Terrific Texture

As much as it pained me to remove last week’s coordinate, it was time to change the mannequin. I thought for today I would focus on textures, an often-overlooked facet of kimono style and construction. This outfit may have no real variation in colour, and yet it’s anything but boring!

I paired my richly-textured mint iromuji with a tone-on-tone dusty pink hakata obi. Not only do these two pieces play well together texture-wise, the muted colour palettes complement each other perfectly. I emphasised the texture aspect even more with this haneri with a thick woven kiku design, a white shibori obiage (which is a bit too formal for this coord but it worked so well thematically) and a a white beaded obijime to introduce one last texture without adding more colour. I even arranged the obiage so the ruffled hem was visible, just to add one more layer of interest. Typically that edge is tucked away out of sight, but I thought it was a nice little touch.

I really like how this all came together. It’s very simple but also feels very luxurious, due to the nature of all the fabrics together. It’s even more effective in person, but you’ll just have to take my word on that!

Items used in this coordination

Lovely and Soothing

I’ve been feeling incredibly uninspired lately. Mental health, physical health, the state of the universe in general, they all weigh heavy on us right now, don’t they? In an attempt to get myself out of a rut I decided I would just reach blindly into my “tansu” (revamped armoire, really) and build an outfit around it.

I’m so glad I did, because I cannot get over how well these two pieces go together. They’re both the same lovely, dusty, desaturated palette and the flowers complement each other so well. I can’t believe I’ve never thought to pair these up before! I should do this impromptu coordination thing more often.

As much as I love the really bold and vivid pieces that came out of the Taisho era, there’s something to be said about these delicate, painterly ones. There’s just something incredibly soothing about outfits like this where everything just flows harmoniously from top to bottom and nothing really “jumps out” at you.

Items used in this coordination

Lavender Formal

Today’s entry is something a little more straightforward, formal, and traditional than I’ve done lately. I got this beautiful two-sided obi from Sasa. It’s white with gorgeous silver floral round designs with tiny lavender accents. The other side is a very pale lilac with an asanoha texture. I’m honestly not sure what to quantify it as, but since this side feels like a formal fukuro obi I thought it would work well with my kurotomesode with lavender and peach tones.

I tried to keep the kitsuke “correct” and traditional here; white-based formal obi, white haneri, gold and white obijime. However, being me, I did deviate a tiny bit by going with a peach obiage which is a spot-on perfect match for the ume flowers on the kimono. The obi is also incredibly easy to tie, which is always a good thing. I made one of the neatest and tidiest nijuudaiko musubi I’ve ever done, I think! I’m very much looking forward to coordinating this obi with other kimono, and maybe featuring the opposite, more casual side sometime soon.

Thankfully my life has calmed down a bit and some personal behind-the-scenes stuff that was causing me anxiety has been sorted out, so I can finally live up to the promise I keep making to be more active here. I’ve also got Patreon back up and running. While the blog will always be totally free, there are little perks you can get for helping support this passion of mine and enable me to keep sharing pictures, references, and information with you all. This hobby is not a cheap one!

Items used in this coordination

(The detail photo of the obi above is terrible, and will be replaced with a decent one as soon as I can set up my backdrop and stuff properly again!)

Bamboo for resilience, Paper cranes for hope

I try not to get too angry or too political on this blog, but there comes a point when keeping quiet is complicit with violence. I’ve devoted half my life to the study and appreciation of Japanese arts, and now more than ever I feel the need to speak up against the wave of racist violence being perpetrated against Asian-Americans of all cultures. While the most recent horrific attacks have been aimed at Korean and Chinese women, the types of people who commit these atrocities typically don’t know or don’t care about the difference.

Those of us who share a passion for one or more aspects of an eastern culture have a duty to help defend the beautiful, diverse people and cultures to whom we owe so much. So what can we do? Stand up. Speak up. Whether you witness something as egregious as a physical assault on an elderly woman, or people in power using racist terms like Kung Flu, or something as “minor” (and I say that sarcastically) as a relative lumping multiple Asian countries into some vague orientalist monoculture, step in and defend the peoples of those cultures you love and respect so much.

Of course, my way of channelling my frustration and anger usually involves the mannequin. I knew the best starting point would be my orizuru (paper crane) obi and haori, as hope for a more understanding and peaceful world. I paired them with this gorgeous Taisho-era bamboo komon, as bamboo is strong and resilient. It feels like an optimistic coordination in a dark time. I know in the grand scheme of things, this is a bit of an empty gesture, but it helps me to cope.

I wish I had a cute or pithy way to end this entry, but I just can’t find it in me today. Thank you for understanding.

Items used in this coordination

Blushing Valentine Bride

I absolutely intended to do this yesterday, but the universe clearly had other plans. It’s never too late for a little bit of winter romance though, so here we are! For February and Valentine’s Day, I decided to do a bit of a non-traditional wedding coordination. Generally, wedding outfits will be either all white (or white with metallic accents) or boldly coloured, depending on the time, location, and whether it’s for the ceremony or reception. This time though, I decided to go white with one bright accent colour; what could be more romantic than rosy pink?

I used a pink iromuji as the under-layer, since the colour was a perfect match, and I’m glad I went for it. I love the solid colours but play of texture – the kimono has a subtle sayagata rinzu, the iromuji is much more heavily textured, there’s the nubbly shibori of the obiage, the smooth flat surface of the obi, and even the shiny bumpy quality of the beaded obiage. Everything plays against everything else to create an outfit that despite being only two colours still remains visually very interesting.

Typically, a bigger musubi like tateya or something fancy created by a bridal studio would be used with a wedding ensemble. However, this obi has no stiffener and is very floppy, which really reduces the ways it can be tied without looking sad and anaemic, so I went with a very timeless soft bunko musubi. This also seemed like the perfect time to use the heart obijime knot (tutorial here). Since beaded obijime tend to be a bit slippery and often shorter than usual I wasn’t able to do it perfectly, but it’s still quite cute I think!

I’ve also gone ahead and reactivated my Patreon account. I know times are tough and money is tight for just about everyone, so I’m not expecting anything. But if you’ve got a few dollars to spare and enjoy the content I provide, please consider pledging! Every penny earned from there will go directly back into this blog, to cover new pieces, new reference materials, website hosting, and the like.

Items used in this coordination