Korean Language Blog

Hanbok (한복) Posted by on Nov 24, 2008 in Culture

For special occasions and other formal events it’s not unusual to see Korean people wear a hanbok (한복).  For women, a hanbok (한복) consists of a fluffy skirt called a chima (치마) and a jogori (저거리), which is a short jacket with long sleeves.  The collar of the jogori (저거리) is v-necked and lined with a white band.  Older women tend to wear dark colors such as brown and gray.  However at weddings older women will wear light pastel colors similar to the color sky blue and light pink.  In general, women 50 years old and above will wear subdued colors.  It’s not considered fitting and proper for a women of mature age to wear bright colors.  However it’s quite alright for children and younger women to wear bright colors such as yellow, red, gold and green.

Hanboks (한복) can be quite expensive.  They tend to start at around $200 and cost more depending on the design and quality of silk used.  For example some hanboks (한복) have a different color cuff at the end of the sleeves.  Sometimes the cuff is lined with white rabbit fur.  My favorite hanboks (한복) are the ones with print on them.  The prints can be of various design, but they tend to be subtle so as not to overpower the dress.  The most popular prints are of Chinese characters.  A lot goes into the designs made for animals and plants.  Stichers spend hours sewing intricate details, often by hand.  Sometimes oil paints are used.  The oil paints take just as long and look very polished.

For men, hanboks (한복) tend to be a lot less elaborate.  (This is why it’s more fun to be a girl!)  They consist of baggy pants called baji (바지) and a jogori (저거리) but more in the shape of a vest.  The baji (바지) and jogori (저거리) are of different colors and sometimes they have Chinese print on them.

In the old days only nobles could wear a hanbok (한복) of different colors.  People born of low rank were required to wear a white hanbok (한복).  Today, only people who are in a state of mourning wear a white hanbok (한복).  Even if you don’t wear a hanbok (한복), it’s nice to just have one as a decorative piece in your home.  You’ll certaintly get questions about it from your guests.  So go ahead and get one!

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