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

One Kimono, Four Ways – Week 3: Punchy and Popping

One of the great things about iromuji is how they can allow you to really focus attention on something other than the kimono itself. They make a great neutral canvas for a really bright or busy obi. I decided for this week’s entry that I’d do a really high-contrast coordination with a lot of “punch” to it, and this obi was the perfect place to start. It’s a very special obi; I received it anonymously from some lovely person online. I suspect their intent was to have me coordinate it with my Shah Mosque houmongi, but in the end the styles and colours were too different and I could never get them to work together. This kimono, however, is ideal. It’s a similar background colour to the houmongi and the orange-red of the obi really pops against it, but it doesn’t compete with the pattern on the obi itself. It’s a wonderfully neutral foil for the gorgeous obi, and the colours couldn’t work better together if they’d been made to go together. I’d initially thought of using a third bright colour (yellow or pink) for the obiage and obijime but then I remembered these pieces, and everything just clicked.

We’ve also got a special guest photobomber today! Those of you who are longtime readers have probably seen Vinnie before. He usually avoids the mannequin but today he decided he wanted to be the star of the show.

I hope you’re enjoying seeing these posts as much as I’m enjoying doing them! We’ve got one left, and then it’s time to focus on newer things.

One Kimono Four Ways

Items used in this coordination

Orizuru Nagoya Obi

I actually received this on Monday but was hesitant to post it, not wanting to seem callous. I’ve permanently added the list of donation resources to the top of the page, and I also realized that one of the healthiest things for people to do, especially people like myself who are panicking needlessly, is to try to live a normal life. Furthermore, the motif of this particular piece seemed exceptionally timely. Paper cranes are often viewed as symbols of good luck and hope, and in Japan there is a tradition known as Senbazuru, or A Thousand Paper Cranes. The belief is that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will have a wish granted to them. They are often made to encourage long and happy weddings, or given to people suffering from illnesses and hoping for a cure. I cannot think of a more fitting motif to add to my collection right now.

I’ve wanted something with orizuru (which is the name for paper cranes, ori– folding, and tsuru– crane) for a very long time, and actually bid on an obi exactly like this a while back, but it skyrocketed out of my budget. When I saw another one come up for auction again I kept an eye on it but didn’t get my hopes up. However, the seller who’d put it up has been having some techincal/communication problems and I guess people were hesitant to bid, because I picked it up for a song.

It’s so nice in person, for synthetic it’s really thick and soft, not slippery like a lot of modern obi can be, and the areas with the cranes are edged in a thin line of gold thread, which really makes them pop.

Orizuru Nagoya Obi

Orizuru Nagoya Obi