Summer Striped Sha Kimono

Lyuba over at Strawberry Kimono is a stripe fanatic when it comes to kimono and during her stripes fetish she came across some very thin silk summer kimono which were kinsha and not ro. I have one kinsha kimono but it is lined.

Unfortunately these kimono don’t suit my wingspan at all, so its not like I can just ‘hime’ the kitsuke as they are too short, they are mostly just too small.

However, I have found a suitable candidate – 153cm and 65cm shoulder to end of sleeve. That is if the measurements are correct!

Striped Summer Sha Kimono

Striped Summer Sha Kimono

I would really like a kimono with chunkier stripes but size is most important. I buy a new summer kimono each year and this is 2012’s. Last year it was yukata for a workshop which I have actually wore 2 of the yukata personally and about to use the other in a photoshoot so I get my wear out of them. Even if summer has abandoned the UK.

Fortunately I love yukata (some kimono enthusiasts don’t care for them at all) so I never lack a kimono for holidays, the summer or picnic environments.

Here is a Kimono De Jack picnic on a rare wonderful day not so long back:

This was a yukata bought for dressing workshops but as I wash yukata they have a certain lifespan. I have three I am wearing in rotation which I don’t need to wash as I wear undergarments, and one yukata I wash all the time which is reserved for those really hot days you can’t bear wearing anything but 1 layer. I will wash and iron the others at the end of summer and put them away ready for next.

Kimono dressing is a 3D operation, not just about sleeve length!

Tokyo Fashion sometimes add in some wonderful kimono shots and I am updated via facebook. I am amazed at how people profess knowledge about kimono and most of the time tell the guys off for calling something a ‘kimono’ when ‘ya know – its a yukata because it has short sleeves. She is young so if it was a kimono the sleeves would be longer’

WRONG

It is true that the long swinging sleeved kimono are traditionally worn by unmarried women but they are a formal garment not meant for the streets.

Choosing the right kimono for purpose is a 3 dimensional process.

1. Age – Sleeve length DOES have age connotations, the longest sleeved kimono are normally reserved for younger women (but unmarried is the key) and you typically see these kimono around coming of age and graduation. However sleeve length is also subject to fashion. More vintage kimono aimed at older women have longer sleeves.

Age also dictates HOW the kimono should be worn. As a married woman my front collar is lower, as well as my obi with a more subdued otaiko. The back of collar is also sight closer in and more flat.

2. Formality – You wouldn’t wear an evening gown to Mcdonalds and the same western style formality rules are set within kimono. Streetwear for all ages are typically komon print, an all over pattern or variations on. Formality should never be thrown out the window, however age and seasonality frequently are 🙂

3. Seasonality – However, this, in modern times has been superseded by style. The only two season specific matches I can do personally are April, with sakura and butterflies and September as I have a lot of purple! Geisha really, are the only kimono wearers with such an extensive wardrobe as to match up all 3 dimensions of kimono.

This also dictates the weight of kimono. In the UK weather though, normally you mix up the kimono weights all year round as we have hot sunny weather Monday (hitoe or ro) then hail storms Tuesday (back to awase)

3.5 Style – I follow kimono-hime, angura-kei and other such funky movements with regards to kimono so for me season is quite irrelevant when dressing in kimono. I choose style over season, and this replaces this dimension for me.

3.8. Iki – loosely translates as ‘chic’ a form of styling combining the main three elements of kimono dressing in an unspeakably stylish way.

So if a young women is sporting a meisen kimono around town it is not yukata because the sleeves are too short….

</end rant>

Occasion for Kimono

Off to Asda in my rainy day kitsuke!Kimono de jack is a once a month reason to wear kimono with the comfort of others in the same attire around you. However, many struggle with finding occasions outside this and also the confidence. I might be a self confessed shameless fruit loop but I wear kimono everywhere I can.

This is my ASDA shopping outfit on the right and on the left my winter yofuku/wafuku mix.
Winter Tesco Kitsuke!

Again I was going to a super market but this time walking to Tesco, with a matching jumper on underneath.

I wear kimono when out with friends also, when out to dinner and visiting my mother. Kimono is a surprisingly versatile garment and above all its fashion just like jeans and t-shirt.

The more you wear kimono, the better you look in it, the more natural and the more comfortable you feel. Kimono cover all seasons and temperatures because of the layering system and different materials.

This year I plan to be better equipped for summer with two new yukata and a further ro kimono. I also plan to take these on holiday with me. What’s better than a yukata on a beach and walking through the trinket shops. Your cool AND covered so you don’t get burnt. With a big hat your invincible!

So even if you don’t have a kimono de jack or friends who also enjoy wearing kimono, you love it so wear it! Buying clothes not to wear is silly.