Welcome again to another Fashion Friday, I hope my first post didn't frighten you all away, because this post is better, I promise, it even has a history lesson in it! So let's hop to it!
Recently, especially in street fashion, these has been an uprising in this wonderful (well to me and a bunch of others) uprising of the "bohemian" style. Which includes, but is not limited to: tribal necklaces, raw gemstone rings, tassels, fringe, velvet, vintage laces and crochet, handmade goods, macrame and even skulls! To be bohemian, means you're creative, free-spirited, confident, insightful and over all your own person. You use elements from nature to help your look, and if someone dropped you off at a serene mountain top, well you wouldn't be too angry! But one of the biggest "staple" elements of bohemian, especially in the "higher" ranks of it (i.e.: when you go all out and take it super seriously because the trend and lifestyle is something you absolutely love), is this thing called the kimono (or the longer, robe-like, floor-length version usually called a "duster"). It's been modified (yet again) for an everyday wear item outside of Japan, it's native home where it is still used in ceremonies and seldom seen worn out in public to go to the grocery store. But that's all thanks to this thing called:
Now it's time for that history lesson I promised earlier, but don't worry, it's a lesson in fashion history, so that automatically makes it un-boring.
"Japonism" is a fashion movement that began in the early 1800s. Japan opens it's ports and roads officially to trade in 1854, and it sparked a great deal of European interest in the country, on top of all previous curiosity of all things "Asian" (food, decor, and fashion) as a whole. It began leaking into design at a moderate pace, but the kimono was the first to make a stand-out in designs as opposed to a subtle print incorporation. The kimono in European fashion was first worn as an elegant house gown (sometimes worn over a "Viste" -or visiting gown- or simply your bed or nightgown -they're actually separate things. a bed gown is worn before bed, a night gown, to bed-.) and they were then utilized into the makings of Western fashion dresses. Motifs of Japanese patterns and symbols were seen on everything from hand bags to shoes, and eventually to trays and wallpaper as well. The kosode ("visiting kimono") is a sturdy material that kimonos and dresses were made from that allows for many examples of the garments from its birthing years to still be found in great condition!
(above) a 1870s English dress by MISSES TURNER COURT DRESSMAKER (London) that features white kimono fabric with both Japanese and Chinese motifs.
The kimono as we know it today outside of Japan has changed dramatically, evolved to please the ever-changing demands in the name of fashion and personal style. It's more a spring/summer staple than anything depending on where you live, and is most seen in mass groups at music festivals like Coachella, SXSW, etc. etc. And it's a trend I'm excited to try out this spring and summer as well! They can be difficult pieces to style as well, one of those things you buy but when you get home you start to panic because your brain just flops when you try and put an outfit together! And aside from showing you some style suggestions, I'll also put in some inspirational images as well to get you in the kimono-ing mood! Please note that if you are looking for a more traditional stye kimono, you're best bet would be to try eBay or Etsy if you're not available to fly out to Japan for an authetentic gem!
So these outfits shown above are definitely more street style than anything and will work great for upcoming festivals (depending on your weather predictions of course).
OUTFIT 1: (left) A great example of some extreme layering, this neutral floral print comes in a "bat wing" style so the arms are open and breezy and perfect for those days when there is a light breeze about! The top I've paired with it may be too much for some, so if you're uncomfortable with tucking the front into the center of the pants, you can always opt for a simple and loose top! But I love this top and it poses double usage in your wardrobe as well, as a tunic top it can be worn as a top or as a dress. So really you would wear this outfit without without the bottoms. The faux leather pants add a bit of an edge to the whole ensemble so you can feel like a badass bohemian rocker babe! As for shoes, I went with a simple and very strappy gladiator sandal in a neutral shade that ties the top of the outfit (the kimono) to the bottom of it. And to avoid any wonky tan lines on your feet? Make sure to lather up with some sunscreen that's SPF 50+, unless you're into that type of thing, then by all means let your freaky tanlines fly!
Songbird Kimono c/o Arnhem, Tunic c/o Free People, Faux Leather Pants c/o Necessary Clothing, Gladiator Sandals c/o ASOS
OUTFIT 2: This outfit is perfect for the more balmy days ahead with this sheer and vintage duster! One of the things I like best about the kimono and duster trend is that most are vintage and unique to their own! The only downside about that is that some of them come at a price, so if you're a vintage junkee like I am, your wallet could take a beating, but it's worth it in my books, you're owning a piece of history, there's a story soaked into those threads! But back to the outfit. This vintage find is from a great store on Etsy, and features a perfect floral motif with tassels at the bottom of the garment! I've played with lengths here on this one, adding cut off white shorts in a dolphin cut to not only off-set the golden hue of the kimono but to show some leg and show off that starting tan of yours, and a dip-dye tank with a color in it that meshes perfectly. I then paired a twist to the outfit, black knee-high gladiator sandals (gladiator sandals again, but they're a huge and "it" shoes for Spring that rolls into summer, it covers your foot during Spring, and can protect it from harmful rays during the summer!). I love how the sandals add a unique twist to the outfit as opposed to just wearing a basic flip flop or a pair of ankle boots. On another side note though, the most important thing to know when choosing a kimono, whether in the traditional silhouette or a "duster", is to know the length of the garment. If you're short, like me (I'm 4 foot, 11 inches), and want one like the above, you need to check the full length from shoulder to bottom hem or contact the company and ask, it will help you decide on whether to wear something that has a heel to it (like these gladiator sandals) or if you can wear a flat shoe. It would be shame to ruin the bottom of something so pretty because it drags on the ground!
Vintage Duster c/o Saltwater Gypsy, Ombre Tank c/o Arnhem, Cutoff Shorts c/o Free People, Knee-High Gladiators c/o Necessary Clothing
OUTFIT 3: Spring weather, provided humidity hasn't slapped your state/country full in the face yet, is a great time to wear distressed jeans, and even more so in the boyfriend or a slouchy cut. So for this 'Downtown Boho" outfit, I've done just that. The boyfriend jean is paired with a perfectly patterned and fringed kimono in a flowing shape that is complimented by the wash of the jean. I then did a play on patterns by pairing a striped tank under the kimono, remember when trying to mix patterns, you want to make sure you have at least two colors that are shared between the pattern, like for this example it's with the white/creme and the dark hues. And for the shoes, it's off (well, more like on) with a point-toe ankle boot to add a bit of sass to the whole shabang (nothing says "don't push it" like a point toe anything). Also, if boyfriend jeans aren't your thing (like for me, I can't pull them off due to my height, but I'm here to cover trends, not just post my personal preferences, that's for my personal blog), you can take a cue from the photo and pair it with a vintage wash tee and cutoff shorts!
Tassel Kimono available at Wonderland Clothing, Striped Tank c/o Forever 21, Boyfriend Jeans c/o One Teaspoon, Ankle Boots c/o Forever 21
For the more casual girls: these outfits are for you!
OUTFIT 1: This outfit is both fun and breezy, mixing a pattern with a print top, and a cropped tee at that. It's ridiculously casual, great for running errands, getting lunch with your gals, and even for a super casual date even depending on where you're going! The oriental print kimono is thrown over a cropped text tea featuring a tee with the name of one of my favorite cities to visit when I fly out to home, Palm Springs (but my absolute favorite place is Ruby's on the Seal Beach pier!). It's then paired with some low-rise skinnies to show off as much of your bare midriff as you'd like, and then paired with the ever-casual and classic Vans!
Kimono c/o In Love With Fashion. Palm Springs crop c/o Wonderland Clothing, Dark Wash Skinnies c/o American Eagle Outfitters, Vans c/o Zappos
OUTFIT 2: I'm calling this one "Shipwrecked Bohemian". The dress itself sports some amazing raw edges and an asymmetrical hem (it's so rough and rugged, I LOVE IT), that just add to the name even more. The kimono though, adds a touch of elegance to the outfit and contradicts the dress in a great and dramatic way! I love the boots (even though they look brown here, eek!), the touches of turquoise is what really draws me in, I wouldn't buy Western boots unless they had this color in them, period! But they ground the outfit as a whole and the tassels as a quirk to the outfit.
So what do you loves think? What's your favorite looks from the sets? Let me know and let me know some trends you'd like to see covered below in the comment corral! I'm also looking for some more brands to feature in sets, whether it's a big name or a small independent designer, so please give me some suggestions so I don't bore you all with repeated stores!
• "japonism" text by myself
• Turner Kimono Dress image via "Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century", my own personal copy (p. 253)
• inspirational images via Tumblr and are copyright and credited to their respective owners and labels!