I'm a bit behind this week. I apologize for the delay.
In my last Heian entry I discussed the beautiful but cumbersome garments worn by aristocratic females. What then of formal menswear?
For the most formal of occasions, men would wear the sokutai. The sokutai (a tunic over loose trousers) was worn over a kosode smaller (narrow-sleeved robes). So, it was layered like the formal wear of women, but it lacked the huge number of layers typically associated with women's wear. A key element of the sokutai was a long tail attached to a kosode. The tail's length varied with the relative status and rank of the man--something very critical to the rank-obsessed Heian aristocracy.
A kammuri, a stiffened gauze hat with a long tail, was the typical head gear. Accessories included a cypress fan, something associated with masculine authority during the Heian era, and a baton (typical ivory or wood).
|A modern Japanese man in a sokutai and kammuri during a 2009 festival.|
Picture from Wikimedia Commons/Photographer "Corpse Reviver"
If the sokutai was the rough equivalent of a tuxedo, the noshi was more your standard issue everyday business suit. The noshi was was also worn over kosode, but was unlined and worn with very wide trousers that provided better mobility or a hakama (a divided skirt). Though the kammuri might be worn with the noshi, the eboshi, a tall cone-shaped linen hat was more common.
In general, when one compares women's clothing to men's clothing are similar in that the aesthetics of both are based around the emphasizing of the clothing rather than any element of the body. Despite the rampant sexism of the period, there was no particular elevation of the unadorned male body as an aesthetic ideal above women. Male aristocrats, however, weren't burdened with clothing that made moving nearly a much of a chore. They, of course, had more freedom of movement in general, evenin formal wear, so it only makes sense that their clothing wouldn't be designed in such a way to effectively cripple their movement.