Hanbok (which literally translates to ‘Korean clothing’) are the colourful, traditional outfits worn in South Korea on formal occasions and holidays.
Modelled on a style of dress that appeared in the Joseon Dynasty, Women’s hanboks consist of a short jacket called a jegori, and a full bell-shaped skirt called a chima. This simple but striking outfit is then accessorised with traditional shoes, belts and hair pins.
Men’s hanbok are a three piece affair with pants (bajo) worn with an overcoat (po) and vest (jokki) which can also be up-styled with an overcoat and traditional head wear.
While not the only style of traditional dress in Korea, the hanbok is the one you’ll most likely see while visiting Seoul.
This will be especially true if you visit historical landmarks like Gyeongbok Palace or the incredibly photogenic Bukchon Hanok Village, a 600 year old ‘old town’ section of the city threaded with alleyways and packed with traditional architecture.
Interestingly, it won’t just be Korean visitors wearing their traditional costume because for the low price of 10,000 (just under $10 US) for 2 hours, anyone can hire a hanbok from one of the many rental stores dotted around these preserved historical areas.
So why not drop a little cash and wander through history suitably attired?
And, don’t worry if the backpacks, iphones and selfie sticks you’re carrying don’t suit the period.
No one else does.