I am a huge fan of Freeform Channel’s hit show, Grown-ish. Even though I’m grown as hell, I enjoy watching young undergrad students discover themselves, date, work, and navigate college life in 30 minute increments with commercials. Luca Hall (played by actor/model Luka Sabbat— I don’t know why they decided the spell the name differently lol) is by far my favorite character on the show. He’s a hella laidback art & fashion design student at Cal-U and is the ultimate free spirit. Luca loves weed, rings, and kimonos. Although his character is only 19-20 years old, I envy his vibe and style. I envy the “old soul” wisdom he often shares with his less mature contemporaries. But most of all, I envy his kimonos.
I immediately wanted one the first time I saw Luca stroll onto the screen wearing a kimono. There seemed something regal yet quite comfortable about it. For over two years I thought, considered, and coveted the idea of getting a few, but I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Where in the hell would I even wear them? Moreover, I worried what people might say about me when I wore it— I mean, a big black dude sauntering around in a floor length kimono is a big black dude making a statement. Shoving negativity and hesitation aside, I finally purchased one a few months ago for my spring wardrobe, and now I am in love!
Like most of my internet shopping endeavors, I began my kimono hunt on Amazon, but long story short, that is not the place for a big dude to buy a kimono. Abandoning Amazon, I found the perfect robe after about 45 minutes on Google — Youkata Sumo robe in blue, white, and gold from chopa.com. I ain’t skinny, but the way kimonos are made I could have easily ordered any size robe from a XL-3XL and been fine. I decided to go with the 3XL because I wanted the extra fabric to drape and flow— YES, I’M EXTRA … LOLOL! It arrived quickly and fit perfectly.
To date, I’ve only worn the robe in public once, and it was a MAJOR success. I wore it over a pair of caraway colored Levi 541 stretch twill pants and a white t-shirt (my absolute favorite brand, One Bone— look for a post next month!). I finished off the look with a pair of super comfortable gray Cole Haan original grand shorting oxfords and a custom handmade silver and tiger eye necklace from the Lindsay Gallery in Berea, KY. I wore the fit to a little evening kickback on a chilly, crisp evening in my friend’s sprawling backyard (my last great social moment before social distancing started!). Let me tell you, the robe stopped the show! It flowed effortlessly behind me as I slid through the get-together, mingling with friends new and old. I had to change into a black shirt halfway through the party because I spilled something on my white top. Still, I received lots of compliments, requests for photographs, and assurances that I pulled off the look.
The ultimate test came when I stopped off at Target on my way home. Picture it – my big, black ass strolling through my neighborhood Target with a long kimono flowing behind me. Even with the wardrobe malfunction, I still felt confident and attractive. Something about wearing the robe made me step just a little bit more precisely than normal. I felt aristocratic placing small items throughout the store in my hand held shopping basket. While hunting on the shelf for the perfect coffee package, a middle aged woman came up to me and declared, “I just love your jacket! Or is it a robe? Whatever – I just love it! I wish that my husband dressed that well. He’d never be able to pull that off.” I left the store smiling!
Kimonos will now be a staple in my wardrobe! Since the Coronavirus quarantine has slowed several of my income streams, I am on a spending freeze until this season of uncertainty is over, but I can’t wait to order a few more in various colors and lengths. On the bright side, the one kimono in my closet has already become my ultimate quarantine fashion accessory. Instead of sitting around the house feeling like a blob in a cruddy t-shirt and sweats, I feel dignified in my long flowing robe. Its sheer length and print cause me to stand just a little bit taller than normal. I am an emperor swaying from room to room, even if my empire only extends as far as the inside of the home I’m currently sheltering in place in because of Covid-19. At least I’m sitting on my couch in a little bit of style.
Where to Shop: Custom Tiger Eye & Silver Necklace ($95)- The Lindsay Gallery. Youkata Kimono ($49)- Chopa.com. Yatamu Bracelets (9 totally $164)- Yatamu.com. Levi 541 Stretch Twill Pants ($65) Dillards.com. OneBone Scoop T-shirt ($39) OneBoneBrand.com. Cole Haan Oxfords ($129) NordstromRack.com. Total Look: $541