Dancing Queen

This is one of those coordinations that’s been on my to-do list pretty much since the day the kimono arrived. I love this dance piece and I really wanted to pair it with the orange hakata side of this vintage chuuya obi and do a fun odori-influenced outfit. For some reason the photographs don’t capture either orange properly, they’re a much better match in real life.

I decided to go with an ochre haneri to kind of reflect the gold of the kimono, a gold and silver obijime for the same reason, and this red shibori obiage was to draw attention to the red date-eri that’s sewn into the kimono. A simple bunko musubi literally ties it all together, a fairly standard one for odori outfits.

Also, every time I hear or think of Dancing Queen by ABBA now, this ridiculous video gets stuck in my head. If you have a few minutes and need a good laugh, I can’t recommend it enough!

Items used in this coordination

Matchy Matchy Mums

There’s two things “wrong” with this outfit, but when has that ever stopped me? I had another outfit planned for this week’s coordination but when this kiku furisode arrived I knew I had to pair it up with my purple kiku obi. Normally you wouldn’t match the motif of the kimono to the obi, especially not identically stylised ones like this, but the colours and the round mums were just too perfect to pass up. I also tied the obi in niijudaiko, which isn’t a musubi you’d typically pair with furisode, but I thought it added an interesting, more mature feeling to the outfit.

Since I was on such a matchy kick, I ran with accessories that were also perfect matches to some of the colours in the kimono. This outfit definitely feels very autumnal, which also happens to be my favourite season, so of course I love the end result!

What do you think? Do you like to understand the rules but deviate from them now and again, or do you prefer to stick to what works? I think both have merit; so long as you can explain why you chose to break a rule and aren’t doing it in a formal situation or stealing the focus from someone else, sometimes it can work out really well!

Items used in this coordination

Halloween Pumpkin!

When Kimono Stylist Sala Okabe shared this picture, I was smitten! She didn’t post instructions, but it looked fairly straightforward, some variation on an otaiko musubi and I decided I really wanted to give it a shot. I haven’t been in much of a state to do kitsuke recently; not only am I still feeling worn down mentally, I also took quite a tumble down some stone stairs a few weeks ago. I tore up my legs, twisted my wrist, and bruised several of my ribs quite badly. However, I’m feeling a little better and thought Halloween would be the ideal time to put this together!

The orange hakata side of this chuuya obi was the obvious choice. I paired it with green accessories to look like the leaves and vines of the pumpkin plant, and went with a small-patterned black and white kimono to keep with the “spooky season” colours without being distracting. I would have loved an orange haneri but I don’t own one, but this mustard yellow one is pretty darned close and still fits with the autumn theme.

I also decided not to pleat the obi like Sala Okabe did, because this one is so soft and floppy it’s hard to get it to hold a shape. But I think the woven design does an excellent job of looking like the ribs of a pumpkin! Overall, I think I managed it quite well, considering I had to guess at the obi musubi construction and I’m still not totally feeling like myself. Hopefully my motivation will come back properly soon.

Items used in this coordination

Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka – Life Imitating Art

Before we get to the entry today, I have to speak out on what's happening in the United States (and really, around the world) right now. I've always aimed to keep this blog positive and apolitical, but it's reached a point where saying nothing is complicit with the racists. Black lives matter. Here in Canada we also need to acknowledge that Indigenous lives matter. As a white person, I need to use my voice to amplify and uplift the voices that are being silenced at a terrifying rate. Things need to change. The police need to stop killing black people indiscriminately for perceived offences while privileged white folk walk free after documented atrocities. If you're at a loss for ways to help and can't attend rallies or protests, please visit Black Lives Matter for information and resources, and consider donating to the NAACP or the ACLU. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you feel the need to argue this, tell me it was unnecessary, or tell me that "all lives matter", please unsubscribe and unfollow.

Way back before the flood in my room, COVID-19, and my life (and the whole world, really) going sideways, I found this beautiful little drawing entitled 海の日, Umi no Hi, or Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka and realised I had quite similar pieces, especially my beloved octopus obi. Right away I knew I wanted to try to do the first entry in a new featurette here on the blog, where I plan to reproduce kimono ensembles from artwork. Now that I’m back into the swing of things, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot.

The pieces aren’t exact; the water on the kimono is from a different perspective and less saturated, the obi is purple instead of black, but as a whole I think I did a good job of emulating the mood and feel of the coordination quite well. Also, I’d somehow never noticed before but this kimono is a five-crested houmongi. All my other houmongi are either uncrested or have only one crest. I wonder what sort of event it was intended for.

Doing this coord was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing more of them. I won’t make any promises or stick to time frames, because I know that’s a surefire way to turn me off from something, but keep an eye out for more of these in the future!

One final note; I have officially lost my job for good. I worked at the same small specialised toy store for almost thirteen years, but unfortunately it has become a casualty of the economy and the coronavirus shut-down and will not be reopening. So for the time being, you will be seeing a lot of older, familiar pieces being reused in new and hopefully interesting ways. My budget is a little tighter than usual so I can’t run around buying new pieces.

I’m back!

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your patience, support, and faith in me. It’s been a very long few months. As you may know, my bedroom flooded a few months back. Mercifully, my kimono are stored in a separate room upstairs, so they were safe. But my life got turned quite upside-down while my room was being renovated and restored. Then the holidays hit, and as I’ve mentioned before, I work in a toy store so things get very hectic around then. To top things all off, I somehow forgot to put my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication in my pill organiser at the end of December. If anyone’s gone off anti-depressants cold turkey, you know how rough it can be. I did that without even realising what I’d done wrong, so January was a very, very hard month for me.

Thankfully, that’s all behind me now. My room is complete, work has definitely quieted down, and my medication is stable again. I knew it was time to get back into the swing of things and start blogging properly again.

I received this gorgeous kimono as a birthday gift from Sophie back in November, and I think it was the perfect piece to use to celebrate my return. I love the variety of colour and pattern, and I’m always a sucker for black-based kimono that aren’t kurotomesode. It came with the red date-eri already attached, so using more red accessories was a no-brainer. I felt that the orange and gold obi had a similar showa-fabulous vibe, and the colours are very harmonious. It’s not a risky or adventurous coordination by any means, but it works well.

Honestly, I was worried I’d be rusty and out of practice, but kitsuke really is like riding a bicycle. After a few minutes, the muscle memory just takes over.

I also have some exciting news to share. Costume-Con 38 is taking place here in Montreal next month and I will be doing three panels; two kimono dressing workshops and one lecture on the history and evolution of kimono. If you’ll be attending, I’d love to see you!

Thank you again if you’ve stuck around during my little break, I really do appreciate the support. <3

Items used in this coordination