"Holy Shiromuku! What are all of these things?" - A glimpse into the wacky world of kimono dressing accessories.
In my shop I have a section that, to the untrained eye, seems kind of strange! There are various boards, pillows, stiffeners, bands, clips and ties. .
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of kimono dressing accessories! Here we'll break down some of the mysterious items so they will be a mystery no longer.
1. Koshi-himo: These are soft ties, usually sold in packs of three. Every single kimono wearer I know (myself included) has about one BILLION of these indispensable ties. They come in packs of three, traditionally. (At least) one for keeping your juban closed and (at least) two for the kimono: One tied around the waist or hips for hem-length adjustment. The other one is tied under the chest to secure the neckline.
2. Datejime: This is not dissimilar from the koshihimo in that it's used to keep the kimono closed. This wider tie (sometimes it's a wide velcro belt) is tied around the waist for extra security.
3. Obi makura: Literally, 'obi pillow'. When tying the obi, the obi makura is the perfect tool for achieving certain fancy bows with extra 'fluff'. They also help to keep the obi bow 'lifted' to combat the effects of gravity.
4. Obi ita: Literally 'obi stiffener'. This is a long, thin oval shaped board that slides into the front wrap of the obi (sometimes it wraps around the body) to keep the folds of the obi wrinkle-free.
5. Erishin: A collar stiffener. It is a thin piece often made of plastic that you insert into your juban (under-kimono) collar to make it stiff and sturdy.
6. Korin belt: This is a stretchy piece of elastic with clips on either end. This is a useful tool that can be attached to the kimono collar or juban collar to keep everything in place.
Additionally, there are tons of other fancy (kimono dressing = kitsuke) accessories to make dressing simpler. Hip pads, kantan eri, magic obi aid, flattening bras, etc. But these are a post for another day!
It may seem like a lot, but an important thing to remember is: The ultimate goal of wearing a kimono is to bring out the beauty of the garment - not the body. The beauty of the individual is meant to be displayed in their their grace of movement and their elegance showcased while wearing this traditional garment.
- Elizabeth Carter