Vintage style with modern convenience

After Gofuku no Hi, I realised owning at least one other hakama would greatly expand my kimono wardrobe. Even though I’m still far too chunky to fit into most of my kimono properly, they do a great job of hiding a less-than-ideal hip wrap. I found a lovely modern teal polyester hakama from ebay seller Yoshihori and snatched it up. The seller had embroidered ones too, which were utterly lovely, but significantly more expensive. So I decided to be reasonable and buy the plain one. So imagine my surprise when the seller contacted me, incredibly apologetic, telling me the plain one was sold out and would I like the embroidered one instead, for no extra charge? Of course I said yes!

A few days after I bought it, but before it had arrived in the mail, a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was selling off a large chunk of her collection, including a gorgeous mauve kofurisode that was clearly meant to be worn with hakama. The colours were gorgeous, and it had a wonderful sort of large-scale Taisho-inspired feel to it. I knew it had to come live with me, and be paired up with the new hakama as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Initially, I’d planned to wear the ensemble to Otakuthon, Montreal’s big anime convention. However, it’s in the middle of August and we’re already regularly breaking the high 30s temperature-wise. Even in a heavily air-conditioned convention centre, there’s no way I could wear synthetic awase and not die. So I decided to put the outfit together to see how it looks. Everything is very heavily decorated with sakura, so of course I chose a coordinating haneri. I waffled a bit between yellow and purple obi, but decided to use the purple so it sort of disappeared. The kimono and hakama are busy enough, the outfit didn’t need another level of contrast.

I know I say this a lot, but I love love love how this turned out. I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear it. Maybe for my birthday, in November?

Summer Breeze

Summer may officially start tomorrow, but it’s here with a vengeance already. It’s blisteringly hot and humid out, and even looking at the heavy, layered outfit that I’d left on the mannequin was making me hot! I got this adorable ro komon with bells a few years ago but never had a chance to wear it. It’s very long, which is great, but it’s also very narrow. Even at my thinnest, it never fit. It’s just too cute to get rid of, and I figured it was high time it had a moment in the (blistering) sun.

The obi is not usumono, but it’s a thin hanhaba, and the yellow colour really draws the eye to the yellow-gold bells on the kimono itself. I used my pink seashell summer-weight obiage and obijime to add an accent colour. I went with the ubiquitous pink set because it’s actually the only summer set I have. I’ll eventually invest in more sets, but as I currently don’t own a single usumono kimono that fits me, it’s not really a priority right now. I tied the obiage in a bow to echo the obi in back, to add a bit more softness and girliness to an otherwise very simple outfit. It feels light and airy, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Items used in this coordination

Lovely Layers

Go figure, as soon as I change the blog’s colour scheme to summer, the real summer vanishes. It’s cold and damp and dreary out, and I was inspired to play with layers. I wanted to replicate the look of a vintage dounuki (under-layer kimono that usually coordinates or contrasts with the layer above it), but using modern pieces. I love the lush look of something very patterned beneath something simpler so I paired up my yagasuri komon and rich blue flowered tsukesage. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to use an awesome tsuke-obi I hadn’t yet coordinated with anything. Yellow accessories contrasted nicely but tied everything together, since there are yellow accents in the obi, and yellow centres on some of the flowers of the kimono.

One thing I learnt is that dressing a wobbly mannequin in multiple layers is even more difficult than dressing yourself in multiple layers. Thankfully my poor, long-suffering father was happy to help by holding her in place and holding layers together while I tied things up. I do think it was worth the hassle though. It looks rich and sumptuous, and all the colours tie together quite harmoniously. I don’t think this outfit is something I would wear out (way too hot and bulky), but I’m glad I put it all together nonetheless.

Items used in this coordination

Whale, whale, whale…

What have we here?*

I found this obi online several months ago, and kept coming back to look at it. The whales are just so adorably goofy and charming, and I fell completely in love. Eventually I found myself with a bit of cash to spare on something special for myself, and after being enabled by pretty much every single one of my online friends, I went for it. I bought it from Murata, a store based in Vancouver, BC, here in Canada. It only took a few days to get here, and believe me, after over a decade of ordering almost exclusively from Japan that speed made me giddy. Kazue and Fumie were also both an absolutely pleasure to deal with, and I look forward to ordering from them again in the future.

I felt that this obi is so fun and special that it had to be the focus of the outfit, so I went the vaguely monochrome route again. I thought this modern poly komon had a bit of a watery feel to it, and I love how it matches the obi but still manages to fade into the background, making sure all eyes are on the whales! This obi is also incredibly long, to the point where I had to wrap it around the mannequin three times, rather than the usual two. This means I’ll be able to wear it myself, and be able to tie all sorts of fun musubi with it. I can’t wait!

*(I would apologise for that terrible title, but I am not remotely sorry!)

Items used in this coordination

Monochrome Magic

Typically, the rule of thumb for obi/kimono coordination is to choose contrasting colours and motifs. You want the two pieces to pop against each other and then be tied together with accessories. However, monochrome (or nearly monochrome) outfits are becoming more of a trend.

I found this plum tsukesage online and thought it would be a perfect match for the obi I already owned. While under the questionable influence of migraine medication I asked the lovely folks of the Immortal Geisha facebook group if I should go for it, and was actively and heartily encouraged. I tossed out an offer and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Imagine my surprise a week later when I got a shipping notice!

All that being said, I am completely and utterly thrilled with how well these two pieces suit each other. Not only are the base colours nearly identical, but the abstracted half-round peacock motifs perfectly echo the graphic round kiku on the obi. I decided to emphasize those motifs by accenting the outfit with cream and gold accessories, and I don’t think I could be happier!

Items used in this coordination