Vintage style with modern convenience

After Gofuku no Hi, I realised owning at least one other hakama would greatly expand my kimono wardrobe. Even though I’m still far too chunky to fit into most of my kimono properly, they do a great job of hiding a less-than-ideal hip wrap. I found a lovely modern teal polyester hakama from ebay seller Yoshihori and snatched it up. The seller had embroidered ones too, which were utterly lovely, but significantly more expensive. So I decided to be reasonable and buy the plain one. So imagine my surprise when the seller contacted me, incredibly apologetic, telling me the plain one was sold out and would I like the embroidered one instead, for no extra charge? Of course I said yes!

A few days after I bought it, but before it had arrived in the mail, a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was selling off a large chunk of her collection, including a gorgeous mauve kofurisode that was clearly meant to be worn with hakama. The colours were gorgeous, and it had a wonderful sort of large-scale Taisho-inspired feel to it. I knew it had to come live with me, and be paired up with the new hakama as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Initially, I’d planned to wear the ensemble to Otakuthon, Montreal’s big anime convention. However, it’s in the middle of August and we’re already regularly breaking the high 30s temperature-wise. Even in a heavily air-conditioned convention centre, there’s no way I could wear synthetic awase and not die. So I decided to put the outfit together to see how it looks. Everything is very heavily decorated with sakura, so of course I chose a coordinating haneri. I waffled a bit between yellow and purple obi, but decided to use the purple so it sort of disappeared. The kimono and hakama are busy enough, the outfit didn’t need another level of contrast.

I know I say this a lot, but I love love love how this turned out. I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear it. Maybe for my birthday, in November?

着物着ます – Gofuku no Hi 2016

Today is 着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), a worldwide day to wear kimono and share love of kimono. Last year, I cheated a bit by dressing my mannequin. This year, I decided I had to go big or go home. And big is the operative word. I dug out the widest kimono I own, which happens to be the lily furisode I got from Jess last year. The wingspan on it is fantastic, but it was still a bit narrow in the hips, so I dug out my favourite lifesaver, my hakama. I really need to invest in a few more. The obi is actually the reverse of the adorable whale obi I got last week, the pink side happened to perfectly echo the pink of the flowers on the furisode. I had basted a soft cream haneri with flowers on it onto my collar, but in the process of wrestling with everything to get dressed I popped the stitches and it got all wrinkled, so I just removed it and stuck with the white.

I know that look a little rumpled and a little out of practice, but this is the first time I’ve worn kimono since September of 2013, and size issues aside, it felt fantastic. I’m so happy I fought through things and got out there. It’s encouraging to know I can still do this. I’m not going to buy anything else until I invest in another hakama or two, since they help enable me to wear kimono right now. There are a few on eBay I’ve got my eye on. I also made a friend at the park! His name is Luka and he loves to roll around in the grass.

Did you dress for gofuku no hi? If you did, I’d love to see photos! 😀

Items used in this coordination

Purple Rain

This year is shaping up to be a doozy when it comes to celebrity deaths. When I heard about Prince’s passing, I remembered how cathartic making a coordination in Bowie’s memory was that I figured I would fight through my current health issues and see what I could do. Of course, being in honour of Prince, I had to start with purple. I decided to do a monochrome outfit with a bit of flash and flair. Purple hakama, purple and silver lamé komon, purple shibori haneri, and even the obi (despite nearly being hidden) is entirely purple. I’m not used to monochrome kitsuke, but I have to say, I really like it. It’s a very effective way to showcase patterns and textures, and I think I’m going to attempt it more often.

Now, 2016, do you think you could lay off on taking musical icons from us for a few months? That would be great, thanks. As much as these memorial coordinations help me cope, I’d be perfectly happy not doing another one for a long time.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit of the Week: Graduation Style!

First of all, sorry for the lapse in posts! My laptop was out for repairs due to a faulty connector cable between the body and the screen, but it’s back now, which means I can resume semi-regular content updates 🙂

For this week, I decided to try my hand at a traditional graduation-style outfit of furisode and hakama. This particular furisode stirs up a lot of conflicting feelings for me. It was one of the first kimono I bought, despite technically being too old to wear it even back then. I also bought it while visiting someone who was very important to me during that phase of my life. We haven’t spoken in years, and the kimono still reminds me of that trip, but I was hoping doing something fun with it would help me distance myself from the awkward memories.*

Wrangling Tsukiko into the hakama proved a lot more difficult than I expected, and she looks a little rumpled, but the outfit still turned out pretty fantastic, I think. Unfortunately, for some reason, the date-eri looked INCREDIBLY NEON PINK in the photos, no matter what I did with lighting and then later in post-processing. I edited the photos to be a little more accurate. They’re still not perfect, but they are a better representation of the ensemble.

Items used in this coordination

*Update if anyone is curious, after some upheaval we’re closer than ever now. Maybe this was cathartic to the universe somehow.

Basho, bunnies, and a buzz cut!

Hello! I’m back, sort of! As some of you know, I had a cranial decompression back in April. I won’t elaborate because it’s a bit creepy and involves my brain meats, but feel free to ask me about if you are curious. Suffice to say it went very well, and my health is improving in leaps and bounds, but until recently I have not had the energy or stamina for kimono.

Earlier this week, Katsura Sunshine, the only foreign rakugo performer in the world, was on the local news discussing his upcoming performance at the Montreal Botanical Gardens Japanese cultural weekend. Queue several days of me getting very excited, planning an outfit, and being generally annoying.

One thing I was certain of, I wanted to wear my hakama. I’m still quite a bit heavier than I used to be, I tire easily, and I was going to be tromping around in a garden. The hakama would cover a multitude of sins. I then decided that since I’d be surrounded in foliage, it would be an excellent opportunity to wear the bizarre basho-leaf houmongi I bought eons ago and never had the chance to coordinate. I realised my bunny geta matched the colours in the houmongi quite nicely, so I went with a bunny haneri to tie things together. I was so excited. The whole outfit has a very soft/girly feel to me, all in shades of pink and purple with pale blue accents, so I decided to wear my pink lace tabi too.

This morning rolls around, dark and drizzling. I started having misgivings about going, but I figured it would be a good excuse to get out of the house. Until I checked ticket prices. It’s nearly thirty dollars a person to enter the Botanical Gardens, plus an estimated $15 to $20 for an afternoon’s parking. My father was going to accompany me, since I am not allowed to drive and was not up to spending an hour on the subway in a kimono. That would have been quite an expense, only to end up getting rained on.

Undaunted, I decided to put the outfit on anyway and take some photos in the yard of my lovely next-door neighbours. Their pear tree is bearing fruit, and was a great place to pose. All in all, I’m glad I decided to get dressed. It was wonderful for my morale.

Kimono and buzz cut, an excellent combination! You can see the charming hole in my head here, or at least what’s left of it… Thanks for looking! Hopefully now that I am starting to feel less sick all the time, I will be posting somewhat regularly again.

Items used in this coordination