What Not to Wear as a Foreigner in South Korea

Updated on Aug 29, 2023 · By Rachel

While traveling or living in South Korea it is important to be respectful of the culture that you are in. As a foreigner you will most likely attract attention to yourself regardless of what you are wearing. However, by being respectful of the cultural fashion trends it will help you to not draw negative attention to yourself. South Koreans are very fashionable but probably more modest than what you are used to. In the following text I will review what is socially acceptable to wear for both men and women within the Korean culture. 


Westernized cultures are very open about what is acceptable to wear out in public. However, other cultures may be much more conservative. In Korea here are some tips for what women should and shouldn't wear.

What to Avoid?

Spaghetti Strap Shirts

Shirts that show a lot of cleavage 

Tank tops that show your shoulders

Backless tops

Wearing leggings as pants

Bikinis at the beach. Most locals will just wear shorts and a t-shirt, or a one piece bathing suit. 

What is okay?

Short skirts or shorts - are more widely accepted, but potentially look into bringing a jacket or scarf for covering your legs while you are seated

Crop tops - are okay and are becoming much more popular within the younger community

Dressing Fashionably - Koreans are known for their fashion so don't be afraid to dress to impress

Additional Style Tips

For more tips on what not to wear click here.

For more fashion tips on how to style your outfits in Korea click here.

Source: Singapore Women's Weekly


Men have it a little easier than women as far as their fashion restrictions in Korea. Of course the same applies for men that it is always appropriate to dress up rather than down, but men are less likely to wear the same type of clothing items as women. Therefore here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when choosing your next outfit.

What to Avoid?

Walking around with your shirt off 

See through shirts 

Fingertip Length Rule for shorts

What is okay?

Generally anything that is modest is acceptable, as long as you avoid the two tips mentioned above than you should be good!

Source: Be Marie Korea

Source Links

Be Marie Korea



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