Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

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.

Three of the items in this coord haven’t had catalogue photos taken yet so the little item gallery is MIA for now. As soon as I can get around to cataloguing them I’ll update this entry!

#MonoKimono Challenge – Bold Red

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”.

Items used in this coordination

#monoKimono Challenge – Warm Brown

If I’m being completely honest, when I embarked on the #monokimono challenge I had no real plans to do a brown coordination. Brown felt so blah and boring to me. And then I ended up with this stunning warm brown Taisho-era houmongi and all that changed. I’ve coordinated it three or four times already this year and here I am, doing it again. It’s just so pretty and soft.

My plan was intially to use my brown iromuji as a sort of dounuki, an extra inner layer. But the colours are so identical it didn’t really add anything visually, and the sleeves are so much shorter that it looked odd, so I just scrapped that plan. I’d never used this particular obi before and thought it would be a good time to feature it, since it’s got the same subdued, dusty feeling as the kimono and the brown tones are an excellent match. What I didn’t realise, however, is that it’s a hikinuki obi. Hikinuki obi are meant to be tied in a different way and the pattern on the drum is upside-down. Normally they’re much bolder designs, since they’re often used for quick changes by stage performers. This is by far the most “boring” hikinuki I’ve ever seen. I did manage to get it tied with the design the right way up though! It just took a little more fussing than I’m used to. A few more brown accessories finished things off. I only have one brown-based haneri and it’s much more modern and bold in feeling and looked out of place, so I went with basic white.

Only one month of monochrome kimono to go, and a much bolder outfit inn the works for December.

Items used in this coordination

#MonoKimono Challenge – Black Mofuku

One of the few traditionally monochrome kimono coordinations would be mofuku, or mourning clothes. I debated whether or not to do this outfit, but in the end I figured it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate something I’d never really have another opportunity to show, and it felt right for this time of year. It’s clearly not appropriate for everyday wear but it’s definitely interesting.

Mofuku kimono are always flat black silk with five crests. There will never be any noticeable texture or rinzu patterning on the kimono. However, obi will occasionally have a subtle woven design like this one does. Obiage and obijime should also be black, while undergarments (juban, haneri, tabi) will always be plain white. You really can’t get much more monochrome than that.

People further from the deceased can wear iromuji in dusty, subtle colour like greys, steel blues, and lavenders, and keep to black accessories, and as the mourning period progresses more colour can be injected into the coordinations.

While I typically like to inject my own flair and personality into nearly every outfit I put together, I felt that doing anything “out of the ordinary” here would be disrespectful, even if it is just on a mannequin. This sort of coordination means something, and it’s not my place to change that.

There’s still two more Yokai outfits to come before the end of the month, so we’ll be getting back to those tomorrow.

Items used in this coordination

#monoKimono Challenge – Summer White

This may be the last weekend in August, but we’re still suffering the heat here. With the humidity factored in, they’re predicting temperatures in the high 30s again this week. So I decided to run with some cool summer white usumono coordination for this month’s monochrome outfit, even though I did a white/cream one not long ago with the wedding ensemble.

I often find myself breaking the rules a bit with these monochrome outfits. I guess I figure that if I’m playing with one rule, I may as well play with them all. So this outfit is sort of all over the place formality-wise and season-wise, but I really wanted to keep it all in that warm white/cream family with yellow accents to make the bells on the kimono pop out.

Also, if I’m being honest, I just don’t have much variety when it comes to actual summer-weight accessories, so I had to use normal ones. Maybe I should limit myself to only buying usumono for a while. I’ve already cut down on my buying habits lately, this would be even better motivation to stick to that.

I quite like how this turned out, even if it does have a lot “wrong” with it. And it wasn’t too terribly overwhelming to put together even in this oppressive weather. Win-win!

Don’t forget, there’s only a few days left to enter the stencil giveaway!

Items used in this coordination