Palate Cleanser

Lately, all the outfits I’ve put together have been high-concept in one way or another, be it stage hiki styling, non-traditional accents, or bugging other people for ideas. I was really in the mood for a simple, classic, and familiar palate cleanser of an outfit. I’ve also been watching the j-drama Watashitachi wa Dōka Shiteiru rather obsessively (review coming soon!) and was feeling inspired by the classic, traditional, and subtly elegant komon kitsuke often displayed in that show.

A while back I’d noticed that the dusty pink of this hakata weave nagoya obi perfectly  matched the flowers on this komon; I had been meaning to work with them for a while but kept putting it off in favour of “more interesting” pairings. But with my urge to do something clean and elegant, this was the perfect time.

A handful of matchy-matchy accessories, and this was exactly the mood I was going for. There’s enough contrast between the obi and kimono to be interesting, but nothing really screams out for attention. It just feels very balanced and effortlessly chic to me.

Items used in this coordination

The Fruit of the Sea

I can’t look at this obi and not think about Bubba from Forrest Gump.

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried…

You probably know I love goofy crustacean motifs, and when I saw this obi listed online (and on sale!) I jumped on it. I’ve actually had it for over a month now. 😳 Every time I find myself time to coordinate an outfit, something else grabs my attention. But yesterday I was determined to let this adorable obi shine. I waffled for quite a while looking for the perfect kimono and then it hit me; this tsukesage with a woven net-like design was it! Nets for catching shrimp, and the purple colour is just the right desaturated shade to go nicely with the burgundy of the obi itself.

Green accessories add a pinch of contrast, but since I used a similarly desaturated olive colour they’re still harmonious and balanced. This outfit is technically too casual for a date-eri to work, but I wanted just a pinch more of the warm/burgundy tones without adding more colour or pattern. I really wanted the shrimp on the obi to be the star here, with everything else almost fading away into the background. Do you think I succeeded? I do!

Also I’m sorry if these pictures seem dim or off slightly; my flash unit died yesterday and the replacement just arrived and I’m still getting the hang of it.

Items used in this coordination

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

Octopus’ Garden

A few months ago, my father ordered this incredible octopus obi from 3Magpies Studio for me as a Christmas present. It was a pre-order and I knew it would arrive after the holidays, but I didn’t mind a bit. I knew it would be worth the wait. Also included was an incredible matching haneri, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available any more. I love how the tentacles just seem to be creeping in, and can’t wait to pair this with other outfits.

The obi nearly got lost in the mail – it was scanned leaving Poland and then the tracking never updated again for over a month. It finally showed up last week, much to everyone’s relief. I’m so happy it found its way home, because it’s awesome!

I really wanted to make sure the focus stayed on the fantastic obi, so I pulled out the red tones for the kimono. This one is covered in tiny ume, but from a distance they totally look like the suckers on the octopus tentacles. It’s a match made in watery, undersea heaven. I kept things simple with more white and red accessories. My initial plan was to use this rhinestone octopus obidome as well, but in the end it felt distracting and sometimes enough really is enough. One day I’ll likely pair them up, maybe with a different kimono to pull the blue colour in somewhere else and feel more cohesive.

Items used in this coordination

Back to the Classics

It feels like sometimes I get so caught up in my kitsuke experimentation, be it kimono-as-costumes, turning a kimono into a ballgown, steampunk hime-styles, or one of the other multitudes of things I’ve done lately, that I forget about the timeless simplicity that drew me to kimono in the first place. So for this outfit, I decided to go in a very clean and traditional direction that’s all about the little details. I paired up my sagara embroidery tsukesage with an obi I got in the infamous obi bundle and hadn’t used yet. Accessories were plain and classic, a casual obijime that reflects the colour of the kimono and an obiage that adds a little bit of sweetness while still being quiet and discreet. This obi’s motif placement is very strange, and I had to cheat a fair bit while tying it, but isn’t that what mannequins are for? 😉

I doubt I’ll be reaching for this obi again any time soon, which is a shame because the soft embroidered details on it are so pretty. It’s just too much of a nuisance.  But I very am glad I decided to drag these two pieces out of storage and do something with them. I’m working on a bunch of new stuff behind the scenes, so this may be the last outfit post for a few weeks. I’m glad it’s one I’m proud to leave on the mannequin.

Items used in this coordination