Proof of Life

Rumours of my demise have been slightly exaggerated. Further information below the cut if you’re curious.

Ideally, for my return to regular kimono blogging I would have loved to showcase some gorgeous new piece, some rare curiosity… but I honestly have not purchased anything since the men’s set I wrote about back in May. Instead, I resorted to my old standby of blindly pulling something out of storage and forcing myself to work with it. It’s a great exercise if you’re feeling uninspired or unmotivated! I grabbed this vintage-inspired modern poly piece that I love and used to wear quite frequently, but somehow never think of when it comes time for a mannequin coord.

I thought it would look lovely and even more vintage-inspired with this dusty peacock obi, which I unfortunately forgot was hikinuki-style so it’s tied upside down. Oh well. Not too shabby for being so out of practice! A few similarly desaturated accessories in dusky pinks and beigey browns completed the look and this outfit feels like a great way to transition from summer into autumn.

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V is for Vivid

Vivid, intensely deep or bright colour

We’ve reached another one of those super-fun letters that essentially don’t exist in Japanese. Like the L and Q posts, I knew I had to run with an English word and what better word than Vivid? Or possibly vibrant!

Taisho and early Showa era kimono are absolutely some of my favourites, due in no small part to the vivid, bold colour choices brought about by the advent of synthetic dyes. Prior to the 1910s, kimono colours tended to veer to the gentle, subdued, and either pastel or very dark tones thanks to natural dyes. With the introduction of synthetics, colours went pretty crazy.

I went with my beloved turquoise irotomesode with tachibana, since I didn’t get to use it last week. And heck, compare the colour story of that entry to this one, and you’ll get a really good sense of what I mean by vivid!

My initial plan was to use a vintage mustard-yellow floral obi but it just wasn’t bright enough. Then I remembered this gorgeous modern piece with the moorish arches that are a spot-on complement to the kimono. This obi was a gift and to this day I still don’t know who sent it to me! Next up was this gorgeously eye-searing meisen haori. Doesn’t get more vivid than this piece, when it comes to my wardobe. And to bring in the hit of yellow to echo the yellow accents in both the kimono I ended up using my yellow obiage and obijime again. This is starting to feel like a running gag, but they really do match just about everything!  Honestly these photos don’t even do this ensemble justice. One day I’d love to see this coordination on a person, but this kimono will never fit me so I’ll have to find a willing model.

Items used in this coordination

I is for Ikebana

Ikebana, 生け花, 活け花, traditional flower arrangement


If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you’ve likely seen my efforts to teach myself the basics of ikebana. I do feel like I’ve reached a place where I can’t really grow any more without more focused teaching and direction, but the world isn’t exactly in a state where that’s an option currently. Maybe I’ll look into it once things go back to normal, whenever that might be.

Getting fresh flowers right now isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But my lovely father, who had to leave the house to get food and fill prescriptions, was sweet enough to snag these for me from the flower-seller at the local mall. I love the vibrant contrast in them; they almost feel like an inverted Japanese flag. I went for a straightforward three-height arrangement with only a bit of greenery to anchor it. It may not be anything terribly exciting, but fresh flowers bring me a little brightnessright now, and I

Pastel Pearl-fection!

I bought this pearl ribbon thing a while back with the intention of using it in kitsuke and somehow never got around to it. When I was looking for an inspirational jumping-off point for today’s outfit I remembered I still had them and decided to work off that.

Pearls, to me, needed a really sweet and feminine outfit, so it was time to bust out this gorgeous blue furisode with pink accents again.  I went with the solid deep rose side of my sakura chuuya obi, and decided to use the pearls as something between an obijime and a pattern itself. I really like how this looks! I also covered up a pink embroidered haneri with more pearls because sometimes more is more. The obi provides a bit of visual weight to an otherwise very light and airy kimono. Previously, all the coordinations I’ve done with this piece have been with white or silver based obi, and it’s pretty cool to see how different it feels with something richer and more colourful.

I also had fun improvising the obi musubi, it sort of looks like a cross between a fukura suzume and a han-darari. It feels very sweet and youthful, and took advantage of this soft, floppy obi well I think. A few more rose and white accessories just pulled the whole thing into a really pretty, girly, cohesive outfit.

Items used in this coordination

#MonoKimono Challenge – Bold Red

Can you believe the year is finally over? I knew I wanted to end the #monokimono challenge with a bang, so I went with a really festive-feeling bold red coordination.

I know I use this kimono a lot, but I do love it to bits. It was my first kimono and it’s still one of the easiest to work with. This whole outfit fell into place very easily and dressing the mannequin took no effort at all. Which is a good thing, because I slipped on the ice getting into the car last night and pulled my entire right side out of alignment. Nothing serious, but it’s uncomfortable and annoying! So I’m very glad this outfit cooperated so well.

Once I had the red kimono sorted, this red and white hakata obi was a no-brainer. The reds are nearly identical, and the white geometric plays off the flowing white kiku of the kimono. I don’t have a red haneri so I went with white, also with kiku motif, and a gold kasane-eri for a little bit of punch. The obijime is one I bought at that big kimono bazaar in the autumn and I’m so happy to have found a way to feature it.

This is such a bright, vibrant outfit. It feels perfect for that liminal time between Christmas and New Year’s day. It also brought me a lot of joy to coordinate it, and that’s something I sorely needed in my life right now.

I don’t know if I’ll do this monthly challenge again in 2019, but I know I will still be making monochrome outfits now and again because it’s a lot of fun and encourages me to step out of the “typical kimono comfort zone”.

Items used in this coordination