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What clothes are not allowed in Korea?


In this article, we will explore the clothing restrictions that are enforced in Korea. Many travelers may not be aware of the cultural norms and regulations regarding dress code in Korea. Understanding and adhering to these rules will help visitors to better respect the local culture and avoid any unwanted attention or misunderstandings.

Traditional Korean Attire

Traditional Korean attire, known as hanbok, is highly respected in Korea. It is usually worn for special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and ceremonies. Visitors are welcome to wear hanbok, but it is important to wear it properly and respectfully.


Korea has strict rules regarding beachwear. Bikinis and other revealing clothing are not allowed on many beaches in Korea. Instead, visitors are encouraged to wear modest swimwear such as one-piece swimsuits or rash guards.


While tattoos are becoming more popular in Korea, they are still stigmatized and often associated with gang culture. Visitors with visible tattoos may encounter some negative reactions, especially in more conservative areas.

Casual Wear

Koreans tend to dress conservatively, even in casual settings. Shorts that are too short or revealing tops may attract unwanted attention or offend locals. It is best to err on the side of caution and dress modestly in public.


Shoes are considered dirty in Korean culture, so it is customary to remove them before entering homes, temples, or other sacred places. Visitors should bring socks or slippers to wear indoors and avoid wearing shoes that are dirty or worn out.

Fur Clothing

Fur clothing is not widely accepted in Korea, as many Koreans value animal rights and consider fur to be cruel and unethical. Visitors should avoid wearing fur clothing, especially in public places.

Political Clothing

Political clothing or accessories, such as hats or t-shirts with slogans or symbols, are not allowed in Korea. This is because political demonstrations and activities are heavily regulated in Korea.

Cultural Appropriation

Korea has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should be mindful of appropriating traditional Korean dress or accessories. Wearing hanbok respectfully is fine, but visitors should avoid wearing traditional Korean clothing as a costume or for entertainment purposes.

Religious Clothing

Korea is a largely secular country, but religious clothing may still be restricted in certain areas. Visitors should be aware of any dress codes or regulations when entering religious sites, such as temples or churches.

Public Nudity

Public nudity is strictly prohibited in Korea. Visitors should avoid changing clothes or exposing themselves in public areas, even at beaches or swimming pools.


Visitors to Korea should be mindful of the cultural norms and regulations regarding dress code. Dressing modestly and respectfully will help visitors to better appreciate the local culture and avoid any unwanted attention or misunderstandings. By following these rules, visitors can enjoy a more positive and respectful travel experience in Korea.

What to wear and what not to wear in Korea?

It is recommended to avoid wearing tops that expose the shoulders, stomach or have a low-cut neckline. Although cold shoulder, off-shoulder and crop tops are becoming trendy among young Korean women, it is advisable to limit the use of tank tops in your wardrobe while in Korea.

Is it OK to wear leggings in Korea?

It is not recommended to wear leggings in public in Korea, as it may draw unwelcome attention. Wearing leggings at work or school may also be deemed inappropriate and cause others to stare or judge your outfit.

Can you wear skirts in Korea?

Just like jeans, skirts are a clothing item that anyone can wear regardless of their gender or body type.

Do you have to dress modestly in Korea?

Koreans value qualities such as hard work, respect for one’s parents, and humility. However, due to traditional values regarding filial piety and gender roles, certain etiquette expectations only apply to women in South Korea. For instance, women are expected to dress modestly and avoid form-fitting or revealing clothing.

What items are restricted into Korea?

Illegal substances such as opium, marijuana, and cocaine, as well as other prohibited items like medicines, animal products (such as ivory), and certain types of financial instruments (such as cashier’s checks) are not permitted.

Does Korea have a dress code?

Keep in mind that the country has conservative standards, so it’s best to avoid revealing clothing such as cleavage and exposed shoulders. If you wear a short skirt, it’s recommended to follow local custom and bring a pashmina or wrap to cover your knees while seated. In restaurants with floor seating, it’s appropriate to wear longer, loose skirts or pants for modesty.

Business Attire

In Korea, business attire is typically formal and conservative. Men are expected to wear dark suits with ties, while women are expected to wear modest dresses or suits. It is important to look professional in business settings, as appearance is highly valued in Korean culture.

Clothing for Seasons

Korea experiences all four seasons, ranging from hot summers to cold winters. Visitors should consider the weather when packing for their trip and bring appropriate clothing such as a coat or umbrella during rainy seasons. In winter, it is common to wear thick coats, hats, and gloves to stay warm.

Casual Footwear

Sneakers or comfortable shoes are appropriate for casual outings and sightseeing in Korea. However, it is important to avoid wearing flip-flops or sandals, as they are not considered appropriate footwear in Korean culture.

Wedding Attire

When attending a wedding in Korea, guests are expected to dress formally and conservatively. Women should wear dresses that cover their shoulders and knees, while men should wear dark suits and ties. It is also common for guests to wear hanbok to weddings.

Cultural Sensitivity

Visitors to Korea should be aware of cultural sensitivity regarding dress code. For example, it is considered disrespectful to wear shoes inside traditional Korean houses or temples. Visitors should also avoid wearing clothing with offensive graphics or language.

Shopping for Clothing

Korea is known for its fashion industry and visitors may be interested in shopping for clothes during their trip. In Seoul, there are many shopping districts such as Myeong-dong and Gangnam where visitors can find trendy clothing at affordable prices. Visitors should also be aware of the sizing differences in Korea compared to their home country.


Overall, visitors to Korea should be aware of the cultural norms and regulations regarding dress code. By dressing modestly and respectfully, visitors can show respect for local culture and avoid any misunderstandings or unwanted attention. Additionally, visitors should consider the weather and appropriate clothing for different occasions such as weddings or business meetings.

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