Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kimono Quest

So, having been in this country for 6 years now, I have never had the desire to wear kimono. While I do try to embrace and experience the culture where ever we go, I just thought that kimono wearing was not for me. Now, don't get me wrong. I love them, think they are totally beautiful but the cost and the fact that most kimono's are not made for average sized Americans has always kept the idea of it at bay.

In the past, I have purchased a few used kimonos at resales to give as gifts to friends or family. I have even purchase a couple of yukatas (a summer casual kimono) to use for lounging around the house. Recently, I had managed to get my hands on a beautiful formal kimono kurotomesode (worn mostly at weddings by the bride's mother) that I thought was beautiful (and it only cost me a few bucks), but I was only planning to hang it on the wall...not wear it. It actually looks very similar to the one pictured at the link.

Fast forward to this month...we have a luncheon at OIWC that is traditionally one that many members wear kimono or yukata to. The cool thing is that the ladies that know about kimono wearing, help those of us that don't. I didn't wear one last year because I didn't have one (or all the parts you need) in order to be able to do it. This year, as the date started getting closer, I figured I would see if I could find all the parts for a reasonable amount of money and finally experience this aspect of Japanese culture.

I managed to find an antique formal silk kimono irotomesode (a step down in formality from the kurotomesode and an antique obi to go with it. I have been told that new, each of these items would be in the thousands of dollars and I managed to get both for 100 dollars each. After getting the hard part out of the way, I started to look for all the parts and pieces that go with wearing a kimono. I needed the under kimono nagajuban (which needed to be formal as well), the shoes zori, the socks tabi, the ties koshihimo and bands datejime, and cords/decoration obijime/obiage.

Since my kimono ended up being such a formal one, I decided to stay as traditional as possible and wear white for the majority of the accessories. This meant spending a bit more but I figured it is a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I will have a master kimono dresser helping me to get dressed for our luncheon, and while I am sure I will not be able to breathe or eat the entire time (not to mention not going the bathroom), I know it will be an experience I will remember and always have.

I have pictured my yukata here with its accessories as you can see, a lot less goes into wearing the more casual summer yukata.


Two Years Ago on In My Words...Sentimental: Good or Bad?


Joanne said...

I got to wear a kimono once when I was younger. It was pretty cool. My best friend's mother was Japanese.

Mishka said...

It really was a ton of fun...and much easier than I thought it would be. I was not uncomfortable at all and I was still able to move pretty easily.