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What to Wear to Stay Warm on Your Winter Trip to South Korea

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what to wear winter clothes korea

As someone who loves to explore new places and has a deep passion for travel, my recent winter adventure led me to South Korea. Winter in Seoul is a magical experience, with crisp air, occasional snowfall, and a myriad of seasonal festivities.

However, to truly enjoy this winter season, it’s essential to dress appropriately and stay warm. As I strolled through the charming streets of Seoul during winter season, I learned that Korea’s distinct seasons offer a unique and beautiful experience.

From the scorching heat of summer to the bone-chilling cold of winter, each season demands a specific wardrobe. In this guide, I’ll share my firsthand experience and insights into dressing for a winter visit to Seoul.

Korea boasts four distinct seasons, with summer temperatures soaring up to 35 °C and winter temperatures plummeting below 0 °C. Spring and fall, though brief, provide idyllic weather for outdoor activities. The annual temperature difference of over 40 °C makes packing a bit of a challenge, especially considering the significant daily temperature fluctuations during spring and fall.

Winter Outfits in Korea

Base Layer:

  1. Turtleneck: Start your winter wardrobe with a cozy turtleneck as your base layer. Opt for heat-retaining materials to keep the cold at bay while exploring the city. This stylish choice not only provides warmth but also adds a touch of sophistication to your ensemble.
  2. Heattech Leggings: Combat the cold with Heattech leggings, providing an extra layer of insulation under your jeans ensuring comfort throughout your day of exploration. Make sure to check out UNIQLO’s heattech.
  3. Wool Socks: Don’t overlook the importance of warm socks. Invest in high-quality wool socks to keep your feet warm and dry, especially if you plan on spending long hours outdoors.

Mid Layer:

  1. Knit Sweater: Elevate your winter style with a fashionable knit sweater. Choose a design that resonates with your personal style, whether it’s a classic cable knit or a trendy oversized piece. The mid layer adds an extra barrier against the cold, ensuring you stay snug during your outdoor adventures.
  2. Jeans: Pair your knit sweater with a reliable pair of jeans. Not only do jeans offer a timeless look, but they also provide an extra layer of insulation. Opt for a well-fitted pair that allows for movement while keeping you warm.

As winter unfolds in Seoul, the first snowfall usually arrives from late November to early December. However, due to global warming, predicting the exact timing has become a challenge. Recent years have seen rare snow accumulation, making post-mid-October the time to don thick winter jackets as temperatures steadily drop.

By late November, temperatures drop significantly, signaling the need for thick winter jackets to shield you from the cold. Last year, during my visit in the third week of November, the first snow had already arrived, transforming Seoul into a picturesque winter wonderland.

January and February mark the peak snowy months in Korea, though southern cities experience milder conditions. The humid Korean winters, distinct from those in North America, can feel bone-chilling despite relatively milder temperatures. To combat the cold, heavy puffer jackets, gloves, and scarves are strongly recommended.

Outer Layer

  1. Puffer Jacket:
    Invest in a heavy-duty puffer jacket to shield against the winter winds and occasional snowfall. The puffer jacket is a staple in Korean winter fashion and will keep you warm while keeping your fashion style.
  2. Scarf:
    A stylish scarf is not just an accessory but a practical necessity during Seoul’s winter. Wrap yourself in a cozy scarf to protect your neck from the cold winds, adding an extra layer of warmth and flair to your outfit.
  3. Beanie and Gloves:
    Complete your winter look with a beanie and gloves. These accessories not only serve a functional purpose by keeping your head and hands warm but also add a touch of coziness and style to yourself.
  4. Winter Boots:
    Invest in a pair of winter boots that are not only waterproof but also insulated. Seoul’s winter streets can get icy, so opt for boots with a good grip to navigate the city comfortably and safely.

Seoul’s winter is a magical time, and with the right wardrobe choices, you can enjoy every moment of it in style. From the base layer to the outer layer, each piece plays a crucial role in keeping you warm while exploring the captivating streets of Seoul. So, pack your bags, bundle up in your winter best, and enjoy your winter adventure in Korea!

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Jacque is a travel, food and lifestyle blogger. She has been blogging since 2008. At the age of 20, she started exploring instagrammable places, discovering fascinating cultures, trying various cuisines, and taking amazing photos from local and international travel destinations.