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

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

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

Iso-Onna – Yokai Halloween 2018

Nearly every culture has some form of vampire mythos, and Japan is no different. Iso-Onna, the Coast Woman, is described as a beautiful woman who hunts along the shores of Western Japan. She lures fishermen, sailors, and travellers to her and then drags them into the water and uses her hair to suck their blood. Somehow that seems even more horrible than using teeth!

For this coordination, I knew I needed to evoke the coastline, Of course, I had to use my hikizuri with the crashing waves on it, paired with this gorgeous pente ship obi. I brought in some pops of red to represent blood, and couldn’t resist finally featuring the awesome rhinestone octopus a friend sent me.

I love the drama that the trailing hem brings to this particular outfit. It reminds me of seawater spilling across the shoreline which is absolutely perfect for the theme. It also still feels wearable, despite using relatively theatrical pieces. I’ve worked hard making sure all of these coordinations don’t feel overly “costumey” and I’m glad I’ve been able to stick it out.

Only one more to go! Come back on October 31st to see the final yokai!

Items used in this coordination

#MonoKimono Challenge – Black Mofuku

One of the few traditionally monochrome kimono coordinations would be mofuku, or mourning clothes. I debated whether or not to do this outfit, but in the end I figured it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate something I’d never really have another opportunity to show, and it felt right for this time of year. It’s clearly not appropriate for everyday wear but it’s definitely interesting.

Mofuku kimono are always flat black silk with five crests. There will never be any noticeable texture or rinzu patterning on the kimono. However, obi will occasionally have a subtle woven design like this one does. Obiage and obijime should also be black, while undergarments (juban, haneri, tabi) will always be plain white. You really can’t get much more monochrome than that.

People further from the deceased can wear iromuji in dusty, subtle colour like greys, steel blues, and lavenders, and keep to black accessories, and as the mourning period progresses more colour can be injected into the coordinations.

While I typically like to inject my own flair and personality into nearly every outfit I put together, I felt that doing anything “out of the ordinary” here would be disrespectful, even if it is just on a mannequin. This sort of coordination means something, and it’s not my place to change that.

There’s still two more Yokai outfits to come before the end of the month, so we’ll be getting back to those tomorrow.

Items used in this coordination