Winter is Coming… to South Korea

I hope you all appreciate my Game of Thrones quote; I thought it was quite clever. Anyways, the end of November is here and in South Korea that means that Winter is quickly approaching, as well as the cold winter temperatures. Before leaving Florida I was informed of South Korea’s cold temperatures but feel that I was misinformed. I’ve learned that winter in South Korea begins in December; however, the temperature begins to change in the middle of October. I came to South Korea knowing that I would experience summer, fall, and brief winter temperatures, but seeing that it began to grow much, much colder in the middle of October I realized that I would not have enough clothes to combat the cold. So, I have been picking up random articles of clothing for winter that catch my eye or that I feel I will need to be able to survive in relative warmth until the end of December.

One thing that I love about Korea is that you can buy almost anything on the street or subway. There are street shops everywhere and the owners of the shops are very willing to sell you their products. In most places you can find clothing for all seasons for cheap prices. Last week I bought a beanie for 5 dollars; one that looked similar in color, shape, and quality to a beanie I saw in a department store (that was also triple the price). You can find beanies, gloves, scarves, winter shorts/skirts, pajamas, hoodies, and occasionally coats for as cheap as 5, 10, 15, or 20 dollars. I have noticed though that the clothes bought on the street, though they are cheap in price they are relatively good quality, do not hold up as well as clothes I have bought in actual stores. (I washed a shirt I bought from a street vendor and after three wears the seam started to unravel). You get what you pay for I suppose but I think it is still worth it since it is so cheap, and I’m only here for four months time.

If shopping among the street vendors is not your thing, the clothing doesn’t match your style, or you want something of a higher quality that won’t tear down as easily then be happy to know that there are department stores all over Seoul. There are department stores such as Hyundai close to Yonsei Campus and the clothing there is priced much as it would be back home for name brand clothing. South Korea also has several foreign brand name stores around Seoul such as: Forever21, H&M, and Dickies (as well as a few others). The clothing in the American brand stores are also reasonably priced and similar to ones you would find back home.

I’ve shopped in some of the American brand clothing stores here as I find the American style more appealing than Korean fashion style for women. The Korean womens’ fashion style often features lace, tights, polka-dots, fake fur, and generally a very, very feminine styles, which I do not feel fits my particular style. I have observed Korean women walking to school in 5 or 6 inch heels, fancy dresses, and the works and while I like the more feminine style I just don’t feel it is appropriate for a student (maybe it is the American mindset to need an event or some reason to get THAT dressed up). As for styles, you will see many people who are all expressing a sense of collectivism in that they will wear the same styles that are dignified as ‘in’, the hip-hop style is also very popular here, but overall there are many funky and uniquely styled clothing that one can find to express ones’ own personality or style.

So, if you are coming to Korea you have two choices: either pack enough clothing for the entire time you are here or just buy clothing once you arrive. I will give one warning though, finding clothing that fits can be a problem if you are too tall or over weight. (I am 5’2” and 117 pounds and still had a hard time finding pants or shorts to wear). You may want to be selective and bring your own pants or shorts or skirts but purchase shirts here if you having a liking for the Korean fashion style.


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