Tintype Vintage Feeling

I recently got this really pretty lace collar from a friend, and it has a wonderful sweet vintage style to it. I decided to build a whole outfit around it. I wanted to stick to the vintage feeling by using soft browns and muted colours, and natural motifs. I am also more than ready for autumn, and wanted to see if I could evoke that without shouting “ORANGE! RED! FOLIAGE!” from the metaphorical rooftops. I do think that I managed to grasp it, as well as emulate the look and feel of an old tintype photograph. All the browns and beiges work so well together.

The obi I bought as part of my final Ichiroya purchase ( 😥 ) was perfect – more matching than contrasting, which suits the soft and subtle aesthetic I was aiming for. In lieu of an obiage I used some beautiful creamy crocheted lace to echo the collar. My initial plan was also to add some at the cuffs, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough.

Despite being relatively busy, the obi felt like something was missing. The ivory phoenix obidome brings in more soft cream tones as well as more birds, and is the perfect finishing touch. Unfortunately this obidome has somehow escaped my cataloguing escapades so no close-up photo of it for now, but I will fix that later.

I am thrilled with how this outfit feels almost monochrome but not quite, with the unexpected accents of pale blue and an almost salmon pink shade popping up in both the obi and the kimono. They’re the sorts of details that only make themselves known up close, and one of the things I love about kimono.

Items used in this coordination

Thank you, Ichiroya!

If you’re active in the kimono communities online, odds are high that you’ve already heard the devastating news that Ichiroya, one of the oldest and most well-established online kimono stores, is closing. I’ve spoken about them at length here on this blog, even devoting an entire entry on how wonderful they are and how to use their services. Everyone there is so kind and helpful, and they’ve always been the first place I suggest when people want to dip their toes into buying vintage kimono online. While I am very sad,t this feels like the end of an era, I wish the owners all the best for their upcoming retirement!

I also used this as an opportunity to treat myself to some items I’d been watching for a while. One of the pieces I splurged on was this beautiful vintage houmongi with genjiko motif on an utterly lush purple background. When it arrived, I realised that an obi I’d bought from Ichiroya quite some time ago was the perfect complement to the pink and green accents of the kimono, and it all fell into place.

I wanted the kimono (and to a lesser extent, the obi) to shine so I went with subtle brown and beige accessories that tied into the kimono motif without drawing attention to themselves. I can’t remember where most of the accessories came from, they’re not from Ichiroya, but they worked very well with the outfit. I love how the brown obiage almost looks like shiny gold due to the gradations on it. I hope I did these pieces justice, as I wanted to honour and thank Ichiroya for twenty years of amazing service.

I bought one other kimono and two gorgeous obi at the same time as this one, so be prepared for lots of new stuff soon!

Items used in this coordination

#monoKimono Challenge – Warm Brown

If I’m being completely honest, when I embarked on the #monokimono challenge I had no real plans to do a brown coordination. Brown felt so blah and boring to me. And then I ended up with this stunning warm brown Taisho-era houmongi and all that changed. I’ve coordinated it three or four times already this year and here I am, doing it again. It’s just so pretty and soft.

My plan was intially to use my brown iromuji as a sort of dounuki, an extra inner layer. But the colours are so identical it didn’t really add anything visually, and the sleeves are so much shorter that it looked odd, so I just scrapped that plan. I’d never used this particular obi before and thought it would be a good time to feature it, since it’s got the same subdued, dusty feeling as the kimono and the brown tones are an excellent match. What I didn’t realise, however, is that it’s a hikinuki obi. Hikinuki obi are meant to be tied in a different way and the pattern on the drum is upside-down. Normally they’re much bolder designs, since they’re often used for quick changes by stage performers. This is by far the most “boring” hikinuki I’ve ever seen. I did manage to get it tied with the design the right way up though! It just took a little more fussing than I’m used to. A few more brown accessories finished things off. I only have one brown-based haneri and it’s much more modern and bold in feeling and looked out of place, so I went with basic white.

Only one month of monochrome kimono to go, and a much bolder outfit inn the works for December.

Items used in this coordination

Gentle Vintage Mood

I received this absolutely gorgeous piece yesterday, from a friend who was clearing out some of her collection. I am slowly turning into the kimono equivalent of a crazy cat lady, but I’m fine with that. I love how soft and subdued this piece is, and I wanted to emphasise a very gentle vintage mood with the coordination.

It started with this breathtaking haneri I posted on Instagram recently. I won it back in late October or possibly early November, and I had entirely given it up as lost. I got it at quite a bargain so I didn’t even bother pursuing the issue, since I suspected it was Canada Post’s problem. not the sellers. So imagine how thrilled I was when it showed up unexpectedly earlier this week! I thought the two pieces would complement each other very well, since the haneri has a bit of a vintage feel to it despite being a modern piece. I was really taken by how well the lilac tone matched the brown of the kimono and thought it would be a good opportunity to use my repaired lilac bird obi.

Some days, the actual physical act of dressing the mannequin goes very smoothly. Some days, every step is a struggle, almost as if the mannequin herself is fighting me. This particular outfit was somehow both! Putting on the collar and kimono went off without a hitch. Smooth lines, clean v-shape to the collars, flat and even ohashori. But then came the obi. This obi is gorgeous but my god it’s a nuisance. It’s floppy and slippery, the pattern is laid out very oddly, and it needs to be pressed again as it’s somehow turned almost puffy. No matter how many different ways I tried to tie it, I could not get birds to show up on the front and the back. Eventually I realised it would be an excellent opportunity to feature this stunning brooch I got from Pinto Pony Productions and use it as an obidome. Rather than fret about the lack of interest on the front of the obi, I worked with it to make it a canvas.

I know I say this a lot, but I love how this finally all pulled together. It’s such a soothing combination, and looking at it just makes me content.

Items used in this coordination

Kits-Mas Day 10 – Eye of the Tiger

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…

Okay, I confess. Today’s coordination has absolutely nothing to do with the theme. I initially had a completely different outfit planned for tonight, more red and green. I had a long, tiring day at work. One of those days where nothing explicitly terrible happens, but lots of little things go very slightly wrong. I was already kind of dreading having to redress and photograph the mannequin before I’d even left work, but I knew I would persevere and do it.

However, this kimono arrived while I was at work. I actually won it back at the beginning of November, and it’s been in customs limbo for months. Part of me had already given it up as a lost cause. So imagine how excited I was when I found out it had been delivered! It completely changed my mood, and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked. When I bought it, I had suspicions that it would work well with my “tiger’s-eye” tsuke obi, and I’m really happy with the pairing. It also helped motivate me knowing I wouldn’t have to wrestle with an obi. While dressing a mannequin does have its advantages, it also has some disadvantages compared to dressing a person – there’s no passive resistance so you constantly have to be pulling fabric while pushing the form away. In my exhausted state, the lessened effort really appealed to me.

I think the obi works not only colour-wise but also thematically in a way. While I know the motif on the kimono is whirlpools and waves, I can’t help but see eyes with really lush eyelashes! The blue accessories just tied it all together neatly, pulling out the hits of pale blue in the wave design. I really like how it all worked out, and I kind of wish I could leave it on the mannequin for longer. Maybe I’ll put it back for a bit after this project is over.

Items used in this coordination