Lunar New Year Special: Do You Know Your Hanbok?

2014-01-31 12:09:59 2014-01-31 12:09:59

The Lunar New Year (Seollal) is one of the major holidays in Korea, and as such, it’s one of the few occasions when people might wear the traditional national garment known as hanbok.

For women, the hanbok consists of a jeogori (a jacket, usually cropped below the bustline and held together with a tie), and a chima (a long skirt that ties around the bust and billows out in a full shape). For men, the hanbok also consists of a jeogori, worn longer than the women’s style, paired with full pants called baji. Both men and women may wear the hanbok with clothing such as vests or overcoats, and they might also accessorize with various headgear and accessories.

The hanbok is thought to be shown to its greatest advantage when in movement, as the stiff-seeming layers give way to reveal a fluidity and gracefulness of shape and line.

lee young aelee young ae 2

Lee Young Ae’s gorgeous February 2014 editorial for Marie Claire. 

Now we will take a look at some of the common styles of hanbok you may have seen in photos and on TV, although please keep in mind that this is in no way a remotely comprehensive overview. With that said, let’s get started!

Modern Traditional

When you think of hanbok, you probably think of women and men in brightly-colored, loose-fitting silk garments, possibly with accents such as rainbow-striped sleeves or floral patterns stamped in gold leaf. That’s the type that Korean people own today — if they own one at all, as many don’t. Although it’s strange to think of hanbok having seasonal trends, considering that Koreans will typically keep and wear the same ones for years on end, indeed hanbok designers will announce the latest trends in patterns, fabrics, and colors, just the same as any other clothing designer. Let’s take a look below at some of the modern traditional hanbok worn by our favorite K-Pop artists!

Girls’ Generation

girls generation

A Pink


Note the colorful norigae ornaments hung from the skirt. They are worn not only as fashion accessories, but also as good-luck charms. We guess they worked well for A Pink, whose popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years!



The boys are wearing nicely coordinated three-piece sets including a vest called a baeja. SHINee is known for their awesome fashion sense, so no reason it shouldn’t extend to nice-looking hanbok as well!



Always true to her tomboy style, Amber is wearing a man’s hanbok.







Big Bang’s Seungri and Daesung




Not finished! Click the next page to see lovely examples of celebrities wearing fusion hanbok!