The theme for this Kimono look is yin/yang- which embraces the polarities of femininity and masculinity. I began with the ultra feminine sheer Kimono- which is the Jane BIrkin. It is cut floor length and the sides are slit high- so that it can be worn like a blouse- by crossing the front panels of the Kimono in front of each other then either tied in the back or you can bring them back to the front and tie them in front- which is what I have done here. The Jane Birkin has a lined- wide pinstripe pattern woven into it that brings a cool factor to the sensuality of the fabric. I layered the more earthy and grounding Japan Kimono in Grayson- with a lapel- on top - which is cut in a long high/low duster length- meaning full length and shorter in the from than in the back. This Kimono roots down the fluidity of the Jane Birkinn yet still allows it to flow freely beneath it(something that every man should be to a woman ;) I love how these two pieces compliment each other in perfect harmony. My hat is from Social Butterflies Los Angeles, and necklace by Mara Carizo Scales.
The Beirut Kimono + Jane Birkin Kimono:
What I love about this combination is that it really flirts with the different fabric weights and creates something very feminine yet still very cool in a menswear-esque vibe. The Francoise Hardy micro-mesh Kimono (in white) is a duster length Kimono- and is clearly something very feminine and rather sexy- depending on how you style it. It serves as the 'white shirt' element in the context of a Kimono. Anything see-through requires more thought in styling it for the day- as far as what to put underneath it and on top of it. Under the mesh Kimono I put a vintage lingerie camisole (was my mom's from the 80's). I am very into men’s button up vests- the kind that typically comes with a 3 piece suit. I buy vintage ones in every color at Jet Rag on La Brea (Los Angeles). I buttoned one on top of the thin mesh Kimono and it was instantly transformed from sexy to cool. Structure does that. I wanted something substantial in weight and texture to put on top of this look- so I chose the new Beirut Kimono- a lightweight and soft linen fabric in a sandy beige color. I used the belt of the Francoise Hardy Kimono as a neck-scarf- emanating a neck scarf or neck tie that men wear.
You may have begun notice a theme with my Kimono layering: there are no rules. I think the ease and flow of a romantic Kimono lifestyle - romantic in the sense that you choose to adorn yourself in fabrics that drape on your body to make you feel a certain way- give way to creativity and inspiration in every aspect of your life, if you let it in...
This look focuses on textured fabrics and different lengths and the contrast of solids and patterns; then dark and light. I begin with the Lizard Queen Kimono in a pristine white crepe rayon fabric that has a beautiful weight to it which allows it to slink over the body in a beautiful draped way. This is cut in a longer one length style- a duster. It is collarless and simplistic and could be styled in many ways - here I chose to wear over jeans- which looks a little like a dress over jeans when it is tied as it is at the waist with a belt- which is a very cool look in itself. I chose the Lovers Kimono in a shorter length than the Lizard Queen. The Lovers fabric is a textured cotton fabric with a gold lurex metallic threading that is woven through and creates a pinstripe pattern- which is very masculine-chic. The nature of this fabric is much more airy and flowy- meaning it almost floats around you capturing air as you move inside it. This is of course when it is not tied- if you tie it you create a more streamlined silhouette.
Feeling a little romantic and a lot bohemian- I of course through in one of my favorite hats from my girl Michelle Roy of Social Butterflies Los Angeles. Jeans by Golden Goose- mens jeans from Parliament on 3rd (Los Angeles).
Working with different lengths of Kimonos really allows you to play with the silhouettes and create different looks. As a basic white 'menswear' inspired Kimono 'shirt'- I start a basic white Kimono as a base then layer upon it the shorter cut new 'Provence' Kimono- a beautiful South of France inspired pattern in a gorgeous azure toned blue with a white motif. It is a soft rayon fabric and has an excellent drape. I love rayon because it is a natural fabric and really drapes well and is lightweight enough to wear all year around. The Faye Kimono beneath does not have a lapel- whereas the Provence Kimono has one- thus lending to the boys type of 'Jacket over Shirt' look I was inspired to emanate.
I paired the look with a pair of men's patchwork distressed jeans are by Golden Goose that I got from Parliament West 3rd in Los Angeles(I get a lot of my pants here from the mens section!). I used the Provence belt around the white Kimono to add contrast but one could also be cool to add a leather belt on your waist as well.
Menswear has inspired my own personal aesthetics because of it's non-conformist, simplistic timeless elegance. It's unfussy and straightforward styling- and always feels especially cool when women wear items that are more masculine in design. Maybe because it's going against the grain of dressing 'pretty' and is rebellious in that sense- and you truly have to own your style (and personality!) and be a bit of a risk taker- and not care what others think about what you wear. Tomboy chic is where girls can dress like boys, and still be feminine, look cool and be comfortable. It's the balance of feminine and masculine that is played with to create the perfect formula of understated femininity.
Borrowing from the boys is what countless icons of style have done for years; from Kate Moss to Alexa Chung to Jane Birkin and even Brigitte Bardot. If you study any of these women's personal style- you will often notice the masculine elements that these women have gravitated towards time and and time again. And so, I am translating all of this into a Menswear Kimono Styling guide to show you how to do the same.
The first menswear look I have created pairs the new Faye Kimono - worn as a shirt (which is simply tucked into the front of my pants while the back remains untucked) with the Japan Kimono in Taupe. The Faye acts as the white shirt inspiration and the Japan - cut long as a Duster (above the ankles) and worn loose without a belt- emanating a men's trenchcoat. (Hint- I am debuting Trench Kimono hybrids mid June!)
The Faye Kimono is inspired by the effortless style of Ms. Faye Dunway- who said that every woman (or man ;) needs a great classic white shirt... Or in this case, Kimono. It is a mostly opaque light -weight cotton Kimono in a crisp white color with a subtle sheerness to it. It is available now in the Current Inventory section of my site.