld. I thought the spade shape mirrored the arches on the obi quite nicely. My father and I headed off to the park near my house to take pictures, and we were treated to perfect weather.
We also had company in the form of this silly little squirrel, who was carrying around a napkin. Not kimono-related, but too cute not to share!
And, just for reference, photos of the kimono by herself: