Reflections on Kimono − 着物について

The Year in Kimono is now in it's 5th month! FIFTH month! I can't believe how fast time flies! I love it, I can dress myself (including Otaiko obi tying) so of course, now is time to maybe feel a little discontent. Now, don't get me wrong... I'm not complaining, it's just... I'm having trouble inserting the 'me' into the kimono. My Japanese friend's keep saying, just 'do it' - wear how you want, adapt how you want, etc. But for some reason it feels wrong. It feels like, as a 'visitor' into the hallowed halls of kimono, I can stay and visit but not alter anything. I'm just a guest.

今月で、「着物の一年」のスタートから5月目です!あっという間に時間が過ぎちゃいましたね!一人で着付けをできるようになりましたし、太鼓帯も結べるようになりました。とても嬉しいです。なので、そろそろ一つの不満を言っても大丈夫かしら?文句を言うつもりは全くないのですが、ただ・・・ 着物着ている時、「自分らしさ」をどのように表せられるのかがまだイマイチなのです。日本人のお友達は、大丈夫だから自分が着たいように着ればいいよ、自分に合わせて着てご覧、と言ってくれますが、どこか、なにかがちょっと違う気がしてしまうのです。「着物」という世界の中に私は単なるゲストで、訪問することは大丈夫ですが何も変えてはいけない、という感じがします。

photo: TokyoFashion.com
If kimono wasn't so steeped in tradition, and a culture not my own, I would do things like this. Leave out my nagajuban (the under kimono), which I have done before - read here.


photo: TokyoFashion.com
I would change up the obi (I love this belt!) Imagine the possibilities - no more tying, opting instead for something quick and easy!


photo: TokyoFashion.com
And maybe, just once in a while, wear my own shoes. Like Hiiro, a 21-year-old student photographed  in Harajuku, by TokyoFashion.com. What do you think, should I / could I change up the traditional kimono with pieces from my own closet? Or does it seem presumptuous to make changes to something that has stood the test of time for centuries.

そしてたまには、自分の靴も合わせて履きたいな。TokyoFashion.com が取り上げた、21歳の学生、ヒイロさんみたいに。ヒイロさんのブログはこのリンクで見れます。


  1. Hello
    I am Hiro, a kimono fashion stylist in NYC.
    Please enjoy kimono life much more freely. I believe the kimono is not just the traditional costume, but has more potential to make variety of fashion.
    Please read my opinion published in the New York Times in March.
    "Liberate the Kimono" by Hiromi Asai


  2. As a fellow white Torontonian who wears kimono, I've struggled with this myself. The answer I've come up with is that we *can* express our individual style and make little funky changes, but our overall kitsuke has to be very neat and well-done so it's clear we're not just dumb gaijin who don't know any better. ;)

    We actually have a small group here and are trying to get more people interested: http://www.torontokimono.com

  3. Hi -
    I found your group online when I was in Toronto, but I was there just in-between events. I've also just learned about 'kimono de jack' events that happen in big cities (London is the one I can think of off the top of my head) to re-insert kimono back into peoples sight-lines and memories.
    As for your comments about making changes - I feel the same way, small and slight okay but anything else.... awk. Do you think that's the 'polite canadian' in us? :-)

    1. Several of us on the Immortalgeisha.com forums have started wearing western footwear and hats with kimono for fashion; I find myself doing it a lot more this winter simply for convenience's sake, because wearing tabi and zori in January in Toronto is no fun!
      I always make sure the boots are cute and fashionable and work with the entire ensemble.

      And inspired by some funky Japanese kimono bloggers, some of us have also started mixing in narrow belts instead of traditional obijime. It's definitely an edgier look than the normal and I wouldn't do it with anything except komon.


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