Monday, 8 September 2008

Every Day Kimono

Kimono as daily wear.
I talked to Mamechiyo about kimono as everyday clothing. Of course... it's what she does and what is most important to her. She kind of "promotes" the kimono as daily wear and hopes we western ladies will do so too. That would be great, kimono as alternative for those jeans or cute daily dresses, why not? Well, maybe because it feels a bit like dressing up to be Japanese. Too bad, I do not think this is so, but still, I feel this will be, or is, the general feeling.

A view things Mamechiyo told me:
  1. Loosen up! With this I mean, try to tie your kimono as loose as possible, this way the kimono and obi will feel more relaxing or relaxed when wearing it for a whole day. Wearing kimono loosely with out the whole ensemble collapsing, takes practice. But, we kimono and kitsuke lovers already knew that ^_^

  2. On kitsuke schools. You can learn to wear kimono (basics) in one day. Kitsuke schools to her seem more commercial places then anything else. One example she gave me was the "rule" of wearing summer time obi jime and accessories. Such rule, she said, does not exist (from the days kimono was daily wear) it is a rule made by kitsuke schools to sell more items... Maybe for ceremonial wear things change, but I didn't ask (yet). Obviously, please wear them if you like them and have them!

  3. Fear of wearing things not appropriate to the season. Of course the subtle season changes seen in Japanese kimono is very wonderful. A kimono especially made to be worn for only one day a year is special. She told me about a kimono whit a special fish that is worn only one day when this fish is captured first time (there will me some kind of celebration on this day) Like I would wear a kimono with a haring on the first day haring is brought ashore, this is a "special" day and technically I could wear the haring kimono only on that day...

  4. But, for daily wear she advices, use your common sense. It is silly to wear a see through kimono in mid winter, like it would be silly to wear a summer dress at Christmas. Or, when it is hot outside it would be crazy to wear lined kimono, nagajuban etc. you would melt! Also, this summer was kind of cold where I live, in that case I felt it looked rather silly to be wearing ro or sha kimono too. Mamechiyo told me in that case do what your hart told you and wear hitoe. The only thing is choose "summery" colours, and again here you can use your own imagination.

  5. Kimono fit. It is great when a kimono fits perfectly and is made to measure. But this can not always be the case. Having no ohashori is no problem at all. Just remember older Japanese ladies will tell you you did it wrong. It even happened to her! How ever, you do need at least a very small ohashori (which will be hidden underneath the obi) so your collars will be nice.

  6. Same with the centre seam at the back. Yes it is very important you keep the upper center line in line with your spine. But, the lower centre line is allowed to shift, no problem at all!

  7. Geta. They are not only "summer" wear to be worn with yukata. Geta are all season informal(!) daily wear shoes. Again, use your own judgment to what is fine, they are a bit like sneakers. I wear geta in winter too, because I decided they often are just way more practical then zori (considering the dirty streets and rainy days) But with a nice visiting kimono or going to the theatre I would not do so. I would not go to the theatre in sneakers would I? Unless.... it was a very "hip" "trendy" things like that performance, in that case a funky kimono coordination with geta would be perfectly okay.

  8. TPO as Mamechiyo promotes "kimono as daily wear" I did not ask about formality much. I do understand how ever, that in this case too, your own judgement is fine. If I could go to work in T-shirt and jeans with flip flops, I can go in yukata too. When flip flops would be considered too informal as the T shirt, but jeans with blouse is okay, I could go in a really nice dressed up yukata too... Or, and this applies more to myself.... you like to "overdress" a bit, like wearing a great (black) dress with nice high heels to work, a fancy kimono would be good too. Of course, ceremonial wear (kuro tomesode, iro tomesode and furisode) would look like you where dressed in a ball gown or gala dress, going to a ball, wedding party or other highly formal and festive occasion. Makes it all much easier, no?

All these things are often and repeatedly discussed at the Immortal Geisha forums (see links at the right) They have been since the start and I am sure they still are. It is a great source!

Then I saw something really great and surprising at Mamechiyo's store blog. A young bride in a very informal (cotton) kimono. Super bright and showy and in my eyes festive, but informal. She looked absolutely great and gorgeous! I whish I could see her husband too, they must be a great and funky couple!

Picture copyright Mamechiyo Modern

I am not funky at all, but that is what i would do. Not that I will get married, but like all "girls" I like to dream about wedding dresses, they are great and fun. I dreamt of an Edo era look, like a geisha really. With this modern bride you also saw the pulled back collar, which shows she is the "leading lady" of the party.

Mamechiyo's husband told me at an later date when he saw pictures of me dressed up like a geisha, that I could wear my collar low always. I was very surprised, but he said, because you are a western lady. But he warned me not to do so in Japan; it might give the wrong impression. And, after asking a bit more it seemed to me I could only do so at a private party where I was the host. So, better not ^_^


Naomi said...

Wow! This is all really, REALLY interesting information. Much of it is what I have tended to believe myself - but it is really nice to hear it come from an "authority" like Mamechiyo-san.

Do you mind if I quote a few excerpts of what you wrote, and link everyone to your post on my blog? It is very good information.

Naomi said...

Oh - I also forgot to say - one of the ImmortalGeisha members translated a page from the vintage kimono books I scanned. I found it very interesting (especially the fact that the fashion in 1933 is to wear a patterned dounuki under iromuji!)

The page with the translation is here:

Misuchi said...

Thank's for the link.
And it is ok to link to my post or blog but I do not like the quote idea.
Yes isn't it great she confirms all things you figure out when wearing kimono often?

xiner said...

Thank you so much for sharing this information! Like Naomi-san I'm also glad to hear Mamechiyo's opinion. I often wear seasonally "wrong kind of" kimono, like awase in summer because it's too cold for usumono. Yesterday I asked my chado sensei is it too early to wear wool. She said in Japan, yes, but in Finland, no. I guess the most important rule is just to use your common sense :)

Misuchi said...

You are very welcome!
Yes using common sene is most important. Still watch the patterns though. She kind of sayd for modern kimono wear abstract is easiest. But wearing patterns is nice and "cute" but then watch if it is seasonally (and TPO wise) right, but you know that ^_^ Thank you for taking an interest!

Priscilla said...

By the way, I forgot to add that I very much like the kimono ensemble you are wearing in this picture ^___^ It's very bright and refreshing at the same time!

Priscilla said...

Oh dear, I don't think I sent my first comment through =^__^=" This is what I said:

"Thank you for posting such valuable information!! I will take it to heart and try to follow it as much as I can. Unfortunately, that means that at home, I can only wear yukata because it is so hot even ro and sha kimono will make me melt! Haha. But I too will do my best to make Mamechiyo's dream (more women wearing kimono everyday) come true :)"

Misuchi said...

I can imagine I would wear yukata too if I lived in malaysia ^_^ but thats nice, Yukata are so great!

Nanohana said...

Thank you for sharing this interesting information with us! It's very KIND of you and I'm sure other persons wouldn't be as generous as you have been. ^_^

I find your comments very useful and they will help me to wear kimono more comfortably. (I usually feel so stressed about seasonal changes in fabrics and so on, and I think it's a big relief knowing I can trust in my common sense withouth making terrible mistakes)

Thank you again!!

P.S. : Sorry, can you explain me what TPO means?

Misuchi said...

You are very welcome ^_^

TPO is Time Place Occasion it is funny, you see it in most Japanese kitsuke books, but I guess it's not "proper" English?

Halfoctopus said...

Thanks to share those useful tips. More comfy kitsuke is maybe the way for a "daily kimono wear".

kimonosa said...

Your post is very interesting! I would like to ask permission to you for translate to spanish the information, and put it in my blog. Are you agree? Tnakyou ^^

Misuchi said...

Yes of course just go ahead. Thank you for asking though I appreciate it a lot!
Mamechiyo is a wonderful lady and great source when it comes to kimono as daily wear, she would be so pleased when her tips are translated into Spanish! I will tell her ^_^

kimonosa said...

Thank you very much for you permission! I just translate to spanish the post in muy blog. ^^

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this, I made myself a yukata and though it appears to have been sewn in the dark, all my other clothes are just second best to it. There isnt any other garment that makes you feel beautiful and yourself like these.

Thank you to all the ladies that are boldly going where no kimono has gone before!

Saiya-chan said...

Sorry Berber for going through some of your old post (*^▽^*) But this was so very informational and handy! Thanks for sharing!

Misuchi said...

You are so welcome! And I love it when old posts are still being read ^_^

Cloverrain said...

Very interesting, thank you for sharing! (even though the post is already a couple of years old.)

What I remember of my first year is that I was really trying to obey the kitsuke rules, seasonality, to try and obey all the kitsuke school rules. Only recently I have become more relaxed about them, though I still try and keep some seasonality ^_^

Berber Oostenbrug said...

Yes it's an old post, but the information is still current ;-)

For me it's the same, 10 years ago I was much stricter then now, but I do like the kitsuke rules, especially the season ones.