All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth geta

Pardon the cheesy title.  I seem to have a fondness for them! While browsing evilBay yesterday I realized I need to take some time and focus on the “lacking” spots in my kimono wardrobe, and started making a list. That quickly spiralled downhill into a wishlist of sorts, which I figured I would share, despite not expecting any of it as actual gifts XD. Consider this a “to buy” list for my own personal reference.

Relatively neutral, non-shibori obiage.
For some reason, I have a huge lack of these. Nearly all my obiage are either very vivid in colour, or covered in ornate shibori, or both. This makes casual outfits a bit of a challenge, especially things like wool komon. The biggest obstacle for me here is that obiage tend to be bundled with obijime, which I absolutely do not need. I bought a huge mixed lot and am set for a while. I also bought a mixed lot of shibori obiage, but for some reason have had no luck with simpler ones.

Cute juban that actually fit.
Being the gigantic hulking glamazon that I am, finding kimono that fit can be a challenge. However, kimono are made to be overly long and adjusted at the waist, so generally I can make do. Juban (the traditional middle layer of clothing, a form of underrobe that are usually partially visible), however, are not meant to be folded at the waist, and so should be as long as the measurement from shoulder to ankle. That measurement, on me, is the entire height of a typical Japanese woman, from what I can tell based on sizes. Unfortunately, this means that juban tend to be waaay too short on me. I have some that are two pieces, and so the skirt can be tied low on my hips, and that helps. I also have one that is actually a converted unlined kimono, and it works. However, I would like more variety, since the hems and sleeves of these pieces do show quite a bit, and should add some oomph to an outfit. If anyone ever sees juban over 55″/140cm, please let me know!

More 53 Stations of the Tokaido motifs.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably already aware, but my collection has a sub-collection. I am slowly amassing kimono items that have motifs based on Hiroshige’s 53 Stations of the Tokaido series of prints. I am going to do an entire entry on this in the future, to catalogue the pieces I have and explain a bit of the history behind the theme as well as try to pin-point what it is about this series I find so captivating, but that’s for a later date. For the time being, I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for any related items, particularly ones that have stations I do not already own. Any items here would be awesome; so far I only have three obi and one folding dance fan. Eventually, I hope to have an entire outfit, no matter how tacky and clashing it may end up.

More lobsters, and sea creatures in general!
For some reason, I find the spiny lobster motif absolutely hilarious and adorable. I recently finally managed to snag myself an obi with one on it, but this has not satiated my need for ridiculous lobster, much to my dismay. Now would be a good time to bring my dream motif, large-scale cephalopods. However, in all my years of collecting, the only time I’ve come across anything remotely related to this was  a man’s haori with Hokusai’s Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (note, that link is not safe for work if your work is strict) print inside the lining. Not exactly what I am looking for!

Vintage, wide vertical striped kimono.
I love the look of wide, bright contrasting stripes. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find any that fit me and are within my budget. This is sort of low on my priority list because I have a ton of kimono I’ve not worn out yet.

Hakata, hakata, hakata!
Another of my lustmotifs. Hakata is a form of weaving traditional to a specific region of Japan, and is typically used for obi.  I have several already, but I’m always on the lookout for more, especially in unusual or interesting colourways.

A girl can never have too many shoes or purses!

Even when it comes to kimono! Typically, the only proper shoes to be worn are zori, a sort of platform sandal made of leather, vinyl, or brocade silk, or geta, a wooden sandal with fabric thong hanao (straps). Zori are dressier, geta are usually worn with yukata, though with a more vintage or experimental outfit, they can be worn with kimono. Handbags are usually clutch-style, small enough to fit in a hand. Sometimes they’ll have a small strap or chain, but not always. For dressier outfits, you can get matching sets, but like western wear, it’s not necessary to have your shoes and bag match, and in some cases can even seem old-fashioned.

I have large feet, even by North American standards, so finding footwear that fits is always a challenge. Thankfully, traditional Japanese footwear is worn with the heel hanging off the end of the shoe, so wearing them too small is not a huge issue, so long as they are comfortable. I’ve lucked out and found a few pairs I quite like, but I am keeping an eye out for more.

Pastel Saga-nishiki set

This a very dressy set, good for furisode or tomesode. The zori are a bit tight, but they’re not something I wear often, so I can deal with it.

Gold and orange Saga-nishiki set

Another dressy set, but the colours are a bit more subdued so these get a bit more exposure. There’s a cute little mirror in the bag, and when I got it it was stuffed with newspapers from the early 1950s, which I found awesome.

Gold vinyl zori

My largest pair, and one of my most versatile. The hanao and the heels have inserts of red and black with little gold sakura on them. They’re comfortable, and by kimono standards, neutral.

Silver vinyl zori

Another large, comfortable, versatile pair. I took a risk on these – the auction listing just said “Japanese sandals” and the picture was iffy. There was also no size listed. I’m quite shocked at how large they are!

Black zori with woven hanao

These poor babies get more use than the town bicycle. They’re comfortable and casual, and since there are so many colours in them they match so many outfits. If they ever fall apart I will be devastated.

Black ukon geta

A great little versatile pair of black geta. I’m planning on changing the hanao on these ones eventually, the green does not match anything I own XD

Blue modern geta

Slightly dressier geta (carved heel, gold accents on the hanao) that I sometimes wear in inclement weather, or with older kimono. They’re a little slippery, which makes them hard to wear with tabi, but a quick spritz of hairspray fixes that.

Casual Hello Kitty geta

Big, floppy, noisy, knockoff Hello Kitty geta. For yukata only, and even then only in a very casual situation!

Black arabesque clutch bag

I love this bag so much. I snagged it for $0.99, I cannot believe how lucky I was. It’s a lovely soft black silk with woven swirls, and a snowflake-like design in silver. The top is an awesome reddish tortoiseshell Bakelite and the leather handle can also be tucked into the purse and hidden.

Mauve handbag with black trim

Yet another $0.99 find. It’s a pretty dusty mauve rinzu silk with black leather trim and a celluloid and metal clasp. It’s also quite large, about 25cm long. There was a cute little mirror tucked into one pocket when I got it.

Leather bingata-style clutch

Another amazing $0.99 find. I seem to have a knack for snagging bags nobody else bid on. I’m not sure if it’s real leather or vinyl, but it’s soft and supple and has an awesome Bingata-style stencil print and metal hardware.

White and silver clutch

Strictly speaking, this is not a kimono bag at all. It’s actually a promotional makeup clutch from MAC cosmetics. XD However, it’s got a great little rococo feel and fits perfectly into the sleeve of a kimono. It was never used for cosmetics, and so is good and clean. It’s pretty casual, but cute.

Striped tsumugi wallet

Just a simple little jewel-toned flat pocket, good for holding cards and cash and tucking into the front of my obi, or washi paper for sweets during a Japanese-style event.