Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kimono Coordination: Complementary Colors

First of all, a big thank you to my lovely friend and reader "pony_parade" over on! She made a syndicated feed for this blog, so if you're on LJ and would like to get automatic updates when I post, please check out the feed over here.

She also requested a post on kimono color coordination, which is something I'd like to make a regular part of the blog as there's so much you can do with it. :) So today we'll kick that series off with a simple introduction to "complementary colors" in color theory.

You might remember the color wheel from art class. The simplest color wheels usually feature red, yellow, and blue (your primary colors that can't be broken down any further), and orange, green, and purple (secondary colors, ones made from primary colors).

If you look directly across the color wheel from one color to another, that opposite color is called the complementary color. Those two colors, when used next to each other, will always pop visually. For example, blue and orange, green and red, and purple and yellow.

When it comes to kimono, contrast or "pop" is considered very important in putting together a good look. You can play with colors to create different feelings, just as you can with Western clothing, but the idea of contrast will be in there somewhere. You're not likely to see a blue kimono with the same color blue obi, obiage scarf, and obijime cord. It's boring just reading about it!

So let's see in practice how you can use complementary colors in putting together kimono and obi: I've borrowed photos of a single kimono and obi and done some crude hue shifting in Photoshop to show the basic principle. (I also used the same one over again so as to focus on the colors alone rather than individual kimono or obi.)

Do you have to always put blue with orange, or red with green? Nope! There are a lot of other ways you can go about matching kimono and obi, but, especially for beginners, the simple relationship of complementary colors can be a good, foolproof way to narrow down choices and put together workable combinations.

Top image copyright Wikipedia, all others copyright Ichiroya and used with permission.


DecepticonFan26 said...

I have a very light limeish kimono
what would be a good Obi color for it? it has orange fans on is and faint light blue bubbles

Christina said...

Hello! I quit updating last year but came to check on a few things and saw your comment. You could go two ways with it: either a pink or red obi for contrast, or a monochrome approach with a deep green or blue.