Octopus’ Garden

A few months ago, my father ordered this incredible octopus obi from 3Magpies Studio for me as a Christmas present. It was a pre-order and I knew it would arrive after the holidays, but I didn’t mind a bit. I knew it would be worth the wait. Also included was an incredible matching haneri, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available any more. I love how the tentacles just seem to be creeping in, and can’t wait to pair this with other outfits.

The obi nearly got lost in the mail – it was scanned leaving Poland and then the tracking never updated again for over a month. It finally showed up last week, much to everyone’s relief. I’m so happy it found its way home, because it’s awesome!

I really wanted to make sure the focus stayed on the fantastic obi, so I pulled out the red tones for the kimono. This one is covered in tiny ume, but from a distance they totally look like the suckers on the octopus tentacles. It’s a match made in watery, undersea heaven. I kept things simple with more white and red accessories. My initial plan was to use this rhinestone octopus obidome as well, but in the end it felt distracting and sometimes enough really is enough. One day I’ll likely pair them up, maybe with a different kimono to pull the blue colour in somewhere else and feel more cohesive.

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Valentine Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, family, friends, a beloved pet, or just loving yourself today, I hope you’re having a great day.

I wanted to do yet another obnoxiously girly coordinate and was inspired by my previous Valentine’s Day colour combo but wanted to add a bit more flair. I’d also been itching to do a more kimono-hime style outfit.

Lately there’s been a lovely trend of slightly exposing juban with really sweet pleated chiffon hems, and while I don’t own one of those (yet), this textured while skirt with lace accents worked a charm. I also used one of the skirt’s tiers to fake extra sleeve layers, and love how they look. Especially now that the mannequin has arms!

I also re-used a lot of the lace I’d initially bought for the Princess Tiana coordination, and I think it pops so well against the black kimono. The pink lace shawl has a very similar texture and ties in to the obi perfectly, as well as echoing the layered pink and white collars I used. A shiny silver and pink brooch used as an obidome completes the look. This outfit is still sweet and romantic, but I think that with the black base it feels a little edgier, and I love that.

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Armed & Dangerous

The mannequin, I mean. Not me! She’s still not perfect, but we managed to make her arms work for the time being. After all the fuss and bother on Saturday, I figured that since she had arms now, I should probably work on getting her dressed. I thought that to get myself out of the funk, I’d try to redo one of my favourite old outfits featuring one of my most prized kimono. Unfortunately, it’s basically unwearable now due to the sleeves detaching and a lot of the gold embroidery lifting off the silk, but gently draping it on the mannequin is safe enough.

Rather than use the same old hakata obi I used last time, I decided to see what I could do with the tsuke darari obi I got over the summer. I think I managed to disguise it quite well and I totally love how they tied together. This green and gold date-eri really looks like it belongs with this obi, doesn’t it? Red accessories finished things off and pulled out some of the warmer tones from the kimono. I had fun with the obijime too. I love playing with the multiple thin ends on some of these fancy furisode obijime.

It may have been a struggle, but I’m glad I pushed through because the end result is so beautiful. I will, however, be looking for someone to repair this kimono. At the very least, the sleeves need to be re-attached properly and the gold couching needs to be fixed where it’s coming off.

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Memories of Summer

It’s snowing today. Again. We had a blizzard on Monday. It’s been frigid enough lately that there’s been warnings to stay indoors. I live in Quebc, I expect winter to be unpleasant. But this winter hasn’t just been unpleasant, it’s been brutal. So I thought I’d do my best to remind myself that summer will be here eventually!

I bought this gorgeous usumono (summer weight) vintage komon at the kimono bazaar back in November and initially had no plans to do anything with it until it was more seasonally appropriate. But I really needed a breath of warm summer air, and decided to feature it.

I love the colour of this piece; it’s a shade of plum that’s somehow rich but muted all at once. And the art-deco feeling birds on it are utterly charming. It’s tiny and will never fit me, but it was incredibly affordable for its age and fragility, and I loved it too much to pass it by.

Typically, I don’t bother putting a juban on the mannequin. She doesn’t sweat so I don’t need a layer to protect the kimono, she doesn’t move so I don’t need the security of it, and she doesn’t need any further padding or smoothing, so usually it’s not necessary. However, this kimono is so sheer that it would have looked odd and shapeless, and I’ve been wanting to feature this ridiculously adorable shrimp juban Naomi gave me for a while now. It’s technically too heavy for the weight of the kimono, but I love how the colours work together and thematically I like the idea of birds swooping over the cool, breezy ocean and diving in to catch the shrimp!

I used my white ro hakata obi, partially because it looks refreshing against the purple and partially because it’s the only summer weight obi I own. Pale purple summer weight accessories and a cool white ro haneri tie it all together.

It may be completely disgusting and frigid and messy outside, but it’s good to look back on happy memories of summer.

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成人の日Seijin no Hi 2019

Today is 成人の日 (Seijin no Hi, coming of age day), so of course it’s time for a 成人式 (Seijin Shiki, coming of age ceremony) outfit! It seems like the further away I get from my 20th birthday the more fun I have with these. Go figure!

I’ve been meaning to pair my newest furisode with this black-based obi to make the hanaguruma stand out more, and this seemed like the best time to do it. Since there’s already a lot going on with the kimono and obi, I went with a relatively neutral haneri that’s still bright and bold enough to feel youthful.

I used my handmade sanjuhimo and had fun improvising a big, bold obi musubi. My original plan was to use this round salmon-coloured obijime to hold everything in place, but it got a bit lost against the obi. Then I realised I could use it as a decorative accent in the obi musubi, and I love how it looks! I used a punchier lime-green and metallic obijime instead, and balanced that colour out in the obiage and kasane-eri.

The white fur collar is a very common addition to seijin shiki ensembles; since they take place in early January it’s a great way to add both warmth and elegance to the furisode. In previous years, I’ve used a brown and grey fur stole, but this year I really wanted to go with the more traditional bright white. You’ve got no idea how hard it is to find one though. I hit up a bunch of boutiques and thrift stores and even went looking in fabric and craft stores, and had no luck at all. I was about to give up when I remembered I had this sheepskin from Ikea, of all things! A few straight cuts with a very sharp blade and voila, a beautiful, fluffy white stole.

I think this is probably the most successful seijin no hi outfit I’ve put together so far.

Items used in this coordination