Fudangi First Friday – Busy Beauty

It’s the first Friday in June, so you know what that means! Time for this month’s Fudangi First Friday. This kimono just barely qualifies. While it’s technically a komon a lot of effort was put into matching the pattern up, and there are metallic accents. This arabesque-patterned busy beauty gives me such conflicted feelings. The heavy, slightly rough quality of the silk and the bachi-eri (pre-folded collar) make it really easy to work with, but the pattern is so overpowering that it can be hard to coordinate.

I was determined to do something with it since it’s been languishing in storage for eons, and then I remembered I have this beautiful vintage nagoya obi that has a lot of very similar colours. It’s in bad shape, the lining’s coming unsewn and there are several moth holes in it, but it’s still solid enough to put on the mannequin. I really love how they look together, the colours are a great match and it’s just plain enough that it doesn’t compete with the obi but it’s not boring. Initially I went with all-green accessories but none of the obijime I tried felt right, so I pulled out a cream and red one that echoes the base colour of the kimono and I think it’s perfect.

I’m glad I’ve found another way to use this piece. There’s just something so captivating about all the different colours and patterns in it. I feel like I find something new every time I look at it.

Items used in this coordination

Rusty and Warm

Talk about sliding in under the wire! I thought doing Fudangi Friday once a month would be achievable but here I am, only the second month in, posting at the end of a very long day. I worked tonight and then ran some errands afterwards, so it was quite late when I got in. Thankfully, part of the beauty of this challenge is to encourage comfortable, relaxed kitsuke and try to break ourselves of the habit of insisting on overly formal, overly rigid style.

I grabbed my rusty wool komon because it felt warm and seasonal and perfect for this sort of a challenge, and realised that the mustard yellow reverse side of my Tokaido hanhaba obi would be the perfect complement. I can’t believe I’ve never paired these two up before! I really love the peek of red in the musubi that echoes the kimono so well. I made a point of fluffing the bow out to make sure it was visible.

A yellow haneri that matches the obi helped cozy things up further, and I pulled out a thin white and green obijime to echo the faint pattern in the kimono. It wasn’t necessary to hold the obi in place, but I like the finishing touch it gives to the whole outfit. I can definitely see myself wearing this exactly as it is at some point, and being incredibly comfortable and relaxed while doing so.

Thanksgiving Ikebana

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the first Monday of October. In my house, we’ll often invite over a group of friends who don’t have big loud extended families to celebrate with. We go all-in, turkey and stuffing and homemade pumpkin pie. The works.

This year I decided to use what I’ve been learning about ikebana to create a centrepiece for the table, as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving and a way to look back on the recent harvest moon. I wanted to stick to the traditional shin/soe/hikae form in a straightforward moribana-style arrangement, and I wanted something that felt warm, welcoming, and harvest-friendly. The first things I found at the florist’s were some purple thistle flowers and small yellow blossoms that screamed autumn to me. The curly branches came next, adding height and structure to the arrangement, but it still felt lacking. I stepped into the back cold storage where they keep the fillers and unusual items and the ornamental cabbage called out to me. It’s got a great weight to it, totally fits the feel of autumn/harvest, and it even has delicate purple veining that helps echo the spiky thistle blossoms. I tucked the whole thing into a small green vase that nearly disappears under the cabbage, which worked out really well. It’s almost as if I’ve plucked the whole arrangement straight out of the garden. Some warm yellow and orange candles tied the whole thing together, infusing it with even more warmth and welcome feeling.

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. I am surrounded by family and friends who love me. I have a job I enjoy, and hobbies I love to fulfil me. My health could be better, but it could also certainly be much worse, and I am lucky to live in a place where I don’t have to worry about medical emergencies bankrupting me. Sometimes there are days when I feel like everything is terrible, and I would do well to remind myself how few and far between those days are. The world feels like it’s falling apart sometimes, we’ve all got to take a moment to focus on the good things, wherever they come from. What are you thankful for this season? Please let me know!

Red Kiku Tsukesage

I originally bought this kimono to go with a specific obi, my Stations of the Tokaido Hakata obi. It’s a warm, rich brick red that really screams fall, which goes very well with the delicate kiku motif saraga nui embroidery around the hem.

It’s a much more mature kimono than my tastes usually veer to, but I think sometimes it’s nice to have simple, classic things to fall back on. It’s also great for dressing people who may be older, or may not be comfortable with really crazy vivid vintage kimono designs.

The embroidery is very delicate. I’ve come to notice that between this and my shifuku houmongi, I’m starting to amass a collection of really intricate french knot embroidered kimono. Perhaps I can use this as an excuse to buy more!

I’ve only had the chance to wear it once, when I went out to visit Amelie, but hopefully I’ll have more appropriate and seasonal opportunities to wear it in the future.