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What clothing is acceptable in Korea?


In Korea, clothing is an important aspect of the culture. It is believed that the way you dress represents your social status and personality. Understanding what clothing is acceptable in Korea is essential for anyone planning to visit or live in the country. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on what clothing is acceptable in Korea.

Traditional Korean Clothing

Traditionally, Koreans wore hanbok, a type of clothing that dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. Hanbok consists of a short jacket and wide pants for men, and a blouse and skirt for women. While it is not worn every day, it is still commonly worn during special occasions such as weddings, traditional holidays, and cultural events.

Business Attire

In Korea, business attire is conservative and formal. Men typically wear a suit and tie while women wear a blouse and skirt or pantsuit. It is important to avoid bright colors or flashy accessories in business settings.

Casual Wear

Koreans tend to dress casually but still put effort into their appearance. Jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers are popular among both men and women. However, ripped or distressed clothing is not typically seen as acceptable.


Footwear is important in Korea as it is customary to remove shoes before entering a home or certain establishments such as temples. As such, easily removable shoes such as slip-ons or sandals are popular choices.


Due to Korea’s cold winters, outerwear is a necessity. Puffer jackets or long coats are popular choices for both men and women. However, fur coats are not commonly seen due to animal rights concerns.


Accessories are a great way to add personality to an outfit, however, it’s important to avoid excessive or overly flashy accessories in Korea. Neutral and subtle accessories are more acceptable.


Korea has many beautiful beaches, but it’s important to note that revealing beachwear is not generally accepted. Women should avoid bikinis and instead opt for one-piece swimsuits or rash guards.

Cultural Sensitivity

It is important to be aware of cultural sensitivity when dressing in Korea. For example, wearing revealing clothing in temples or traditional villages is not appropriate. It’s important to dress modestly and respectfully in such environments.

Seasonal Trends

Koreans tend to be very fashion-forward and keep up with seasonal trends. In the summer, lightweight fabrics and bright colors are popular while in the winter, darker colors and heavy layering are more common.

Street Fashion

Korea is known for its unique and trendy street fashion scene. Many young people embrace bold prints, oversized clothing, and unique accessories. However, it’s important to remember that what is seen as fashionable may not always be acceptable in all settings.


In conclusion, understanding what clothing is acceptable in Korea is essential for anyone traveling or living in the country. While traditional clothing and conservative business attire are important, Koreans also embrace casual wear and trendy street fashion. By being aware of cultural sensitivity and dressing modestly, visitors can show respect for the local culture while still expressing their personal style.

What to wear and what not to wear in South Korea?

It is advised to refrain from wearing clothing that exposes the stomach, shoulders, or has a low-cut neckline. While cold shoulder, off-shoulder, and crop tops are becoming more popular among young Korean women, it is recommended to limit wearing tank tops in Korea.

Are there clothing restrictions in South Korea?

Unfortunately, it is advisable to avoid wearing tops that show cleavage, have thin spaghetti straps, or expose your back when visiting certain areas in Seoul. Although such clothing is more popular among the younger crowd in places like Hongdae, wearing these outfits elsewhere may attract unwanted negative attention.

What kind of clothes do people wear in South Korea?

Hanbok, Korea’s traditional clothing, has retained its fundamental traditional characteristics throughout Korea’s long history of 5000 years. However, its styles and designs have gone through various changes and transformations over time, reflecting the lifestyle, social circumstances, and aesthetic preferences of different eras.

Is it OK to wear leggings in Korea?

In Korea, wearing leggings in public is not generally accepted and may draw unwanted attention. If worn to work or school, others may give you disapproving looks and consider your attire inappropriate.

What not to wear in South Korea?

In South Korea’s urban areas, it is common for women to wear short-shorts and skirts. However, exposing shoulders and wearing low-cut tops is not accepted in many places. During hot summers, loose-fitting t-shirts are a better option than tank tops.

What items are restricted into Korea?

The list of illegal drugs includes substances like opium, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, and others. Additionally, prohibited items may include products made from animals like elephants, leopards, and alligators, such as medicines, handbags, wallets, stoles, taxidermy, and ivory. Certain forms of payment like cashier’s checks, overdraft checks, and postal money orders may also be prohibited.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has become increasingly popular in Korea, with many people opting to purchase clothing and accessories online. Popular Korean fashion brands such as Stylenanda, YesStyle, and Mixxmix offer a wide range of trendy clothing options that can be shipped worldwide. However, it’s important to check sizing charts and read reviews before making a purchase, as Korean sizes may differ from those in other countries.

Designer Brands

Korea is home to many luxury designer brands such as Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. These brands are popular among the wealthy and upper-class Koreans, who often dress in designer clothing for special events and occasions. While designer brands are not necessary for everyday wear, they are a status symbol for some Koreans.

K-Beauty Fashion

Korean beauty (K-beauty) has become popular worldwide in recent years, and this trend has also influenced Korean fashion. Many Korean fashion brands have started incorporating K-beauty elements into their clothing designs, such as ruffles, lace, and pastel colors. This style is often referred to as “K-beauty fashion” and is popular among young women in Korea.

Size Considerations

It’s important to note that sizes in Korea may differ from those in other countries. Koreans tend to have smaller body frames than Westerners, so it’s important to check sizing charts before purchasing clothing. Some brands may offer extended sizes, but it’s not always guaranteed. It’s also important to note that Korea has a culture of body shaming, so it’s essential to embrace one’s body regardless of size or shape.

Secondhand Clothing

Secondhand clothing shops have become increasingly popular in Korea due to their affordable prices and sustainable nature. Many young people opt to purchase secondhand clothing instead of new items, as it is seen as more environmentally friendly. Some popular secondhand clothing shops in Korea include Dore Dore and Vintage Hollywood.


Overall, fashion in Korea is a unique blend of traditional elements and modern trends. While business attire and traditional clothing are still important, casual wear and trendy street fashion have also become popular. It’s important to be aware of cultural sensitivity and dress modestly in certain environments, but also to embrace personal style and express oneself through fashion.

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