My Hanbok and I



This is me in hanbok 🙂  Hanbok is the traditional clothing worn by both women and men in Korea, usually on special occasions like New Year’s or Chusok, which is similar to Thanksgiving in the US.  

When I met with my mom last weekend, I asked her to bring it back with her.  It’s a little wrinkly because it has been in her attic for probably a couple of years now.  I was given this hanbok from the daughter of an elderly woman who passed away a few years ago.  I loved this little old woman like a grandmother.  She passed with such grace and I will never forget her sweet spirit.  I’m honored to keep this part of her.

I always wanted a hanbok since I started dating K.  I inherited this one before he could buy me one.  He was raised in a Korean household, but they were never big on traditional customs.  He hasn’t had his own hanbok since he was a child.  He probably thinks I’m weird for putting this on 😉

One day, I want to have one that is different colors on top and bottom.  Anyway, I took it out of it’s neatly wrapped silk package and made the attempt to put it on.  There are a lot of parts!  You can’t see it all, but beneath the outer layer is two other layers of undergarments and a petticoat.  It’s fun to wear though.  I feel like a princess.  I never have an occasion to wear it, so I thought I’d just put it on and have K take a picture of me.  He took a good 10 shots and this is the only one I’m satisfied with haha.  He doesn’t have the Megan touch when it comes to photography.

Let me introduce the basic parts of the hanbok.  The top part is called the Jeogori.  The big pretty bow is knows as the go-reum.  This is not easy to tie if you don’t know how.  I had to watch a video on Youtube to know what to tie it 🙂

The bottom part, or the skirt part, is called the chi-ma.  I honestly wasn’t sure how to wear this thing, so I tied the straps from the front to the back.  😉

Here are the accessories:



Of course Chester had to be in the picture.  He can’t leave anything alone 😉 The ornament is known as the norigae.  I turned my back for a second and Chester had the looped end in his mouth… I realize that the norigae was supposed to be on the opposite side of the bow now that I’m looking at other pictures.  Oh well, I wasn’t sure how to put it on anyway 😉 The socks are called beoseon.  My favorite part are the shoes, ggotshin.  They are so pretty and they look very cool when worn.  I just can’t wear these shoes because the size is too small.  She had small feet and mine are a  bit bigger 🙂  Finally, that’s a cute little handbag that came with it.  It has a name, but K doesn’t remember right now.

Well, this different from my usual posts, but I wanted to share a bit about a part of my life that I don’t share much about 🙂  That is, my life in a Korean and American household.

Thank you for reading!



52 thoughts on “My Hanbok and I

  1. Those shoes are adorable! I remember being in Hong Kong as a child and buying shoes and the lady serving me saying ‘you have such BIG feet!’. I have average feet where I come from but HUGE feet in Asia, it is just a race thing, Caucasians have big feet LOL

  2. That is very pretty. I also love the shoes! On a strange side note – you have natural beauty. Some people have to go to great lengths and expenses to obtain that. You got yours for free. 🙂 I bet wearing that made you even more excited about the possible move in the future.

    1. The shoes are my favorite part. When we get married, someday ;), I will wear a fusion hanbok, so it looks like a Western wedding dress and a traditional Korean dress. That’s not strange at all 🙂 I really appreciate that. You made my day!

  3. The Hanbok looks lovely on you especially with that beaming smile on your face. Wearing it shows the effort and interest you have in your boyfriend’s culture. You’re what I call an egg-white on the outside, yellow on the inside. I haven’t worn one in years, but what I remember is how scritchy it was and how the skirt band sits under your armpits and compresses your chest! But you look so pretty in it, it almost makes me want one again.

    1. Thank you so much! That’s really kind of you 🙂 I’ve heard the egg thing before, from my boyfriend if I recall. It’s not at all tight on me and it was made for a much smaller woman, so I imagine it must’ve been very loose on her!

  4. This brings back great memories – when I was a postdoc I worked with a Korean guest scholar, Chin Ok Lee (from the Civil Engineering faculty of Chungnam University). I spent a lot of time with him and his family, united by respect, fun, and the lack of a common language.

    My favorite memory is having laryngitis, and seeing him rush home, returning with a huge thermos of very strong, very hot ginseng tea. I had to drink it all, in front of him.

    Interesting experience. I thought my face would burn off. But it worked!

    1. This really made me laugh ; ) I know the tea you’re talking about! It is very strong. I hated it at first but now I swear by it. It always helps me get over a cold. Luckily I drank it the first time in front of my boyfriend. No worries about making horrified faces 🙂

  5. This is awesome! Foreign clothes are so neat, and since this one belonged to a person you cherished, it must be extra special to you 🙂 It’s probably even better than the Lolita fashion stuff ;-D

  6. I think K took a good picture of you. He should appreciate the fact that you try to learn as much about his country and its customs as you can. I think it is great that you try to make sure K gets to stick with his Korean upbringing thanks to you. 🙂

    1. After cropping and retouching, yes he did take a good picture 😉 Of the wall behind me…haha! He’s a cutie. I do try to learn about his culture and customs, but he himself doesn’t know a whole lot! His family is what I call modern and non-traditional. His mom rules the roost and he’s just had a unique upbringing. I’m forcing him to be more Korean 😉

  7. The hanbok looks so lovely on you. I am living in Korea at the moment, I see people wearing them on special occasions, especially weddings. They are all so beautiful. It\s a rare sight though. Many of my Korean friends are “non-traditional” as well and do not own them.

    1. I do have the traditional shoes and I love them so much! I wore them, but of course you can’t see them in the picture. They’re a tad too small for me, but I still think they’re beautiful 🙂

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