Hanbok: The Korean Traditional Dress

What is a Hanbok?

Hanbok is a Korean word for traditional Korean clothing . The hanbok is one of the finest fashion styles in the world and has been enjoyed for over 2,000 years. You may have seen the hanbok in your favorite Korean drama, or your favorite K-Pop star wearing a hanbok and wondered: what are they wearing? What is the fashion style of hanbok? Where can I buy a hanbok ?

Hanbok is usually worn by Koreans at major parties , birthday celebrations, and weddings, but few Koreans know the deep history and meaning of traditional hanbok . Let's explore what hanbok is in this ultimate guide to Korean fashion .

The origins of hanbok

It is believed that the hanbok was designed during the kingdom of Goguryeo (37 BC to 668 AD) and was worn in different ways and in different materials by everyone. It was originally designed to allow its wearers to be free to move .

Although there have been changes throughout its history, the hanbok is still worn today in Korea for celebrations , weddings, birthdays, and milestone events, and represents the aesthetics of the Korean people. People all over the world have fallen in love with the hanbok and incorporated it into their fashion to become haute couture .

What does a hanbok look like?

The embroidered patterns and colors used on the hanboks represented the ceremonial nature of the hanbok and social status. Peonies, for example, are often found on wedding dresses to represent honor and wealth , while dragons and phoenixes were Korean hanbok motifs reserved for royal clothing.


The general structure of hanbok consists of jeogori and chima (skirt) - for women, and jeogori and baji (pants) - for men. When worn together, the thin top and wide bottom form a bell shape - a unique and rather outstanding feature of hanbok that separates it from other traditional costumes.


The classic Korean style is represented on the hanbok by a smooth flow of lines and angles found on the baerae of the outfit as well as the sharp angles of the dongjeong .

The hanbok may look flat, but when used well, it takes on dimension and even adds beauty to the wearer, as the wide, adaptable skirt envelops the movements of the lower body so much that the person wearing it can appear to be floating in the air.

Hanbok Woman


The hanbok has been made with different materials throughout its more than 1,600 year history. Contemporary designers are constantly experimenting with different types of fabrics for their work.

Traditionally, however, the material of the hanbok reflects the wearer's special place in the social hierarchy . People born naturally into royal families wore hanboks made of the finest materials, such as satin and silk , which showed their power and authority. The same goes for people of nobility and high-ranking officials. On the other hand, the common people wore hanboks made from hemp and cotton at best, testifying to their humble origin.


The colors of the hanbok play a vital role in characterizing the character and social position of the wearer.

Members of royalty or nobility wear brightly colored hanboks, while ordinary people wear hanboks in light, earthy hues, which can also be attributed to the materials used to make their modest hanbok.


Iconic designs were woven onto the hanbok, primarily to express the wishes of the wearer. For example, a wedding hanbok might feature peonies for honor and wealth or pomegranates for fertility. Revolutionary emblems, for example phoenixes, dragons, cranes and tigers, are to be seen on the hanboks of royalty as well as high officials.


There is always a wide choice of shoes that go with the hanbok. For women, kkotshin (silk shoes with flower weaving), unhye (low silk shoes decorated with cloud-shaped silk patches) and dinghy (low leather shoes with scroll patterns) were the most common shoes. On the other hand, men usually wore heukhye (fleece and leather shoes) and taesahye (animal skin shoes fastened with silk). Despite the fact that commoners, unconcerned about their gender, wore jipshin or straw shoes. To protect their feet, people also wore white socks called beoseon.


The hanbok can look stylish on its own, but people, especially women, who want to upgrade their look and outfit have a huge number of accessories at their disposal. These include the norigae, an ornamental tassel with an allure, which is attached to the goreum, to the cords of the mantle, or to the middle of the skirt; daenggi, a thick rewarding ribbon tied at the end of a lady's twisted hair (daenggi-meori); The binyeo, a pin made from wood, jade, gold, or creature bones, among other things, that holds the bun.

What makes hanbok unique?

1. The hanbok is of great structural beauty.

The female hanbok features a short jacket called "jeogori" and a full skirt called "chima". The hanbok for men consists of a short jacket, pants called "baji" and usually a short coat called "baeja". The structure is the same for children's hanboks, with girls' hanboks being the same as women's and boys' hanboks following men's styles.

korean traditional dress

The balance between the structured top and the full bottom gives the hanbok a simple structural beauty and a rhythmic flow that complements the movement of the wearer's body.

2. Hanbok is non-restrictive and allows for graceful movement.

The hanbok expresses natural physical beauty through its attractive silhouette and lines, which allow free and graceful movement of the body when worn.

3. The hanbok is a wearable work of art.

Western clothing is characterized by its straight-lined fabric and sewing techniques, but hanbok is completely different in composition and design. The hanbok is made from a flat fabric in a linear shape that only takes on dimension when worn. In union with its wearer, the hanbok comes to life to be natural, elegant and flowing. It's a work of art that you can wear, and the hanbok is complemented by your dazzling smile.

korean hanbok

4. The hanbok carries a deep heritage and culture behind its design.

The hanbok features straight and curved lines, which are representative of a typical Korean aesthetic and design. The graceful and harmonious movement that the hanbok allows, its deep hues and patterns, and its resemblance to nature are the result of more than 2,000 years of wearing the hanbok by the Korean people .

5. The hanbok is meaningful in every stitch, pattern and color.

The colors used in the hanbok come from the " five color theory " ("obangsaek" in Korean), which is based on the harmony between yin and yang and the five elements . The hanbok is traditionally dyed with natural, not synthetic colors.

6. The hanbok shows the beauty of nature.

The curved lines of the hanbok, its loose and loose silhouette when worn, are designed to create the effect of fluidity. This is especially true for the dress or skirt of the hanbok. The design of the hanbok also showcases the textures of natural hand-woven fabric and decorations that mimic flowers , butterflies, and other elements of nature.

There is a hanbok for every person and every occasion. Come and fall in love with hanbok with us. Take a look at our collections to find out more.

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