What is a Korean Hanbok?

Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Banner

To approach Korean fashion, you need to know its roots. What is a Korean hanbok? More than once, you might have seen period dramas or dramas with a slightly more current context where more than one actor wears a traditional garment. That garment is the hanbok, the typical and Korean costume. If you ever visit Korea, you should have the experience of wearing one. You will surely enjoy it. It is a cultural experience that every lover of Korean fashion and culture cannot miss. Are you ready to discover everything about hanbok? Keep reading!


What does hanbok mean in Korean?


Hanbok or Joseon-it is a traditional Korean dress. They often have bright colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term means “Korean clothing,” the word hanbok today refers specifically to hanbok from the Joseon period (1392-1910) and is worn as semi-formal or formal clothing during festivals and celebrations.


What do you wear under a hanbok?


This question is very recurrent, so today, we have the answer to your question. Hanboks are essentially decorative traditional clothing, so light clothing is best worn underneath. Both men and women should wear a light, short-sleeved blouse and a pair of tight-fitting lycra shorts in the summer. In winter, some thermal layers will help keep you warm.


What does a black hanbok mean?


Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - black hanbok

In ancient times, colors had great social significance because they were used to distinguish people from royalty, married women of unmarried women, and, even today, to the mother of the bride and the groom at weddings.


Hanbok design has its origin in observing the significant premise for Koreans of the time. From colors (navy blue, orange, and yellow for the upper classes; old pink, gray, black, and white for the working classes) to the fabrics (cotton and hemp for the summer; wool for the winter).


Based on Confucian ethics, hanbok should also reflect values such as the integrity of men and the chastity of women. In this way, the black hanbok signifies a high social status in the person who wears it.


What is a lucky color in Korea?


Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - white hanbok

White, which means truth, life, and virginity, is the most loved color by Koreans. Tremendous importance is placed on the meaning of white in Korean traditional color symbolism because of its relationship to the harvest ceremony and the sun. It is no wonder that the color white has appeared widely in Korean mythological tales and legends.


To date, Koreans prefer to wear white clothing and have done so for thousands of years to the point that it has earned them the nickname “Koreans dressed in white.”


For the ancient Koreans, the color white represented the starting point, origin, and foundation of humanity. They considered white to be the most basic symbol. That explains why they have a preference for wearing white clothes. This clothing is a distinctive feature of the Korean people. Koreans believe that white symbolizes purity, cleanliness, and humility. Its use implies devotion to the natural, pure, and not decorative.


How do you describe a hanbok?


Hanboks are colorful garments full of meaning. Depending on the color of the garments, they can signify elements of nature or social status. Flowers, for example, were often used in women’s hanboks at weddings to represent honor, while dragons and phoenixes were for the design of kings’ hanboks.


On the other hand, the hanbok has a jeogori that corresponds to the upper garment of the hanbok for women and men. The chima is the skirt, and it is exclusive to the female hanbok. Its color varies depending on the social status of the woman. Baji is the term used to refer to pants in the case of male hanboks. The dopo is a kind of coat worn over the hanbok to show courtesy, while the jokki is a vest and the magoja a jacket. Both are only to provide more style.


How do you wear a Korean hanbok?


Korean traditional clothing provides comfort and ease of dressing. Indeed, the hanbok is easy to wear, and it is also quite comfortable, but sometimes it may not be easy to put on. The trickiest part when wearing a hanbok is how to tie it. However, here we explain how to do it:




Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Female

  • First, you must wear the inner romper. Usually, this is fastened with a button or clasp in the front.
  • Wrap the skirt around yourself, or if it is a dress, you must put it over it.
  • You must place the skirt or dress at the bust level.
  • Next, wrap the jacket around your shoulders and button it.
  • Let the two pieces of tape material fall and tie them together. And if it’s cold, you can wear a jacket over it or pants under your skirt.







Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Male

  • You must wear a white shirt underneath.
  • Then gather the excess fabric that is on the right side and cross it to the left.
  • Don’t forget to hold the fabric down.
  • Then you must cross the belt over the fabric.
  • Once done, tie the belt in the center.
  • Next, you need to fold the waistband down to cover the belt.
  • You have to wear white socks.
  • You need to wrap the ankle strap. In that way, you can make sure it is tight.
  • Tie it on the inside of your legs. 
  • Lastly, put on your jacket.



Types of hanbok according to the occasion




Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Wedding

Although Western-style weddings are increasingly fashionable, many still opt for a traditional wedding in which the bride and groom wear a special hanbok.


The bride’s dress has very bright colors, like those in the image, but modern versions also have a more Western color range:


white. In any case, the bride’s clothing has much more detail than the groom’s, and sometimes they weigh so much that they have to help them when it comes to bowing.




Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Royalty

If you have seen any historical drama, you will have noticed that royalty is clearly distinguished from the rest by their dress.


To identify kings from other characters, look at the embroidery on their clothing: only kings can have a dragon embroidered, usually gold on red.


But if an emperor appears on the scene, all his clothing will be gold.




Korean fashion Trends - what is korean hanbok? - Modern

If you walk through most tourist and historical areas of Korea, you will see many people wearing hanboks, since you can rent them for the day. However, there are also still Koreans who dress them on the most special occasions, such as weddings, funerals, festivities, and other events of great importance.


Now, more and more it is in trend to wear a hanbok to the modern one. Many are designers who want to make this traditional clothing known to the world and do so by adapting it to current styles through, in addition, the most popular K-pop groups such as BlackPink or BTS. Mainly they stay with the jeogori, the jacket, and the main details, discarding the parts such as the skirt for a shorter one and replacing the pants with more current ones.


Hanbok was used in Korea until just over a hundred years ago as the daily garb of the country’s citizens. To this day, most Koreans have a hanbok that they wear on special occasions. The essence of the suit is its flowing lines and vibrant colors. Because of that, it is significant to know about hanbok as current Korean fashion takes a lot of inspiration from its origins. Now that you know what a Korean hanbok is, you can wear one with confidence! Visit this blog every day to find out more about Korean fashion.

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