Walking the Insadong Gamgodang gil (감고당길) in Korea


  1. I wouldn't cosplay in a hanbok, kimono, sari etc; as I feel that reducing a culture's traditional clothing to a costume could be rude. I often will wear Indian salwar kameez outfits to work because I find them both pretty and comfortable. They aren't a costume to me; they are just part of my normal wardrobe.
    I had a traditional hanbok, but because it wasn't made for (as I've heard it called) - a western body, it didn't fit me, so I gave it away. I now own a modern hanbok, it is a long sleeve dress with a vest. It isn't nearly as pretty as a traditional hanbok; and unfortunately, it still wrinkles so I rarely wear it.

    I think it is so sad that hanboks (at least for women) aren't worn more often. They're so pretty. If they were made out of easy-care, casual fabrics, and were no longer then calf-length, they could totally work in today's world. I would wear them to work or church.
    But I know this may not be a normal point of view because I wears skirts and dresses all the time, so I think they are extremely comfortable. I also find modern western clothing incredibly boring. I love historical fashion.

  2. have you looked at the improved hanbok from mipull.com or toin369.co.kr?

  3. I hadn't. They look nice. I wish I knew enough Korean to properly browse. (It's hard for me to navigate with a shade above no Korean)

  4. not missing that much I think If you are just looking.

  5. Usually traditional hanboks are custom made. You choose the fabric you want and they take your measurements. I think that hanboks and kimonos fit all body types but they usually look better if you have narrow shoulders and small boobs. :P

  6. I've worn both. Hanboks are definitely easier to wear than kimonos. There are kimono schools because wearing a kimono properly and tying the obi is such a complicated process. I learned how from a family friend but promptly forgot everything when I didn't wear one for a year or two.
    Hanboks are pretty simple to wear.
    I find both beautiful but just too impractical to wear often. But there is something very graceful about women who are used to wearing and moving in a kimono because the structure of kimonos for women forces you to move, walk and sit in a certain way.

  7. Forgot to add I love hanboks but I wouldn't dream of wearing one as a halloween costume. The photo studios in Korea where you can try different hanboks and have your picture taken seem fun though

  8. As someone who works with fiber and knitwear, I know designers who utilize Japanese kimono details in their designs because Japanese knitting patterns and stitch dictionaries are readily available. From your descriptions, there doesn't appear to be this "sideways entrance" into utilizing portions of hanbok design into other areas of fashion design. I am surprised that designers don't incorporate the ladies hanbok top design into a jacket format, though. It's very cute.

  9. This post makes me sad. You sound so tired and annoyed with the inconvenience of hanboks.

    Maybe I just lack enough background. Most of what I know is from watching kdramas and reading up blogs and sites about Korean culture. But I think hanboks are beautiful. The only thing stopping me from wearing one is there's no opportunity to wear them. That could be one of the reasons you don't see them much in Korea.

    Hanboks aren't "primitive" just because they lack zippers or buttons. Unless you also mean kimonos are primitive. Or one piece dresses are primitive.

    I think what you mean is they're old-fashioned.

    Fashion and Westernization play a role in the decline of hanboks. The thing about fashion is people want to look different, but not THAT different. So when people had increasing access to to Western shows and magazines, they wanted to try that look too. It made them look different and special BUT not "ugly" or weird (since they already see their favorite actresses wearing said Western style). Eventually hanbok became associated with stuffy traditional stuff and people who hated change.

    That's just my guess based on what's happening in other cultures as well. You'll find the younger generation more and more foregoing the "old" dress and copying what they see in movies. (And the same is happening in the West. Now you have Americans and Europeans wanting to try Japanese or Korean food and clothes.)

    Anyway, back to my point. Which is that, I think the main reason hanboks (and other traditional costumes) are declining in Korea is because (1) they're being increasingly associated with and limited to formal occassions and (2) people wanting to try out "the new".

    So, uhm, yes. I think hanboks are beautiful and I'd love to wear them and am a bit sad that Koreans don't appreciate them anymore.

  10. This may not be easily glimpsed via #Kdrama but Hanboks are primitive like old 300 year old houses are primitive. You may like how they look but they are a pain to live in without major modernization.

    And kimonos are highly primitive in terms of garment technology. They may be stylish but highly inefficient in mobility. Also uses extremely more fabric to do the same job as modern garments.

    There are practical reasons for old stuff and practices dying off like a horse carriage. It is primitive and no longer have a practical place in modern society. The only real place is as a cultural artifact or as theatric purposes.

    Victorian clothes are great to look at but I will not wear braces and a top hat in daily life.

  11. I count the "modernized hanboks" as hanbok still. They can be adapted to modern styles and I still don't see them as primitive.

    Maybe you're talking from a man's standpoint. But women's fashion is... let's just say mobility and practicality aren't a priority even nowadays. At least not in those occasions where hanbok or modern style clothes can be worn (like weddings or award ceremonies).

  12. I bought it used off of ebay, so it wasn't made for me. That was the main thing. Unfortunately, I think my chest would cause most traditional hanboks (and maybe kimonos - never had the opportunity to wear one) to be unflattering on me. (I'm a tad too top-heavy for my taste).

  13. I think sari's are the same way. Regular wearers just seem more graceful.