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How should I dress in Seoul?

Introduction

In this article, we will discuss how to dress in Seoul, South Korea. As a vibrant and modern city, Seoul has its own unique fashion sense that can be both exciting and daunting for visitors. Understanding the expectations and trends in clothing can help you blend in and feel confident while exploring this fascinating city.

Climate & Seasonal Considerations

The climate in Seoul can vary greatly depending on the season. Winters are cold and dry, while summers are hot and humid. It is important to consider the weather when packing for your trip. For example, in the winter, you will need heavy coats, boots, and warm accessories like gloves and hats. In the summer, you may want to wear light and breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.

Dress Code Expectations

Seoul is a modern city that values style and fashion. However, it is also a conservative society with strict social norms. Dressing appropriately is important for both locals and visitors. In general, it is best to avoid revealing clothing or anything too flashy or attention-grabbing.

Casual Attire

For a casual day out in Seoul, comfortable clothing like jeans or leggings paired with a sweater or t-shirt is appropriate. Sneakers or comfortable shoes are also recommended since walking is common in this city.

Formal Attire

If you plan on attending formal events or business meetings, it is important to dress appropriately. Men should wear a suit and tie, while women should opt for a dress or skirt suit.

Nightlife Attire

Seoul has a vibrant nightlife scene, so if you plan on going out at night, it is important to dress accordingly. Women often wear dresses or skirts with heels while men typically wear button-down shirts with dress shoes.

Traditional Clothing

For a unique cultural experience, visitors can try wearing traditional Korean clothing like the hanbok. These colorful and elegant garments can be rented at various locations around Seoul.

Accessories & Jewelry

Accessories and jewelry are an important part of Seoul’s fashion culture. However, it is important to not go overboard and keep it simple. A small necklace or bracelet paired with simple earrings or a watch is appropriate for both men and women.

Hairstyles & Makeup

Hairstyles and makeup are also important factors in Seoul’s fashion culture. Women often wear natural-looking makeup with a focus on dewy skin and subtle eye makeup. Hairstyles can range from short and edgy to long and layered.

Shopping in Seoul

Seoul is known for its fashion and shopping districts. Visitors can find everything from streetwear to luxury brands. It is important to bring comfortable shoes as shopping can involve a lot of walking.

Conclusion

Dressing appropriately in Seoul can be both exciting and challenging. By understanding the local expectations and trends, visitors can feel confident while exploring this vibrant city. Remember to consider the climate, dress code expectations, and cultural norms when packing for your trip.

What is appropriate to wear in South Korea?

We recommend wearing a one-piece swimsuit with a sarong instead of a bikini unless you are in a tourist beach area. Loose-fitting pants or a skirt are good options for staying cool and protecting yourself from the sun. Wearing a loose cotton shirt is also helpful. If you are here for business, opt for a skirt-suit (not too short) with heels.

What to wear and what not to wear in Korea?

To be culturally appropriate in Korea, it is recommended to avoid wearing tops that reveal too much skin, such as low-cut or shoulder-baring tops. Although styles like cold shoulder and crop tops are becoming more popular among Korean women, it’s advisable to limit the amount of skin exposure in your wardrobe, especially when it comes to tank tops.

Is it OK to wear leggings in Korea?

Wearing leggings in public in Korea is not recommended as it may lead to unwanted attention. If worn to work or school, people may stare and consider it inappropriate attire. This advice has been shared since February 5th, 2023.

Do you have to dress modestly in Korea?

Koreans value traits like hard work, respect for parents, and humility. However, due to cultural norms and gender roles in South Korea, there may be certain etiquette rules that apply specifically to women. For example, women are expected to dress modestly and avoid clothes that are tight or revealing.

Can you wear shorts in Seoul?

It is acceptable to wear short skirts, dresses and shorts without it being viewed as inappropriate. However, it is important to be mindful of the length of your bottoms, especially if you plan on visiting a more traditional restaurant.

What are the don’ts in Korea?

It is important not to compare Korean culture or language to that of Japan, as Korea should be recognized for its unique characteristics and differences from other East Asian cultures. It is also important to avoid showing anger or distress in heated situations or emotional outbursts.

Etiquette

When it comes to dressing in Seoul, it’s not just about what you wear, but also how you wear it. Koreans place a lot of importance on etiquette and manners, and dressing appropriately is part of that. It’s important to dress modestly and avoid anything too revealing or provocative, especially in more traditional settings. Additionally, it’s important to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home or certain public spaces like temples.

Street Style

Seoul is known for its vibrant street style and fashion culture. Walking around popular areas like Gangnam or Hongdae, you’ll see people wearing everything from trendy streetwear to unique vintage finds. If you’re interested in street style, try exploring some of the city’s markets or thrift shops where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces.

Korean Fashion Brands

There are many Korean fashion brands that are popular both locally and internationally. Some of the most well-known brands include Gentle Monster, Stylenanda, and Ader Error. These brands often have flagship stores in Seoul, and visiting them can be a fun way to experience the city’s fashion culture.

Beauty Standards

In addition to fashion, beauty standards are also an important part of Korean culture. Korean beauty products and skincare routines have gained global popularity in recent years. Additionally, there are certain beauty standards that Koreans value such as having clear skin, double eyelids, and a V-shaped face. While it’s not necessary to conform to these standards as a visitor, it’s interesting to learn about them and see how they influence fashion and beauty trends in Seoul.

Conclusion

Dressing in Seoul can be both fun and challenging, but by taking into account the weather, cultural norms, and local fashion trends, you can blend in while feeling comfortable and stylish. Whether you’re interested in street style, high-end fashion, or traditional clothing, Seoul has something for everyone.

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