Timeless Elegance

Thank you so much for being patient while I was out of town, and settling back in. I apologise for the lack of content, and if you’re curious as to why I’ve been relatively radio silent there’s a bit of info at the bottom of this post. Feel free to skip it though.

I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things, and decided to do something with the gorgeous, timeless elegance of this vintage irotomesode. Like a lot of other pieces from this era, the designs on it are incredibly soft and dusty and subdued, and I wanted to make sure the obi didn’t compete or overwhelm in any way. As you may know, I’m of the mind that hakata obi go with everything and anything, so this very pale pink and white one seemed like the ideal complement to the dusky pastels of the kimono.

I’m trying to branch out and do more interesting things with my kitsuke, so I tried doing kouken musubi and I think it turned out quite well for a first attempt! Olive green accessories and a coordinating haneri helped give the whole outfit a bit of weight and contrast, which I think it definitely needed.

It felt good to get this done. While I was down in California, two separate tragedies struck at times when I felt helpless to do anything. My friend Dan Howard, the incredibly talented and sweet and funny artist who drew this portrait of me, lost a hard-fought battle with pneumonia. The following day our tiny, grumbly, loveable cat Tribble (whom you’ve definitely seen if you’re a long-time reader) succumbed to a very aggressive form of cancer. My folks made the humane choice to end her suffering but I was thousands of miles away and couldn’t say goodbye. So I was already not in a great place mentally or emotionally, and leaving Keith always makes me sad. On top of everything else, the trip home was long, full of incidents and delays. All these things have compounded to put me in a pretty bad state of mind. Distracting myself with something as familiar as kimono really helped today.

If you read all that, I apologise and I thank you. But I’m starting to do better, and we’ll be back to a more regular schedule from here on in. 💖

Items used in this coordination

Concert Style

You might have seen this awesome treble-clef obijime knot going around lately. Youandi over at Chayatsuji Kimono posted a great video showing how to tie it, and it’s actually deceptively simple once you’ve got the basic concept down.

This rich purple nami-chidori irotomesode has always been one of my favourite kimono, and it’s always given me a dramatic stage vibe with its bold contrast and large scale design. It seemed like a good opportunity to pull it out and show it some love. I wanted to go for something you might see on an enka singer, bridging the gap between traditional and modern.

The obijime knot and the kimono really needed to be the focus here so I kept the obi and accessories simple. A white haneri with white sakura and a geometric white-and-silver obi help to bring a subtle bling to the outfit without being distracting, and my ice-blue obiage echoes the pale end of the obijime. It’s a very simple, classic, elegant coordination and I think it would look absolutely perfect up on a stage. I definitely accomplished what I’d set out to, which always makes me very happy.

Items used in this coordination

#Monokimono Challenge – Leaf Green

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Hogwarts House kitsuke to bring you this month’s #monoKimono challenge. March brings us St. Patrick’s Day as well as the start of Spring so I thought green would be the perfect colour to work with this month.

My vintage green irotomesode anchored the colour scheme, and since it’s so gentle and subtle I wanted to keep the whole outfit feeling very subdued. The back side of my green chuuya obi worked well, keeping things very simple and tying in with the slightly less saturated greens of the kimono’s hem design. My initial plan was to use a green cotton haneri with sayagata but it was slightly too warm and clashed with the kimono. Instead I chose a simple embroidered haneri that had enough green to tie into the monochrome theme but a few dusty pink accents to reflect the hem design. I ended up using the original cotton haneri as a kasane-eri, with so little of it visible it didn’t clash as much as it would have on the collar.

I tied the obi in a sort of bunko variation; no real concrete reason, I’m just getting tired of doing otaiko or niijudaiko musubi all the time lately. The obiage wasn’t necessary but I did want to inject one last shade of green to pull everything together. I skipped the obijime, since it wasn’t necessary either and none of the ones I had on hand fit nicely. I don’t think the outfit needs it, honestly, especially not with the pinstriping on the obi already.

We’ll be back to the Hogwarts project early next week. Until then, I hope you’re having a great weekend and a wonderful Easter or Pesach if you observe either of them.

Items used in this coordination

Kits-Mas Day 6 – Looking Forward

Goodness, it’s almost the end of the year! For today’s coordination, I wanted something that was still within the Christmas colour scheme but felt more spring-like. Looking forward to the new year, if you will. I love this green irotomesode, and it pairs so perfectly with my pink and white hakata obi. I brought a small bit of red in with the obiage, but still tried to it in the same desaturated and vintage-feeling colour scheme. The flowers and colours around the hem of the kimono have always felt like they had one foot in winter and one foot in spring. Considering how blisteringly cold it’s been lately here in Montreal, I need a reminder that this utterly miserable weather won’t be around forever.

This one may not scream “festive” in the way the previous ones have, but I’m still quite pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s a nice subdued coordination, a calming breath before the next few outfits I’ve got planned. Be sure to check back to see tomorrow’s!

Items used in this coordination

Harvest Gold

Does anyone remember harvest gold appliances? Thankfully we never had any in my household but we did have an avocado green dishwasher for a very long time! It’s funny how colours go and out of fashion, isn’t it? And how they can look so lovely on a kimono but so ghastly in a kitchen!

This kimono was actually the emergency back-up I purchased for Belle’s outfit, after it seemed like the one I wanted had got lost in the post. Eventually the first one did show up, so I got to use it as I’d planned, but it seemed like quite a shame for this gorgeous vintage piece to languish in storage so I vowed to do something with it today.

My initial plan was a gold obi, but since I wasn’t doing the Belle outfit anymore I figured I had more freedom, but for some reason I had a heck of a time finding a coordination that did the piece justice. Most of my obi were either too flashy and metallic or too dark, and the soft, delicate quality of the yuzen around the hem would have been completely overwhelmed. Then I thought I could use the yellow nagoya obi I used last week but that seemed repetitive and overly monotone. Then I debated an orange hakata and a grey masculine-feeling nagoya that both didn’t quite work either. Then I found this beautiful dusty taupe nagoya with a subtle bit of gold. It perfectly balanced the kimono, pulling out the grey-brown tones of the flower cart and helping anchor it. Simple green accessories and one of the charming new subtle haneri I bought rounded things off.

The outfit feels very soft and elegant to me, stylish in a very understated sort of way that looks fantastic on a mannequin but I could probably never pull off in person! It also feels very seasonal right now, despite having more spring and summer flowers on it. The colours reflect the changing leaves outside, which makes me very happy.

Items used in this coordination