Vintage Temari

Spring is still in the air, and I’m finally feeling up to dressing the mannequin! I’ve been trying to make coordinations using pieces I’ve never worked with before, and decided it was high time I use this vintage temari chuuya obi. It’s actually the reverse side of the amazing crustacean obi Naomi sent me a while back, this side is just a lovely bonus.

As gorgeous as this side is, it’s a bit difficult to work with. There are two sets of designs on an otherwise solid black base, but no matter how I tried tying it I could not get one on the front and one on the otaiko at the same time. I decided to keep the front plain and use a fun obijime so I could focus on getting the design centred on the back and make it the focal point. Maybe next time I’ll use an obidome to add a bit more interest.

My beloved purple cotton yabane kimono made a wonderful base for the obi, and I pulled the accent colours of salmon red and aqua out of the obi motif in the accessories so everything feels cohesive. I do wish I’d been able to get some sort of design on the front, but I still think that overall this was a successful outfit.

And yes, that is yesterday’s ikebana peeping out from behind the mannequin! I was going to move it for the photos but I thought it added a cute touch and I love how the yellow flowers match the yellow accents in the kimono.

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Leaf Green

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Hogwarts House kitsuke to bring you this month’s #monoKimono challenge. March brings us St. Patrick’s Day as well as the start of Spring so I thought green would be the perfect colour to work with this month.

My vintage green irotomesode anchored the colour scheme, and since it’s so gentle and subtle I wanted to keep the whole outfit feeling very subdued. The back side of my green chuuya obi worked well, keeping things very simple and tying in with the slightly less saturated greens of the kimono’s hem design. My initial plan was to use a green cotton haneri with sayagata but it was slightly too warm and clashed with the kimono. Instead I chose a simple embroidered haneri that had enough green to tie into the monochrome theme but a few dusty pink accents to reflect the hem design. I ended up using the original cotton haneri as a kasane-eri, with so little of it visible it didn’t clash as much as it would have on the collar.

I tied the obi in a sort of bunko variation; no real concrete reason, I’m just getting tired of doing otaiko or niijudaiko musubi all the time lately. The obiage wasn’t necessary but I did want to inject one last shade of green to pull everything together. I skipped the obijime, since it wasn’t necessary either and none of the ones I had on hand fit nicely. I don’t think the outfit needs it, honestly, especially not with the pinstriping on the obi already.

We’ll be back to the Hogwarts project early next week. Until then, I hope you’re having a great weekend and a wonderful Easter or Pesach if you observe either of them.

Items used in this coordination

Gentle Vintage Mood

I received this absolutely gorgeous piece yesterday, from a friend who was clearing out some of her collection. I am slowly turning into the kimono equivalent of a crazy cat lady, but I’m fine with that. I love how soft and subdued this piece is, and I wanted to emphasise a very gentle vintage mood with the coordination.

It started with this breathtaking haneri I posted on Instagram recently. I won it back in late October or possibly early November, and I had entirely given it up as lost. I got it at quite a bargain so I didn’t even bother pursuing the issue, since I suspected it was Canada Post’s problem. not the sellers. So imagine how thrilled I was when it showed up unexpectedly earlier this week! I thought the two pieces would complement each other very well, since the haneri has a bit of a vintage feel to it despite being a modern piece. I was really taken by how well the lilac tone matched the brown of the kimono and thought it would be a good opportunity to use my repaired lilac bird obi.

Some days, the actual physical act of dressing the mannequin goes very smoothly. Some days, every step is a struggle, almost as if the mannequin herself is fighting me. This particular outfit was somehow both! Putting on the collar and kimono went off without a hitch. Smooth lines, clean v-shape to the collars, flat and even ohashori. But then came the obi. This obi is gorgeous but my god it’s a nuisance. It’s floppy and slippery, the pattern is laid out very oddly, and it needs to be pressed again as it’s somehow turned almost puffy. No matter how many different ways I tried to tie it, I could not get birds to show up on the front and the back. Eventually I realised it would be an excellent opportunity to feature this stunning brooch I got from Pinto Pony Productions and use it as an obidome. Rather than fret about the lack of interest on the front of the obi, I worked with it to make it a canvas.

I know I say this a lot, but I love how this finally all pulled together. It’s such a soothing combination, and looking at it just makes me content.

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Mustard

Anna of KimonoTEKA recently came up with the #monoKIMONO challenge; the last weekend of every month in 2018, challenge yourself to make a monochromatic outfit! I am always up for new kitsuke ideas, and I know I can handle one-a-month type challenges, so you know I’m going to go for it!

My first thought was red or pink, but as I was flipping through my collection for ideas, this odd mustard yellow colour jumped out at me. You might remember this kimono as my emergency backup piece for Belle that I ended up falling in love with. It’s not a piece I’ll ever be able to wear, even if I were to lose an unhealthy amount of weight it would still be too narrow for my broad back and too short for my giant self. Also, this particular colour looks lovely on a lot of folks, but utterly terrible on me. However, I’m always excited to find ways to coordinate it, and I realised I have a vintage obi that’s nearly the exact same colour. A few similarly ochre-toned accessories and voila, a beautiful, wearable, vintage monochrome outfit.

This whole outfit pulled together so smoothly and easily, I hope it’s a sign of things to come for both the challenge and the year as a whole. Are you participating in the #monoKIMONO challenge? If so, I’d love to see your coordinations!

Items used in this coordination

Courage – A Canadian Farewell

I found this kimono on eBay a few weeks back and fell in loved with it. Last thing I need is another tiny kurotomesode, but it was too beautiful to let it escape and my folks said it could be my birthday present from them, so I took the plunge. It arrived yesterday and it was more gorgeous in person than I could have imagined, the auction photos did it no justice. So I knew right away that I was going to do something with it today, on my day off. My initial plan was to do a fairly straightforward traditional kitsuke, with a formal obi with lots of metallic, white accessories, something clean and simple.

All that went out the window this morning, when I woke up to the news that Gord Downie had passed away. He was the frontman for a group that nearly all Canadians are familiar with, the Tragically Hip. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma just over a year ago, and rather than withdraw from the public eye, he fought back with everything he could. The band went on one last tour, big and loud and loving. He continued to work tirelessly for justice and equality, speaking loudly for Canadians whose voices had been silenced over the years. Everyone knew he didn’t have long for the world, but he filled that time with so much love and passion and brightness that it still hurts enormously. All day I’ve seen people whose jobs require them to be professional and detached (news anchors, radio announcers, even our Prime Minister) lose their composure and break down while talking about Gord.

What does all this have to do with my kimono? Well, as you may have noticed I have a strange coping mechanism of coordinating outfits to deal with grief. Maybe it’s not the healthiest thing, but it works for me. So to deal with this, I decided to throw caution and tradition to the wind and coordinate it in a bright and bold way that makes me happy. I’d like to think that someone who wore brightly coloured holographic suits and fantastic hats during his farewell tour would appreciate that. A vintage chuuya obi with maple leaves felt appropriate for someone who took so much pride in his Canadian heritage, and the accessories brought a vibrant punch to the outfit.

I’ll leave you with some of the lyrics from Courage (for Hugh MacLennan), one of my favourite songs of theirs.

So there’s no simple explanation
For anything important any of us do
And yeah the human tragedy
Consists in the necessity
Of living with the consequences
Under pressure, under pressure.
Courage, my word, it didn’t come, it doesn’t matter,
Courage, it couldn’t come at a worse time.