A Punch of Pink!

What’s this? I’ve worn kimono twice in less than a month?! Apparently unemployment agrees with me…

I’ll be honest, I got dressed for part of a bigger group project that I’ll hopefully be able to share with you all soon. But I figured while I was all done up I should take advantage of it. Also, you get to see part of my bedroom for once, instead of the living room. It’s a fair bit more boring, but I wanted a more neutral background. So not only do you get to see my goofy face, you get to see a small part of my ridiculous pile of collectables. I’m sure you’re thrilled.

I really do love these giant kimono from Kimonomachi. Unfortunately, Rakuten Global has shut down so ordering from Canada is way more of a hassle now than it used to be. I decided to pair the pink one with this awesome red and black faux-shibori obi in a sort of cute improvised casual musubi. Black haneri and black zori (which got mostly cropped from the photos, alas) help anchor the outfit and echo the black of the obi. I kept my makeup soft and pink to suit the kimono, since my hair is already edgy enough at the moment. My moonblossom kamon kanzashi earrings were the perfect finishing touch, I think.

Items used in this coordination

Gofuku no Hi 2020

Gofuku no Hi is a bit of a play on words – May 29 is written as Go-Fu-Ku (5-2-9), and “gofuku” is also a word for traditional clothing. So it’s become an international day to encourage everyone to wear kimono!

As I’ve often mentioned, I’m currently too big to wear almost any of my kimono comfortably. I would have put on one of my modern plus-sized poly komon, but good lord is it too hot to deal with all that today. Thankfully I came across this video by stylist Sala Okabe on Facebook (who you should totally be following if you’re not already!) showing how to easily wear a kimono as a dress without any alteration or damage. It’s actually quite similar to how I styled Lynn in the mod michiyuki at the Otakuthon Fashion Show last summer.

I decided to use my beloved bright-red kiku houmongi, which also happens to be the first kimono I ever purchased. I recently cut all the blue out of my hair, which gives me a lot more leeway colour-wise. To suit the style and era of the kimono I went with a sort of kitschy-retro vibe, pairing some vintage-inspired shoes, my beloved pearls, and this ridiculously adorable purse that looks like a camera.

My intial plan was to go to the park near my house, but I ended up nixing that because it’s just way too hot to be out in the sun, so you guys get to enjoy my living room yet again.

 

Overall I think this was a very successful experiment! I love how the kimono-as-dress looks, and it’s definitely super comfortable. Next time I’ll try it with a slightly bigger one to prevent the slit up the front, but since I am wearing a little tunic underneath it’s not a huge issue.

Did you dress for Gofuku no Hi? If you did, please share photos, I’d love to see!

 

Bold, Bright, Beautiful

Yesterday I got two obi in the mail that I wasn’t expecting until at least a few weeks from now. It was a lovely surprise! Of course, I knew I’d want to coordinate them soon, so I asked you guys on Facebook and Instagram which of the two I should coordinate. This bold black and red tsubaki nagoya won by a landslide, so here we go.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a very subdued kimono to really show off the obi, or something a bit more bright to try to balance it out visually. Then I remembered that this giant poly komon (one of two kimono I own that currently fit my fat butt) has accents of pretty much the exact same colours – red, cream, and yellow/gold. Loud and busy won the day, as it often does in my life lately!

Because the pattern on the obi is so large and graphic it almost reads as quiet next to the busy quality of the kimono. I think that rather than competing for attention they complement each other beautifully. I went with a solid yellow haneri because I figured there was enough going on with the two main pieces that I didn’t want to introduce yet another pattern or visual element. As for the obiage and obijime, I know I use these so often but they just work with so many of my things. I still don’t quite understand how such obnoxious, lemon-yellow accessories match basically everything, but they do. Kimono sorcery!

The finishing touch was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother. I’m not sure what the stone in the centre is, but it’s a perfect match to the kimono, and brings just the right pop of teal in to break up the obi slightly.

Items used in this coordination

Say Hello to Akane!

Everyone, please say hello to Akane!

I found this little lady on a shelf at my favourite vintage shop. She’s not particularly old; she’s made of a sort of soft vinyl instead of ceramic and gofun, and seems relatively mass-produced. Nonetheless I was utterly charmed by her and knew I had to bring her home. I was drawn immediately by her bright red kimono, which inspired me to name her Akane (茜), which means deep red and is a traditional girls’ name.

Unfortunately that kimono was pretty much all she had! There was a piece of cardboard wrapped in pink satin tied around her waist like a sort of obi, and a scraggly little piece of twine in her hair, but she had no real accessories or anything, so I decided to make her some custom pieces as well as give her a bit of a glow-up. I did take photos of the whole process, but since it was done more to relax and unwind I took the photos on my phone, wherever I happened to be working so I apologise for the quality and messy background of some of these.

Her face shape is adorable, but it felt very flat due to a lack of shading. She did have some pink blush on her cheeks but aside from that, she honestly looked like a cute potato. She also had lower eyelashes but no upper ones, and nearly invisible eyebrows. Using a combination of actual cosmetics and chalk pastels I gave her some shadows and contouring, deepened the flush on her cheeks, and gave her eyelashes and more defined eyebrows. It’s a subtle change, but she’s gone from a potato to a peach. You can also see the false eri I sewed for her to give the impression of a proper under-layer.

Next up was fixing her hair. Her bangs were quite uneven, but much worse was her hair in the back. I’m not sure if someone tried to trim her hair at some point or if she was made this way, but her hair was very lopsided in the back! I straightened it out and snipped away any broken or kinked hairs I could find. Then I tucked these cute little plum blossoms Kansai_gal sent me. They’re actually from packaging or something but I like that I’ve given them a second life. Since her head is vinyl I was able to just push a straight pin through them and they’re very solidly anchored in there.

With the cosmetic aspects taken care of, I got to work giving her a proper obi. I used some scrap kimono fabric and sewed a cute little tsuke-obi, and used some of the same textured white fabric from the eri to make an obiage. The whole thing attaches with a magnet and then a length of gold cord works as an obijime. Her socks are a bit of a cheat – they’re simply two fingers off a pair of white cotton polishing gloves! They fit her more perfectly than anything I could have sewn.

I’ve never named a doll I’ve fixed up before, but none of them have captivated me nearly as much as this little girl has. All the others reside in a display cabinet but she lives on my bedside table. Maybe I should sew a little zabuton for her to sit on. XD

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