Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pink Ro Kikyo Komon

It's seems like it's always this time of year when I start to talk about how I am ready for summer. (And by the time summer arrives, I'm already thinking autumn...) The kimono shops are already gearing up for the next season because I'm starting to see new yukata and summer kimono collections appearing. I was reviewing my collection again and saw that I don't own very many summer kimono (only a few of which are ideal size as well). As usual, I went to my favorite TL size source - KimonoMachi. They are starting to add new ones, but they had several of last year's semi-custom komon still available - and somewhat discounted. I saw they had one left in stock of this lovely pink ro fabric with little purple and green kikyo.

Since my summer kimono are exclusively in cool tones, I thought it would be nice to have something a little different. Being all pastel tones, I don't think it will look stifling in the heat - especially if it's paired with a light color obi.

It'll be over a month before it's finished, but I'll post more pictures when it arrives.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hiraki Nagoya and Share Fukuro - How to tell the difference!

Most seasoned kimono wearers will know that there are 5 main categories of obi for women: heko, hanhaba, nagoya, fukuro, and maru. These are pretty easily distinguished from one another (see my obi types page if you are unfamiliar with these). Of course, there are more main types, but where things start getting confusing is with the "sub-types", and most commonly, I see share fukuro and hiraki nagoya getting mixed up (I've even done it myself recently). In case you're unfamiliar with these two terms, a share fukuro obi is a fukuro length obi but it has no metallic thread, therefore making it a casual obi. A hiraki nagoya obi is one where the pre-folded part has either been undone or does not exist. Hiraki nagoya do still have the potential to have metallic thread (making it resemble a regular fukuro obi), but they often are more casual. Because these two often look very similar, it's an easy mistake to make.

So how do we tell the difference? (I'm going to talk about modern pieces for the most part, because vintage lengths tend to get more complicated.) The easiest way to tell modern pieces apart is the length. That being said, there is no hard and fast rule about length, but we will use the most common measurements. A hiraki nagoya obi is usually between 3.5m and 3.8m, whereas a share fukuro is usually 4m to 4.2m. When we start looking at vintage pieces, the lengths are typically shorter, but it is still usually proportionate to the modern pieces. For example, a vintage hiraki nagoya may be 3m long and a vintage share fukuro may be 3.5m. We also need to examine the threads used. If  you see metallic thread and the length falls into nagoya style, you likely have a hiraki nagoya. Share fukuro will never have metallic threads. If you are still unsure of what you have, my best advice to ask someone more knowledgeable what they think.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has helped you a little in your adventure with kimono!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Navy Shippou Komon and Cream Kiku Hiraki Nagoya Obi

Oops... bought another kimono with that tax refund money... ;P

Kimonomachi always seems to take my money, but they do offer more TL sizes than anyone else and for a good price. They have a cotton komon collection, and it's a little more expensive than I was willing to spend for a while. Also, my tastes in the past were bolder than they are now. It may seem silly, but I feel like being married and has calmed me down a little (at least as far as kimono designs go anyway). I also have come to terms with the fact that while there are tons of gorgeous kimono out there, most of those I like are semi-formal to formal and I have no occasion to wear those. Komon and iromuji, however, seem to get more use - and especially the more sedate ones. It's so much easier to dress them up or down and to not feel out of place by being too formal.

The komon I purchased today is a newer addition to the cotton kimono collection. It's a very dark navy color with a faint shippou pattern.

I opted for the option with a hikari nagoya obi and chose this cream one with a bright kiku lozenge pattern.

It goes very nicely with the above komon, but I also thought it matched nicely with the butterfly komon I just received. I am going for a look that's youthful but also a little mature and overall, clean.

I'm going to give my opinion here, so hold tight! So many kimono wearers are going for wild and what they think will pack a punch with viewers. In the beginning, style like that got my attention; but I think I have really started to value the beauty in a greater degree of subtlety. I'm not talking about dressing like obaachan. The Japanese have a word called iki. It could be defined as "expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity, and originality...ephemeral, romantic, straightforward, measured, audacious, smart, and unselfconscious. Iki is not overly refined, pretentious, complicated, showy, slick, coquettish, or, generally, cute. At the same time, iki may exhibit any of those traits in a smart, direct, and unabashed manner" (from Wikipedia).

I'm not saying that other more outlandish kimono styles are not cool. There are people who pull it off amazingly like I never could. They can put 20 different accessories together and make it look fantastic. For me, the more items I try to incorporate, the worse my outfit tends to look. I'd say it looks "busy", but not necessarily fashionable. Since I am not the type of person to pull this look off, I'm just going to continue to try to do the basics really well. Maybe someday, you all will consider me to be iki!