Everything You Need to Know about Modern Hanbok

Do you want to know more about hanbok?

As a Korean, hanbok used to be something I’d wear on holidays as a kid. I’m very happy to see it making a comeback.

This post explains the modern hanbok trend in South Korea.

Let’s check them out!

Everything You Need to Know about Modern Hanbok
Image: YouTube

Hanbok is a traditional Korean outfit that’s been around for centuries.

With their beautiful texture and patterns, they were reserved for special occasions like weddings, holidays, doljanchi, etc.

There have been many attempts to revive hanbok in South Korea.

  • The first one I remember was simplified/modernized hanbok (개량 한복 or gaeryang hanbok) or daily hanbok (생활 한복 or saenghwal hanbok) from the late 1980s to the 1990s. Middle-aged Koreans mostly enjoyed wearing them.
  • The second one is casual modern hanbok (현대 한복 or hyundae hanbok) since 2000. Daily hanbok has become diversified and trendy for the MZ generation, especially with K-pop idols like BTS, Blackpink, ZICO and Kang Daniel sporting them around 2020. It looks like they’re here to stay this time.

19 Stylish Korean Hanbok You Can Buy Right Now

After seeing some K-pop artists, I was fascinated by how beautiful and stylish hanbok can be.

Who made hanbok for Blackpink?

Danha. As hanbok became trendy because of K-pop and Kingdom, YG Entertainment contacted Danha to collaborate on Blackpink’s new music video, “How You Like That”. One of the garments is unisex with a combination of male 도포 (dopo or overcoat) and female 치마저고리 (chima jeogori or skirt and top).

Who made hanbok for BTS?

BTS member Jimin wore hanbok pants by Leesle.

BTS Jungkook Wearing Hanbok
Image: Pinterest

Jungkook wore Buddhist monk’s clothes designed by a daily hanbok brand, Zijangsa at the airport.

What is a modern hanbok?

Modern hanbok has become popular among young Koreans. It’s adored by many Korean celebrities too. It looks like hanbok, but is easier to wear as a daily outfit with a variety of materials and designs. By using washable fabrics like polyester, rayon or linen, it’s more practical than traditional ones using silk.

What is a traditional hanbok?

Traditional hanbok includes 치마 (chima or skirts), 저고리 (jeogori or jackets), 바지 (baji or pants), 두루마기 (durumagi or overcoat), 조끼 (jokki or vests) and 마고자 (magoja or outer coats). It has been around for over 1600 years.

Traditional hanbok is beautiful with straight and curved lines in harmony. It’s categorized by ceremonial/casual purposes, men’s/women’s, adults/children and each season.

What does the hanbok symbolize?

People can now choose any color or colorway according to their preference. But in the past, Koreans had limited options depending on their social status or age.

For example, upper-class children could wear bright colors, and middle-aged adults could wear more subdued colors. On the other hand, commoners had to wear white clothes every day by law, which created the term 백의 민족 (the white-clad folk). They could only wear dull shades of pink, green or gray for special occasions.

Also, only the royal family could wear clothes with gold-printed patterns.

How much does a traditional hanbok cost in Seoul?

Hanbok prices vary depending on designs and materials, but they usually range from 250,000 to 400,000 KRW (about 200-330 USD).

How much does a modern hanbok cost?

Modern hanbok are a lot more affordable than traditional ones. You can easily buy them online (or get inspiration here). Their price ranges from 50 to 150 USD.

Where can I buy hanbok?

If you’re looking for traditional hanbok in Korea, there are many customized hanbok stores, including Silkroot, Woonsunje and Songdongsu Hanbok in Jongno, and Bidanbim in Gangnam.

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For modern hanbok, Danha, which designed hanbok for Blackpink, Leesle, Happly, or Goyo are also good choices.

Is it okay for foreigners to wear hanbok?

Yes, absolutely! Koreans will love it if you wear hanbok. They don’t think of it as cultural appropriation, and see it more as a cultural victory. (as long as you don’t say hanbok comes from your country)

More about living in Korea as an Expat

So wear them whenever you want!

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Did we miss anything?

I used to think that hanbok were only for weddings, but now you can wear them anytime. Modern hanbok are even becoming a popular fashion trend. There’s a version for every occasion, including hanbok dresses.

So find the right one for you.

Let us know your favorite hanbok in the comments!

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