Every now and then life does something to make me feel old without physical pain.
Case in point. Some years ago, while I was back in the UK for Christmas and debating the wisdom of proposing marriage to this American bird I had met, I paid a visit to the Mitsukiku store in Brimingham New Street Station and purchased two nice Kimonos which I got at sale prices. I'd never been able to afford either under other circumstances.
True, the second was at the prompting of my friend Frank who had the girl's best interests at heart - I was going to cheap out and get her a short, shirt-sized "Happi-Coat" as I was still dithering on the "mate for life" thing. I had other reasons for wanting to see her in the shorter garment which he was emotionally unequipped to appreciate and which I won't go into now, but he was right and I took his advice and purchased two full-sized kimonos.
Mine is black, and has a dragon running down the full length of the back embroidered in gold thread with details in various other colors. Hers is lilac with what to my uneducated eye looks like a Willow Pattern scene on it.
I bought a pink obi for hers and a red one for mine which made the Japanese saleslady giggle, this being a female accessory that serves the same focal purpose as a nice wide belt or lace-up bodice does. My kimono was supposed to tie with this length of black material but would still occlude part of the design. Some kimonos have little slots and other accommodation for the tie so it would run inside the kimono around the back and not break the design, but this one doesn't. So I usually wear the kimono with the red obi tied as a sash/belt, allowing the ends to dangle rakishly at the side. Sue me.
I've worn mine rarely, usually as a dressing gown at Christmas or while on vacation, but it still reached the point of needing cleaning. I took it to a cleaner I trust, but the red lining still bled color and looks rather sad now. Oh well.
I can't remember the last time Mrs Stevie wore hers. I doubt she could find the damned thing amongst all the other clothing she has amassed in the intervening years. Imelda Marcos could have taken lessons from this woman.
I just did a ninternet search and it turns out that Mitsukiku kimonos are now vintage collectibles, which means two things:
First, my dream of getting another or of getting mine a new lining is now pie-in-the-sky.
Second, I'm demonstrably vintage (I outrank the Kimono by a good quarter century) which I kindasorta knew but didn't need telling in such an abrupt way.