New Type Kimono: Maximum Princess

KimonoHime

So, check out one of my all-time favorite Japanese fashion trends – the Kimono Princess!

Your typical Japanese gyaru might be happy to see kimono-wearing go the way of ballroom dancing and tea ceremony, but a growing number of hip young women are adopting the techniques of alt fashion subcultures to breathe new life into old-skool clothes. Kimono hime lovers flaunt convention with a mash-up of vintage patterns, non-trad color combos and Western accessories to spawn a style that is utterly new, yet still utterly Japanese. First of all – just for comparison – here’s what it’s not:

Beautiful, but not stylin'

Beautiful, but not stylin’

A true Kimono Princess uses every accessory – shoes, sox, purse, wrap, hat, gloves – to flaunt convention in some subtle way.

A true Kimono Princess uses every accessory – shoes, sox, purse, wrap, hat – to flaunt convention in some subtle way.

So, how do you build your very own Kimono Princess look?

First of all, a Kimono Princess shuns typical seasonal designs and colors. Pink for cherry blossom season? So 10th century...unless it's the kimono LINING! Vintage jazz-age patterns or modern ironic graphics are the most popular for new style kimono hime.

First of all, you can toss seasonal designs and colors right out the window. Pink for cherry blossom season? So 10th century…unless it’s the kimono LINING!

And Kimono Princesses sometimes wear jewelry. (There's actually a reason Japanese women don't have a big history of wearing rings, necklaces and pins – kimono fabrics were often more costly than jewels, and nobody wanted to risk something snagging or AI YI YI putting a hole in the priceless fabrics. But new style kimonos aren't expensive – most of them are vintage – so even cheap costume jewelry is safe to wear.)

And bring on the jewelry! The reason rings, necklaces and pins weren’t usually worn with kimono is that the fabrics were often more costly than jewels and nobody wanted to risk getting a snag or AI YI YI putting a HOLE in the precious material. But because most Princess Style kimonos are inexpensive cotton or vintage, cheap costume jewelry – and lots of it! – is totally safe to wear.

Not only do modern kimono warriors shun white undercollars & sox, they sometimes even layer on frilly Western pieces to add a little spice.

Raid your closet and layer on some frilly Western pieces & excellent hats to add a little spice.

Or go totally nouveau in a kimono made of some alt fabric like lace. Even more radical – make it all one color!

Or go totally nouveau in a kimono made of some alt fabric like lace. (Even more radical – make it all one color!)

Uh oh, obi tied in the front? This is sure to bring a gloved hand to grandma's lips to hide her shock at the resemblance to an oiran of the pleasure quarters!

Uh oh, obi tied in the front? This is sure to bring a gloved hand to grandma’s lips to hide her shock at your resemblance to an oiran of the pleasure quarters!

Or really fling every convention to the wind, and change the length too.

Or really fling every convention to the wind, and change the length too.

As you’ve probably guessed, I actually love kimono in all its forms. But because I look too much like Barbie (and am not AWESOME like my fellow blogger who writes Yield For Kimono), I’d feel like a hopeless wannabe if I ever tried to un-ironically wear one. Kimono hime style, though…even someone like me might be able to rock that, don’t you think? Thanks to Kimono Hime magazine (#12) for the gorgeous new style kimono photos, and きものサロン magazine for the modern photo.

This is the hime-style kimono worn by part time English translator Yumi Hata in Nightshade

This

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more