A Little Maiko Inspiration

Sometimes, despite my best efforts to avoid it, I find myself browsing Kijiji for local kimono-related things. Imagine my surprise when I came across someone right near my work, selling a pre-tied darari obi! A darari is the very long, dangling style obi maiko wear. Han-darari means “half-darari” and they’re still cute and dangling, but a much more practical length. They’re typically worn by minarai, the young women in training to become maiko, but can also be worn for stage performances or as a dramatic stylistic choice. This one is actually a bit longer than a standard han-darari, but not long enough or thick enough to be a full darari. I suspect it may have been for a young teenage girl, or a stage show.

Colour-wise, this one was such a perfect match for the beautiful kakeshita a very kind friend sent me, so I thought I’d steal a little bit of maiko inspiration and go for some bright, youthful drama with the bold colour scheme, long obi, and trailing hem of the kimono.

I won’t lie, I’m a little jealous of the mannequin right now! These pieces just look so good together. I think I will make an attempt to wear this outfit later myself, when it’s not 40 degrees centigrade out. Even just coordinating this outfit made me feel gross and overheated. I forgot how many layers this kimono has; not just a secondary hiyoku but it’s got a layered collar and fully double-lined sleeves as well. You could almost get away with not wearing a full juban with it, and that’s very likely what I’ll if I ever get around to putting it on myself.

The nice thing about wedding kimono is that in general, they tend to fit me right now even though I am, to put it delicately, not very small. There’s another fun hint for you all – kimono that are meant to be worn trailing will often be wider as well as longer, giving a bigger person more “wiggle room”.

Items used in this coordination



  1. I lo-o-ove this! So lush. I’ll admit it, I’m a little jealous of your mannequin right now, too ;P
    I’ve never seen a shorter darari before–interesting. I can;t imagine how hot actual Maiko must be, in all their layers and trussed and wrapped over and over about the waist–I think you’d have to be young to be able to take it!
    It’s always amazing how different kimono look in their standard flat-back image, to when they’re wrapped about a human form. The color instantly seems to take up so much more of the surface area somehow.
    Beautiful, extravagant combo and well-matched–do you leave them on your mannequin for a few weeks to just admire them with a little hum and a smile every time you pass?

    • They have such endurance and resilience! At least in the summer most of their wardrobe is very light-weight layers.

      And yeah, I totally leave the outfit on. I typically change it once or twice a week, just to make sure I have new content here, but until then it stays in the last outfit. I definitely sigh a little happy sigh whenever I see it in this coordination! I might end up leaving it on for a little longer than normal…

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