Roaring Twenties

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

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

Memories of Summer

It’s snowing today. Again. We had a blizzard on Monday. It’s been frigid enough lately that there’s been warnings to stay indoors. I live in Quebc, I expect winter to be unpleasant. But this winter hasn’t just been unpleasant, it’s been brutal. So I thought I’d do my best to remind myself that summer will be here eventually!

I bought this gorgeous usumono (summer weight) vintage komon at the kimono bazaar back in November and initially had no plans to do anything with it until it was more seasonally appropriate. But I really needed a breath of warm summer air, and decided to feature it.

I love the colour of this piece; it’s a shade of plum that’s somehow rich but muted all at once. And the art-deco feeling birds on it are utterly charming. It’s tiny and will never fit me, but it was incredibly affordable for its age and fragility, and I loved it too much to pass it by.

Typically, I don’t bother putting a juban on the mannequin. She doesn’t sweat so I don’t need a layer to protect the kimono, she doesn’t move so I don’t need the security of it, and she doesn’t need any further padding or smoothing, so usually it’s not necessary. However, this kimono is so sheer that it would have looked odd and shapeless, and I’ve been wanting to feature this ridiculously adorable shrimp juban Naomi gave me for a while now. It’s technically too heavy for the weight of the kimono, but I love how the colours work together and thematically I like the idea of birds swooping over the cool, breezy ocean and diving in to catch the shrimp!

I used my white ro hakata obi, partially because it looks refreshing against the purple and partially because it’s the only summer weight obi I own. Pale purple summer weight accessories and a cool white ro haneri tie it all together.

It may be completely disgusting and frigid and messy outside, but it’s good to look back on happy memories of summer.

Items used in this coordination

Outfit Generator Experiment

A few months back, I coded up a little script to generate some kimono coordination ideas. If you click that link you can play with it as well! I thought it would be fun to use it myself, since I was feeling motivated to play with kimono but wasn’t getting that strike of inspiration I usually start with.

This is the combination I got, so I got to work. Purple iromuji was straightforward enough, since I only have the one. It’s not quite Taisho but it is lined with red and has elegantly long sleeves, so it felt sufficiently vintage to me. All I had to do after that was work on creating an outfit around it.

My original plan was to use this bright turquoise nagoya obi, but against the purple it definitely felt more bold and youthful than “Elegant”. But then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about how gingko are one of my favourite ornamental trees ever and yet I only have one item with them as a motif, and even then it’s a very small, subtle part.

It seemed like the universe was telling me to use that particular obi. It’s fairly modern, but something about the designs and colour palette feel timeless, and the hints of purple in it play very well with the purple kimono. I pulled accessories out of the obi’s colour selection and finally found an opportunity to use this new haneri.

Everything really came together well, I think. I managed to stick quite close to the suggestions the generator threw at me, and the outfit still feels totally wearable, not costumey or ridiculous. I think whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I’ll use the generator again and see what happens. If you use it, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Items used in this coordination

Say Hi to Sophie!

Yesterday, my dear friend Sophie came over and I had the pleasure of dressing her in kimono! She’s worn yukata before, when we went to the Yatai! street food fest, but never anything dressier. She chose this plum tsukesage with stylised peacocks because she loves purple, and we coordinated an outfit around it. I went for a big punch of contrast with the gold obi, then chose an obijime with the same plum tones and an obiage that pulls out the icy blue of the obijime for a good sense of cohesion.

I did dress her over western clothing and undergarments, so the collar isn’t as smooth as it could be, but for someone who’s never worn this many heavy layers before, she looks great! Some people are just kimono naturals.

She was a little nervous posing at first, but once she got a little more relaxed everything just clicked. I think she looks absolutely lovey, and I do like how the gold obi and kasane-eri pop against the rich aubergine of the kimono. Sometime in the future, I’m very much looking forward to both of us dressing up and going out together.

This last photo is a bit of a conceit on my part. I really loved how thoughtful she looked, but unfortunately my flash didn’t fire and the photo ended up being incredibly noisy and under-exposed. I decided to make it look like a vintage daguerreotype, and I think it worked out quite well.

Items used in this coordination