Outfit of the Week: Tokaido Formal

Those of you who have been with me for a while probably already know about my obsession with all things relating to the 53 Stations of the Tokaido. I found this kurotomesode online several years ago, and desperately had to have it. It’s far too small for me, the silk is fairly fragile, and it’s way too formal for me to have worn anywhere anyway. And yet, here it is.

Technically, this sort of kimono needs an obi that’s primarily white and metallic, and a white obiage and obijime. However, I have this absolutely stunning gold-based Tokaido obi that Suara from the IG forums bought for me when I was in a bad place. It’s one of my most favourite pieces, both aesthetically and sentimentally, and I thought it would be absolutely perfect with this kimono. It’s also an utter joy to tie – stiff enough to keep its shape but not stiff enough to fight me. And no matter who or what I tie it on, I nearly always end up with one perfectly framed design on the drum. It’s a magical obi! I thought my gold and olive obijime and sky-blue obiage complemented the set quite perfectly too.

Items used in this coordination

Whisky-a-go-go

Well, would you look at that? I’m not actually dead! Summer here was insufferably hot and damp, intolerable kimono weather, and my health hasn’t been great lately. I’ve been less than motivated to do anything kimono-related recently, but I’d been kind of itching to wear this particular blue tsukesage since it arrived.

The perfect opportunity showed up when I bought tickets to the Montreal Pipes and Drums Whisky-Tasting fundraiser. At first, it might seem a bit incongruous to wear a kimono to a decidedly Scottish event, but the Quartermaster for the band is my friend Nick, who shares and encourages my silly kimono enthusiasm. He specifically requested I wear kimono, and who was I to say no? Initially I’d wanted to wear my tartan komon, figuring it would be much more appropriate, but it’s too narrow in the hips to comfortably wear out to an event, especially one where I’d be sitting in a western-style chair at a tiny bar table. So I finally got to bust out this blue beauty.

Inevitably, I got a few “what are you wearing?” and “I like your costume!” comments, but the response was overwhelmingly positive nonetheless. I think the best question I got was from the (very attractive) bouncer at the venue, who came up and said “Can I ask you a question?”. I cringed, expecting the usual “what is that?” or “geesha girl” type question, but instead, he said “Do they have a Japanese Whisky back there or something?” which made me smile.

Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. Here are the pictures! The angle of these ones is a bit funny, since my tripod attachment is MIA so my father kindly held the camera for me.

It wouldn’t be a Kimono Tsuki entry without a visit from my two favourite furry photobombers, now would it?

Items used in this coordination

Obi Bundle Part III – Fukuro Obi

I continue to make ploddingly slow progress when it comes to my share of the obi bundle. Today, the fukuro obi.

Gold and white fukuro obi with traditional patterns

I love the variation of traditional kimono textures and patterns on this obi. I’ve needed a traditional white and gold obi to pair with kurotomesode for quite some time now, so I’m very pleased I managed to get this one. Another interesting note about it – unlike most modern fukuro obi, which are only patterned on the visible areas, this one is fully patterned down the entire length. This will allow for much more leeway when it comes to tying it.

Gold and seafoam green fukuro with round karabana and clouds

Okay, this one? IMPOSSIBLE to photograph properly. It’s just waaaaay too shiny. It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally consider my tastes, but I love the soft seafoam green colour, and the gold has this really interesting irridescent shift to it, so I couldn’t resist. I have no idea what I’ll pair it with, but I don’t care. It’s gorgeous!

Plum fukuro with kiku

This one is really interesting. At first glance it’s sort of dull and drab, even the gold and silver of the kiku is muted compared to most modern fukuro obi. However, the fabric is incredibly lush and rich-feeling, and the base is very unique. It’s a heavy rinzu of kiku leaves, so it’s almost as if the flowers are sitting on a bed of plants. The colour is also impossible to describe – in some lights it’s a plummy eggplant purple, and in some it’s sort of an espresso brown. I can’t stop looking at it, because there’s always something new to see. It’s so subtle, but so unique.

Cream fukuro with pastel tachibana

This poor beautiful baby has a fair amount of age-related patina, and due to the pale base colour it’s quite visible. However, I’m sure I can find a way to wrap and tie it so that the worst parts are hidden. I love tachibana so I had to give this one a chance.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

I actually received this quite some time ago. I purchased it on eBay and had it sent to my friend Jamie in NYC because Canada Post was on strike at the time and I was concerned about it getting lost. I picked it up when I was visiting her over a month ago, but I’ve either been busy or not in the mindset to blog lately, unfortunately. However, since I’m back in the mood now, I thought this would be a lovely piece to share with you all.

While kurotomesode are really the last thing I could really justify, and this thing is techincally too small for me to wear, I couldn’t pass it up due to the Tokaido motifs, as well as the non-standard design on the sleeve, much like my chidori and matsu kurotomesode.

The stations are woven onto patches of soft white bokashi-style dyeing so they stand out better, and it gives a really nice cohesive feel to the whole kimono. I also love that there’s a station on the sleeve, which is not standard for kurotomesode. It feels a bit more youthful this way. I also really like that the kimono artist took slight liberties with the design, sometimes moving things around, removing people from the scenes, etc. It makes it a bit more unique.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 16 – Yui (reversed from original)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 35 – Goyu (people removed)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 46 – Kameyama
Tokaido Kurotomesode

Station 38 – Okazaki (people removed)
Tokaido Kurotomesode

There are also small vignettes that are either very loose interpretations, something from another print edition, or simply original inspired designs by the kimono creator that included.

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Tokaido Kurotomesode

Iran So Far

I’m sorry, that was a terrible title. I don’t even like SNL that much but the title of that song got stuck in my head, so there you have it. I’d been itching to dress since I got back from my trip, but I’ve also been itching to wear my gorgeous mosque houmongi for a while now. I thought I’d try it out before the weather got too warm to wear awase (lined kimono), but clearly I mis-judged. I was SO HOT by the time I was finished getting dressed. I also want to apologize to the lovely kimono angel who anonymously sent me the moorish arches obi – I was totally going to wear it as well after I’d photographed it with the one here, but by the time I was done I was so insufferably hot and my cardiac issues were giving me grief, I was unable to. I promise though, I will wear them together at some point!

This kimono is so spectacular that I really wanted the focus all to remain on the hem. In that vein, I decided to go very subtle with all the accessories. I thought the gold obi brought out the desert tones in the hem really well, and I happened to have an obiage on hand that is virtually the exact same colour as the kimono. Finished it off with an off-white haneri with embroidery and a flat gold and green saga-nishiki obijime. I decided to emphasize the theme subtly by using my moon obidome, to honour the Islamic Crescent. I thought it was very appropriate without turning the outfit into an overly thematic costume.

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I also managed to tie one of the best nijuudaiko musubi I’ve ever tied. Unfortunately I somehow also managed to not take a single decent back photo of it XD Oops. I did get a few side views though. Yes, that is a little bow in there – I tied the ends of the obijime in a bow to get them out of the way and thought it looked cute.