Whether in movies or theater plays, excellent supporting actors always give a strong impression. Likewise, there are accessories in Kimono (着物) fashion, which produce enormous effect on the look.
Among those accessories, my favorite item is Obidome (帯留め, small brooches worn over Obi belt along with Obijime string, to make a charming decoration in front of the Obi). There are very enthusiastic Obidome lovers, and they would even say: Obidome is not only an accessory but the principal of Kimono fashion".
Nowadays, many kinds of handcraft kit for making Obidome are available. However, you don't need to purchase these kit to have your original one. In fact, anything can be an Obidome as long as it has holes for Obijime (帯締め) string to get through.
As for the Obijime string, usually, narrow ones with the width of 6-9 mm are used, whereas Maiko (舞妓) use broad ones (3.7cm) and big Obidome called Pocchiri (ポッチリ), which are both not available in the general market.
The material of Obidome varies ranging from precious stones, tortoiseshells, gold, silver, cloisonne wares, wood carvings, potteries and glass wares. Some people have enormous passion to make their own collections.
In accordance with the dress code today, it is preferable to avoid wearing Obidome at tea ceremonies. Also, for black crested Kimono called Tomesode (留袖, black formal Kimono for married ladies), it might as well be avoided. However, it's not for the case of the old days. There are many pre-war pictures of ladies wearing Obidome on Tomesode. In that sense, we can imagine it was not a total taboo, but still, it is controversial.
Click here to see a Bolg by a Former MAIKO, "Do You Know?".