The traditional Korea dress, which is known as hanbok (한복, 韩服) has been worn since ancient times. The hanbok consists of a shirt (jeogori) and a skirt (baji). The traditional hat is called gwanmo and special meaning is attached to this piece of clothing.
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There is a strict social status in South Korea, so clothes used to be dressed differently, making clothing as an important mark of social rank. Impressive, but sometimes cumbersome, costumes were worn by the ruling class and the royal family. These upper classes also used jewelry to distance themselves from the ordinary people.
A traditional item of jewelry for women was a pendant in the shape of certain elements of nature which was made of precious gemstones, to which a tassel of silk was connected. Common people were often restricted to un-dyed plain clothes.
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This daily dress underwent relatively few changes during the Joseon period. The basic daily dress was shared by everyone, but distinctions were drawn in official and ceremonial clothes. During the winter people wore cotton-wadded dresses. Fur was also common.
Because ordinary people normally wore pure white undyed materials, the people were sometimes referred to as the white-clad people. Hanbok are classified according to their purposes: daily dress, ceremonial dress and special dress.
Ceremonial dresses are worn on formal occasions, including a child’s first birthday (doljanchi), a wedding or a funeral. Special dresses are made for purposes such as shamans, officials.
Today the hanbok is still worn during formal occasions. The everyday use of the dress, however, has been lost. However, elderly still dress in hanbok as well as active estates of the remnant of aristocratic families from the Joseon Dynasty.
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