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.

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#MonoKimono Challenge – Bold Red

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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”.

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October Rust – MonoKimono Challenge & Fudangi First Friday

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I’m cheating today. Someone alert the authorities! Typically, the #MonoKimono challenge occurs on the last weekend of the month, and Fudangi First Friday occurs on, well, the first Friday. However, I had other things on my mind this past weekend, and I know this weekend is going to be quite busy, so I figured I’d take advantage of a free afternoon and combine the two smack in the middle of the week.

It’s finally, mercifully, starting to feel like Autumn here so that was my jumping-off point. I had to build an outfit that was both casual and monochrome, so it felt like the right time to bust out my rusty red-orange wool komon. My Tokaido hanhaba obi is an absolute spot on match for the kimono, even down to the yellow accent colour matching the yellow weave.

I’ve seen this sort of hanhaba musubi that almost looks like a miniature otaiko and wanted to give it a shot. It worked out quite well, I think. I also like the pop of contrast the yellow side offers – it echoes the yellow han-eri on the front view and helps draw attention to the subtle pattern in the kimono itself. I still think it’s subtle enough and in a close enough colour range to count as monochrome, too. While an obijime isn’t a necessity with this sort of an outfit, I did need it for this particular musubi and I just happened to have one that was another perfect match. I’m pretty sure this is the most monochrome outfit I’ve put together for this challenge so far.

Another reason I wanted to get this outfit on the mannequin is that I have something very neat in the works, and wanted her in something that felt seasonal and was nice to look at but also was very much a “background” feel and not something ornate that would steal the focus away. I’m being evasive now, but I promise I’ll tell you all what it’s for very soon!

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#Monokimono Challenge – Mustard Yellow

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Anna of KimonoTEKA recently came up with the #monoKIMONO challenge; the last weekend of every month in 2018, challenge yourself to make a monochromatic outfit! I am always up for new kitsuke ideas, and I know I can handle one-a-month type challenges, so you know I’m going to go for it!

My first thought was red or pink, but as I was flipping through my collection for ideas, this odd mustard yellow colour jumped out at me. You might remember this kimono as my emergency backup piece for Belle that I ended up falling in love with. It’s not a piece I’ll ever be able to wear, even if I were to lose an unhealthy amount of weight it would still be too narrow for my broad back and too short for my giant self. Also, this particular colour looks lovely on a lot of folks, but utterly terrible on me. However, I’m always excited to find ways to coordinate it, and I realised I have a vintage obi that’s nearly the exact same colour. A few similarly ochre-toned accessories and voila, a beautiful, wearable, vintage monochrome outfit.

This whole outfit pulled together so smoothly and easily, I hope it’s a sign of things to come for both the challenge and the year as a whole. Are you participating in the #monoKIMONO challenge? If so, I’d love to see your coordinations!

Items used in this coordination