I Wanna Be Your Japanese Doll

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve realized I don’t like writing about the latest trends. This is because I rarely follow them; I’ve been obsessed with some recurring themes all my life and I keep on focusing on them. Last year I wrote  a post about flower-printed robes, which I love: this is an ideal sequel to that post, because I’ve finally started collecting silk flower-printed robes. This style of these jackets is called haori, a traditional Japanese garment:  it is a kimono-like jacket, usually worn over a kimono to protect it. It was originally used by men only, but women started to use it during the Meiji period (end of 19th century – beginning of 20th century). Its lenght varies according to its uses: the most precious and formal are longer than the informal ones.

I bought all my haoris from a Japanese eBay shop [1]: the first one is my favourite, it’s a like a work of art.

It’s a vintage piece, made of heavy antique pink silk and embellished with exquisite golden flower embroideries.

I like wearing my haori as if it were a silk jacket: I usually wear it with a simple tee, my trusty flared jeans and flats. Haoris are not very structured items, so they can be worn with anything, but they have kimono-like long sleeves, so they’re not really practical. Moreover, they’re made of silk, so every time I use them, I am afraid of staining or ripping the fabric.

Here you can see the back of the haori. The flower embroideries are amazing, so delicate and romantic.

What is unbelievable of haoris is the perfection of details. They’re beautifully sewn, with stitches that sometimes are decorative, and their linings are always surprising. The lining of this one is so amazing, that I think it’s more beautiful than the outside. The lining is made of ivory silk, and has some peonies printed on it. It is as if the flowers were drawn with a pencil on the silk, not printed.

This is one of the sleeves, kimono-like, all embroidered with pink and gold flowers.

This is the front of the haori. You can see a chrysanthemum, one of the most symbolical flowers in Japanese culture.

The second haori is very different from the first: it is made of light yellow flower-printed silk, and has no embroideries. The quality of the silk is different, too, because this is not a vintage piece. The silk here is heavy but has a smooth touch, while the touch of the previous one is slightly raw.

The flowers printed on this haori are the traditional cherry blossoms.

Here is me wearing this yellow haori (yesterday, in the late afternoon, I was sitting in a classroom, waiting for my students to arrive and the lesson to start). I wore it with jeans, a long-sleeved heather grey t-shirt and patent green peep-toe flats.

This is the back of the haori.

And this is the lining. It is made of peach pink silk and has some wavy decorations on it.

From this pic you can see the most beautiful detail of the fabric: it is printed with cherry blossoms, but some are actually painted with water colours. The silk is also printed with some tiny drops, so as to achieve a sea-foam-like effect. It’s very subtle but impressive.

This is the last (but surely not least) haori I’ve bought. I was actually looking for a hot red one, which I couldn’t find, so I opted for this light red/dark pink one.

It is all made of silk and is not a vintage piece. It’s lighter than the previous ones, so I guess I’ll wear it in summer.

It has a gold embroidery on the front and is all embroidered on the back with trees and bushes.

The lining is lovely: it is made of ivory silk and has a floral pattern, with peonies and daisies.

Here is the kimono-like sleeve. I love these sleeves because they’re very dramatic and give a peculiar touch to the haori.

What do you think of haoris? Would you wear them as a jacket?

[1] I bought them at a very cheap price. A friend of mine, who lives in Tokyo, confirmed that haoris are cheap in Japan, too, because they’re not very sought after.



  1. Fantastic! These are the outfits one wants to see… 😉

    PS Have you checked out my latest blog? Not exciting as yours, I’m afraid…

    1. Glad you like them!

      PS: I’ve read about your new blog somewhere on Facebook, but I must have lost the address. Can you give it to me?

  2. Oh, the Meiji period!!! Brings my secondary school studies back to mind…
    I have always, always wanted a kimono- I dream of wearing it as an evening gown, after a Japanese friend of mine wore hers at a formal dinner. This dream of mine became even bigger once I saw Rinko Kikuchi and Cate Blanchett wear kimonos at Babel’s premiere!!!I actually saw that picture on your “Dallo Spazio, perhaps it was foreshadowing of your haori collection 🙂
    I love haoris, and I would definitely wear them. I think the way you wear them is amazing, because the whole focus of your outfit is on them (as it should be), and also because it feels you give them your personal interpretation rather than trying to look “japanese” (I lived in Asia long enough to see many Western women trying to channel the locals’ style- and miserably failing in most cases).
    I would wear them similarly too, or perhaps, knowing my own style, with a black t-shirt and black skinny jeans. My only problem is that pastel shades don’t really suit me, and I think haoris are so beautiful because of their light, delicate tones…. By the way, the first one you bought is my favourite one, too!

    1. Ooooh, the kimonos seen on Rinko Kikuchi and Cate Blanchett (in her case, it was actually an Alexander McQueen dress) were just amazing, and they both looked flawless.

      It’s true I’ve always loved kimonos (well, before knowing haoris), because they’re so romantic! I know it’s just me but I also think they have a strong bohemian vibe, and that’s another reason why I like them so much. It would be pointless, to me, to wear it in a Japanese style, I just try to make it work with the outfits I wear everyday. I think they can give an instant touch of dreamlike glam to a simple tee and jeans.

      It’s true part of their beauty comes from their delicate shades, but I’m sure an all-black outfit would be an amazing contrast with pastels. You should try one!

  3. I have only one Haori. It was a present of one of my closest friend. She is a Japan addicted.

    My haori is blue avio with leaves and birds embroideris in light grey.
    I wore it only one time, tight on my waist with a leather sash a black jersey tee-shirt with turtle neck and long leeves, black leggings and patent black flats.

  4. ot: mi sono sempre dimenticata di raccontarti, alla fine, cosa voleva portarmi mio marito da shanghai…
    appena ho tempo ti scrivo. :))

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