Monday, May 24, 2010

Kimono Coordination: Working with Black Obi

(A quick note before I start this post: solid black women's obi, or black-on-black patterned women's obi, are for funeral wear only. The black obi I'm referring to this evening means a black obi plus a color image or color pattern.)

Black obi can be intimidating to some at first because of the natural boldness of black matched with others colors, but they can actually be quite versatile once you find the look that's right for you. For visual examples of a few ideas, we'll turn to maiko (apprentice geisha), some of the most stylish kimono wearers out there.

-An elegant combination is pale pastel kimono and black obi.

"Kamogawa Maiko". Photo by Chris Gladis (Wikimedia).

"Tsurui Shikomi Luna-chan and Maiko Sayaka-chan". Photo by Onihide and used with permission.

-Bright colors can work as well in a striking way, as long as the kimono and obi don't both have really busy patterns. Below is what I feel is a nice balance between each item's patterns.

"Maiko Fukuhina ふく雛". Photo by Onihide and used with permission.

On a final note (I couldn't find a maiko looking bad, so no photo for this one ;) ), avoid dark-colored kimono unless the pattern is so bold and bright you feel it overcomes the "sameness" of the tones of kimono and obi.

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