Vintage style with modern convenience

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After Gofuku no Hi, I realised owning at least one other hakama would greatly expand my kimono wardrobe. Even though I’m still far too chunky to fit into most of my kimono properly, they do a great job of hiding a less-than-ideal hip wrap. I found a lovely modern teal polyester hakama from ebay seller Yoshihori and snatched it up. The seller had embroidered ones too, which were utterly lovely, but significantly more expensive. So I decided to be reasonable and buy the plain one. So imagine my surprise when the seller contacted me, incredibly apologetic, telling me the plain one was sold out and would I like the embroidered one instead, for no extra charge? Of course I said yes!

A few days after I bought it, but before it had arrived in the mail, a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was selling off a large chunk of her collection, including a gorgeous mauve kofurisode that was clearly meant to be worn with hakama. The colours were gorgeous, and it had a wonderful sort of large-scale Taisho-inspired feel to it. I knew it had to come live with me, and be paired up with the new hakama as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Initially, I’d planned to wear the ensemble to Otakuthon, Montreal’s big anime convention. However, it’s in the middle of August and we’re already regularly breaking the high 30s temperature-wise. Even in a heavily air-conditioned convention centre, there’s no way I could wear synthetic awase and not die. So I decided to put the outfit together to see how it looks. Everything is very heavily decorated with sakura, so of course I chose a coordinating haneri. I waffled a bit between yellow and purple obi, but decided to use the purple so it sort of disappeared. The kimono and hakama are busy enough, the outfit didn’t need another level of contrast.

I know I say this a lot, but I love love love how this turned out. I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear it. Maybe for my birthday, in November?

Black kofurisode and purple hakama

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Today I went to a mini-convention to raise money for the Red Cross for Japan relief efforts and I figured it would be a great time to wear my new purple hakama. I’ve had this kofurisode for a while, but no hakama to wear it with, so I decided to pull them together with the yellow side of a new obi and a gorgeous purple shibori haneri Naomi sent me years ago.

I knew I’d be walking around a fair bit so I decided to forgo tabi and zori and wore a pair of comfy mary-jane style shoes instead, but I think it worked quite well.

The outfit got a very positive reaction, lots of people asking what I was wearing and taking my picture. I actually also got suckered into going on stage during the costume contest. Since my outfit was not actually a cosplay, and it was not handmade, I was not eligible for a prize but I got to explain what I was wearing and the audience gave me a good reception, so I am happy! I also got a few professional portraits taken, but I do not have them yet. If I get copies, I will post them.

I really love the hakama. It’s amazingly comfortable and hides a multitude of sins. It was a great choice for a convention, it gave me much more freedom of movement than just the kimono would have. I’d love to get more of them eventually.

Black Hanamaru Furisode

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Black Hanamaru Kofurisode

This is a piece I’ve already shown you, I wore it the first day it arrived, but it also needs a decent catalogue entry, so please bear with me.

Yamatoku was having a sale over the summer of graduation kofurisode overstock. Kofurisode are shorter-sleeved furisode, typically worn with hakama. Girls often wear them during high school and college graduation, so about a month after graduation season, kimono retailers will typically have a large number of modern, synthetic, mass-produced kimono available for good prices.

I don’t usually like modern kimono, and furisode even less, so I honestly wasn’t expecting to pick one of these up. However, when I found this one I had to cave in. It’s komon-style (all over pattern), so it doesn’t scream “furisode” to me. If anything, between the sleeve length and the bright all-over pattern, it looks more like a vintage everyday kimono than a modern graduation outfit. Because it’s modern, it’s nice and large and actually fits me nicely. It was also a steal at $19.95. How could I say no?

The patterns are hanamaru, which are decorative balls of flowers. They’re primarily fall and winter flowers; ume and kiku. There’s also some sort of berries or tiny flowers, I have no idea what these represent. If you know, please comment and help me out! There’s also some subtle trellis designs which add a nice geometric element and keep it from feeling too twee or girly.

The hakkake is a deep yellow, and there is a matching built-in kasane-eri. I hate those damned things, but it does add a nice vibrant touch of colour up by my face, and helps to break up the black, so I’ll probably leave it in there.

Hanamaru Kofurisode; in which I am a moron

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It’s 32 degrees out (90 F). So what do I do, as soon as I come home and find my brand new lined synthetic kofurisode in the mail? Lovingly admire it and fold it away for cooler weather, like a sane person would? Of course not! I decided to coordinate an outfit and put it on ASAP.

I decided to pair it up with my pink and white hakata obi. This thing is like cardboard! It was a huge pain in the posterior to tie, but once I got it, it totally stayed put, which was awesome. I used my hellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime, to go with the yellow kasane-eri that was already built into the kimono. Some purple tabi tied in well with the flowers. My Aikoku Fujinkai obidome was the perfect finishing touch, it almost looks like it was made for the kimono.

And of course, my big orange lug insisted on making an appearance.

I really love how the whole outfit turned out, and I will definitely wear it out, possibly on my birthday in November when the lining and the motifs all make more sense with the weather!