Are you struggling to cut down on the amount of clothes you plan to bring with you on exchange? Or are you wondering what the most appropriate clothing articles to bring for a certain season would be? Don’t worry, this guide will recommend a list of clothing pieces that you should consider packing for the various seasons; and hopefully help solve all your packing queries.
Before we begin, these are some tips to save space in your suitcase:
- First – You should roll your clothing – not only does this save room in your suitcase, it also means you can pack a few more things to bring with you.
- Second – If you are able to purchase some packing cubes, you should! It will be a lifesaver for you later on, especially if you’re trying to save space while travelling interstate.
- Finally – If you roll your clothing inside of your packing cubes, not only will your clothing be more organised but so will your suitcase.
This post will be split into lists that are curated for the different semesters and programmes. Sizes tend to be smaller than the average Western size for both tops and bottoms. Korean sizing roughly translates to UK sizing 8-12 (extra small to medium). It is also important to note that most clothing in Korean boutiques only stock one size fits all, so unless you go a chain store, it is unlikely you will find clothing that will fit you if you are on the “larger” side.
A tip for those who are on the “larger size” in Korea, bring clothing from home because the options they have here for “bigger sizes” might not suit your taste and are limited in style.
Fall Semester (Autumn)
Autumn runs between September to November with temperatures ranging from 21 to 26 degrees (Celsius).
However, you’re going to arrive towards the end of summer so it’ll still be hot and humid. It is recommended that you bring minimal winter clothing and rather purchase it here. This is as it won’t start to get cold until mid-way through your second month here and besides, the thermals here are especially made to battle the Korean cold. Some pants, leggings and even jeans are lined with fur or a warmer, thicker material for this purpose. Also, padded jackets are a trend during the end of this season too!
- Three to five t-shirts.
- Four to five pants – jeans are a bit of a hit or miss situation in South Korea in terms of sizing – remember to always try them on first before you buy them!
- Two shorts – for the hot weather you’ll experience.
- At least one skirt – to combat the heat, or in the event that you have a special occasion to attend.
- One or two hoodies/crewnecks.This is only to prepare yourself for the winter weather, although you can always purchase them here if you choose not to. The pricing for this can range from ₩10,000 to ₩30,000 depending on where you decide to buy it from.
- One good raincoat/waterproof rain jacket.
- They’re quite expensive here, costing roughly ₩300,000; although they will keep you more warm during the winter season in comparison to the coat you bring from home.
- One jacket.
- To throw over your outfit in case it gets chilly.
- Fourteen pairs of underwear – it is recommended that you pack two weeks’ worth as you might not have enough time to wash them frequently.
- For females: if you’re a larger bust size, bring at least five to seven bras because it’s unlikely that you’ll find a store that offers your cup size.
- If you run into a situation where you need to buy some, the major chain stores in Korea (e.g. H&M or Forever 21) or areas such as Myeongdong or Itaewon will stock them.
- Two or three shoes – the largest shoe size you can buy is a US women’s size 7-8 (Korean size 240-250), for men it would be US size 11 (Korean size 290-300); it will be harder to find sizes larger than this.
- It is recommended that you bring more sneakers, or comfortable walking/running shoes with you! South Korea is very mountainous and you don’t want to ruin your feet with a bad choice in footwear.
- Fourteen socks – if not, a minimum of ten pairs is sufficient too; just in case you don’t have the opportunity nor the time, to wash them constantly.
- If you decide to only pack a few pairs of socks, it’s okay! Socks are sold everywhere in Korea and within a reasonable price. Not only this, but they also have amazing designs too.
- Two pyjama sets.
- A set of gym clothes.
- If you’re living on campus, there is a gym that you’re able to access in the dorm building.
- It will also be useful if you decide to go hiking too.
- One thermal set.
- Just to prepare yourself before winter hits.
International Winter Program
Winter is from December to February with temperatures ranging from -10 to 12 degrees (Celsius). The weather is usually dry and cold during this season. It is recommended that you bring a coat and warmer shoes (boots). Accessories including scarves, hats, gloves and thermal wear can be easily found in Korea. As Korea is a mountainous country, you might want to consider partaking in skiing during winter or other snow sport activities!
- Two or three thermal sets.
- Although it is recommended that you purchase them in Korea, with the limited time you’ll be spending here, it’s better to bring them from back home.
- But, if you choose to purchase them from here, as mentioned above in the fall semester section, the thermal wear is lined with heat warming technology that is specifically meant to combat the colder weather in Korea.
- Five pairs of hoodies or crewnecks.
- Three pairs of tracksuit pants or jeans.
- Leggings or stockings to wear under your jeans.
- Winter coat!
- Make sure it’s waterproof and thick enough to combat the cold weather here.
- Five to ten pairs of thick socks.
- You can layer them if your feet are cold.
- One to two pairs of shoes.
- Like mentioned before, it is better if you bring good sneakers/walking shoes as there are a lot of hills and you’ll be partaking in a lot of activities throughout your stay here.
Spring runs from March to May with the temperatures ranging from 5 to 18 degrees (Celsius). Although it will be sunny, there will still be a slight breeze from time to time; with rain on occasion. Spring is also considered the raining season. During this period, there will be an inflow of colour compared to the fall semester. The following list is the general style that you will find in Korea during this season.
- Long flowy maxi dresses – different patterns (e.g. floral or lace).
- Oversized and long-line sweaters.
- (Printed) hoodies.
- Graphic t-shirts.
- Button-up blouses.
- Note: layering is an important step in styling your outfit in Korea!
- Long trench style/woollen coats.
- Denim jackets.
- Leather jackets.
- Long maxi skirts.
- Jeans – all different cuts and styles (e.g. skinny jeans, flared, wide-leg).
- Sneakers (generally white in colour).
- Black (combat) boots.
- 2 inch heels.
- Polo tops.
- Long-sleeve shirts.
- Button-up shirts.
- Leather jackets.
- Denim jackets.
- Bomber jackets.
- Joggers or sweatpants.
International Summer Program
The Summer season in Korea runs between June to August with temperatures ranging from 30 to 40 degrees (Celsius). This period will be really hot and humid so Koreans tend to wear a lot of vibrant colours to combat the heat. The following list is the style that is most apparent during this season.
- Crop tops (sometimes with another article of clothing layered over the top).
- Blouses – printed, button-up.
- Flannels – to layer over shirts.
- Graphic, oversized t-shirts – vibrant in colour (e.g. white, yellow, pink).
- Off the shoulder tops.
- Light coloured pants.
- Ripped jeans.
- Casual heels.
- Open toe sandals.
- Short-sleeve button-up shirts/polo tops.
- White t-shirts.
- (Knee length) shorts.
- Jeans – light washed.
If you forget to pack any of these items and wish to purchase them whilst in Korea, you can visit these popular shopping destinations to find them!
- Lotte Department Store
- COEX Shopping Mall
- D-Cube City Mall
- Mecenatpolis Mall
- Times Square Mall
- Lotte Young Plaza
- I’Park Mall
- Doota (Doosan Tower)
- Migliore Mall
- Noon Square
- Shinsegae Department Store, Gangnam
- Shinsegae Department Main Store
- Shinsegae Department Store, Yeongdeungpo BReanch
- Myeongdong Underground Shopping Centre
- Myeongdong Shopping Street
- Hongik University Street
- Underground Shopping Centres:
- Yeongdeungpo Underground Mall
- Bupyeong Underground Shopping Mall
- Gangnam Terminal Shopping Mall
- Jamsil Underground Shopping Mall
- Express Bus Terminal Underground Street – Goto Mall
- Jonggak Underground Mall
- Ewha Women’s University Shopping Street