Nugoo Tenugui – A stylish and affordable alternative to han-eri

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Most folks who collect and love kimono already know the merits of a good han-eri, or decorative under-collar. Not only do they protect the collar of your juban from dirt, sweat, and makeup, they’re a fantastic way to add a bit more detail and individuality to most outfits. While very formal outfits such as a full mofuku ensemble or a kurotomesode ensemble require plain white han-eri, more youthful or casual coordinations can have all manner of fun ones. Typically, they’re silk or polyester

One thing you may not be aware of, though, is that tenugui (traditional Japanese cotton towels) can make excellent han-eri that are bold, fun, breathable, and washable! Today I’m working Nugoo Japan to show you how well some of their all-over motif cotton tenugui work with traditional kimono ensembles.

They were kind enough to send me three different examples, I let them choose ones that would be a good representation of their products and they’re all really gorgeous and work so well!

They sent me three different motifs that work perfectly for this particular usage, since the patterns are bold and evenly distributed across the whole tenugui. First, the small blue asanoha. Asanoha, or hemp leaf, is one of my favourite geometric designs, and this one will definitely be getting a ton of use. The next one they sent was a beautiful traditional indigo suisen or narcissus. This one is big and bold and adds a ton of drama to a casual outfit. Sadly, the particular tonbo motif they sent me has been discontinued, but there are some lovely alternatives. I can’t wait to pair this one with my tonbo summer kimono.

First, we have a plain white collar; not only is it boring, it’s a little discoloured with age and use. Not stylish at all! Then we have the tenugui carefully folded over the juban collar, and you can see how much more fun and distinctive the coordinations become with this one small change!

The only warning or caveat I have is that these are hand-dyed using traditional dyes, and when you first get them they may not be entirely colourfast. The indigo suisen one stained my nails slightly as I was arranging it, so I imagine after a long hot day of wear the pigment could absolutely transfer onto your kimono or juban. If you plan to use one of Nugoo Japan’s beautiful indigo tenugui (or any naturally dyed fabric) as han-eri, I would absolutely suggest washing them a few times first!

Please check out Nugoo Japan on their website, facebook, and instagram. Along with traditional tenugui they also have lots of lovely items and home goods made from them, such as coin purses and bento products.

 I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me. 

Some new komono

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Nothing terribly exciting for today, I’m afraid. I’ve just been trying to focus on buying things I need, instead of things I just want. And right now, I need more accessories. Luckily, I’ve found some great deals on really cute things lately.

Purple and red obiage

Kansai_gal snagged these for me, and I’m very grateful. Admittedly, I thought the purple one would be blue, but I didn’t have a casual purple one yet so it’s not the end of the world. However, I still need a blue obiage. XD

Embroidered stretch tabi

With feet my size, it’s always exciting to find interesting tabi that fit and aren’t the knit sport type. These may be subtle, but they’re adorable nonetheless.

Purple tachibana haneri

I love purple, and I love tachibana. What else do I need to say here? XD

Gold saganishiki obijime

A nice, simple, dressy obijime. It’ll be good for kurotomesode kitsuke, I think.

Gold saganishiki obijime with red accents

Similar to the above, but with hits of red. Nice thing about these is that they’re all good for obidome.

Reversible gold and green obijime

I love the pop of acid green on the back of this, it contrasts so nicely with the fairly traditional gold and red on the front side.

Black and white check flat obijime

I love love love this obijime. So much. Like, I can’t even express it. It was part of a bundle, including all the subsequent ones in this entry, and I bid totally just to get this one. I love the adorable country charm of it, and it also works with obidome! I also love the weird chartreuse colour on the reverse side.

Pink, blue, and brown obijime

This one was a bit of a surprise. I thought it was simply cream, blue, and brown, but when it arrived I saw that the solid half of it is actually a really soft, charming pink.

Blue and sparkly obijime

This was another pleasant surprise – the blue side is very cute, accented with little bumps of darker blue, but the reverse is actually white with tiny metallic blue flecks!

Putrid yellow-green round obijime

This is… how can I put this delicately? This is definitely not my favourite one. It was part of the bundle and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually, but it’s such an awkward, bilious colour. I might end up dyeing it, I don’t know. I can’t even imagine selling it alone, honestly.

New haneri

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While I was visiting Naomi, I picked up a bunch of gorgeous haneri we’d bought together on YJA. Unfortunately, the selection was random so we didn’t get exactly the ones we were hoping for, but I am happy with the ones I ended up with.

Maroon with floral roundels
Maroon floral haneri
A beautiful rich colour with multi-seasonal flowers. For modern machine embroidery, this is surprisingly lush.

Taupe with floral roundels
Taupe floral haneri
Same as the previous one, but in a much more gentle colourway.

Ivory with sakura
Beige sakura haneri
I’m not usually one for sakura motifs, but the soft ivory background of this one and the variety in colour of the flowers makes it charming and versatile.

White with grapes
White grapevine haneri
I thought the little pastel grapes on this were very adorable, I couldn’t resist!

White with dramatic flowers
White floral haneri
Again, lots of sakura, but the ones in the background are abstract enough to look like botan or kiku with the right outfits. I also love the charming little yellow maple leaves.

Pinstripe haneri with ume
Pinstripe and flower haneri
This was actually a gift from Kansai_gal that I’ve had for quite a while now, but never got around to photographing. Apparently it was such a good price that she couldn’t pass it up, but she didn’t particularly like the design. Worked out well though, because I absolutely love it.

Playing cards
Playing card haneri
This adorable homemade haneri was a gift from Rubyminky. I am really looking forward to wearing it with my playing card kanzashi hairband and obidome.

Bunnies!
Bunny haneri
Also from Rubyminky, this is an adorable soft dusty pink with cavorting bunnies. What’s not to love?

Haneri – the finishing touches

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In my mind, one of the items in any kimono wardrobe that really helps inject personal style and flair into an outfit are haneri, or decorative under-robe collars. They are sewn onto the juban to protect it from dirt and oil as well as to add a coordinating colour and design. By default, most modern juban have a white collar already attached, but you can always sew a more brightly coloured or textured one over top.

White collars are proper and traditional on more formal and mature outfits, such as with kurotomesode, iromuji, and mofuku. However, on younger outfits involving furisode, or any outfit involving komon, tsukesage, or houmongi, the right haneri really adds a visual punch. I may even consider wearing them myself with iromuji with the right accessories (and to the right venue), and I have a few that are primarily white with some metallic accents that I wear with kurotomesode. However, I would never wear one with mofuku (funeral wear) as I feel it would be frivolous and disrespectful.

I have a relatively small collection of “real” haneri, but I have a lot of handmade and improvised ones as well. Really, any fabric that is lightweight and long enough to cover the juban collar will work fine.

White with seigaiha
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This is a beautiful and delicate white collar with pink and mauve seigaiha (stylized wave) and little squares. The white silk also has a subtle reflective fleck texture.

Mauve with spiders
Naomi got this one for me to go with my infamous spider obi. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up!
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Black with ume and bamboo
I love the slightly vintage feeling of this one. I also really like dark haneri in general, especially with casual outfits.
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Blue with sakura
A sort of subtle pastel one. I have an outfit in mind for this but I haven’t had the opportunity to wear it yet.
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Shibori silks
These are actually scraps of silk Naomi sent me, but they are the perfect size to wear as haneri. I love how vibrant they are.
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Handmade cotton selection
These are hemmed quilting cotton I got in a trade with someone on the Immortal Geisha forums. They’ve all got a definite Japanese feel to them (except the striped one which is just freaking adorable) and look great with a bunch of different outfits.
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