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.
I sleep all night and I work all day!
I’d been waiting for the right opportunity to wear my lumberjack kimono, and I was starting to worry winter would come and go before I had the ideal combination of weather and free time. I guess the universe took pity on me, because we had a rather spectacular blizzard overnight!
I decided to pair it up with my ume and momiji tsuke-obi, since it seemed seasonal, thematically appropriate, and practical. I dressed in a sort of comfortable casual style, forgoing a proper juban for a turtleneck and a pair of tights. I figured the ridiculous hat and boots completed the outfit well.
I only realised as I was getting undressed that I’d forgotten my obijime – the perils of wearing a tsuke-obi, I suppose! I think it’s fine in this particular case though, since my kitsuke is so non-conventional to begin with.
And in case you don’t know where the title and opening bit of this entry come from, I present to you, The Lumberjack Song, from Monty Python:
When I saw this, I knew I needed to have it. It reminds me so much of a stereotypical lumberjack shirt and it called out to my inner Canadian. I’ve already got an outfit in mind for it, including an obi with a maple leaf, a fur hat, and my winter boots. I’ve just got to wait for snow! The fact that it’s incredibly long (167cm) was an extra bonus.
It’s a wonderful thick taffeta silk, much like my other plaid kimono. What I really love about this set though, is that the jacket is a dochugi, not a haori. Dochugi are more casual, and have a substantial decorative cord at the front where they cross over completely, rather than a haori which should hang open, held together with a small set of ties. I’m looking forward to wearing this dochugi with jeans and a black top as well.
As far as I can tell, this set is also brand spanking new. It’s still got the original basting threads and the white lining is completely pristine, and still stiff.