Bold, Bright, Beautiful

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Yesterday I got two obi in the mail that I wasn’t expecting until at least a few weeks from now. It was a lovely surprise! Of course, I knew I’d want to coordinate them soon, so I asked you guys on Facebook and Instagram which of the two I should coordinate. This bold black and red tsubaki nagoya won by a landslide, so here we go.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a very subdued kimono to really show off the obi, or something a bit more bright to try to balance it out visually. Then I remembered that this giant poly komon (one of two kimono I own that currently fit my fat butt) has accents of pretty much the exact same colours – red, cream, and yellow/gold. Loud and busy won the day, as it often does in my life lately!

Because the pattern on the obi is so large and graphic it almost reads as quiet next to the busy quality of the kimono. I think that rather than competing for attention they complement each other beautifully. I went with a solid yellow haneri because I figured there was enough going on with the two main pieces that I didn’t want to introduce yet another pattern or visual element. As for the obiage and obijime, I know I use these so often but they just work with so many of my things. I still don’t quite understand how such obnoxious, lemon-yellow accessories match basically everything, but they do. Kimono sorcery!

The finishing touch was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother. I’m not sure what the stone in the centre is, but it’s a perfect match to the kimono, and brings just the right pop of teal in to break up the obi slightly.

Items used in this coordination

Vibrant Vintage

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For someone who keeps telling herself she doesn’t need more kimono, I sure do keep ending up with more kimono. But when I saw this gorgeous vibrant turquoise Taisho irotomesode on Ichiroya recently, I knew it had to come live with me. This piece is not in great shape, admittedly. It’s got sun damage that leads me to believe it was folded and then stored badly at some point in its life. But I was just so in love with the colour that I couldn’t pass it up, and it became my tax refund gift to myself. It’s also incredibly small, bordering on too small for the mannequin even, so I have no delusions of ever being able to wear it even if I lose weight. Alas. 🙁

I knew immediately that I wanted to pair it up with this bold orange nagoya obi that really pulls out all the gorgeous warm tones in the hem design of tachibana and kaioke. My initial instinct was to go for more muted accessories, including an obijime that has nearly the same shade of turquoise, but then I remembered I have this bold haneri with tachibana in the same colours as the obi and just ran with it. I love the emphasis the rich purple tones bring to the whole coordination. I will definitely be revisiting this kimono soon with a more gentle and subtle coordination, but I really do love how bold and vibrant this turned out.

Items used in this coordination

Catwoman

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Up next in my Batman-inspired coordinations, Catwoman! A jewel thief extraordinaire and on-again off-again love interest for Bruce Wayne himself, no project like this would be complete without her.

Her look and costume have evolved almost as much as her origins, and my initial plan was to go for black with hints of blue-green to evoke the gritty night-time feel of Gotham as well as echo her outfits in the Batman Ninja movie. But after some discussion with a friend, I realised I could absolutely pull in the purple as well, and have a very harmonious outfit that nodded to her original costume as well as the more modern iterations.

Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to use my teal haneri with black cats on it. I also tied a variation on a standard otaiko musubi with my teal obi that gives off the impression of cat ears. I really wanted this outfit to be as sleek and elegant as Selina Kyle is, but with a sense of whimsy and a clear nod to cats. The obidome is a stylised clay cat face my father sculpted and I then decorated with pearls and rhinestones to call back to her cat-burglar past. A rich purple obiage and obijime tied everything together, both visually and literally.

Unfortunately, the weather here is awful and dreary and the light in the living room was not amazing today. Combine that with the fact that purple and teal are two of the most difficult colours to photograph. I had to process the photos quite a bit, but I think in the end they’re pretty accurate, and the outfit conveys exactly what I was hoping for, so I’m quite pleased.

Items used in this coordination

MonoKimono Challenge – Misty Mint

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Does anyone else love Misty Mint candies? If you’ve never had them, they’re these wonderful, creamy, melty mint candy drops in beautiful pastel colours. They don’t make them anymore, sadly, and even if they did I couldn’t eat them since I’m allergic to dairy now, alas. However, the colour of this iromuji makes me think so fondly of them!

This coordination is basically a revisit of this monochrome outfit, but I wanted to do something softer, and without the hakama. This one feels more wearable, overall. I used the same kimono and haneri, but switched up to this shiny fukuro obi and accessories that blend in with the kimono itself. I had fun doing a sort of bunko variation with the obi, I quite like how it looks and it was very quick to do.

It’s also very interesting to me how this colour family photographs. In the original outfit with the hakama, it looks much more blue, today’s photos look much more green, and the catalogue photos below feel somewhere in between. All due to ambient light, time of day, and other external factors.

We’re halfway through the #monokimono challenge! I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and already have plans for the second half of the year. Are you doing the challenge? If so, please share links in the comments, I would love to see!

Items used in this coordination

A Wild Diane Appears!

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You guys! Look at this! Recently a friend drew my attention to the fact that Kimonomachi shop on Rakuten now carries a selection of modern poly komon in size 4TL. Even when I was thinner, it was nigh-impossible for me to find kimono that were actually long enough for me. Now that I’m also significantly overweight, I’d pretty much given up wearing a kimono comfortably as a lost cause, but this one borders on being too big for me. Isn’t that wild?

Sadly, I only noticed my obiage had slipped off my makura after I took the photos. Oops!

It feels so good to be able to dress myself again, and so easily and comfortably too. It’s amazing how much of a difference the proper fit makes. I’d love to buy myself another one, but these kimono are not inexpensive at ¥ 14,000. I managed to get this one for significantly less because I had Rakuten points a PayPal gift card that needed to be used. I may cave in and buy myself a different pattern if I get a large tax return this year. We’ll see.

For reference, I am 179cm (5’10”) tall with a 121cm (48″) bust and a 36K bra, a 91cm (36″) natural waist, and 120cm (47″) hips. I typically wear a size 18 or 1X in North American clothing sizes. This kimono wraps easily from hip to hip, a full one and a half times my widest measurement. So if you’re a similar size and looking for something that will actually fit you properly, I cannot suggest these enough!

I paired the kimono with this moorish arch nagoya obi that couldn’t match better if I’d bought them together. The rusty orange-red of the obi makes the red accents in the kimono pop, and the turquoise base colour of the obi is the exact same as the arches. Looking at the photos, it’s quite clear that a standard otaiko musubi done with an average-sized nagoya obi just looks disproportionately small and odd on my frame, so whenever I actually wear this kimono out to an event I will likely go with a hanhaba or chuuya obi tied in something I can control the size of better. Vibrant lemon yellow accessories made everything pop, and I couldn’t resist using my obidome with snails on it. It’s too cute for words, and ties in with the warm creme colour on the flowers of the kimono.

As a final note, a little reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I dressed myself in this outfit last Thursday and took photos, with the intention of posting it on Fudangi Friday. I transferred, edited, and uploaded the photos. And then on Friday morning I settled in at work, and during a quiet moment started drafting the entry. It was at that point I realised I had the kimono on backwards. Somehow I’d managed to dress myself and then take and edit photos without ever noticing! And as much as I encourage playing with rules when it comes to kimono, wrapping it backwards (right side over top of the left) is only ever done for a body being prepared for a funeral, and it is not a rule I would ever consider breaking unless it was for a very explicit purpose like a costume. So I scrapped my initial plan and re-dressed myself today. Honestly, I’m glad I did, because I managed to tie the obi much more neatly and the lighting was a lot better as well.

Items used in this coordination