Although many people admire hanbok or traditional Korean dress for its beauty, it is not the most convenient attire. Hanbok is an outfit for a special occasion like weddings or traditional feast days, so it is best chosen carefully. Color is one of the most decisive factors people consider when they choose their hanbok.
Generally classic or natural colors that defy the trends are more popular, because hanbok is expensive and has to last a few seasons.
Natural colors also tend to go better with Asian skin tones than vivid colors. One designer for a company of hanbok rentals says earth tones like khaki, bronze and amber will be in vogue this fall. These colors are elegant and versatile and look good on anyone.
Classical patterns such as flowers and butterflies are often used to decorate the hemline. Rather than subtly decorative handmade embroidery, this season sees flamboyant gold or silver patterns.
Ramie fabric is often used for summer hanbok, and quilted silk for winter, but the distinction has become blurred over the years. As hanbok is getting simpler and modified for convenience, synthetic fabrics that feel like silk but are much easier to look after are used more often these days.
Newlyweds may want to match their looks using the same fabric for men's pants and women's skirts. Choosing similar colors -- for example, light brown for the man and ivory for the woman -- can be another way of showing how devoted couples are to one another.
Middle-aged couples, however, are better advised to choose colors that match their own complexion, combining darker colors such as grey and navy for a dignified look. For children, any color will do, be it bright or dark. Traditional "saekdong" or multicolored stripe pattern can also be a good idea.
But the final decider is the price tag, which can discourage first-time buyers. Hanbok is often tailored and a lot of fabric is used to make one outfit, and prices differ greatly depending on the type of material used. This has caused many young people to rent rather than buy their festive outfit.