Back to Basics

I’ve been doing a lot of fancy and non-traditional kitsuke lately, and was itching to get back to kimono basics, if you will. Just an elegant, simple coordination. No fuss, no muss. I also realised I’ve been sticking to more Western colour coordinations, doing things that look “right” in my head and not necessarily keeping kimono colour rules in mind.

With that at the forefront of my mind, I decided it was high time I coordinate this beautiful pale pink nagoya obi I got earlier this summer. My original instinct was to stick with pastels, but I pushed through and paired it with this rich blue houmongi instead. I love the contrast, and the soft genteel obi pairs so well with the very delicate shading on the botan of the kimono. Red and blue accessories helped pull it all together cohesively.

My next thought for this obi is a black-based kimono. I really love how it pops against darker, richer colours. It’s technically not formal enough for kurotomesode, but because it’s got a metallic pearly-silver sheen to it, I think I can make it work! Maybe I should do that next week. Less folding to do if I use the same obi two outfits in a row 😉

Items used in this coordination

Perfectly Harmonious Pairing

I’m back! Sort of! Still not feeling 100% better, but definitely improving. I’ve got a few low-stress things in the works for the next week or two.

For today, a coordination I’ve been itching to put together since I bought this obi. About a month ago I went to a rummage sale at the Montreal JCCC and while I had no real intention of buying anything, I found this amazing cream-coloured obi with Arabic script on it and knew it had to come live with my mosque kimono. I honestly can’t tell if the writing on the obi actually says anything or is just sort of an artistic interpretation, so if anyone can tell me what it says, I’d very much appreciate it!

I cannot get over how perfectly these pieces pair together. The background colour of the obi echoes the yellow-gold clouds on the kimono and the green script and design elements bring out the palm trees around the hem of the kimono. I also used that colour as inspiration for the accessories, a gorgeous olive-green obiage and obijime that also weren’t a set but happen to match almost perfectly. I chose a very simple haneri with just some white and gold sakura. I wanted all the focus to be on the beautiful pairing of the kimono and obi.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit Generator Experiment

A few months back, I coded up a little script to generate some kimono coordination ideas. If you click that link you can play with it as well! I thought it would be fun to use it myself, since I was feeling motivated to play with kimono but wasn’t getting that strike of inspiration I usually start with.

This is the combination I got, so I got to work. Purple iromuji was straightforward enough, since I only have the one. It’s not quite Taisho but it is lined with red and has elegantly long sleeves, so it felt sufficiently vintage to me. All I had to do after that was work on creating an outfit around it.

My original plan was to use this bright turquoise nagoya obi, but against the purple it definitely felt more bold and youthful than “Elegant”. But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about how gingko are one of my favourite ornamental trees ever and yet I only have one item with them as a motif, and even then it’s a very small, subtle part.

It seemed like the universe was telling me to use that particular obi. It’s fairly modern, but something about the designs and colour palette feel timeless, and the hints of purple in it play very well with the purple kimono. I pulled accessories out of the obi’s colour selection and finally found an opportunity to use this new haneri.

Everything really came together well, I think. I managed to stick quite close to the suggestions the generator threw at me, and the outfit still feels totally wearable, not costumey or ridiculous. I think whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I’ll use the generator again and see what happens. If you use it, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Items used in this coordination

Classic Elegance

It feels like I’ve been doing a fair number of casual and non-traditional outfits lately, and while there’s nothing wrong with that I was in the mood for a little classic elegance. To me, there’s nothing like the graceful simplicity of a kurotomesode to really demonstrate the luxury and refinement of kimono.

Admittedly, I still managed to inject some of my personal style and preferences into this outfit. Typically, a kurotomesode should be paired with a metallic fukuro obi and white/metallic accessories. However, this kimono actually occupies a strange liminal space between kurotomesode and houmongi. The black base colour and five crests imply the highest level of formality, but the fact that there is pattern, however subtle, on one sleeve, knocks it down a peg. Because of that, I knew I could get away with deviating from the norm a little bit.

I thought it would be a good time to use this gorgeous tsuke-obi that I got recently, It was clearly a fukuro obi at some point in its life, but was converted to make it easier to wear. However, whoever converted it did so with their specific body in mind; because of this, it was an absolute bear to tie on the mannequin. Both the obi and the kimono were too big for her, which is not a problem I come across very often! However, this does mean I could probably wear this outfit myself if I lost a few pounds. It’s always good to have one very formal outfit ready to go, I suppose. I went with olive accessories since there’s a very similar green in both the kimono and the obi. Thanks to the gold accents, they still feel appropriately formal but feel a little more interesting than plain white would have been.

Overall, I really like how this looks. It conveys the traditional mood I was aiming for but still has a sense of unique personality.

Items used in this coordination

Tsubaki Elegance

I’ve been trying to focus on saving money, only buying accessories to fill noticeable gaps in my collection and kimono that fit me and are versatile. However, I’d had this peach tsubaki beauty on my eBay watchlist over a month and when I got an alert that it was 30% off I just had to go for it. I’m so glad I did, it’s a really gorgeous, classic piece that I’m very happy to own.

Lately it feels like all I’m doing are themed outfits and challenges, and I was eager to get out of that rut. This kimono seemed like the perfect one to do it with, since it’s got such an elegant and timeless feel to it. I was very excited to do something with it, and the coordination fell into place so smoothly, as if it was meant to be.

I chose my beloved emerald green hakata obi to coordinate with the foliage on the kimono. It arrived with a vivid peach dateeri already attached but I decided to go all-out and use a green and gold one as well. I love the rich, layered look of multiple collars but very rarely find the opportunity and colour combos to do so. A simple white haneri with peach embroidery helps balance the busy distraction of the multiple layers. The finishing touch was one of the beautiful new brooches I bought to use as obidome. My initial plan was to use the one with the jade green accents, but they got lost against the obi so I went with the pink. It’s not quite the right shade of pink, but it adds a touch of sparkle that I couldn’t resist.

Items used in this coordination