Hello again, fellow Trazers!
Hello again, fellow Trazers! I’m a member of Trazy crew back again with a travel review, this time about my experience renting a Hanbok for one day at 3355 in Gyeongbokgung! Though I am Korean, the last time I wore Hanbok was over 10 years ago and I remember not enjoying it. I am someone who values comfort over anything, so I don’t enjoy wearing clothes that require a lot of maintenance and care.However, I’ve always loved the look of Hanbok and I had never properly toured Gyeongbokgung either, so when 3355 reached out and offered a Hanbok rental experience at their Gyeongbokgung branch, I said yes. The store is conveniently located within walking distance of Anguk Station near Gyeongbokgung Palace. For details and directions, click here.
In case you aren’t familiar with Hanbok, it is traditional Korean attire, part of the country’s national history and cultural heritage that has been handed down over generations. Dating back to the Three Kingdom’s Period (57 B.C – 668 A.D), the type and color of Hanbok would differ according to the season and the person’s gender, class, profession, or social status.
For example, members of the high social class wore silk and satin Hanbok while commoners wore Hanboks made of cotton . Those of a lower class who performed manual labor would usually wear a shorter top with wider sleeves to maximize comfort when working.
Hanbok used to be worn almost all the time whereas now, people usually wear them for occasions such as weddings, memorial services, birthdays or funerals.
However, it is recently gaining popularity again as many designers have altered Hanbok for everyday wear with traditional elements still remaining in the garment but with a more modern feel, getting rid of the notion that Hanbok can only be worn during special occasions.
Features of Hanbok
Hanbok consists of straight and curved lines, which give it an attractive flow representative of a uniquely korean aesthetic. It is also not meant to be tight-fitting and should instead give unrestrained movement to the body.
Women’s Hanbok consists of a short jacket called ‘jeogori’ (pictured above) which makes the upper body look very small, paired with a full skirt called ‘chima.’ The wide sleeves of the jeogori and flexible wide chima make the wearer look graceful, hiding the movements of the lower body which make the wearer appear to be floating on air.
The open arms of the jeogori have been said to represent warmth and embrace of the Korean people while the wide and voluminous skirts symbolize space and freedom.
For males, Hanbok is composed of trousers called ‘baji’, jeogori, a sleeveless top called ‘baeja’, vest called ‘jokki’, and an overcoat called ‘durumagi.’
For children,newborn babies wear a white ‘baenaet jeogori’ wishing for his or her health and longevity. Babies will also wear clothes made out of 100 pieces of cloth or quilts to celebrate their hundred days after being born. ‘Dolboks’ have multi-colored sleeves representing the wish for the wearer’s health and luck, ‘dol’ signifying a baby’s first birthday.
Symbolism of Colors and Designs
Colors of Hanbok are decided according to the “five colors theory”, which refers to the theory of the yin and yang and five elements. They are colored using natural dyes, which give them the depth and richness that cannot be achieved with artificial dyes.
Did you know that the colors of Hanbok all have different meanings? For example, red symbolizes good fortune and wealth, black symbolizes infinity, yellow represents the center of the universe and white is associated with purity and modesty. Gold used to be a color that the general public could not wear, as it was only for royalty.
Certain designs and patterns also represented the social ranking of the wearer. Lotus flowers signified a wish for nobility while peonies represented wishes for honor and wealth. For royalty figures and high-ranking officials, designs of dragons, phoenixes, cranes, and tigers were commonly used.
3355 Hanbok Rental Store
Now that you’ve learned a bit about Hanbok, let’s get onto the actual rental experience!
3355 (pronounced ‘Sam-Sam-O-O’) is a Hanbok rental store with locations in Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village. Here you can rent a Hanbok for a whole day for 30,000 ~ 50,000 KRW, depending on the style you choose. You can also enter Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is very close to the store for free if you wear Hanbok.
* The store opens at 9am and closes at 6pm, so the Hanbok must be returned before then, otherwise you will be charged 10,000 KRW per hour!
I went to the store at around 10am expecting it to be almost empty but I was surprised to see how crowded it already was! The customers were mainly comprised of foreign tourists, which made me realize how much popularity Hanbok has gained all over the world, probably mainly from its depiction in dramas and the media.
The store was spacious and clean, with interior that reminded me of a Korean traditional house – the wood floors, calligraphy writing on the pillars, and traditional paintings of birds and scenery on the walls.There was also an area with dressing tables full of hair accessories and shelves with purses to go with the Hanbok. Two large fitting rooms were also located behind a screen door.
There about 600 Hanboks in the store of all different colors and sizes with several employees ready to help you out with fitting. Here is the user guide. The Hanboks are categorized into four groups from A to D. They are as follows:
|Premium line of female Hanboks that are of the highest quality.||
|The most popular line of Hanboks for both females and males.||
|Graceful and elegant line of Hanboks that are also affordable.||
|Children’s Hanboks for ages 1~7.||
There were many different types of Hanbok such as traditional ones where the jeogori is longer with wider sleeves, modernized ones with shorter lengths and narrower sleeves, as well as male and children’s Hanbok.There were even modernized versions which have recently become very popular, which tie in the traditional designs and colors but are more simplistic, making the Hanbok more subtle and wearable.
I felt like a kid in a candy store as I tried to pick out one to wear. Whenever I thought I’d found ‘the one’, I would fall in love with another one on the rack. The Hanboks were all in great condition as they are dry cleaned as soon as they are returned, ready for the next customer to wear.
If you aren’t sure about what kind of Hanbok you want or want recommendations, ask the staff as they will help you out. Eventually, I managed to narrow it down to two – both of which were red (for good fortune and wealth! And also because I wanted to look fierce and a bit aggressive and felt like red connoted that……)
The flowers on the Hanbok on the left sold me, so I ended up choosing that one.
Try it on to see how it looks
Be aware that you can only try on one Hanbok, so choose wisely! An additional fitting will cost 5,000 KRW.
This is because of all steps involved in putting on the Hanbok as well as the pinning and styling that the staff do for you to ensure the best fit. You also don’t want to be dashing in and out of the fitting rooms and hogging them especially when the store is very crowded.
The staff were extremely helpful and kind, explaining all the steps involved in putting on the Hanbok and expertly pinning and securing areas so that I would get a customized fit.
*If anything is too tight, loose, long or short, tell the staff! You do not want to be walking around all day tripping over your skirt. There are also additional charges if you damage your Hanbok or make it dirty so be careful.
Once you have your Hanbok on, it’s time to accessorize! Pick out a complimentary purse to go with your Hanbok from the shelf.I chose a silver one to complement the red and stored the valuables I wanted to take around with me inside.You can also choose to get your hair styled for an additional 5,000 KRW to complete your look.I had my hair braided and secured with a cute flower in the middle. Additionally, there were many accessories to choose from with an additional charge such as ‘norigae‘(hung from the coat strings or skirt for a more luxurious look), ‘daenggi‘(traditional ribbon made of cloth to tie and decorate braided hair), and ‘binyeo‘(rod-like hairpin used to fasten a crown or wig and hold braided hair up). There were also traditional hats and crowns to really make it look like you are from the Joseon Dynasty!
There are shoes for men and women that you can wear with your Hanbok as well! I opted for a pair of white shoes with a chunky heel, thinking that the extra height would prevent me from tripping over the hem of my Hanbok. It sure did help with that, but my feet were in pain by the end so I would recommend wearing a comfortable pair of shoes.
Final step before heading out to show off your Hanbok is so store your belongings. You will be given a black tote bag to put your bag and clothes into. Simply give this bag to the staff at the reception area. You will then receive a slip of paper where you will write your name and phone number. Give this slip and your belongings to them and keep the receipt they give you. You will need it when you come back later so don’t lose it!
Show off your Hanbok!
Andddddd that’s it! You are now free to explore Gyeongbokgung Palace or simply walk around Seoul taking lots of pictures wearing your Hanbok!
I highly recommend the 3355 Hanbok Rental Store as the facilities are clean and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The varieties of Hanbok available here are also awesome that you’re bound to have a hard time picking just one to wear. I also really like how they don’t charge by the hour, so if you arrive early in the morning, you can wear the Hanbok all day!
Stay tuned for next week’s post, which will be about the spots that I visited in Gyeongbokgung Palace wearing my Hanbok! Finally, don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 travel shop for more travel reviews and up-to-date information on fun things to do in Korea!