Oh, Canada!

Today is Canada Day! It is the anniversary of the first unifications of British colonies into the country we now call home. Since then, though, it has become much more. To me, it’s a celebration of all things Canadian, of our heritage, our cultures, the beautiful tapestry that makes us who we are, our country as a whole.

I knew I wanted to do a Canadian-themed kitsuke, but at first I wasn’t sure where to start. All I knew is that it had to include red, white, and maple leaves! My kiku houmongi, with its gorgeous red background and bold white flowers, seemed like a logical jumping-off point. I pulled out a vintage obi with maple leaves and a maple haneri. The obidome is a poppy, hand-beaded by a friend of a friend in a nearby Mohawk community. To me, it represents remembrance and appreciation of the First Nations people who were here first.

I wasn’t sure how this would look all together, I was worried the orange of the obi would clash with the kimono, but I was really happy seeing it all come together. I even like how the orange of the obi picks up on the salmon lining of the kimono, and the purple in the obi is echoed subtly in the haneri. The outfit is entirely inappropriate, seasonally, but thematically I think I’m spot-on.

Summer Breeze

Summer may officially start tomorrow, but it’s here with a vengeance already. It’s blisteringly hot and humid out, and even looking at the heavy, layered outfit that I’d left on the mannequin was making me hot! I got this adorable ro komon with bells a few years ago but never had a chance to wear it. It’s very long, which is great, but it’s also very narrow. Even at my thinnest, it never fit. It’s just too cute to get rid of, and I figured it was high time it had a moment in the (blistering) sun.

The obi is not usumono, but it’s a thin hanhaba, and the yellow colour really draws the eye to the yellow-gold bells on the kimono itself. I used my pink seashell summer-weight obiage and obijime to add an accent colour. I went with the ubiquitous pink set because it’s actually the only summer set I have. I’ll eventually invest in more sets, but as I currently don’t own a single usumono kimono that fits me, it’s not really a priority right now. I tied the obiage in a bow to echo the obi in back, to add a bit more softness and girliness to an otherwise very simple outfit. It feels light and airy, which is exactly what I was hoping for.


What’s Black and White and Red All Over?

A while back I got the idea of a bold, geometric, black & white outfit into my head. I got out my black diamond tsukesage-komon and my favourite black and white hakata tsuke-obi. The lining of the kimono is a bright red, which made the accessories a no-brainer. Black, white, and red is such a classic, timeless combination. A red obiage, objime, and red card suit patterned haneri pulled everything together but I still felt like the outfit was missing something. This black handbag with red Bakelite accents is one of my favourites, and fit perfectly with the mood I was building. The finishing touch ended up being my Deadpool pocket-watch. This is an outfit I can totally see myself wearing as soon as I fit into the kimono again.

Gofuku no Hi, a day late and a dollar short.

Yesterday, May 29, was  着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), or Wear Kimono Day. It is a day to encourage kimono enthusiasts around the world to get out and wear kimono and have fun. Unfortunately, yesterday was an absolute no-go for me. I had work, I wasn’t feeling well to begin with, and it was incredibly hot and humid. So I decided to dress Tsukiko today instead.

I have been dying to pair this basho (banana leaf) houmongi and kikyou hakata obi for years now, and just never found the right opportunity until now. This kimono is one of the few that actually still fits me properly, but it’s still much more comfortable for me to dress the mannequin. I absolutely love the hints of icy blue in the leaves on the kimono and decided to accessorise in the same colour, to emphasise the cool feeling. I love how this outfit turned out, nearly monochrome but with the hits of blue for punch.

Quiet afternoon kitsuke time

I know I have not been posting in this blog anywhere near as frequently as I used to, and I apologise. However, yesterday I got an overwhelming urge to coordinate a kimono I’d never worn before, and decided to pair it with an obi I’ve also never worn before.

The kimono is a half-lined synthetic piece with tiny white fans in a sort of gradient pattern. I won it at the Astoria street fair in NYC in the summer of 2012, and it’s been sitting in an armoire ever since. I decided to pair it with a bright red faux-shibori obi I got from Ame years ago, and couldn’t resist using my ubiquitous lemon-yellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime.

Something about the combination of tiny patterns felt a bit retro to me, and I’ve been obsessively reading the Sano Ichiro series of novels by Laura Joh Rowland lately, so I decided to aim for a bit of an Edo-style silhouette, tying my obi much lower than usual and going for a more pigeon-shaped and natural-looking bust. I’m not sure how well it succeeded, but it was very comfortable! To emphasize the period feel, I had on a pair of black geta with pinstriped hanao, but they got cut off in the photos. Haha. Whoops!