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

Roaring Twenties

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A while back, a friend sent me this awesome michiyuki with gorgeous long sleeves. It sat in storage for some time while I wondered what to do with it, and it recently struck me that it would make an amazing dress-like outfit.

Michiyuki like these are intended as over-coats for inclement weather, but they are also great to wear and style as mod-era dresses. Their boxy shape is perfect, and since they’re the only common kimono garment that actually snaps up the front, they’re very easy to wear.

The styling for this one was super simple; I wanted to keep the Taisho vibe of the piece in focus so I went for a bit of a sleek twenties feel. A gold necklace worked to bring out the warm tones in the garment, and a big chunky belt gave it a bit of shape and definition at the waist. I have another michiyuki with a much more modern and graphic pattern, and I can’t wait to do a similar outfit with that one as well, but trying to evoke the mod style of the 1960s.

I’m still on vacation, but I’m keeping up with things as much as I can. How do we all feel about the new upcoming era name, Reiwa? I’m not sure how I feel, I think it will really depend on how people choose to interpret it. The intention of “good/auspicious peace” is lovely, but the fact that it can also be read as “commanded peace” feels a bit odd to me. I guess only time will tell!

Items used in this coordination

Queen Serenity

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Eons ago, I found this pretty rhinestone moon-and-star pendant at Michaels, and my mind immediately went to Sailormoon. I’d been trying to figure out how to do an outfit inspired by Queen Serenity, and the other day while chatting with a friend I finally got the spark of motivation I needed. I took inspiration from the Mulan kitsuke I did. The under-dress is the same one. The fact that it matches the kimono so well was a happy coincidence.

I love the soft, flowing layers of the ivory kimono over the ivory dress. I played up the metallic accessories both to evoke the gold ornamentation on the inspiration image and to tie in the pendant that inspired the whole project. I tied the soft gold obi in an improvised bow somewhere between a bunko and a cho-cho musubi, to echo Queen Serenity’s wings. In a perfect world, I’d have a shimmering gold darari obi to get more length and volume to it, but they’re not exactly easy or affordable to get hold of. An obiage that leaned more gold would have also been an improvement over this very yellow-toned one, but again, I used what I had on hand.

One thing I was not expecting is how elegant and wearable this actually looks. I could see this sort of a combination being worn to a wedding, bridging the gap between traditional and modern aesthetics. Heck, I could even see myself considering an outfit like this if I were ever to get married. Not that it’s remotely in the plans or anything XD

Items used in this coordination

Valentine Redux

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a partner, family, friends, a beloved pet, or just loving yourself today, I hope you’re having a great day.

I wanted to do yet another obnoxiously girly coordinate and was inspired by my previous Valentine’s Day colour combo but wanted to add a bit more flair. I’d also been itching to do a more kimono-hime style outfit.

Lately there’s been a lovely trend of slightly exposing juban with really sweet pleated chiffon hems, and while I don’t own one of those (yet), this textured while skirt with lace accents worked a charm. I also used one of the skirt’s tiers to fake extra sleeve layers, and love how they look. Especially now that the mannequin has arms!

I also re-used a lot of the lace I’d initially bought for the Princess Tiana coordination, and I think it pops so well against the black kimono. The pink lace shawl has a very similar texture and ties in to the obi perfectly, as well as echoing the layered pink and white collars I used. A shiny silver and pink brooch used as an obidome completes the look. This outfit is still sweet and romantic, but I think that with the black base it feels a little edgier, and I love that.

Items used in this coordination

Harley Quinn

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I hate clowns, but I love Harley Quinn. Go figure! This was the outfit I was most looking forward to. It was the most fun, but somehow also the most awful to put together! Even though the other three outfits in this project have been relatively standard and traditional kitsuke, my plan for Harley had been a bit off-the-wall from the very beginning.

For a character who was only created in the 1990s and was never meant to be a permanent addition, Harley’s had an enormous impact on the DC universe and really pop culture as a whole. She’s had some incredible character development, and a long with that a bevy of unique costumes and looks. None are more iconic than her original red and black harlequin jumpsuit though, so I knew that one had to be my starting point.

My red ume komon was the grounding point for the whole outfit, along with a black petticoat to give off a cute feminine vibe. Over top of that, I used a ro mofuku kimono I have that’s basically rotted apart at the seams. I’ve been planning to sew it back together, but I realised that it would be perfect to use as a sort of overlay. Since the seams were already separated, I sort of bustled it in four segments over top of the komon. A red, black, and white obi and accessories with card suit motifs were the perfect next step. I added some white ruffled ribbon to the collar and sleeves, and tucked a white shibori obiage in above the obi to look like more ruffles.

Despite it being an enormous pain in the posterior to put together, I could not be happier with how this outfit turned out. I could absolutely see Harley wearing it.

This is going to be the last Batman-themed outfit for a while. It’s been great fun, but I want to focus on a few different things for the month of October. I do have loose ideas for a few more characters so I’ll likely revisit those in the future though.

Items used in this coordination