Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shopping for hanbok

Koreans and Japanese spend plenty of time pointing out their differences, but when it comes to traditional clothing, or at least what they call traditional clothing, both cultures keep it very simple. The Japanese have the kimono, which literally means "thing to wear". In Korea, the typically bright, flowing traditional attire is called hanbok, or "Korean clothing". Several weeks ahead of Chuseok, Korea's annual harvest festival, big box retailers and department stores started stocking racks and racks of low-priced hanbok. These days, it's mostly kids who wear hanbok for holidays, but newlyweds also wear the attire during the first major holiday after their wedding. I also noticed several elderly folks donning the traditional garb last weekend. I recently accompanied Sophia on a mission to purchase a hanbok for a four year-old American boy. For a variety of options and high quality, we headed to a group of hanbok stores in Yeongdeungpo.

One of the shop owners told us a high quality hanbok for adults averages $700. Most Korean couples wear hanbok for the traditional portion of their wedding ceremony.

I made the mistake of telling Sophia I didn't think an American boy would be too enthusiastic about pink pants, although Korean men are more than comfortable wearing hanbok in bright pastels. She clearly wasn't thrilled about my suggestion of above option due to its more masculine colors.

Sophia at the height of frustration. We eventually agreed on some bright blue pants.

Traditional food among traditional textiles


Michelle said...

Hi Abbey,
All those Hanbok really look nice and beautiful especially the colour of the fabric.. How much does a hanbok cost (in Korean Won)? What is the BEST price?

Abby Rhodes said...

Hi, Michelle,

I love all the bright colors, too! I'm hoping to at least try a hanbok on and take a photo before I leave Korea. Adult Hanbok prices start around 300,000 Korean won and go up from there. The nicest ones are millions of won.

Thanks for commenting!

Jeff said...

Hi Abby,
I haven't checked your blog in a few weeks. Said 4 year old boy received the Hanbok in time for Chuseok. Did Sophia show you the picture?

Ginno said...

Can I find a cheap hanbok, which probably costs $50 ?

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