Happy New Year 2022

Hello! I am very sorry I haven’t been around lately. I started working full-time for the first time in over a decade and it really knocked me for a loop. I also spent a month in California back in November, and this gorgeous vintage kurotomesode happened to follow me home. Part of me wanted to share it right away but then I realised the arrow motif was very reminiscent of hamaya and was therefore absolutely perfect for a New Year’s coordinate. I felt that New Year’s Day was a perfect day to re-devote myself to this blog. It’s not a resolution, per se, because I am utterly terrible at  keeping those, but it did seem like a good day to set a new goal.

I did debate going “proper” and pairing this piece with a typical gold fukuro obi and white accessories, but as usual my love for dusty vintage colours won out and I ran with this maru obi instead. One of the motifs on it is sho-chiku-bai or the three friends of winter, a lucky winter motif, so it felt appropriate nonetheless. Red accessories and a textured white haneri added a bit of punch without stealing the focus, and I’m quite pleased with the end result.

Here’s to a year of health, happiness, and hope. A year of finding the time and the passion to focus on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. I am going to make a concerted effort to devote more time to my hobbies, both kimono and my miniatures. I already have several outfits and entries planned out for the next little while, so I just need to keep this motivation and momentum going. How about you? What are your hopes and goals for 2022? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment!

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Lavender Formal

Today’s entry is something a little more straightforward, formal, and traditional than I’ve done lately. I got this beautiful two-sided obi from Sasa. It’s white with gorgeous silver floral round designs with tiny lavender accents. The other side is a very pale lilac with an asanoha texture. I’m honestly not sure what to quantify it as, but since this side feels like a formal fukuro obi I thought it would work well with my kurotomesode with lavender and peach tones.

I tried to keep the kitsuke “correct” and traditional here; white-based formal obi, white haneri, gold and white obijime. However, being me, I did deviate a tiny bit by going with a peach obiage which is a spot-on perfect match for the ume flowers on the kimono. The obi is also incredibly easy to tie, which is always a good thing. I made one of the neatest and tidiest nijuudaiko musubi I’ve ever done, I think! I’m very much looking forward to coordinating this obi with other kimono, and maybe featuring the opposite, more casual side sometime soon.

Thankfully my life has calmed down a bit and some personal behind-the-scenes stuff that was causing me anxiety has been sorted out, so I can finally live up to the promise I keep making to be more active here. I’ve also got Patreon back up and running. While the blog will always be totally free, there are little perks you can get for helping support this passion of mine and enable me to keep sharing pictures, references, and information with you all. This hobby is not a cheap one!

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(The detail photo of the obi above is terrible, and will be replaced with a decent one as soon as I can set up my backdrop and stuff properly again!)

Hope for the New Year

To say that 2018 has been a wreck would be a bit of an understatement. Ecological, financial, moral and political instability across the globe. And on a smaller, more personal scale, the loss of more beautiful lives than I wish to tally up. The one that hit me the hardest, by far, happened only yesterday and is still painful and raw.

A friend and bright shining light in the lives of so many people lost their life to incredibly aggressive cancer yesterday. The diagnosis was less than a month ago, and now only a few days before Christmas they’ve left behind a husband and two children. It happened way too fast, to someone way too young and vibrant.

Of course, I did my best to deal with it the way I usually do, by distracting myself with kitsuke. I thought it would be a good time to throw myself into something somewhat productive and decided to make a new year’s inspired outfit because I am more than ready for 2019 to get here and wash away all the pain 2018 brought with it.

This kimono was only the second or third I ever bought, and I don’t bring it out often enough. My initial plan was to do a proper kurotome-style kitsuke, featuring only white and metallic, but you all know I can’t leave well enough alone. I remembered this silver and white obi has tiny pink-peach accents that echo the peachy ume in the hem design, so I ran with it. Eagle-eyed readers might notice I’m using the exact same haneri and obiage as the last coordination, but they worked so perfectly I couldn’t resist. I do love that this has such wintery motifs of ume and pine, and despite clearly being a wedding rental piece it works quite well for the season. In retrospect, I should have found a way to include some bamboo so I would have the sho-chiku-bai (three friends of winter) motif often used at New Year’s. Oh well.

As the year comes to a close, I’d just like to take a moment to wish you all the best possible upcoming new year. And remind you that life is short and precious and beautiful, so please be sure to tell someone you love them and hug them tightly today because you may not get another chance. ❤️

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Kosode no Te – Yokai Halloween 2018

It’s finally Halloween! I hope you’ve been enjoying this month of yokai coordinations as much as I have! I knew for the finale I needed something bold, and since I’d already used my hikizuri for Iso-onna, I decided to feature the drama of a kurotomesode. And really, what’s more appropriate to finish off this project than an actual haunted kimono spirit? Kosode no Te literally means short-sleeved kimono with hands, and is typically a deceased courtesan’s kimono, or the kimono of someone with unresolved issues. Spectral hands reach out of the sleeves of the kimono and assault the person trying to wear it, or the person who may have wronged the previous owner.

The motif on this particular kimono is called Tagasode, or “Whose Sleeves?” and it’s literally a bunch of kimono airing out on racks. It’s absolutely perfect for this particular yokai, don’t you think? I paired it up with a vintage obi in similar desaturated vintage tones. The obi has a design of thread bobbins, further emphasising the clothing and textile motif. I decided to go with bright red accessories for a punch of almost violent colour to tie it all together.

I’ve had such a wonderful time doing this project, I think it was my favourite Halloween theme I’ve done so far. But I am looking forward to some more “normal” coordinations, not to mention my birthday coming up in November!

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Classic Elegance

It feels like I’ve been doing a fair number of casual and non-traditional outfits lately, and while there’s nothing wrong with that I was in the mood for a little classic elegance. To me, there’s nothing like the graceful simplicity of a kurotomesode to really demonstrate the luxury and refinement of kimono.

Admittedly, I still managed to inject some of my personal style and preferences into this outfit. Typically, a kurotomesode should be paired with a metallic fukuro obi and white/metallic accessories. However, this kimono actually occupies a strange liminal space between kurotomesode and houmongi. The black base colour and five crests imply the highest level of formality, but the fact that there is pattern, however subtle, on one sleeve, knocks it down a peg. Because of that, I knew I could get away with deviating from the norm a little bit.

I thought it would be a good time to use this gorgeous tsuke-obi that I got recently, It was clearly a fukuro obi at some point in its life, but was converted to make it easier to wear. However, whoever converted it did so with their specific body in mind; because of this, it was an absolute bear to tie on the mannequin. Both the obi and the kimono were too big for her, which is not a problem I come across very often! However, this does mean I could probably wear this outfit myself if I lost a few pounds. It’s always good to have one very formal outfit ready to go, I suppose. I went with olive accessories since there’s a very similar green in both the kimono and the obi. Thanks to the gold accents, they still feel appropriately formal but feel a little more interesting than plain white would have been.

Overall, I really like how this looks. It conveys the traditional mood I was aiming for but still has a sense of unique personality.

Items used in this coordination