2023, New Year’s Revelations

Happy new year! This year I’m not going to make any resolutions, because I’ve learned that life always gets in the way. Instead, within the next few weeks I will be sharing a road map for the future of this blog. Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere and it’s not going to stop being about kimono. It’s all good news, I promise. I just need some time to formulate my thoughts.

In the meantime, starting the year off with a new coordination seemed like a good way to open things up. My initial plan was going to use my usagi shifuku tsukesage but I couldn’t find it. This relates back to my aforementioned plan and roadmap. My collection is that much of a mess.

I decided instead to use this kurotomesode with the tagasode motif, which seemed like a good kimono-related omen to start the year off with. I paired it with a gold obi with a celebratory tabane-noshi motif and white accessories, for a more traditional coordination than I usually do. I feel like these combine for an outfit that invites good luck and celebration of kimono for 2023, which I need right now!

I apologise for the lighting in these photos, up here in the wilds of Montreal it gets dark very early in the winter, so I don’t have much light to work with. I still think they convey the essence of the coordination so I’m happy enough.

This will be my only coordination for a few months, as I’m flying out to California again on the 7th. I’ll still be updating though! See you soon!

Items used in this coordination

Autumn Fairy Tale

Both this kimono and this obi are nearly impossible to coordinate. I’ve used the kimono before, but despite having had this obi in my possession for nearly a year now, I’d never found a good way to use it. Last night it came to me while I was soaking in the bath, as many great ideas do.

They both have a sort of fantastical, storybook, decidedly un-Japanese vibe to them. The kimono has always reminded me of The Moomins and other Scandinavian childrens’ books, and the obi has a vaguely Middle-Eastern fantasy feel to it that wouldn’t be out of place in One Thousand and One Nights. I also thought the green and brown would complement each other very well, and the gold accents would echo each other nicely too.

Was I right, or was I right? I’m over the moon with how these pieces look together. I decided go with pink accessories to make the pink trees in the kimono stand out a bit more, since they can get a bit lost against the white hill. They also help to add a touch of light and contrast between the kimono and obi, which are both quite dark. It worked very well, I think. From a distance they almost read as white, just like the trees do, but when you get close you get this lovely surprise. There are also tiny pink and gold botan on the haneri, which are decidedly out of season but the colours worked so well I had to run with it. Next time I might add a gold date-eri to break things up a little further, but I think it works fine without it too. It also just occurred to me that my pink lace haori would look amazing with this too, so I will have to try that sometime.

Another neat thing about this outfit is that all the items aside from the obijime are significantly larger than average, which means I might be able to wear it if I ever have the energy to dress myself again. Something to look forward to, maybe?

Items used in this coordination

Dancing Queen

This is one of those coordinations that’s been on my to-do list pretty much since the day the kimono arrived. I love this dance piece and I really wanted to pair it with the orange hakata side of this vintage chuuya obi and do a fun odori-influenced outfit. For some reason the photographs don’t capture either orange properly, they’re a much better match in real life.

I decided to go with an ochre haneri to kind of reflect the gold of the kimono, a gold and silver obijime for the same reason, and this red shibori obiage was to draw attention to the red date-eri that’s sewn into the kimono. A simple bunko musubi literally ties it all together, a fairly standard one for odori outfits.

Also, every time I hear or think of Dancing Queen by ABBA now, this ridiculous video gets stuck in my head. If you have a few minutes and need a good laugh, I can’t recommend it enough!

Items used in this coordination

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!

Items used in this coordination

(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!)

If this combination is wrong, I don’t wanna be right

I’m back! I’m feeling motivated again and have ideas for plenty of new coordinates using new items and ones I’ve had in my collection for a long time. The little break I ended up taking did wonders for my mental health and I thank you all for sticking around and being patient. 💖

Today I’ve got something really special for you. I have loved this kimono for over a decade, ever since I was lucky enough to wear it during a fashion show at a convention. You remember conventions, right? When thousands of people gathered together, packed themselves into small rooms, hugged, laughed, and shared common interests? Funny how alien that seems in our current world! They’ll come back eventually, though.

Anyway, Naomi dressed me in this stunning chocolate brown furisode with all kinds of gentle foliage and gold butterflies, and I was smitten. Fast forward a few years to when she’s thinning out her collection and now it’s come to live with me! It doesn’t fit me at the moment, but thankfully it looks gorgeous on the mannequin.

Typically, with a furisode like this the obi should be tied in a much larger, showier musubi. However, it’s got a more mature feel than a lot of furisode, and I knew I really wanted to pair this beloved obi from my 53 Stations of the Tokaido collection with it, so I went for a more grown-up style in general. I couldn’t resist adding back a bit of youth and flash with how I tied the obijime, though.

I’m sure I’ll do a more “appropriate” outfit with this piece in the future, but right now I’m really quite thrilled with how this turned out.

Items used in this coordination