I figure a girl just can’t have too many striped kimono.
As anyone who reads this blog will know, I have a weakness for striped kimono.
Striped kimono were the daily wear of most middle-class and urban Japanese for decades, usually in shades of brown and blue, and often in kasuri cotton.
Coupled with my other weakness for Taisho Roman kimono, there was no way, then, I could resist this gorgeous irregular striped Taisho Roman meisen when I found it last night on Ebay. It’s from a favourite vendor, Japanese Antiques, and I got this purple Taisho Roman meisen with yellow yabane at the same time on a Buy it Now.
Meisen is a lovely silk to wear. In fact, I’m wearing it right now – this black Taisho Roman with stylised flowers (I think they might be roses), which is lined in cream cotton and has a beautiful purple hakkake and sleeve linings.
There is a great gentleness to old Taisho and Showa-era meisen, which is often lined in cotton for practicality. Most of my meisen kimono are also pretty short, and either can’t be worn with an ohashori, or if you make one, you’ve got a kimono short enough to wear almost as a western dress, which works well over leggings or footless tights.
Today I’m wearing this black one over this mustard juban, which is lined in scarlet, over a crimson silk hanjuban as underwear, and with this salmon brocade Nagoya obi tied in a flat taiko (ie: no makura, as I’m sitting in a chair to work). A lovely combination of shades at the sleeve edges and hems.
This is pretty practical everyday wear, I find. I’ve walked the dog in this today, and cooked lunch (with my trusty elastic tazuki cord holding the sleeves back), and with four layers of silk and one of cotton, it’s also pretty warm (I can top it with my velvet hippari for working if need be, as I keep this on the back of my office chair).
I found a tutorial on YouTube recently for tying the taiko at the front and moving it round to the back, which is certainly making getting dressed a lot faster.
I particularly coveted the new blue and brown kimono for the irregular stripes and because it mingles two favourite colours. My blue striped komon with applied glitter is one of my most-worn kimono, and I carefully restored a brown stripe Taisho a couple of years ago. My red wool kimono with irregular stripe, almost tatewaku-style, I shortened to make a kind of long wrap-over haori, but I also wear it as a dressing gown, and I also dearly love my mustard stripe wool komon with its yellow/green/orange colourway.
My final striped kimono is a mint-green Taisho hitoe meisen. The silk is fragile now, but the hitoe thickness is very useful for summer, so it be worn until it falls apart and then it can be pensioned off for date-eri, han-eri and linings.
Yabane is also a favourite motif (in fact, I love almost anything that dates to the Heian era – kikko, seigaha, sayagata…) and I’m hoping that when it turns up, the purple and yellow colourway on my new komon will be screamingly bright, to be worn with clashing obi and haori.