Saturday, September 4, 2010

Building Coordinates: The Basic Komon

When it comes to putting together a good kimono outfit, whether you're going for straight-up traditional or funkier looks it's the same rule of thumb as any other fashion: start with the basics.

For me, "the basics" in kimono terms would start with a komon. Komon, kimono with small and repeating patterns, are versatile in a few ways.

-If you're doing traditional kitsuke (kimono wearing), komon are casual enough you can wear them shopping or about town (with a thin hanhaba obi), but nice enough you can dress them up for a dinner out (with a Nagoya obi).

-If you're budget-minded, you'll be happy to know komon are some of the cheapest kimono out there that you can buy secondhand.

-If you're going for funky or experimental looks, a fair amount of komon come in abstract patterns and shapes that keep the kimono unique but don't overpower the rest of your look.

It's easy to fall in love with flashier types of kimono like furisode, but if you're interested in wearing kimono you'll find komon are like your favorite pair of jeans. You might wear a formal gown once or twice a year, but you get a lot more wear for your money out of your favorite jeans.

One note: Some might argue that "the basics" begin with summer cotton yukata (the ones you see at summer festivals) but I disagree. Yukata are great and beginner-friendly, but they can only be worn in the summer to festivals and such, so despite their simplicity they're as much a niche seasonal item as a pair of seersucker pants. I will say that they do make an excellent "gateway drug" to regular kimono, though!

Images courtesy Ichiroya and used with permission.

No comments: