Japanese clothing

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The construction of Japanese clothing is almost all based on a very simple pattern of rectangles. While any given garment has a characteristic width, in general Japanese fabric is much narrower than European, and the construction of clothing reflects this: it takes about 4 widths to adequately cover an average person.

The basic Japanese garments are the kosode and hakama, both of which are worn, with minor variations, by men and women alike. The kosode is a robe which overlaps in front (always left over right, unless the wearer is dead or expects to be shortly); hakama are variously described as a divided skirt or very full pants. The kosode as underwear is invariably white, though when worn as a visible garment it may be any color. Women's hakama, particularly nagabakama worn with high court costume, are often red. Patterns for kosode and nagabakama may be found here.

Over the kosode and hakama one may wear any number of other robes, depending on one's gender, class, and occasion.

This practice reached its full flower in the Heian period with the karaginu mo.

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