Columbus Kimono at Ohayocon 2020

The Good Morning Convention is just around the corner! This year’s theme is Roaring 20’s and for the kimono fan that can only mean one thing.. Taisho! Long sleeves, lush yuzen, fantastic meisen. If you’re in the Columbus area next weekend (January 10-12 2020) join us for the Kimono of the 20’s; Taisho panel on Friday at 3PM. Our other panels are Kimono Basics for Beginners Friday at noon (if you’re not a beginner, it’s a great refresher) and Advanced Kitsuke for Furisode Saturday at 10AM (right before Kimono & Tea).

In addition we will also be hosting for the second time our signature Kimono & Tea event on Saturday at noon. It’s a perfect time to wear your kimono and relax with a nice cup of tea. Don’t miss the highlight of this event, a demonstration of Japanese tea ceremony.

Finally you can also find us in the Yuki Matsuri room where we will be dressing attendees in yukata to take pics with Ohayocon’s lovely backdrop, as well as kimono consultations for anyone who needs help with their kimono, whether it’s dressing or figuring out what accessories you need to complete your kimono ensemble. Yukata dress up and consult times are pending but swing by the Yuki Matsuri room to relax and enjoy some festival activities.

The full schedule can be found via the Grenadine app using the code roaring20 so be sure to LIKE and add your favorite events to your schedule! Ohayocon looks at your LIKES to determine which panels are popular for future conventions, so even if you can’t make a panel, leave your like for those that you’re interested in.

See you there!

Quat & Liz Columbus Kimono

Kitsuke Aids and Collars.

Generally we think of kimono as having changed little since the Edo period so I always get a little excited when new dressing gadgets come out (or are newly discovered) The basics haven’t changed much, but elastic has made a pretty big impact along with synthetic fibers. I noticed in this kitsuke mai (literally kimono dressing dance) the ladies are using what looks like a korin belt and a datejime had a baby and my eye balls very nearly popped out of my face. Maybe I’m just behind in the times, but this was the first time I’d seen this bit of gear! I wondered if maybe it was specific to a certain school of kitsuke, but was able to find it easily enough on Rakuten. I hope this is the general direction that kimono dressing is headed towards even though I’m not a huge fan of the whole ‘you NEED this thing to dress properly’ trend (you can call me old school; in my opinion you don’t need more than himo to hold your collars together unless you’re working with a kimono that doesn’t fit you). But if you’re the type that wants the extra support or you’re dressing for something formal… you’ve got a plenty of toys to invest in.

image from the rakuten listing

A little back ground info for terms; the datejime is a band about 10 centimeters wide that is often worn under the obi, but over the himo holding your collars shut. These were usually made of a thin hakata (woven) which was well known for gripping and staying in place, but you’ll often find ‘magic’ datejime made of a thick elastic and with velcro at the ends. A lot of these that I’ve ended up with were second hand and old so the elastic was quite brittle not to mention they’re often not long enough to stretch over anyone of a more… substantial build. The cheap modern ones are usually of a thin synthetic fabric with a section of reinforcement at the ‘front’ where it will best support the obi to lay nice and flat (but it does not replace an obi stiffener). If you splurge for a kitsuke kit, you’ll get the datejime, the obi ita (stiffener) and obi makura (pillow) all in the same pattern; these matching kits are pretty chic! I’ve seen some DIY’d sets out of very fun bold fabrics too (the mass produced ones are usually a soft pink color).

A korin belt is a length of adjustable elastic (like a thick bra strap) with two grippy alligator clips. They can be used on the juban collar, the kimono collar, or both (using two or like in this lovely video, 2 at once!) and can help keep your collars stay crossed, a common issue for us busty types trying to wrangle a too narrow kimono into submission. To use one, you clip one end to the right collar edge, run it counter clock wise under the left (outer panel), pulling it out from under the left sleeve to wrap around your back and attach to the edge of the left collar. It does not replace a himo, especially when you have a collar strap to pull the back of your collar down from your neck. Also something to consider is the depth of angle of your collars. A very wide, obtuse angle is appropriate for younger folks, but I think also helps balance someone like myself with a round face. A very narrow collar (by which I mean a very long skinny V)  is more appropriate for much older ladies, along with a narrower strip of haneri (juban collar) showing. When I see someone under 80 with narrowly angled collars, I assume their kimono doesn’t fit quite right, not that they’re intentionally dressing ‘elderly’. Check out this newly turned Geiko compared to the lady walking with her (possibly her Okaasan?) The Geiko’s collar is of course very exaggerated compared to how we would normally wear, but you can really see the difference.

The ‘datejime with clips’ as Microsoft translate calls it on the Rakuten listing combines the collar clipping action of the korin belt and the smoothing/securing action of the datejime, with clips at the right and left sides. I suspect there’s not enough give at the front where the elastic is to allow you to pull the clips far enough to give someone like myself enough cross pull on the collars. The more I think about it, the more this thing addresses a problem that doesn’t really exist… at least not for the people who really struggle with collar placement. Maybe I’m wrong and there’s a lot of ‘give’ in that elastic, but this thing doesn’t measure much different than the non-elastic version I use occasionally which I can barely get a decent knot out of. If you’re small busted and average/smaller built and wearing an ‘average’ size kimono, you’ll get a very nice clean look, but honestly it’s not necessary. Would I use it? Absolutely, I love these sorts of kitsuke tools especially when it’s part of a matching set and I’m giving a dressing demonstration. That stuff just looks cool and professional compared to a hodgepodge of self-made and mismatched items. I hope more of these fancy new dressing aids become available. But as a plus sized enthusiast I have my doubts I’ll be able to make use of this particular item. We do see more LL and larger sized kimono becoming available, hopefully it’s only a matter of time before obi and dressing aids will follow.

Fingers (collars) crossed!!

Columbus Kimono


Jumping in at the Long (Sleeved) End

Suggestions on where to start in wearing kimono from someone who’s been in the hobby for over a decade…

I don’t know if people who attend our panels are actually interested in this topic but I’ve definitely convinced myself it’s information I want to impress upon those new to the hobby whether they want to hear it or not. A lot of this is based on comments I used to see or hear a lot, but maybe things are changing for the better. What I’ve perceived is a difficulty in acquiring all the little odds and ends important for a well put together kimono look. Folks new to the hobby are immediately drawn to the most opulent beautiful kimono and become focused on that one kimono type… the furisode. That first purchase is a doozy! Now that you’ve spend 200$? 300$? More? on your first kimono, what happens next? Do you hunt down a juban with a matching sleeve drop? Do you coordinate out a color pallet for obi and accessories? Do you plan where you can wear that outfit? You’ve spent something like 500$ and all you have is a single outfit. A single FORMAL outfit. How many people reach that point? How many continue on in the hobby and purchase another kimono and obi plus all the accessories (basically all of the furisode accessories won’t carry over to anything but another furisode, MAYBE another formal kimono). What I hate to see happen is this sort of series of events; you fall in love with a furisode. It’s expensive but gosh, it’s the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen! You’ve saved up and buy it. It arrives, and you slip it on and it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever worn. A couple things are missing but you’ll work on it. What kind of obi should you get? What color? The cord thing? Probably any under kimono will be fine. But in the end, the completed outfit doesn’t look anything like the girls in the magazine. Stuff’s puffy that should be smooth, the obi you found seems off (maybe too short?) And your collars are just out of control. Do you continue with this hobby? Or do you cut your loses and sell everything?

What I would rather see is people who jump in at the easier end of things and work their way up, learning and sticking around for the rest of their lives!

So let’s back up. You’re new to the hobby and you have an eye on one of those gorgeous long sleeved kimono. You’ve saved up and you’re ready to go. Pleeaaase please please please, WAIT! (unless 300$ isn’t a big deal for your daily budget, you do you and you probably don’t need to be reading this anyway, enjoy!)

For the rest of us who look at $300 and say “Ah yes, my car payment and a couple grocery trips!” Ask yourself the following questions;

What are your goals in the kimono hobby? Beautiful art for you wall? Repurposing a kimono? Or something you want to wear?

Art on your wall is pretty much a non issue, you don’t need accessories nor do you need to learn how to dress yourself/someone else. This is also a great excuse for buying kimono that won’t fit you or are vintage and not appropriate for regular wear. Proceed.

If you want to repurpose kimono fabric into other craft projects, you can find some pretty cheap fabrics that may have holes, stains or other problems that make them unwearable and I fully support recycling or upcycling those kimono (especially anything that’s late Shōwa era or newer so like 1950+). If you’re spending a couple hundred dollars  to take apart a wearable kimono…. neat…

For those of you who want to actually wear kimono and are not working with a huge budget the furisode should not be your first kimono. Period. Keep it simple. Start with the basics. Get a yukata. Everything you need to know about wearing kimono starts there. If you don’t know how to adjust a single layer of collars or how to fold the ohashori of an unlined kimono you’re not ready for furisode yet! You may even be surprised how much your taste in kimono designs will change as you learn more about patterns, seasons, colors. I have a very different taste in kimono today than I did 10 years ago, I’ll have different tastes 10 years from now too; it’s an evolving, living, breathing hobby and I hope you too will experience the joys of growing as a kimono enthusiast and collector.


Columbus Kimono



Kimono in Summer Time; is it right for you? + Anime Convention Matsuricon

Hello, welcome to the never-ending summer of 2018! For our first CBUS post, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about wearing kimono during the hottest time of the year. Something I didn’t quite connect with when I first started wearing kimono publicly was the concept of fabric and structural seasonality. It wasn’t until I really understood the concept of kimono for summer vs. kimono worn the rest of the year that I actually noticed these hitoe (unlined) sheer, airy kimono floating around in the web shops I frequented.  I was that person who wore awase (lined) kimono and obi in 80+ degree heat. I’ll never forget the single time I attended Otakon and someone pulled the fire alarm forcing everyone to stand outside. Sweating. Profusely. Lined kimono + August in Maryland = misery.

A big hump people new to the kimono hobby experience is the financial input required just to have a couple basic outfits. At a bare minimum, I would have to say you need 3 full ensembles if you’re not planning to replace your formal attire with kimono. One aseasonal lined outfit for early spring, late fall and winter, a summer outfit (unlined and of an open weave like ro, probably with no specific motif or a very general summer design), and a yukata. If you really wanted to be spartan, you could use a single hanhaba for all three outfits and pass on a lot of the obi accessories. You could. I can’t stress enough that a yukata should be the thing you start with anyway, please please please don’t jump into this hobby by buying a furisode to wear right off the bat. Please. Should I write a post about why that’s a terrible idea? I should.

Your under kimono, juban and accessories (for the enthusiastic purists, me) all come in summer forms. Open woven and sheer materials, linen and linen blends, space age homeostasis materials, etcetera. I’ve fallen into the pit of ro polyester kimono which have the benefit of being easy to wash after a good hardy sweat. I can’t say they breath but I can attest that a good breeze feels amazing. If you happen to come across a yukata that’s constructed with of an open weave ‘ro’ cotton, I HIGHLY encourage that purchase. The point of all this is if you’re presented with the opportunity to go out in the summer in casual kimono you have to ask yourself; do I have the appropriate kimono? If all you have is synthetic lined kimono, will you survive? If all you have is a lined silk kimono, will you risk staining it with your body’s attempts to keep you alive? If you’re even considering wearing a vintage kimono with natural red dyed lining, STOP! That stuff will run and transfer like crazy, okay, just don’t do it!

Is it worth being miserable? Your kimono will be there for another day. Of course if you do choose to wear kimono, the usual things apply; hydrate well, rest frequently, avoid standing in strong sunlight and don’t forget your handy dandy fan! Can you imagine the worst case scenario? You’ve passed out from heat, someone calls for emergency medical services… those paramedics WILL NOT TAKE THE TIME TO UNWRAP YOU! YOU WILL BE CUT OUT OF YOUR KIMONO AND OBI. Absolute worst case, okay? It could happen.

Here are some basic examples of summer wear (you WILL need proper under garments and juban for light colored kimono like this!) A synthetic ro komon and a double sided hanhaba obi. (If the links are broken, the items are no longer available, sorry!)

This upcoming weekend, August 24th-26th 2018, Columbus Kimono will be at Matsuricon in Columbus Ohio. We will have one panel Friday night on the topic of Geisha in the modern world. I am planning to wear an incredibly boring drab brown summer kimono. But that sucker is some sort of natural magic fiber and is soooo comfy! Actually it’s kinda raw and itchy, but will keep me moderately cool in August in Ohio so please enjoy my ugly kimono (though we did order nice new geta made with bamboo mat so yippee new shoes.) In an effort to stay hydrated I’ll finish up my stamp card at the bubble tea shop.

Keep cool!


Columbus Kimono