Bebe Taian: Getting a Stylish Look, pt. 4

June 12, 2017

Getting a Stylish Look, pt. 4

The next project I'm doing is to pull together a winter outfit for a climate that only has two seasons; hot and hotter. I want to *feel* like winter, even just for a couple days! If we're fortunate, we might get a cold snap for a few weeks this December or January. Can you tell I'm in the Northern Hemisphere? heh.

I know it's only June, but that is the perfect time to buy off-season kimono and to give myself time to have the money to get together anything I might want or need for an outfit. I can also make a backup plan for anything I might not be able to find in time. I want to embody a feeling that doesn't easily translate in my climate: there is no snow in Florida.

Wintertime means dark, 'cold' colours: indigo, shades of brown, muted greens, purple, black. Light wood combs, coral hairpins, shawls and padded kimono. Lacquered or dark wood shoes with tea green, black, or dark blue hanao straps. Of course, these days, padded kimono don't really exist unless they are antique or are custom orders, but lined kimono will do just fine. I plan on sticking to basic patterns, subdued and barren, like winter itself. Why are these people barefoot in such weather?! Who knows, but one person has the right idea: tall geta to keep out of the snow drifts. I think it was fashionable to wear so much and to reveal a bare foot in the winter, a sort of devil-may-care image.

Snow is portrayed as these large clumps of ice in ukiyo-e. I have two snow pattern kimono; one which is royal purple with snow, and the shadows of snow in lighter purple; the other, almost black, with snow pattern. I like them both for different reasons. Purple, again, is a colour of deep winter- but it can also look like night in a city, where there is a lot of light pollution so snow looks different, too. Black can be worn both in winter and in April, when an unseasonal cold snap comes through sometimes, causing brief snowfall. In one case, you can pair it with reds or gold with coral colours; in the other, try pale sakura pinks, or something more suited to the Spring season. I have an obi with a pattern of Buddhist magatama beads which is gold, purple, and peach, which I will likely wear for Shiwasu this year! With black, I may go for a flower pattern.

If I am lucky, I may find a red juban of modern sleeve length which I love and can afford to give that tiny hint of warmth beneath all those black, brown, and blue layers. Of course, in this painting, the kimono may be indigo with either a black kosode or black haori over it, the hint of red at the sleeve slipping out, with a tan woolen shawl piled over the top. These are handy for when icy winds threaten to destroy your skin and hair- just wrap up!

I can likely find a nice shawl like this at a thrift store and launder it, and while I do have a black Taisho haori, without actual snow to give this feeling, I'll have to show coldness via motif.

Since Florida is so hot, even in the winter, it only drops to maybe 60F. I can possibly do a dark blue layer if I use hitoe kimono and maybe fake a juban. Going without tabi in this weather will not pose any threat of injury to me, and might even help me stay cool! But... I suppose if I can withstand 95F weather in three layers and walk over a mile in them... probably, I can find a way to stay cool in the same layers during better weather. <3

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