Friday, March 5, 2010

Kimono Challenge and Coordination: Komon

At times you'll see me tossing around names like "kurotomesode" or "komon", which are different types of kimono in regards to formality. Every now and then I'll go into more detail with what I know about these types, with today's focus on komon (and a challenge for readers!).

Komon are basically the blue jeans of the kimono world: not as casual as running around in shorts and a tank top (summer cotton yukata) but not formal enough to wear if you're visiting someone's house for a nice dinner (houmongi). Komon kimono get their name ("small pattern" 小紋) from their design, fine and repeating patterns that don't stretch intact across seams. Komon kimono can be made from wool, silk, or in recent years high-grade, washable polyester.

Komon coordination is a step-up from the stripped-down yukata: while you can stay with nicer versions of the hanhaba obi (the half-width obi also used with yukata) you'll need to add a juban (underkimono that is most often white and peeks out at the collar) and tabi socks. From what I've seen and read, geta sandals can, at a stretch, be worn with komon as long as tabi socks are worn with them, but the feel is of tennis shoes versus the "ballet flats/nice sandals" level of shoes you'd achieve with casual-level zori sandals(zori being the next and last step up in shoe formality from geta).

If you want to wear it more formally, you can add zori and what's called a Nagoya obi (wider obi sewn into the half-width needed across the front rather than folded in half, as more formal obi are), which will require adding an obi-age scarf and obi-jime cord to hold the Nagoya obi together properly.

Keep in mind that a komon worn at its most formal is still about like a summer dress from J. Crew. It's not going to fly for a nice dinner party or fancy occasion but works well within its more casual sphere. It can also be worn year-round, unlike the summer-only yukata.

So, in summary:

-Coordination Choice 1: komon, juban, hanhaba obi, tabi socks, geta or casual zori
-Coordination Choice 2: komon, juban, Nagoya obi, obi-age, obi-jime, tabi socks, casual zori 

And to wrap up, if any of my fellow kimono fans out there would like a small kimono challenge (I need very little excuse to play around with them myself), here you go!

Kimono Challenge: Komon

Coordinate your favorite komon any way you like (cute, funky, classic, goth, your city's sports team colors, etc.) and send me a photo or two with a sentence or two about your coordination idea or inspiration. I'll be happy to post any I get in a future entry. If you don't have your own komon yet, you can send links to your favorite from one of the online dealer sites and accessories to match. It's not a contest, so there won't be any prizes, but that means there's no pressure either. Have fun with it! :)

First image copyright Kelly of Wikimedia. All other images copyright Ichiroya and used with permission.

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