Mature Elegance

Isn’t it funny how the older I get, the more my tastes gravitate to the bright and youthful? I’m turning 37 tomorrow and somehow I keep finding myself accumulating boldly coloured furisode and things. When I was younger, I was drawn to more shibui styles, and now I guess I’m making up for lost time?

This gorgeous bamboo houmongi is a lovely exception, I think. It’s yet another of my purchases from the kimono bazaar last month and I thought it lent itself quite well to a more elegant coordination that would still allow me to express myself through pattern and colour. The bamboo leaves are in a lovely range of blues, reds, oranges, and purples, which gave me a lot of selection to work with.

My navy and gold tiger’s eye tsuke-obi is making yet another appearance here. For a silly impulse purchase I made, it’s turning out to be one of my most weirdly versatile and beloved items. It tied in very well with the kimono, and I decided to pull out the warm maroon for the rest of the accessories. The beautiful obidome from Pinto Pony Productions worked well against the ivory backdrop here too, rotated onto its side for a little more drama.

This definitely feels like a more traditional and elegant sort of outfit, appropriate for a woman my age. But it’s not boring or quiet, it’s still got some lovely impact and personality, which is exactly what I was aiming for!

Items used in this coordination

Say Hi to Sophie!

Yesterday, my dear friend Sophie came over and I had the pleasure of dressing her in kimono! She’s worn yukata before, when we went to the Yatai! street food fest, but never anything dressier. She chose this plum tsukesage with stylised peacocks because she loves purple, and we coordinated an outfit around it. I went for a big punch of contrast with the gold obi, then chose an obijime with the same plum tones and an obiage that pulls out the icy blue of the obijime for a good sense of cohesion.

I did dress her over western clothing and undergarments, so the collar isn’t as smooth as it could be, but for someone who’s never worn this many heavy layers before, she looks great! Some people are just kimono naturals.

She was a little nervous posing at first, but once she got a little more relaxed everything just clicked. I think she looks absolutely lovey, and I do like how the gold obi and kasane-eri pop against the rich aubergine of the kimono. Sometime in the future, I’m very much looking forward to both of us dressing up and going out together.

This last photo is a bit of a conceit on my part. I really loved how thoughtful she looked, but unfortunately my flash didn’t fire and the photo ended up being incredibly noisy and under-exposed. I decided to make it look like a vintage daguerreotype, and I think it worked out quite well.

Items used in this coordination

It’s My Party…

And I’ll… uh… dress up the mannequin if I want to? My birthday is rapidly approaching so for the month of November, I’m just going to do coordinations and outfits based on what speaks to me at the moment. I decided it was time to feature some more of the stuff I got as early birthday gifts at the kimono bazaar last month and this furisode was crying out to be shown off, so here we go!

I honestly have no idea why I was so drawn to this particular furisode when I saw it. I tend to prefer cool-toned colours, don’t particularly like coral or orange, and think Heian-era cart motifs look a  bit like deformed marshmallows. And yet, as soon as I saw this piece, I knew it was coming home with me.

 

I figured I would lean in to the colour scheme, despite it being comprised of shades that aren’t particularly to my taste, so I used orange and coral accessories. Initially, I’d planned to use an obi with orange clouds and gold grasses, and while I still think it would look great with the kimono, I decided to veer off and use this gold one with hits of orange and seafoam green. I played up the green and gold with a kasane eri as well, which is something I should really do more frequently.

And of course, I thought I’d give the new sanjuhimo I made a try. It really does make things so much less of a hassle! I sort of improvised this musubi, and I think it turned out quite fun and pretty.

As much as I loved doing the Halloween Yokai project, I was really in the mood to just make an outfit based on what looked pretty, rather than having to focus on layers of meaning and symbolism. This absolutely fit the bill!

If by some ridiculous miracle you want to send me a birthday gift, I have wishlists on AmazonPinterest, and Tokyo Otaku Mode, or you can always PayPal me a few bucks. Any money received as gifts from here goes right back into the blog and maintaining my collection. Right now my two main priorities are a set of articulated arms for the mannequin, and more tatoushi for storage and organisation.

Items used in this coordination

DIY Sanjuhimo Tutorial

While not necessary, a sanjuhimo (三重紐, triple string) is one of those tools that is an enormous help when making big ornate furisode obi-musubi. They can be a little hard to find online, especially if you’re only able to use English-language sites, although KimonoPoncho on Etsy often has them for sale.

Today was a damp, dreary day and I’m feeling a little under the weather with no energy to go out or do anything big so it was a good time to do a little crafting. I thought it would be pretty straightforward to make my own, and I was right! If you’d like to make your own, just keep reading.

You will need

  1. 2.5cm(1″) wide durable non-stretch trim – I used rug-binding tape, which works very well
  2. 2.5cm(1″) wide elastic
  3. Strong thread – I used cotton-wrapped polyester
  4. A strong sewing needle
  5. Scissors
  6. Measuring tape or guide

 

  • Measure out three pieces of elastic 25cm (10″) long, and two pieces of the non-stretch tape 60cm(24″) long.
  • Thread your needle with a doubled length of thread for extra reinforcement.
  • Overlap the three pieces of elastic and one piece of cotton tape by roughly 2.5c(1″).
  • Using small stitches, sew the pieces together using a square shape with an X in it. Since this will be pulled taut and supporting the obi, you want to make sure the tension is spread across a wider area than a single line.
  • Repeat this step with the other tape and other ends of the elastic, so you now have three strips of elastic in the centre of a long band of cotton tape.

That’s all there is to it! Simply tie the sanjuhimo around the top of your obi, like you would with an obi-makura, and have fun experimenting. For some really great video tutorials using a tool like this, check out さんさんmama on YouTube. If you make one and use it, I’d love to see!

Kosode no Te – Yokai Halloween 2018

It’s finally Halloween! I hope you’ve been enjoying this month of yokai coordinations as much as I have! I knew for the finale I needed something bold, and since I’d already used my hikizuri for Iso-onna, I decided to feature the drama of a kurotomesode. And really, what’s more appropriate to finish off this project than an actual haunted kimono spirit? Kosode no Te literally means short-sleeved kimono with hands, and is typically a deceased courtesan’s kimono, or the kimono of someone with unresolved issues. Spectral hands reach out of the sleeves of the kimono and assault the person trying to wear it, or the person who may have wronged the previous owner.

The motif on this particular kimono is called Tagasode, or “Whose Sleeves?” and it’s literally a bunch of kimono airing out on racks. It’s absolutely perfect for this particular yokai, don’t you think? I paired it up with a vintage obi in similar desaturated vintage tones. The obi has a design of thread bobbins, further emphasising the clothing and textile motif. I decided to go with bright red accessories for a punch of almost violent colour to tie it all together.

I’ve had such a wonderful time doing this project, I think it was my favourite Halloween theme I’ve done so far. But I am looking forward to some more “normal” coordinations, not to mention my birthday coming up in November!

Items used in this coordination