Back to the Classics

It feels like sometimes I get so caught up in my kitsuke experimentation, be it kimono-as-costumes, turning a kimono into a ballgown, steampunk hime-styles, or one of the other multitudes of things I’ve done lately, that I forget about the timeless simplicity that drew me to kimono in the first place. So for this outfit, I decided to go in a very clean and traditional direction that’s all about the little details. I paired up my sagara embroidery tsukesage with an obi I got in the infamous obi bundle and hadn’t used yet. Accessories were plain and classic, a casual obijime that reflects the colour of the kimono and an obiage that adds a little bit of sweetness while still being quiet and discreet. This obi’s motif placement is very strange, and I had to cheat a fair bit while tying it, but isn’t that what mannequins are for? 😉

I doubt I’ll be reaching for this obi again any time soon, which is a shame because the soft embroidered details on it are so pretty. It’s just too much of a nuisance.  But I very am glad I decided to drag these two pieces out of storage and do something with them. I’m working on a bunch of new stuff behind the scenes, so this may be the last outfit post for a few weeks. I’m glad it’s one I’m proud to leave on the mannequin.

Items used in this coordination

Steampunk Adventuress

I was so pleased with the end result of using the high-necked Victorian-style blouse under the pink iromuji a few weeks ago, I thought I would try it again! Rather than simply re-hash the outfit with a different kimono, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a full Steampunk-style ensemble. I purchased this corset recently for a cosplay, but it seemed like the perfect jumping-off point for this outfit. While I use it fairly frequently, this outfit screamed for my Gothic Victorian Landscape houmongi. A ruffly black crinoline and a brown faux-fur stole pulled everything together neatly, and a brooch from Scotland was the perfect finishing touch. I couldn’t be happier with how this one came together. I could totally imagine myself wearing this outfit – with a fabulous hat and knee-high boots – on the front deck of an airship, travelling to Japan to do some more shopping!

Items used in this coordination

Par For the Course

As you may have noticed, it’s become a bit of a thing for me to dress house-guests in kimono. Several months ago, my dear friend Dino of Alternative Vegan came to stay with me. Our friend Frances came by as well, and I had the pleasure of subjecting them both to the blissful discomfort of kitsuke 😉

I had fun playing with gender conventions here. Dino has a very fabulous and flamboyant personal style, so I put him in a woman’s kimono and obi but dressed in a manly style, similar to my own experiments in otoko-poi style years ago. You’ll notice that he’s wearing the same Victorian Gothic London houmongi that Elise wore when she visited. This tends to be a popular one with guests; I suppose the motif is both quirky and familiar, which makes it accessible to people who aren’t really used to kimono yet.

Frances is wearing a woman’s kimono and obi, but with a very neutral, muted palette and no accessories. They are also much tinier than I am, and even my smallest kimono ended up being big and a little awkward to work with, especially since I have been out of practice so long. Alas! At least they both had fun 😀

Dino’s laughter is infectious, by the way. I don’t think our house has been consistently so full of random crack-ups as it was when he was visiting.

Items used in this coordination

A couple of new ro

With summer rapidly (and hotly) approaching, I figured it was high time I invest in a few more ro pieces. I managed to snag these two for a great price, and since they were from the same seller and summer sheer weave is very light, the shipping was very affordable too. When all was said and done, I paid just over $20 for the two of them, shipping included.

Grey-blue ro tsukesage with flowers

I love how soft and painterly this looks – like an impressionist watercolour. It’s definitely got a cool, breezy feel to it and I really can’t wait to wear it. I think it will look lovely with my white sha hakata and pink accessories.

Cream komon with suzu

From a distance, this doesn’t look like much – just beige with yellow dots, but up close you can see that the “dots” are actually adorable little round bells, printed in a sort of faux-bingata style. It’s absolutely adorable! Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly narrow, so I need to get off my wider-than-average butt and widen the side seams.

New haori from Naomi

Along with all the haneri I got, as well as the geisha hikizuri (which is going to get a proper entry soon, I promise), I ended up with a few unexpected haori and another kimono from Naomi, they came in a bundle of items she purchased and they were not to her tastes. Once again, someone else’s loss is my gain, because I absolutely love them both.

Purple meisen haori with mysterious flowers
Purple Meisen Haori

Purple Meisen Haori

Purple Meisen Haori

This is a gorgeous vivid purple Meisen. I’ve mentioned my love/hate affair with Meisen before – I think the technique is amazing but I have never come across a kimono long enough to fit me. I’ve come to terms with this, I think, and will stick to gorgeous, flamboyant haori. I honestly have no idea what the flowers on here are supposed to be, but they appear to be losing their petals so I assume it’s for autumn. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

Delicate kiku yuzen haori
Kiku haori

Kiku haori

Yuzen has long been one of my favourite techniques – it’s relatively common but when it’s done right it has a charming delicacy. My first kimono was yuzen-dyed spider kiku, and it’s still one of my most cherished pieces. When I saw this piece in the bundle she got, I admit I really wanted it. So you can imagine how happy I am to have it in my grubby little paws. I can’t wait until the autumn so I can wear it. Age-wise, this piece is a little odd. It’s got the longer sleeves of a vintage piece, but the short body and simple white lining of a more modern one, so it’s probably from the transitional post-war era.