All Dressed Up for the Palace

One major aspect of the aesthetic of a hanbok is the concept of “reserved beauty.” Hanbok’s layers avoided showing too much skin but still revealed the shape of the female body. The garment focused on crisp lines, simple patterns and harmonious colors as well as the flow of the skirt and additional accessories. This came from the Confucian belief that females should never show their flesh. On special occassions, an upper-class woman would wear two kinds of underskirts to make her skirt more voluminous. 

Why does the community have this tradition?:

If you rent a hanbok and wear it to the palace, your admission fee is waived. Throughout my stay in Korea, I've noticed how Koreans are passionate about their own culture and are dedicated in preserving remnants of their history even with the changing times. The hanbok is also an attestment to that.

Like many other countries who adopted the modern and more practical style of dressing, Koreans also stopped wearing hanboks as daily wear about 100 years ago. However, Koreans still wear it on on special occasions such as weddings, a child’s first birthday, chuseok 추석 , or Korean Thanksgiving, seollal 설날, or Korean New Year and some anniversaries. I attended a Korean wedding and noticed that although the bride and groom wore a wedding dress and formal suit, their mothers wore hanboks. Although the hanbok has changed styles to accomodate modern times, I’m glad that Koreans continue to wear them. I found this surprising as I believe there are only a handful of countries whose citizens still continue to wear their traditional attire.