Winter Hikizuri in Late Summer

Recently the naughty voice in my head told me to browse eBay, despite having no job and no storage space. I figured browsing hikizuri would keep me safe as they tend to be out of my price range anyway. Unfortunately, I listened to the naughty voice, found a gorgeous ume piece with multiple extra layers that happened to be a huge size, and now this stunner is now all mine! I’m fairly certain it will fit, but right now it’s just way too hot to wear something with so many layers and so much padding. I am looking forward to putting it on eventually, but in the meantime I couldn’t wait to put it on the mannequin instead.

It was listed as a geisha’s hikizuri on eBay, but the overall boldness and huge padded hems make it feel more like some kind of stage or dance piece. Either way, it’s absolutely stunning and it’s already a treasured part of my collection. I chose metallic, heavily textured accessories to balance out the rich black and smooth yuzen. The green shibori obiage isn’t technically appropriate but I really love how it draws attention to the green accents in the kimono that almost disappear otherwise. I think next time (maybe whenever I actually wear it) I might go with a white-and-silver obi instead of the primarily gold one, since most of the metallic accents on the piece are silver, but I think the gold works just fine. I tied the musubi on a bit of an angle to make it feel a bit more chic and I quite like how that looks.

This also happens to be the 100th kimono I own, if you count men’s items, uchikake, and yukata. A piece worthy of the milestone, in my opinion.

The catalogue photo here is from the seller; this piece is just too damn big for me to photograph with my usual set-up. I’ll get a proper one soon.

Items used in this coordination

Tea Time – Tenmoku Tea Cup

Tenmoku (天目, also commonly referred to as Jian Zhan 建盏 in Chinese) is a stunning style of ceramic ware, created using high temperatures and glaze with a very high iron content. The end result is a variety of incredibly rich, deep, and iridescent finishes.

I received this beautiful “Jellyfish” teacup from Tenmokus.com, who provide a wide array of beautiful tenmoku cups and teapots. I was expecting it to be pretty, but nothing prepared me for how stunning it was in person. The glaze is so luxurious and layered, the shimmering rings peering through layers of translucent blues. This cup was undoubtedly named after the moon jelly, which just happens to be one of my favourite sea creatures ever.

It also feels perfect to hold. I have large hands (to go with the large rest of me, hah) and often small Asian tea cups are too small and I end up feeling clumsy and awkward holding them. This one is still delicate, but just large enough that it feels great to hold. It’s also a bit thick, which will also make it very comfortable when holding very hot tea, thicker walls mean less heat transfer.

Their cups are shipped in absolutely gorgeous presentation boxes that serve dual purpose; not only are they perfect for gifting but they’re so thick and well-padded that the cup was very well-protected during shipping.

My only “concern” with this cup, if you can even call it that, is that it’s so impossibly gorgeous that I almost don’t want to use it. But somehow just leaving it in the box or even on display feels disrespectful. This is a cup that cries out to be used and appreciated.

I highly recommend checking out Tenmokus.com if you’re in the market for a unique, stunning cup either for yourself or for a very special and unique gift.

 I purchased this item at a discounted price for honest review purposes. 

Slytherin Kitsuke

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

At last, we come to Slytherin. The kimono choice for this outfit was obvious; this green and silver yabane is the perfect colour combination. From there I decided to stick with a very vintage feel, which also suits the “old blood” mentality of many notable Slytherins. I’d never used this silvery-grey obi before, and I realised why as I was working with it. Not only is it frustratingly slippery, it’s a very strange size. Too wide to be a hanhaba obi, not wide enough to be full width, I had to fold it essentially in thirds. But because it’s stiff and slippery it fought me the entire time. I managed to get it to stay in place, but I don’t think it would last very long like this tied on an actual person. Thankfully the mannequin is good at holding still!

The haori is black, which isn’t a traditionally Slytherin colour, but it seems to me that when not in school robes, all the prominent members of the house tend to favour elegant black clothing. A long, sleek black silk haori with very subtle urushi crows on it seemed to fit the bill quite well.

The obijime is admittedly way too formal for the rest of the outfit, but the green shimmering beaded texture made me think of a beautiful snake when I first received it, so of course I had to use it to represent Slytherin house’s animal.

I’m also cheating a bit in that this outfit is doing double duty, it’s also entirely applicable for Fudangi First Friday. And with this, the Hogwarts House kitsuke project is complete! I had fun, but I’m looking forward to coordinating more “normal” outfits for a little bit. At least until another ridiculous theme project strikes my fancy.

Items used in this coordination

Ravenclaw Kitsuke

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;

Today, we’ve arrived at Ravenclaw; my house! Every single test I’ve ever taken, including the Pottermore one, puts me squarely into Ravenclaw. What can I say, I’m a proud and noble bookworm, like my parents before me. At least I come by it honestly.

Of course, since it’s my house, I knew I had to do the best job I could. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, odds are you’ve got an opinion on the bronze vs. silver debate when it comes to Ravenclaw’s house colours. I think both options have merit, and thankfully this obi has all sorts of metallic tones to it, so it feels like a solid acknowledgement of both options. The birds on it are hawks, not eagles, but I still think it suited the “sharp and intelligent bird of prey” feel better than any other option I had available to me.

A kimono with scrolls or books on it would have been completely fantastic here, but I was really trying to stick to a budget and use pieces I already owned, so I went with the most vibrant blue piece in my collection. I wish I could say that the flowers had particularly relevant symbolism, but really I just had to use this blue.

The obidome is a converted pendant that’s always reminded me of the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw, and the fact that it’s a feather makes me think of writing quills, which are also incredibly relevant for the most nerdy of houses. The accessories were chosen primarily for colour and emphasis, not so for motifs, but still this is an outfit I’d be glad to wear to show off my house pride. Also, this kimono actually still fits me, so there’s always a chance I might actually put it on sometime soon.

Only one more to go!

Items used in this coordination

Pretty Pastel Princess

I’ve been behind on mannequin coordinations lately! Hopefully this pretty pastel princess outfit will make up for it. I’ve wanted to do something sweet and girly with this furisode since I used it for Cinderella, and I finally decided to stop procrastinating and just do it.

I really wanted to play up the pink accents in the kimono, so I chose pink accessories and a silvery white obi with pink details and everything ties together so nicely. Despite all the pieces being relatively flashy and youthful-feeling, somehow the coordination still feels gentle. I’m not sure how I feel about the choice of obijime, since the blue doesn’t quite match the kimono, but I’ve been wanting to use this beaded one since I got it and couldn’t resist.

Since this was a dressy furisode outfit, I used the opportunity to practice my fukura suzume (chubby sparrow) musubi. I really do need to branch out and work on more interesting musubi in general, and I am going to try to make a habit of it in the future.

Overall, this coordination came together pretty much exactly how I’d been imagining it in my head and that makes me really happy. And while it’s certainly not as big as my new modern komon, this kimono nearly fits me properly so one day I’ll have to put this outfit on myself. Since the kiku is my birth month flower, maybe I’ll wear it for my birthday when next November rolls around.

Items used in this coordination