Go With the Flow

Last week, I espoused the virtues of not always sticking to your initial plan. This week reminded me once again why that’s so important! I received this lovely purple-and-pink hakata and asanoha obi during the week and had an entirely different kimono in mind for it. I’m working from home today, so during some down-time I went into the kimono room to collect the pieces I needed and just couldn’t find the kimono anywhere! While rummaging, I pulled this vintage turquoise beauty out and decided to re-think my entire plan. Pink and purple of the obi are both very prominent accent colours in the kimono so I just ran from there.

Once I’d committed to this kimono the rest all slotted neatly into place. The haneri matches the plum purple of the obi and echoes the tachibana motif in the kimono, and my ridiculously versatile yellow accessories literally tied the rest together. The “obidome” is actually a brooch that belonged to my late grandmother and just happens to be a spot-on match for the kimono, as well as having a lovely vintage feel to it that suits the age of the kimono very well. I tied the obi in a sort of tsunodashi variation because it’s a knot that always feels vintage to me too, and I love the way it shows off the two-colour design of the obi so nicely.

I’m very glad I didn’t fight and get frustrated and give up when I couldn’t find the kimono for my initial plan, because I love this one so much more!

Items used in this coordination

 

What’s Old is New Again

This kimono has always been one of my favourites, but for some reason I’ve never paired it with anything other than an orange obi. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great with orange, but I wanted to diversify a bit. I realised it had the same kikkou pattern on the shoulder as my green darari-style tsuke-obi and I knew exactly where this coordination was heading.

Red accessories because there’s a bit of red in the obi and it helps make the lining pop, and red accents always make an outfit feel a bit more vintage to me! I debated using a dark red haneri shigoki obi as well but it ended up feeling more balanced without it. Even if you’ve planned an outfit entirely in your head, it’s always good to be flexible when you finally get things laid out together. Never feel like you have to stick entirely to your original plans, and that doesn’t only go for kimono coordinating.

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Lovely and Soothing

I’ve been feeling incredibly uninspired lately. Mental health, physical health, the state of the universe in general, they all weigh heavy on us right now, don’t they? In an attempt to get myself out of a rut I decided I would just reach blindly into my “tansu” (revamped armoire, really) and build an outfit around it.

I’m so glad I did, because I cannot get over how well these two pieces go together. They’re both the same lovely, dusty, desaturated palette and the flowers complement each other so well. I can’t believe I’ve never thought to pair these up before! I should do this impromptu coordination thing more often.

As much as I love the really bold and vivid pieces that came out of the Taisho era, there’s something to be said about these delicate, painterly ones. There’s just something incredibly soothing about outfits like this where everything just flows harmoniously from top to bottom and nothing really “jumps out” at you.

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Bamboo for resilience, Paper cranes for hope

I try not to get too angry or too political on this blog, but there comes a point when keeping quiet is complicit with violence. I’ve devoted half my life to the study and appreciation of Japanese arts, and now more than ever I feel the need to speak up against the wave of racist violence being perpetrated against Asian-Americans of all cultures. While the most recent horrific attacks have been aimed at Korean and Chinese women, the types of people who commit these atrocities typically don’t know or don’t care about the difference.

Those of us who share a passion for one or more aspects of an eastern culture have a duty to help defend the beautiful, diverse people and cultures to whom we owe so much. So what can we do? Stand up. Speak up. Whether you witness something as egregious as a physical assault on an elderly woman, or people in power using racist terms like Kung Flu, or something as “minor” (and I say that sarcastically) as a relative lumping multiple Asian countries into some vague orientalist monoculture, step in and defend the peoples of those cultures you love and respect so much.

Of course, my way of channelling my frustration and anger usually involves the mannequin. I knew the best starting point would be my orizuru (paper crane) obi and haori, as hope for a more understanding and peaceful world. I paired them with this gorgeous Taisho-era bamboo komon, as bamboo is strong and resilient. It feels like an optimistic coordination in a dark time. I know in the grand scheme of things, this is a bit of an empty gesture, but it helps me to cope.

I wish I had a cute or pithy way to end this entry, but I just can’t find it in me today. Thank you for understanding.

Items used in this coordination

Autumn Wedding

Sometimes a girl just wants to put a wedding outfit on her mannequin for no good reason, right? I received this beautiful vintage maru obi as an extra when I bought the ume hikizuri, and for a while I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. It recently hit me that it’s the same sort of desaturated vintage colour palette as my beloved Taisho bridal kimono, and roughly the same level of flashiness, so it was worth trying them out together.

I really love how these look together, with the pops of red and gold from the obiage, obijime, and kakae obi to break things up. It looks beautifully autumnal, and since it’s snowing today and winter’s creeping up on me, I want to hold onto that fall feeling as long as possible.

It’s not as tidy as it could be, and that is a sad, floppy-looking bunko musubi but I was out of spoons and didn’t want to fight with it anymore (even with my poor long-suffering father helping me out). I figured I’d share the outfit as-is, rather than getting frustrated and not posting it. I’m still not feeling great, to be honest, and there’s a bunch of stuff happening in my personal life that I won’t bore you with. I just want to reassure you that while posting has slowed down somewhat these past few months, I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere.

Items used in this coordination