Spotlight: Storage and Curation (Part 3)

Spotlight 11-3: I Had to Take a Lot of Photos (Part 1, part 2 here)

This fukuro obi is one of my favorite new acquisitions! Just look at it!

Welcome to the third part of Mukashi no Sewing’s eleventh spotlight! As I mentioned last time, the original post ended up being SUPER long, so I’ve split it into three sections. This is the second curation post, covering my kimono collection!

Kimono are the next level up in pickiness with regards to curation of what I choose to own. I wear kimono approximately once a month, so I have decided to keep a mere 13 kimono in my collection as of the original writing of this post. They’re evenly split between formal and informal kimono, and between lined/unlined kimono. This gives me a surprisingly good selection for each season and for formality levels within those seasons. For example, in summer I could wear my Totoro yukata for informal occasions/festivals, or my open weave lavender Edokomon with one crest for a formal occasion! (As a side note, formality is determined by many things in kimono, such as the fabric, type and placement of the design, and number of crests. Factors affecting seasonality include fabric, lining, and motifs within the design!)

Totoro yukata from Acorn Republic. Try and tell me this isn’t incredible!
The little “modesty triangle” covering the crest is to prevent dye transfer during storage. (The crest portion is undyed silk.)

Just like with lolita, I’m very picky about fit. For lolita clothes, the relevant measurements are bust and waist. With kimono, the most important ones for me are the mitake – the length of the kimono (measured from the center back at the base of the collar to the hem) and the yuki – how far the sleeves extend from the center back toward the wrist. The ideal length is the same as your height, +/- 10 cm. So for me that means between 157-177 cm, although I really prefer 160-165 cm. The only exceptions in my collection are my two antique kimono (at 144 and 150 cm) and my vintage purple yagasuri kimono at 154 cm. (As a side note, I’ve been reading a really great book called Rethinking Fashion Globalization, and the editors pointed out that italicizing non-English words contributes to the “othering” of those cultures and languages. So I’ve made the decision to follow their lead with words in Japanese that I use here on the blog!)

Spoiler alert: you can expect to see a post sometime soon about this antique beauty that I just acquired! 😀

As my kimono collection is much more limited in scope than my lolita wardrobe, I’ve been correspondingly more restricted with the colors in it. I’ve chosen to keep my palette to shades of purples, reds, black/grey, white/cream, and a bit of green. There are occasional accents of pink and blue, especially amongst my haori, but mostly I’ve stuck to that set of colors. (This doesn’t include accessories such as obiage and obijime, which allow me for a very low price to splash in some fun colors like yellow or navy to change up the look of a coordinate!) Being strict about this keeps me from buying new kimono that would also require a whole new assortment of obi and accessories to wear properly – I can admire a lovely piece from afar without feeling the need to purchase it. It also keeps my collection trim by helping me let go of pieces that are too similar to one another – for example, I kept my wool yagasuri kimono (on the left below), and chose to sell the purple striped tsumugi one on the right as they essentially fulfilled the same function (very casual & season-agnostic) and had exactly the same color as well.

1960s purple yagasuri wool kimono in my personal collection.
Purple striped tsumugi silk kimono, sold to Discord community member.

The final thing I consider with regards to my kimono is the balance of modern vs traditional patterns/designs. Nine of my thirteen kimono are more traditional patterns, and of the four modern ones two of them can actually pass for traditional with the right styling. I’m not sure this is the right balance currently, to be honest. When I need a more traditional kimono, I REALLY need it to be right for the Time/Place/Occasion (such as for an upcoming Iaido banquet I’ll be attending), and I also really adore arrow fletching (yabane/yagasuri) and crane designs, so my collection has trended more traditional. However, I find it a little difficult to wear those more formal kimono out and about, so I wouldn’t mind a couple more modern designs (in washable fabrics!) to round out my wardrobe.

You can view my whole kimono collection here on Pinterest if you’re interested! I had to take a LOT of photographs…

A bonus consideration for me is things that my kitsuke teacher, Sparrow, recommends to me. Thus far this has mostly been undergarments and dressing accessories, but they also recently suggested that I should add to my collection of obiage and obijime so I did so immediately! They also did mention that I will never need more than one kurotomesode so with some relief I stopped looking at pretty ones on Yahoo Japan Auctions. 😀

Please follow Sparrow-Sensei’s YouTube channel! Their videos are incredibly informative and so relaxing to listen to as well!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the second installment of how I curate my various garment collections! The third and final post will cover my antique clothing collection. I look forward to seeing you back here next time here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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