The wearing a Hanbok in Korea. Yes, you read it write, Hanbok is a garment. It has a greatly history. These days, while clothes are more of a western style, the tradition is not forgotten and Hanboks are worn still for severe events.
The Hanbok is a traditional Korean costume.
About the Hanbok
The female hanbok contains mostly a:
- 저고리, jeogori (jacket)
- 치마, chima (skirt)
- 속치마, sokchima – Korean traditional underskirts worn by women. They are worn underneath the chima (skirt)
- 꽃신, kkotchshin – Shoes for females made of silk with flower patterns embroidered on them.
The male hanbok contains mostly a:
- 저고리, jeogori (jacket)
- 바지, baji (trousers)
- 갓신, gahtshin – Shoes for men and boys made of silk with Korean traditional patterns embroidered on them.
items for both men and women:
- 두루마기, dulumagi – Korean traditional outer coats. They are worn by both females and males. However, in the old days, men had to wear dulumagi year-round inside or outside whereas women only wore it when they went outside to warm themselves on a cold day or show courtesy.
- 버선, beoseon – Korean traditional socks.
History of Hanboks
Until around 100 years ago, the Hanbok was worn as normal clothes. The Korean dress has a history of over 2’000 years and it is still evolving. However, Hanboks are mostly associated with the Joseon Dynasty (1392 to 1910). The collection of different Hanboks was huge, depending on the actual use from formal to informal ones. Also the different colors of the dresses had a meaning. The worn colors were choosen by the five elements of the chinese Yin-and-Yang theorie. White (metal), red (fire), blue (wood), black (water) and yellow (earth). Not only the colors but the accessories had different meaning in terms of the rank, martial status and the profession.
The colors and who wore which
The children wore mostly the bright colours and the middle-aged men and women had more subdued colors. Yellow jeogori and red chima was mostly for the unmarried women, while married women wore green and red. However, women with sons wore the colors of the Navy. The upper classes wore a variety of colours. Contrastingly, the working class were required to wear white. For special events, they yet dressed in shades of pale pink, light green, grey and charcoal.
Today, Hanboks still, are an important part of the Korean culture. The Hanboks are used for important events and celebrations like weddings, Lunar New Year, Chuseok holiday, ancestral rites and dol (a child’s first birthday) and especially to visit the temples in Korea which also tourists start to do. Old ladies on the landsite are still wearing their Hanboks.
When you rent a Hanbok, you can choose different types for differnt prices. Some are more traditional, the others are new stylished, more related to what a lot of people like these days. As I visited a temple with wearing a Hanbok twice, I tried both styles, both Hanboks I wear in the picture above are Joseon type of Hanboks. The modern types of hanbok you will more likely discover them in the K-Pop culture as BTS, Blackpink and other K-Pop bands invented some new styles.
To rent a Hanbok it costs about:
17k to 20k Won for 3 to 4 hours or
25k to 40k Won for the entire day
– the temples are free when you wear a Hanbok
– you can choose a cute bag in the store which is included in the price
– they make your hair at the Hanbok rental store – sometimes you would have to pay an additional fee
Where to rent a Hanbok
You will definitly find a lot of stores around the temples, so you can just go there or rent it online in advance. I always went directly to the shop, because there the shop owners also help you to choose the right colors. It was more of an experience for me, to meet with my new friends, walk to the shop and help each other choosing the right color for everyone, giving some tips and having good fun even before we actually wear the Hanboks.
Experience the Temples with a Hanbok
My friends and I we already had so much fun choosing the Hanboks, cheering each other up how beautiful we look, dancing around and waiting for everyone to have a beautiful hairstyle. After we already took a bunch of pictures we walked through the streets of Seoul towards the temple.
The first temple we visited was the Gyeongbokgung temple near Seoul city Hall (but do not missunderstand “near”, I’m Swiss, for me everything is such a close and nice walk away ;)).
The entrance of the temple was huge, we were so much impressed. We were walking through the areas where people used to live in the past and strolling through beautiful gardens with a cute lake in the middle. We took so many pictures and even some random guys asked us to take a picture with them.
Renting a Hanbok with friends and getting lost in temples is a good way to make good memories in Korea.Stefanie Ammann