Say Hi to Sophie!

Yesterday, my dear friend Sophie came over and I had the pleasure of dressing her in kimono! She’s worn yukata before, when we went to the Yatai! street food fest, but never anything dressier. She chose this plum tsukesage with stylised peacocks because she loves purple, and we coordinated an outfit around it. I went for a big punch of contrast with the gold obi, then chose an obijime with the same plum tones and an obiage that pulls out the icy blue of the obijime for a good sense of cohesion.

I did dress her over western clothing and undergarments, so the collar isn’t as smooth as it could be, but for someone who’s never worn this many heavy layers before, she looks great! Some people are just kimono naturals.

She was a little nervous posing at first, but once she got a little more relaxed everything just clicked. I think she looks absolutely lovey, and I do like how the gold obi and kasane-eri pop against the rich aubergine of the kimono. Sometime in the future, I’m very much looking forward to both of us dressing up and going out together.

This last photo is a bit of a conceit on my part. I really loved how thoughtful she looked, but unfortunately my flash didn’t fire and the photo ended up being incredibly noisy and under-exposed. I decided to make it look like a vintage daguerreotype, and I think it worked out quite well.

Items used in this coordination

Kitsune – Yokai Halloween 2018

The Kitsune is quite possibly the most well-known Yokai. Not only are foxes representative of tricksters in so many cultures and traditions around the world, the kitsune figure appears in so much Japanese media that nearly everyone has, at the very least, a passing familiarity with them.

Kitsune are neither inherently good nor evil – there are so many stories and so many variations. There are helpful ones, vengeful ones, playful ones, and ones who punish the wicked, to name a few. I didn’t have one particular variant in mind when I decided to feature this particular yokai, because it’s impossible to choose. I’d like to think she’s more friendly and playful than outright malicious though.

Since kitsune are so varied, I knew I had a lot of creative liberty for this particular outfit. I decided to go with the first kimono and obi I ever purchased, because this particular kimono feels so quintessentially Japanese to me. The bright red colour and iconic white chrysanthemums pop, and the kitsune mask I painted plays off them so well. The finishing touches were a lovely furry tail and ears. Initially I wanted to put the tail at the hem of the kimono but it’s not very large and got a little bit lost, so I put it below the obi instead, and think it looks very cute there.

And just because I’m really proud of how it turned out, especially considering I freehand painted the whole thing, here’s a close-up of the mask.

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

Hufflepuff Kitsuke

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Hufflepuff is probably the most misunderstood and misrepresented Hogwarts House, and that is a real shame. It’s also not my personal house, but their values of loyalty, honesty, love, and hard work are things we should all aspire to. Hufflepuff’s colours are yellow and black, and they’re often associated with Herbology, food, and gardening in general, so of course this yellow kimono with roses and black obi with karabana were perfect. I wanted to tie in the earthiness I associate with this house, so brown accessories did that well.

Again, like with the Gryffindor lions, I wanted something more subtle than just finding a badger-shaped brooch and slapping it on, and I realised this fake fur collar I have looked very much like badger fur. They’re usually depicted as black and white, but in reality they’re usually brown and beige. The collar also has the added bonus of emphasising the “cozy” vibe associated with Hufflepuff.

This turned out quite well, in my opinion. I do think there could be a bit more black, maybe a different kimono with black in the designs, but since I’m trying to be more prudent in my spending for a while and using items I already own, I’m very happy. There will be a little interruption in this project while I do a #monokimono outfit this weekend, but we’ll be back on track by next week.

Items used in this coordination

Gryffindor Kitsuke

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I finally hashed it all out. Over the next little while, I will be doing an outfit inspired by each of the houses at Hogwarts! Gryffindor seemed like the most logical place to start, even if it is not my House (you’ll find out which that is soon enough).

I knew the starting point would be the house colours for each outfit, so here we have the bold, firey red and gold of Gryffindor. I had to incorporate a lion, of course, but instead of just going for a typical lion-shaped brooch or something I thought I’d try to be a little more subtle, keeping these outfits looking more traditional. I thought on it for a while when it struck me – shishi, the protector lion-dogs!

After that got sorted, everything else fell into place. The bold red kimono, dramatic and attention-grabbing, seemed like the next logical step. I had to pull in the gold as well, so that was the accessories sorted. Unfortunately, this obi is incredibly short. So short I couldn’t even tie it around the mannequin, who is quite petite. I had to fake it with clips and extra cords and a helping hand from my dad. It looks good in the end, but man was it a hassle! The finishing touch was a golden snitch necklace I made years ago used as a sort of obi-kazari. I’m worried it gets a little bit lost against the obi, but I really wanted to include it.

All in all, I think this is a good start to this mini-project. It’s an outfit that could easily be worn anywhere without feeling costumey, but once you know the logic behind each choice the traits of Gryffindor come through clearly. I’m very much looking forward to the other three outfits in this set.

Items used in this coordination