Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Style Ideas: How to Wear an Obi Belt

I can honestly say that obi belts are by far my favorite accessory. Followed by vintage scarves as a close second. I love the versatility they offer with dressing. You can wear them with so many things to give a pop of color or texture to an outfit. They can be used to faux-tailor clothes to fit you perfectly.

Something that I have been pleased and surprised by is how obi belts compliment many body types: I like them to nip in around my waist, which is narrower than my hips and shoulders. They look great on long lanky women around the hips. I also like them on women with rectangular torsos because it creates the illusion of a waist.

Obi belts give you options to change the look of a tunic length shirt or sweater. This is one of my personal signature obi looks. (LOVE IT!). I apologize for the dark images, I am still adjusting to working with the low lighting in my new workspace.

This obi can be found in my store.

I discovered almost accidentally while working in my unheated artist's stall on Artists' Row in Salem, MA, this fall that obi belts look oh so fab topping a classic trench coat. I wore it with this narrower obi in the fall, but am equally as pleased with the funky look the wide obi gives this classic style.

This obi is not yet available in my store, if you love it, send me a note, I would be happy to list it for you.

Because I have broad shoulders and hips and a narrower waist, I tend to prefer looks that nip in at the waist or are well tailored for my silhouette. Obi belts are a quick easy faux-tailoring fix when stuff is just too loose looking. I use them over big, cozy sweaters, fun vintage dresses that are a size or two too big, but the print/look/label was too good to pass up, knit tops that could use a little extra shape.

You name it, I've obi'ed it. Here is a sweater I prefer to wear with an obi. I wanted to show a dress too, but the obi belt I have that looks good with a few of my dresses is MIA for the moment. I am living out of boxes still...things in the house, things in the garage...slowly assembly a life.

Again, this obi belt isn't available in my store yet but I would be happy to list it for you. Just let me know.

I mentioned that obi belts flatter a lot of different body types. Here are several real women, who modeled in my Ahht For Peeps, Wearable Art Fashion Show in Salem, MA this summer. I invited members of the community to model my looks. I took it a step further and encouraged them to pick out the pieces they wanted to model and create a look they felt comfortable wearing. Real people, real fashion.

The first two are what I would describe as lanky women, long and lean with long torsos. One wears the obi with the wide part to the back giving it a low, loose look. The second wears it in front but low, she really makes this apron flavored obi look sassy! Love it.

The model on the left is wearing this obi. The model on the right is wearing an obi not yet available in my store, but if you dig it, let me know and I can list it for you.

These two women have narrow hips and long lean legs. Their torsos are more rectangular in nature, often giving the sense of no waist. Here they both look fabulous in obi belts, which create the illusion of a waist.

The obi on the left is available here. The obi on the right is available here.

P.S. I love taking on custom obi orders. I have a nice selection of authentic antique Japanese kimono obi fabric and a booming stash of vintage neckties. Let me know what you are looking for. I would love to create it for you. berry (at) yazberry (dot) com. I love using recycled materials. Most of my obis are made from either antique Japanese obi fabric, vintage neckties or upholstery samples. I do mix in new materials as well, but find so much inspiration from recycled materials.

My current obi belt collection is available in my store. However, if you saw something in the pictures from my Artists' Row store, chances are it is not yet available online but I do have it, send me a message and I will confirm either way.

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