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Hanbok, traditional Korean dress

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:58 am
by sofiya
Hanbok (South Korea) or Chosŏn-ot (North Korea) is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of the Joseon (Chosŏn) period and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations.

Throughout history, Korea had a dual clothing tradition, in which rulers and aristocrats adopted different kinds of mixed foreign-influenced indigenous styles, while the commoners continued to use a distinct style of indigenous clothing that today is known as Hanbok.

Basic Composition and Design

Traditional women's hanbok consists of jeogori, a blouse shirt or a jacket and chima, a wrap-around skirt, which is usually worn full. The ensemble is often called chima jeogori. Men's hanbok consists of jeogori and baji which means pants in Korea. The baji were baggy pants in traditional men's hanbok.


Jeogori is the basic upper garment of the hanbok, which has been worn by both men and women. It covers the arms and upper part of the wearer's body. The basic form of a jeogori consists of gil, git, dongjeong, goreum and sleeves. Gil is the large section of the garment in both front and back side and git is a band of fabric that trims the collar. Dongjeong is a removable white collar placed over the end of the git and is generally squared off. The goreum are coat-strings that tie the jeogori. Women's jeogori may have kkeutdong, a different colored cuff placed at the end of the sleeves. There are two jeogori that may be the earliest surviving archaeological finds. One from a Yangcheon Heo Clan tomb is dated 1400-1450, while the other was discovered inside a statue of Buddha at Sangwonsa Temple (presumably left as an offering) that has been dated to the 1460s.

The form of Jeogori has changed over time. While men's jeogori remained relatively unchanged, women's jeogori dramatically shortened during Chosŏn dynasty, reaching its shortest length at the late 19th century. However, due to reformation efforts and practical reasons, modern jeogori for women is longer than its earlier counterpart. Nonetheless the length is still above the waist line. Traditionally, goreum were short and narrow, however modern goreum are rather long and wide. There are several types of jeogori according to fabric, sewing technique, and shape.


Chima refers to "skirt" which is also called sang or gun in hanja. The underskirt, or petticoat layer is called sokchima. According to remaining murals of Goguryeo, and an earthen toy excavated from the neighborhood of Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju, Goguryeo women wore a chima with jeogori over it, covering the belt.

Although striped, patchwork and gored skirts are known from the Goguryeo and Jeoson periods, chima were typically made from rectangular cloth that was pleated or gathered into a skirt band. This waistband extended past the skirt fabric itself and formed ties so that the skirt could be fastened around the trunk of the body.

Sokchima was largely made in a similar way to the overskirts until the early 20th century when straps were added, later developing into a sleeveless bodice or 'reformed' petticoat. By the mid-20th century, some outer chima had also gained a sleeveless bodice, that was then covered by the jeogori.


Baji refers to the bottom part of the men's hanbok. It is the formal term for 'pants' in Korean. Compared to western style pants, it does not fit tightly. The roomy nature of the cloth is due to a design aimed at making the cloth ideal for sitting on the floor. It performs similar role today for modern trousers, but Baji is commonly used in Korea for any kinds of pants. There are two in front of baji, and a person can tighten up whenever needed.

Baji are classified as unlined trousers, leather trousers, silk pants, cotton pants according to dress, sewing way, embroidery and so on.


Po is a generic term referring to an outer robe or overcoat, which was worn mostly by men since the Goryeo period until the Chosŏn period. Durumagi is a variety of po that was worn to protect the cold. It had been widely worn as an outer robe over jeogori and baji. It is also called jumagui, juchaui, or juui.

"Po" is also called "Jeogori". Jeogori inherited the Chinese Ming ao skirt's white collar and Jin. As buttoned blouse, skirt in front of the two on each seam have Jin, female's Jeogori has a long belt hung in front of the dress, also have an effect of adornment. Jeogori below the cuff is refers to the jacket sleeves, characterized by a traditional Korean house in the eaves of natural feminine curves. There are differences between the men and women's Jeogori. Men's Jeogori coarse to with line and flat; Women's Jeogoris have beautifully decorated curves which are short and beautiful.

Jokki and magoja

Jokki is a type of vest while magoja is an outer jacket. Although jokki and magoja were created at the end of the Chosŏn Dynasty in which the Western culture began to affect Korea, the garments have been considered parts of traditional clothing. Each is additionally worn over jeogori for warmth and style. Magoja was an originally Manchu style clothing, but was introduced to Korea after Heungseon Daewongun, the father of King Gojong returned from his political exile in Manchuria in 1887. Magoja derived from magwae that he wore at that time to protect cold weather of the region. It was good to keep warmth and easy to wear, so that magoja became popular in Korea. It is also called "deot jeogori" (literally "an outer jeogori") or magwae.

Magoja does not have git, band of fabric that trims the collar, goreum (tying strings) unlike jeogori and durumagi (overcoat). Magoja was originally a male garment, but later became a unisex clothing. The magoja for men has seop and its length is longer than women's magoja, so that its both sides of the bottom are open. A magoja is made of a silk and is adorned with one or two buttons which are usually made from amber. In a male magoja, buttons are attached to the right side on contrary to women's magoja.

At first, women wore the magoja for style rather than as a daily outfit and especially Kaeseong people used to wear it a lot. It is made of a silk and the color for women tends to be a neutral color to harmonize with other garments such as jeogori and chima which are worn together. In spring and autumn, a pastel tone is used for the women's magoja, so that wearers could wear it over a jeogori for style. As for men's magoja worn during spring and summer, jade, green, gray, dark grey were used.

Children's hanbok

In old days, Kkachi durumagi (literally "a magpie's overcoat") were worn as seolbim, new clothing and shoes worn on Seollal, New Year's Day in the Korean calendar, while at present, it is worn as a ceremonial garment for doljanchi, celebration for a baby's first birthday. It is a children's colorful overcoat. It was worn mostly by young boys. The clothes is also called obangjang durumagi which means "an overcoat of five directions". It was worn over jeogori (a jacket) and jokki (a vest) while the wearer could put jeonbok (a long vest) over it. Kkachi durumagi was also worn along with headgear such as bokgeon (a peaked cloth hat), hogeon (peaked cloth hat with a tiger pattern) for young boys or gulle (decorative headgear) for young girls.

Modern hanbok for children consists of only two or three pieces and can be put on easily. They are usually made of less expensive fabrics since they are only worn once or twice a year during bigger holidays like Chuseok and Seollal. Children are also dressed up in hanbok on their first birthday.
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Children's hanbok
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Re: Hanbok, traditional Korean dress

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:49 am
by sofiya
Korean girl in hanbok
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Re: Hanbok, traditional Korean dress

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:05 am
by sofiya
Korean hanbok decorated with traditional embroidery
Korean-embroidery8.jpg (92.29 KiB) Viewed 759 times
Korean-embroidery9.jpg (100.84 KiB) Viewed 759 times