I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Shopping for hanbok September 12, 2007

Filed under: hanbok — Raven @ 9:25 am

For those who don’t know, hanbok (한복) is the Korean traditional costume, which women still wear occasionally, particularly for special occasions such as a funeral or their daughter’s engagement party (please note my knowledge of when hanbok is worn comes chiefly from watching kdramas). Recently I had the chance to visit a shop that sells hanbok in LA. It’s located on Eighth St. across from Dong Il Jang.


Of course, I knew there had to be places you could buy hanbok here, and I think there are actually quite a few shops that sell it, but this was the first time I’d noticed one. The shop wasn’t large, but it was brightly lit and showed off the various dresses nicely. I noticed mostly bright colors, didn’t see anything one would wear to a funeral. I admit I didn’t root through the racks in a big way, but everything I saw was stylish (er, if you can call something that’s centuries old stylish) and beautiful. There were some interesting color combinations, bright pinks paired with bright yellows, etc. You can see some of the shop’s offerings in the picture to the right.hanbok5.jpg

I was asked not to take pictures inside the shop, or rather I explained to the shopkeeper in English that I wanted to take pictures and blog about her shop, and she explained to me in Korean that she would rather I didn’t take any pictures. Yes, we understood each other. Don’t ask me how. Let’s just say I’m good at context clues and gestures are a godsend.

We weren’t the only customers in the shop. In addition to us, there was a bored young man who was there with a young woman who was trying on hanbok. I forget what colors she had chosen, but I know why she was there: I heard something in Korean about an engagement. He got away with taking pics of her on his camera phone. Maybe if I hadn’t asked for permission I would’ve had better luck picture-wise. No, then I probably would have gotten in trouble. Oh, well.

Now if only I could find an excuse to wear hanbok myself sometime…

P.S. I guess the place is called Kim Mi Hee’s Hanbok Shop, or at least I’m assuming 고전방 might translate as “hanbok shop” or “place to buy traditional clothes” or something like that. Like I said, it’s at 8th & Hobart across from Dong Il Jang (okay, I didn’t say it was at Hobart, but it is).


11 Responses to “Shopping for hanbok”

  1. Bon V. Says:

    I have to say that the fiancee looked very beautiful in her hanbok.

  2. Raven Says:

    I suspect it’s hard NOT to look beautiful in hanbok.

  3. wangkon936 Says:


    At my wedding, I’ll invite you so that will give you a chance to wear your Hanbok. BTW… you should include a picture of it (with out you in it) or just a body shot with you in it.

  4. Raven Says:


    I didn’t actually try anything on since I wasn’t buying it (yet anyway). If I had been, I would definitely include a pic.

  5. wangkon936 Says:

    The wedding thing was just a hypothetical… sorry!

    Although you would be a popular draw since you are NOT Korean and NOT an ajomma. I’m sure the Korean American girls would get a kick out of it too since they are more likely to be in Chanel or Prada, their hanboks, bought for them by their moms years ago, relegated to the closet.

  6. Raven Says:

    Damn! I was afraid you weren’t serious. 🙂

  7. Jim Melvin Says:

    I’m straying from your topic, I know, but my wife and I adopted three girls from Cambodia. I went to Cambodia once, my wife three times. Both of us were impressed by the beauty (and low cost!) of the clothing. So much so that we had a bunch of it shipped to the U.S., and we sell it (with profits going to charity) at international festivals, etc.

  8. Raven Says:

    Oh, interesting! Can you link me to a picture? I’d like to see what the Cambodian clothing looks like.

  9. Daniel Says:

    Sorry about this and I know you probably won’t read it. But I’ve been looking like crazy for a store that sells hanbok. None online so far as I can tell. BUT I did run across your blog. If you could do me a huge huge huge huge favor (I’m deployed in Iraq at the moment and incapable of doing much searching myself) if you’d please email me the stores you might have run across in koreatown that do sell hanboks. And if you have their numbers or even just names for me to look them up after I get back it would be incredible. Just any information at all would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. My email is Stupysays@hotmail.com thank you again. 8)

    SPC Gresham, Daniel
    82nd Airborne Div.

  10. Hah~ so beautifull….I want to visit Korea so much…..but i can’t just now..maybe when I finished High school …Korea is my dream place..

  11. Raven Says:

    Daniel and Usagi, thanks for commenting!

    Usagi, I know, I love how beautiful it is. I want to visit Korea too, but for me it’s also sometime in the future, after I learn more Korean. Oh, and renew my passport.

    Daniel, my research for you hasn’t been forgotten. I’m hoping to do it today.

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