Saturday, April 9, 2016

Motif: Hydrangea (Ajisai)

As I promised yesterday, there is no lacking of ajisai examples in my collection. It started with just one, a very classic indigo yukata with white patterning that was so comfortable it quickly became my 'go-to' yukata. I especially like it because with the classic indigo/white color combo, I can pair any number of obi with it, as you can see from the following three examples.


You might have noticed that all of these causal ensembles feature an obi with a geometric motif. When I'm dressing in yukata, I tend to go for less complicated pairings, as it is summer and the yukata itself is a very casual garment, even if it is worn for festivals like Obon.

You may have also noticed that two of the three obi are tied in the same knot-- the kai-no-kuchi or clam's mouth knot. A lot of this has to do with the fact that it is the only knot that I can tie for myself with any reliability. The musubi used for the orange asanoha obi on the left was done for me by my wonderful roommate (I need her help with that obi no matter what-- it's so stiff that it creaks!) who is also responsible for almost all of the photographs you've seen so far.

My other ajisai yukata is not quite as easy to pair with multiple obi as it has a little more color than my first example.

Ajisai yukata with more vintage styling and coloration.
When I'm not quite sure what from my collection will compliment a kimono, I remember that red is always a safe bet. In the kimono pallet, red is considered a 'neutral' tone-- it goes with everything. The red of this yabane patterned reversible obi isn't quite a true red, but it definitely meshed well with this particular yukata. (Sharp eyes might note that this is the full reverse of the bunny patterned obi I paired with my example for chocho.)

This motif is one of the most seasonally limited that I have shared so far. It's best worn in late spring and early summer. While hydrangea has a lengthy bloom time, it is considered to be at its best during Japan's rainy season. I tend to push this a bit and wear them well through summer. Living in California, our 'rainy season' (if we are fortunate enough to have one) is generally winter, but by wearing ajisai during our hotter months, I might evoke a little of that sense of coolness.

For a very, very long time, I was not at all enamored of floral prints of any sort, but now that I have discovered kimono, I've found that there are actually a great number of floral motifs that I enjoy. Perhaps this is because there seems to be a much wider variety than was offered in the sweet little calico prints that were picked out for me. I suspect that my kind readers have their own favorite floral motifs and I would be most delighted to hear about them in the comments.

We'll have a break from posting on Sunday 4/10 and will be back on Monday when you might have a chance to learn about your favorite flower, if it happens to be the Iris (Ayame).


  1. I was never that keen on florals but they are coming back around. I will be styling a retro flower print shirt on my "V" post.

    Hydrangea is one of my favorite flowers - I have two plants gathering steam to bloom.

    1. I've really been enjoying some of the florals that you can find on kimono from the 1920s (Taisho era). They are VERY bold and a lot of fun.