It’s a Man’s World

Today, I finally got my grubby little paws on something I’ve wanted for a very long time. A full men’s formal kuromontsuki set! It seemed like every time I found one it was way beyond my budget. I’m glad I waited because this set showed up for an unbelievably low price and here in Canada to boot so I jumped on it. Originally it was just the kimono, haori, and hakama but the seller was kind enough to throw in an absolutely awesome juban too. All I had to do was find a suitable kaku-obi and I now have a full formal men’s set. I’d love to dress a bride and groom up for photos some day when the world is back to normal!

I cheated and used the same mannequin as usual, I just padded “her” with towels until her tummy protruded a bit more than her chest, and voila! Men’s kitsuke feels odd to me; it’s both very similar and very different from what I’m used to, and I’ll definitely need more practice but I think I did quite well for a first attempt. I do need to learn how to tie men’s haori-himo properly though. I watched a few tutorials and just could not get the hang of it! I’ll try again tomorrow.

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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!

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(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!)

Touches of Gold

(There’s some personal emotional garbage as well as an attempt at explaining the lack of content lately at the bottom of this entry. Feel free to skip it if you’re just here for the pretties.)

My lovely friend Maral was helping someone destash some kimono and I fell in love with this green odori piece as well as a gorgeous purple and white obi that will make an appearance sooner or later. Everything about this piece makes me happy; the colour, the bridge, the willow branches, and the size. It’s deceptively large!

I decided I really wanted to play up the warm orange and touches of gold in the kimono. I used my black shishi obi to help anchor the coordination and bring in even more metallic accents, and the red obiage to tie in the red date-eri that was already sewn into the kimono. My initial instinct was a white and gold haneri but I defaulted to this yellow chirimen one that I use way too often, because somehow despite being the colour of stale mustard it seems to go with almost everything.

This outfit is quite straightforward compared to a lot of what I’ve been doing lately, but there’s a lot to be said for the classics. The whole coordination feels balanced, and just flashy enough. It’s also sort of accidentally Christmas colours, which works well because it’ll be on the mannequin over the holidays. It wasn’t intentional, but let’s pretend it was.

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If you’re reading this far, thank you. The past month or so has been rough, you guys. I was supposed to spend my birthday (Nov 16) and American Thanksgiving with my dude but then my household got exposed to the virus that shall not be named and we all had to quarantine for two weeks. As we were dealing with the aftermath of that, we lost my grandmother. She’d been ill for quite a long time and it’s a relief to know she’s not suffering anymore, but considering I was going through some emotionally messy garbage before all this happened, you can imagine how I was feeling afterwards. However, we’ve buried my grandmother’s ashes and she’s at peace, and barring another exposure incident I will be spending Christmas with Keith so I’m starting to feel better finally. I should have much more new content and a more regular update schedule in the new year. 💕

Autumn Wedding

Sometimes a girl just wants to put a wedding outfit on her mannequin for no good reason, right? I received this beautiful vintage maru obi as an extra when I bought the ume hikizuri, and for a while I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. It recently hit me that it’s the same sort of desaturated vintage colour palette as my beloved Taisho bridal kimono, and roughly the same level of flashiness, so it was worth trying them out together.

I really love how these look together, with the pops of red and gold from the obiage, obijime, and kakae obi to break things up. It looks beautifully autumnal, and since it’s snowing today and winter’s creeping up on me, I want to hold onto that fall feeling as long as possible.

It’s not as tidy as it could be, and that is a sad, floppy-looking bunko musubi but I was out of spoons and didn’t want to fight with it anymore (even with my poor long-suffering father helping me out). I figured I’d share the outfit as-is, rather than getting frustrated and not posting it. I’m still not feeling great, to be honest, and there’s a bunch of stuff happening in my personal life that I won’t bore you with. I just want to reassure you that while posting has slowed down somewhat these past few months, I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere.

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Halloween Pumpkin!

When Kimono Stylist Sala Okabe shared this picture, I was smitten! She didn’t post instructions, but it looked fairly straightforward, some variation on an otaiko musubi and I decided I really wanted to give it a shot. I haven’t been in much of a state to do kitsuke recently; not only am I still feeling worn down mentally, I also took quite a tumble down some stone stairs a few weeks ago. I tore up my legs, twisted my wrist, and bruised several of my ribs quite badly. However, I’m feeling a little better and thought Halloween would be the ideal time to put this together!

The orange hakata side of this chuuya obi was the obvious choice. I paired it with green accessories to look like the leaves and vines of the pumpkin plant, and went with a small-patterned black and white kimono to keep with the “spooky season” colours without being distracting. I would have loved an orange haneri but I don’t own one, but this mustard yellow one is pretty darned close and still fits with the autumn theme.

I also decided not to pleat the obi like Sala Okabe did, because this one is so soft and floppy it’s hard to get it to hold a shape. But I think the woven design does an excellent job of looking like the ribs of a pumpkin! Overall, I think I managed it quite well, considering I had to guess at the obi musubi construction and I’m still not totally feeling like myself. Hopefully my motivation will come back properly soon.

Items used in this coordination