E is for Ebi

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Ebi, 海老 , shrimp, lobster, or other long-tailed crustacean

Quite possibly one of my favourite motifs! I love all sea-creature motifs, but I seem to have a soft spot for the goofy-looking rock lobsters often found on wafuku. I had several choices to work with for today’s coordination (you can see them all below) but in the end this pente lobster tsuke-obi won out. I just love it so much.

I paired it with this gorgeous soft brown Taisho-era houmongi. I love how the black pops against the muted brown, and the beige clouds on the kimono echo the shells on the back of the obi. Red accessories draw further attention to the ebi itself and anchor the red sleeve lining. The finishing touch was a brown obijime tied in a way to faintly evoke a lobster trap or net.

As much as I love this obi I tend to forget how long it’s pre-tied in the back. It would suit a taller person (like me, hello!) much better than the mannequin, I think. I don’t mind though, I still love the finished outfit to bits.

So far these are all the items I have with ebi motif in one form or another, but I’ll never say no to more!

Items used in this coordination

C is for Chidori

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Chidori, 千鳥, plover

Since today’s feature is about everyone’s favourite goofy little bird motif, chidori, I had two obvious choices for this entry. My bold, high-contrast irotomesode with nami-chidori (plovers on waves) around the hem, or the quieter but more unusual kurotomesode with tiny chidori over stylised matsu (pines).

The subtle, small chidori won out in the end though. I really love this kimono so much, for several reasons. It was purchased in Boulder, Colorado, which is a place that means a lot to me, and it’s also a rarity since there was only a brief period where it was acceptable and stylish for kurotomesode to have a small amount of motif on the back of one sleeve. As much as I love the showier irotomesode, this piece below will always have my heart.

I paired it with a tsuke-obi that also has pine motifs and went for accessories all in the same sort of warm green/brown colour scheme. It’s a very subdued and harmonious outfit, which appeals to me more and more as I get older.

Since “chidori” is also the term used for herringbone patterns, I debated using this obidome as well. You can see where the name came from, the little interlocking shapes do indeed look like the stylised shape used to represent the birds. But it felt too modern and casual for the rest of the outfit, and didn’t fit over the obijime I’d chosen, so I’ll save it for another time 🙂

Items used in this coordination

Clear as Black and White

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I’ve been rolling the idea of an all black and white coordinate for quite a while now. I find myself with a surfeit of free time now, due to my sudden lack of employment due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so I figured I may as well really buckle down and start doing all the kimono-related things I’ve had loosely percolating in the back of my mind for months now.

Of course, I started with my all-white shiromuku bridal furisode. The black anchor came from the homsue-hem style juban I made last summer for the fashion show. I debated removing the ruffles afterwards but decided I liked it so much I wanted to use it in other ways. I’m very glad I kept it! To balance out the black at the cuffs and hem, I went with a black obi. For the haneri and obiage, I actually used some fabric I had left over from last year’s Halloween costume, where I went as a sort of celestial moon goddess. I really love how it works here and I’m seriously debating cutting and hemming some pieces properly, to use again in the future. The final finishing touch was a beaded silvery-white obijime that echoes the sparkle of the stars on the accessories as well as breaking up the solid black of the obi.

The fun thing about this outfit is that it allows me to use pieces that would traditionally never be used outside of specific circumstances; a wedding kimono and mourning obi and accessories! But since it’s such an out-there ensemble, and the addition of the very non-traditional ruffles on the juban, I think I got away with it just fine  😉

As I mentioned up top, I have indeed (temporarily) lost my job. The store where I work is a small, non-essential business, and we had no choice but to close indefinitely. I’m incredibly lucky to share a house with my folks which means that I’m not at risk for eviction or starvation. However, running this blog and bringing you guys new and exciting content on a regular basis isn’t exactly free. Whether it be new coordinations, book reviews, DIY projects, or even just covering the cost of hosting the blog, things might take a hit if I’m out of work for much longer. I know this crazy pandemic situation is affecting everyone, so I’m certainly not expecting anything, but if you are lucky enough to be working from home and have a steady income, I’m not too proud to add a link here to my donation & support page. Thank you for reading all this!

Items used in this coordination

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

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As much as people love to mock the trend of pumpkin spice everything, there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s comforting and familiar and warming, and utterly perfect for this time of year. So when this kimono arrived in the mail, I knew I had to do an orangey-peach monochrome look with it, despite the orchid motifs being quite out of season.

The kimono is stunning; big blousy cattleya orchids in white and all shades of orange. They’re outlined in black in such a way that they feel like ink drawings. I don’t have a single other kimono painted in quite this style, and I freaking love it. I paired it up with the orange and white hakata side of one of my favourite chuuya obi, some peach accessories, and a new obidome I got recently. It’s a little ivory phoenix, and I love the final little punch of white it adds to the whole ensemble. I didn’t use a decorative haneri because I liked how the plain white echoed the big white orchids of the kimono. Overall, I’m really really happy with how this one turned out.

If these photos look a little off to you, I apologise. Firstly, my camera was giving me grief and I ended up taking these with my phone, and on top of that, the peach base colour of the kimono is nearly impossible to capture properly. I tried to do my best to balance everything but in reality the peach is more vibrant and the obi is much more orange, almost carrot-like and a perfect match to the orange in the kimono’s designs.

Items used in this coordination

Back to Basics

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I’ve been doing a lot of fancy and non-traditional kitsuke lately, and was itching to get back to kimono basics, if you will. Just an elegant, simple coordination. No fuss, no muss. I also realised I’ve been sticking to more Western colour coordinations, doing things that look “right” in my head and not necessarily keeping kimono colour rules in mind.

With that at the forefront of my mind, I decided it was high time I coordinate this beautiful pale pink nagoya obi I got earlier this summer. My original instinct was to stick with pastels, but I pushed through and paired it with this rich blue houmongi instead. I love the contrast, and the soft genteel obi pairs so well with the very delicate shading on the botan of the kimono. Red and blue accessories helped pull it all together cohesively.

My next thought for this obi is a black-based kimono. I really love how it pops against darker, richer colours. It’s technically not formal enough for kurotomesode, but because it’s got a metallic pearly-silver sheen to it, I think I can make it work! Maybe I should do that next week. Less folding to do if I use the same obi two outfits in a row 😉

Items used in this coordination