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What not to wear in Korea?


Korean fashion is known for its unique style and trends. However, there are some things that you should avoid wearing if you want to blend in with the locals. In this article, we will discuss what not to wear in Korea and why it’s important to be mindful of your clothing choices.

Avoid revealing clothing

Korean culture is conservative when it comes to clothing, and revealing clothes are generally frowned upon. It’s best to avoid showing too much skin, especially in public places like temples or traditional markets. This includes short shorts, crop tops, and low-cut tops.

Avoid wearing shoes indoors

In Korea, it’s customary to take off your shoes before entering a home or certain businesses like restaurants. Wearing shoes indoors is considered unclean and disrespectful. Make sure to bring clean socks or slippers with you if you plan on visiting someone’s home or certain establishments.

Avoid excessive makeup

Korean makeup trends are known for their natural and subtle look. If you’re planning on visiting Korea, it’s best to leave behind the heavy makeup and bold lipstick shades. Opt for a more natural look that complements your features.

Avoid excessive jewelry

While jewelry can be a great accessory to any outfit, it’s important to not go overboard when in Korea. Wearing excessive jewelry can be seen as flashy and ostentatious, which is not a desirable trait in Korean culture.

Avoid graphic tees

Graphic tees with bold slogans or designs are not common in Korean fashion. It’s best to stick with simple solid colors or patterns when picking out your outfits.

Avoid wearing black during certain occasions

In Korea, black is traditionally worn during funerals or mourning periods. It’s best to avoid wearing all black during joyful occasions like weddings or parties.

Avoid excessive perfume or cologne

Koreans are known for their sensitivity to smells, so it’s important to not overdo it with your scent. Opt for a light and subtle fragrance when visiting Korea.

Avoid wearing traditional Korean hanbok inappropriately

The hanbok is a traditional Korean dress that is worn during special occasions like weddings or traditional events. It’s important to wear it appropriately and not as a costume or for fun. This can be seen as disrespectful.

Avoid wearing hats indoors

Wearing hats indoors is generally seen as impolite in Korea. It’s best to take off your hat when entering someone’s home or certain establishments like restaurants.

Avoid wearing ripped or torn clothing

Ripped or torn clothing is not seen as fashionable in Korean culture. It’s best to avoid wearing clothes that have holes in them, especially if you’re traveling for business or attending formal events.

Avoid wearing overly casual clothing to formal events

Koreans take their formal events seriously, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Avoid wearing overly casual clothing like t-shirts and sneakers to weddings or business meetings. Opt for more formal attire like suits or dresses.


Being mindful of what you wear in Korea can help you blend in with the locals and show respect for their culture. By avoiding revealing clothing, excessive makeup and jewelry, and inappropriate attire, you’ll be able to enjoy your time in Korea while staying respectful of their traditions.

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

When dining at floor-style restaurants, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting pants or skirts for modesty. At the beach, local women tend to wear shorts and t-shirts instead of swimsuits. It is suggested to avoid wearing a bikini in non-touristy beach areas and opt for a one-piece swimsuit and a sarong instead.

Is it OK to wear leggings in Korea?

In Korea, it is not recommended to wear leggings in public as it may cause unwanted attention. If you wear leggings to work or school, people may stare at you and consider your outfit to be inappropriate.

What are the don’ts in Korea?

It is important to recognize and respect the unique qualities and differences of Korean culture and language, without comparing them to other East Asian cultures like Japan. It is also important to avoid showing anger or emotional outbursts during heated discussions or interactions.

Is it rude to not wear makeup in Korea?

In many traditional South Korean circles, how one looks is not just a form of self-expression, but also reflects what is deemed feminine and suitable. Not wearing makeup when going out, for instance, is seen as impolite.

Can you wear white in Korea?

In Korean culture, the color white has long been highly regarded and favored for clothing. The color symbolizes values such as simplicity, austerity, melancholy, resistance to corruption, and the pursuit of purity.

Do people wear jeans in Korea?

Korean men share the same fondness for ripped jeans as Korean women do. By pairing ripped jeans with a simple t-shirt, a fitted long-sleeved top or a sweater, they can create an effortlessly stylish look.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Korean fashion is constantly evolving and changing. Keeping up with the latest trends can help you fit in with the locals and avoid any fashion faux pas. One way to stay current with Korean fashion is to follow popular Korean fashion bloggers or influencers on social media.

It’s also worth noting that the dress code may vary depending on the occasion or location in Korea. For example, while revealing clothing may not be acceptable in traditional markets or temples, it may be more common in trendy areas like Gangnam. It’s always a good idea to do some research on the dress code for your specific destination before packing your bags.

Overall, being respectful of Korean culture and customs is key when it comes to fashion choices. By avoiding certain clothing items and following local norms, you’ll be able to enjoy your time in Korea and make positive connections with the locals.

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