I don't mean the donning and arranging of the garments; there are many books (including the one I just reviewed) that can cover that in great detail and accuracy. Instead, I'm going to take a moment to introduce some of the unseen players in the wearing of kimono. These are items that are indispensable for creating the right look, but if you were to look at someone fully dressed, chances are good that you would never even know that they're there.
Starting from the top, we have the eri-shin:
|This is a store-bought eri-shin but it is quite possible to make your own, too.|
The eri-shin is a collar stay. It gets slipped between the collar and then han-eri (the detachable, decorative half-collar that goes over the collar of the juuban) and works to give the collars a little more structure and support. Without one, the collars can slouch and crumple, and do not give a crisp, fresh presentation. Most eri-shin that I have encountered are made of some sort of mesh material, so that the fabric might still breathe when worn.
Next, we have the koshi-himo:
|From left to right, we have a homemade himo in black silk, a purchased vintage silk himo, a shorter cotton himo (that had originally been attached to a yukata I found in a thrift store) and finally a home-made cotton himo from patterned fabric.|
|These are both purchased himo. The bright colors and shibori will not be seen if these are worn.|
Koshi-himo are simply sashes, usually silk, used to keep juban and kimono closed and in place. Once they are in place, they would be covered by the obi. They can be anywhere from 70" to 90" long, but if you are making some for yourself (and this is really very easy to do) then the ideal length is one that will circle your waist twice, leaving enough to easily tie a bow.
Now, we move on to the tools that help the obi do its job. First, there is the obi-ita:
|Front view. This is the side that would face away from the body.|
|Back view. This would face the body. The little pocket is quite thin, and given placement, I don't recommend trying to keep anything thicker than a credit card or a few dollar bills.|
Finally, we have the obi-makura:
|The one on the left is slightly larger than the one on the right, which has had additional sashing added for it to reach around.|
These are the four unseen players that I make the most use out of when I'm dressing to go out. Without them, I would not be able to present the refined, crisp appearance that I like to present in kimono.