Mature Elegance

Isn’t it funny how the older I get, the more my tastes gravitate to the bright and youthful? I’m turning 37 tomorrow and somehow I keep finding myself accumulating boldly coloured furisode and things. When I was younger, I was drawn to more shibui styles, and now I guess I’m making up for lost time?

This gorgeous bamboo houmongi is a lovely exception, I think. It’s yet another of my purchases from the kimono bazaar last month and I thought it lent itself quite well to a more elegant coordination that would still allow me to express myself through pattern and colour. The bamboo leaves are in a lovely range of blues, reds, oranges, and purples, which gave me a lot of selection to work with.

My navy and gold tiger’s eye tsuke-obi is making yet another appearance here. For a silly impulse purchase I made, it’s turning out to be one of my most weirdly versatile and beloved items. It tied in very well with the kimono, and I decided to pull out the warm maroon for the rest of the accessories. The beautiful obidome from Pinto Pony Productions worked well against the ivory backdrop here too, rotated onto its side for a little more drama.

This definitely feels like a more traditional and elegant sort of outfit, appropriate for a woman my age. But it’s not boring or quiet, it’s still got some lovely impact and personality, which is exactly what I was aiming for!

Items used in this coordination

Lobster Bisque

Recently, someone on the Kimono Tsuki facebook page reminded me of my incredible pente lobster obi. I decided it had been far too long since I’d done anything with it, so I went about putting together an outfit in my notes.

I took advantage of today’s holiday to actually get it up on the mannequin. It always makes me happy when the parts of an outfit look as good in person as they did in my head. I knew I wanted to the obi to be the star of the show so I used my ivory iromuji to make sure it really popped. It coordinates well with the shells on the obi and is the most neutral base I’ve got in my collection. From there it was a pretty effortless thing, pulling accessories out in colours that echoed parts of the obi.

Overall, the end result is a very simple and straightforward outfit, but I think that works really well. The obi is so fun and just quirky enough that balancing it with otherwise very simple pieces feels right. I’ve had fun doing more non-traditional outfits with it before, and it felt good to go in the other direction. In spirit, this outfit actually feels very similar to how I coordinated the stencilled obi I made recently, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Iromuji are always a great way to make the obi the star of the show.

Items used in this coordination

#monoKIMONO Challenge – Wedding White

I never set out to assemble a full wedding white ensemble, but once I had, it only seemed logical to feature it as a #monokimono outfit. Since lots of folks are still talking about the recent Royal Wedding, I decided to run with it for May!

I originally got this ivory silk uchikake waaaaay back when I first started collecting. I had no intention of buying one, but a professor in the college IT lab where I was working overheard me talking to a co-worker about my collection and asked if I’d be interested in buying a piece that’d he brought home from Japan as a souvenir years earlier. I said I’d take a look, but I’ll be honest, I was fully expecting some satiny tourist robe. So imagine my shock when he showed up lugging a gorgeous warm ivory uchikake in a trash bag! Of course I had to rescue it, and he accepted my ridiculously low offer.

Fast-forward to earlier this year when I stumbled across an astonishingly inexpensive ($18) ivory shiromuku furisode on Ichiroya. Since neither piece was pure white, I expected a close coordination but not an exact match, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered they’re spot-on perfect.

The rest of the accessories kind of fell into place after that. I love the look of beaded obijime, and found a white one on the cheap. The hakoseko set was also a bargain and happens to tie my silver zori into the outfit really nicely too. I don’t usually include footwear in these outfits, but with a wedding set it’s really Go Big or Go Home, right?

Technically, I should have used one of my off-white fukuro obi, but I couldn’t get over how well the hakata coordinated. And I’m firmly of the mindset that hakata ori goes with everything. Since this isn’t actually being worn to a wedding (unless my mannequin’s hiding something from me…) I figured I had a little more leeway. It’s also not unheard of now for brides to add a little more personal and non-traditional touches to their outfits. I love this look with extra lace and a lovely hat instead of the traditional white tsuno-kakushi hood, for example. Since I’d veered off-track with the obi already, I couldn’t resist using my silvery-white beaded obijime as well. This also makes the fact that I’ve yet to find an ivory kakae obi (the narrow, stiff band worn below the regular obi) a little easier to overlook, honestly.

Bonus: For those of you who  miss my furry little interlopers, they’re still around, they just tend to ignore the mannequin. Tribble decided to show up today though!

Items used in this coordination