Hanakago Ikebana

Hanakago (花篭) means “flower basket”, and it’s a common motif in art and textiles. The baskets can be of any shape and size, and are filled with a profusion of beautiful seasonal flowers. I knew I really wanted to do a hanakago ikebana arrangement, but I’d been waiting for more inspiration than that.

Today was the first day of the year that genuinely felt like spring. I actually went and ran errands without even needing a jacket, and I wanted to celebrate that. I decided to go for a very loose, natural-feeling assemblage of springy flowers in the basket. A beautiful blue hydrangea forms the anchor of the piece, sunny forsythia bring in height and shape, and yellow daisies and a few white ranunculus fill it in and bring some much-needed softness.

It’s a much looser shape than I’m used to doing, but I feel like it’s still very effective. It feels happy and natural and bright. I’m quite happy with how it looks in this little nook, and it will make me smile when the sun and warmth inevitably vanish again in a day or two.

Hufflepuff Kitsuke

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Hufflepuff is probably the most misunderstood and misrepresented Hogwarts House, and that is a real shame. It’s also not my personal house, but their values of loyalty, honesty, love, and hard work are things we should all aspire to. Hufflepuff’s colours are yellow and black, and they’re often associated with Herbology, food, and gardening in general, so of course this yellow kimono with roses and black obi with karabana were perfect. I wanted to tie in the earthiness I associate with this house, so brown accessories did that well.

Again, like with the Gryffindor lions, I wanted something more subtle than just finding a badger-shaped brooch and slapping it on, and I realised this fake fur collar I have looked very much like badger fur. They’re usually depicted as black and white, but in reality they’re usually brown and beige. The collar also has the added bonus of emphasising the “cozy” vibe associated with Hufflepuff.

This turned out quite well, in my opinion. I do think there could be a bit more black, maybe a different kimono with black in the designs, but since I’m trying to be more prudent in my spending for a while and using items I already own, I’m very happy. There will be a little interruption in this project while I do a #monokimono outfit this weekend, but we’ll be back on track by next week.

Items used in this coordination

A Wild Diane Appears!

You guys! Look at this! Recently a friend drew my attention to the fact that Kimonomachi shop on Rakuten now carries a selection of modern poly komon in size 4TL. Even when I was thinner, it was nigh-impossible for me to find kimono that were actually long enough for me. Now that I’m also significantly overweight, I’d pretty much given up wearing a kimono comfortably as a lost cause, but this one borders on being too big for me. Isn’t that wild?

Sadly, I only noticed my obiage had slipped off my makura after I took the photos. Oops!

It feels so good to be able to dress myself again, and so easily and comfortably too. It’s amazing how much of a difference the proper fit makes. I’d love to buy myself another one, but these kimono are not inexpensive at ¥ 14,000. I managed to get this one for significantly less because I had Rakuten points a PayPal gift card that needed to be used. I may cave in and buy myself a different pattern if I get a large tax return this year. We’ll see.

For reference, I am 179cm (5’10”) tall with a 121cm (48″) bust and a 36K bra, a 91cm (36″) natural waist, and 120cm (47″) hips. I typically wear a size 18 or 1X in North American clothing sizes. This kimono wraps easily from hip to hip, a full one and a half times my widest measurement. So if you’re a similar size and looking for something that will actually fit you properly, I cannot suggest these enough!

I paired the kimono with this moorish arch nagoya obi that couldn’t match better if I’d bought them together. The rusty orange-red of the obi makes the red accents in the kimono pop, and the turquoise base colour of the obi is the exact same as the arches. Looking at the photos, it’s quite clear that a standard otaiko musubi done with an average-sized nagoya obi just looks disproportionately small and odd on my frame, so whenever I actually wear this kimono out to an event I will likely go with a hanhaba or chuuya obi tied in something I can control the size of better. Vibrant lemon yellow accessories made everything pop, and I couldn’t resist using my obidome with snails on it. It’s too cute for words, and ties in with the warm creme colour on the flowers of the kimono.

As a final note, a little reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I dressed myself in this outfit last Thursday and took photos, with the intention of posting it on Fudangi Friday. I transferred, edited, and uploaded the photos. And then on Friday morning I settled in at work, and during a quiet moment started drafting the entry. It was at that point I realised I had the kimono on backwards. Somehow I’d managed to dress myself and then take and edit photos without ever noticing! And as much as I encourage playing with rules when it comes to kimono, wrapping it backwards (right side over top of the left) is only ever done for a body being prepared for a funeral, and it is not a rule I would ever consider breaking unless it was for a very explicit purpose like a costume. So I scrapped my initial plan and re-dressed myself today. Honestly, I’m glad I did, because I managed to tie the obi much more neatly and the lighting was a lot better as well.

Items used in this coordination

Fudangi First Fr… Saturday?

Well, that didn’t last long. Only a few months in and I missed a Fudangi First Friday. I was at work until late yesterday and then ran errands afterwards and picked up dinner on the way home. By the time I’d settled in, eaten, and decompressed it was too late to do anything. But I’m doing it today, which is better than not doing it at all, right?

I may not have made any resolutions for 2018, but I have decided that I want to try to re-use more of my collection, especially things I bought for one particular coordination. It seems incredibly wasteful of me to leave things languishing in a cabinet instead of enjoying them and sharing them here. So for today’s outfit, I decided it was time to bust out the Starfleet kimono and try to do something different with it.

Seeing the two outfits together, it’s very clear that I basically did the same outfit with a slightly different obi, so I’m not sure how successful I was doing something “different”, but I still quite like the way it turned out. Heck, I even used the same yellow haneri! I had fun making a wider, otaiko-style bow with a hanhaba obi and played with the objime knot a little though. One of the great things about Fudangi Friday is that since it’s more relaxed and casual, it encourages people to experiment a little. I just need to work on breaking out of my comfort zone and playing with more unexpected colour/pattern combinations.

#Monokimono Challenge – Mustard Yellow

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