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Thursday, November 27, 2014 14:35

Dark Geisha Costumes

Vampire Geisha via Flickr

Last Halloween, my good friend Megan had blond hair.  But during the spring, she went crazy and dyed her hair black.  I don’t know what she was thinking.  Everyone knows that blonds have more fun!  Actually she looks hot with her jet-black hair and she’s taking advantage of her darker do.  She’s been talking about dressing up as a geisha for Halloween.  I love the idea and can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  In the meantime, I looked around for online inspiration.

Since this is Upon a Midnight Dreary, I have to dreary-ify everything. The geisha costumes in this post are less traditional and more fitting for vampire, steampunk or zombie geishas.

Zombie Geisha Girl via Flickr

I know this image is digitally altered, but the eye makeup is cool. Cyber Geisha by lilbloo on Deviant Art

Traditional geishas always wear a kimono with a dramatic obi (the wide sash that goes around the waist like a belt or waist cincher).  On their feet they wear tabi socks (the split-toed socks) with zori (similar to flip flops).  They have their hair up, often in complex buns with hair ornaments.

If you are looking for a kimono for a costume, you might consider searching for a yukata.  A yukata is a light, summer kimono.  It’s made of cotton instead of silk, so it’s comfortable but often less expensive than a silk kimono.

Kimonos and Kimono inspired Dresses:

Hollywood Geisha Mini Dress comes in Red or Silver from Lip Service onsale for $71

Jrock Spider Bat Kimono from steph-love on Ebay for $95 from Taiwan

Kyuketsuki Dress from Cry of Flesh for $123

Wa Loli Japan Kimono from Fan Plus Friend for $149.99

Geisha Dress comes in blue or red from Lip Service for $154

Trashglam Couture Steampunk Geisha 4 piece set by Aishax on Etsy for $799.99

I also found this next kimono by chance, but it’s from a Japanese site.  I think that it’s for sale, but I could be way off.  I suspect that someone with Japanese language skills would be able to find additional goth-appropriate patterns featuring spiders, bats or skulls.  Unfortunately, most of the yukata I found featured flowers and cheerful patterns.

Spider Web Kimono (It looks like it's also made with a purple background) from


If you google obi you’ll find plenty of solid obi in every color of the rainbow to coordinate with your kimono.  Somebody with good embroidery skills could take a solid color obi and add a darker motif such as a skull, spider, bat or black cat.  For a non-traditional, more severe look, consider substituting a thick belt or waist cincher over your kimono.

Triple Buckle Elastic Belt from Forever 21 for $6.80

Urban Renewal Leather Obi Wrap Belt from Urban Outfitters (only available online) for $28

A third option is to modify a scarf.  Elizabeth Abernathy created this tutorial to make an obi style belt from any silk scarf that you can wrap around your waist one and a half times.


Wig Tokyo Princess Black and Red from Fantasy Festival for $32.48

Geisha Bog wig by Enigma from International Wigs for $34.99

Fabulous! Japanese Geisha Girl Big Hair Styled Black Wig from The Queen of the Ball for $149

If you want to style your own hair, there are tutorials like this one on Youtube.

For your Feet:

Sock Dreams is always my go-to website for hosiery.  They have a bunch of different Tabi sock styles including some Halloween-appropriate striped ones:

Striped Tabi socks come in four color combinations (including black and white) from Sock Dreams for $9

Vertical Stripe Tabi over the knee socks come in six color combinations from Sock Dreams for $15

Demonia Skull Platform Flip Flops from Streetmoda for $20.99

Demonia Gothic Platform Thong Sandals with skulls from Heels 4 Less for $27.99

Volatile Gator from Zappos for $44.95

Other Accessories:

Traditional Japanese Elegant Black Folding fan from "fromjapan2u" on Ecrater for $4.99

Pattern Flying When Spider fan from Rakuten for $14.98

Yummy! Lucite Skull Barrette comes in six colors by Tarina Tarantino for $25

Kumo Japanese Style Hair Pin from jpalways on Ecrater for $40

A note on makeup: Makeup is going to sell the geisha look.  You can find tutorials on Youtube for both traditional and non-traditional geisha makeup styles.  I recommend doing an image search and finding a look that fits with your costume.  And as always, I’d advise you to go with Ben Nye and/or Mac makeup products for best results.

Aside from frustrations with the language barrier, I had a good time compiling this post.  Does anybody have any ideas to add?  Are you considering a costume that I could do a similar scouting post for?  I love these kinds of challenges, so feel free to leave a comment or email me with your costume desires…


One Response to “Dark Geisha Costumes”

  1. Barbara says:

    Another kimona idea might be robes or pajama sellers- there are sometimes Japanese inspired patterns in those types of garments too. I think if you want to do the geisha idea though you have to go long.

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