Ahh, here we are again, with more lovely wafuku. This time, I will be showing you ro kimono. Ro & sha are a type of open weave used for the dead of heat summer. Back in the day, folks desperately needed a way to keep cool and still stay dressed, so some brilliant weavers came up with ro & sha. Nowadays, many Japanese wear yukata, which is different than ro or sha. Ro & sha are types of weaves, where-as yukata is a type of kimono. I'll show you yukata at the end of this post.
Can you see the tabi & geta my daughter has on this time? The tabi are a very fun cotton ducking, and the geta have cute pink sakura on them. Geta are a different type of shoe from zori. They are less formal, and either come in a wooden flip-flop shape or have actual teeth on the bottom. Thus those type are called toothed geta. While she is wearing toothed geta with the yukata in the photos at the end of this post, it is difficult to actually see them, so I will point them out in another post.
Here you can see that the obi is also ro, which makes it much lighter and more breathable. See the lines in the pink areas of the obi? Those are actually not a color, but rather formed from the very open weave of ro. If you look closely at the kimono, you can see those same lines it. Therefore, ro is a fabric with an open weave in the form of lines.
See the cute fish obiage? Although it is not a sha or ro weave, it is still a great summer obiage because it's such a nice light cotton weave. And guess what else? It's just a regular long scarf, but it works perfectly as a cute obiage. Obiage is a great place to cheat & cut costs in your wafuku. You can use any beautiful scarf, as long as it's long enough & has the right look. This one came from the dollar store! :-D
This is another ro kimono & obi, and it has a very interesting, funky old pattern on it. I think it's quite beautiful and perfect for the Japanese Sister Cities park in our area. It looks just like some of the ponds there. If the flowers were in bloom and the pools were up, I would have taken the pictures there, but since they aren't the stairs at the Sister Cities park will have to do. ;-D
You can see, I didn't leave enough room at the collar here. Even though there is SOME room, it really isn't enough. There ought to be a little more than a fist's worth. And in order to get that, you have to start out with more than a fist's worth, because it somehow manages to sneak up on you as you dress. Now, a most genius invention for keeping that collar in place ~ it's called an emon-nuki. It attaches to the back of the nagajuban, the korin belt or koshihimo passes through a small tab sewn onto it at the right height, and VOILA!, the collar stays put! Why isn't this collar staying put, you may ask? Well, I haven't added an emon-nuki to every nagajuban yet.....
See how it's just a loose tab sewn onto the collar?
Here you can see the very loose weave of the michiyuki.
It looks pretty cool, eh?
Again, notice how tight the collar is on my daughter. This is just too close, and should be worn much looser on the nape of the neck. Notice how nicely that michiyuki frames the collars.
Here is the same ensemble, only using a springy grass green silk ro michiyuki.
We couldn't decide which one looked better, but in the end, the black seemed to compliment the greens a little more than the green on green.
I still really like the green on green, however.
Ahhh, and here we have what is called yukata. A yukata is a cotton kimono that is a lot less formal than other kimono. You don't usually wear a nagajuban underneath (although a hadajuban is still a good idea). Also, yukata should not be worn to formal events or tea ceremonies, funerals, weddings, etc. It's mostly for summer festivals. Still, it's a lot of fun to wear, and much easier than regular kimono, because it's made of cotton, so you aren't nearly so worried about it getting ruined!
This particular yukata is called an odori kimono. That means it's a dance yukata, used for summer dance festivals or obon. Maybe only the dancers are supposed to wear them, but around here, again, we don't have any obon festivals, or Japanese dancers, or any of that, so we can get away with it pretty easily.
Notice that cool fan? It's a traditional obon festival fan, perfect for hot summer days! Also, notice that this obi is a little different than the ones you saw in the ro kitsuke. That is because this is called a hanhaba obi. That means it's less wide than a Nagoya or fukuro obi. (I'll cover fukuro obi in another post.) Typically, hanhaba obi are the least formal & usually made of cotton, although, if they are silk & have gold or silver threads, that can help to ~formal them up~ a bit. Notice that with a hanhaba obi, an obijime is not really necessary to hold the musubi together. You can still use one, but then it's just a decorative addition, not a necessity. Notice too, that the obiage is tied more informally, more for decoration than anything.
And here we have the musubi. This is also a bit different than the normal musubi you would wear with a yukata, but not by much. Basically, the bow is shaped a bit different, and the center is valley folded. This particular musubi is called a mini-Miguel. Miguel is a friend of mine who actually made up a really awesome new type of musubi, which I will show you in another post. (Same post as the one in which I explain about fukuro obi, & if he's willing to let me.) There are several musubi that can be tied with a hanhaba obi, it is not restricted to only one or two, however, you just can't get very elaborate musubi out of them, because of the width.
Lastly, please notice the obi hanging up on the screen in the background. That is a fukuro obi. See how the width is double that of the hanhaba, and has far more complex designs and threads? That is part of the formality difference ~ in other words, you wouldn't want to wear a cotton hanhaba with anything other than a cotton yukata. Despite the lack of formality, however, yukata & hanhaba can be very awesome to wear, simply because it can be easily cleaned, it has less layers, the designs are often very fun and a little less sophisticated. AND, because yukata are usually worn to festivals, people associate them with fun times, and therefore want to wear them more.
In the end, I suppose that although I love yukata for it's light nature, it's fun prints, & it's ease of use being cotton & less layers, I still love the ro more ~ the reason is, ro is still very breathable & summer-friendly, and it can still be used in a more formal setting, which makes it much more versatile than yukata.