Korea has four distinct seasons: spring (March-May), summer (June-August), fall (September-November), and winter (December-February). The changing of seasons also means changing of attires. With temperatures varying greatly by season, it is important to dress for the weather. Here are the essential items for each season.
Spring is the transition period between winter and summer. Average temperatures in spring range between 7.1℃ and 17.8℃. The weather remains chilly in March due to the last cold snaps, but begins warming up at the end of the month. Still, even in April and May, temperatures may drop after sunset. Therefore, a light outerwear is essential in spring. Popular spring fashion items include cardigans, scarves, hats and sunglasses.
Summer is the hottest season. Receiving the majority of annual rainfall, it is also the wettest season. In fact, summer begins with the rainy season called ‘jangma’, which generally lasts from mid-June until the end of July. During jangma, umbrellas and raincoats are essential.
After jangma, the weather begins heating up, with temperatures rising up to anywhere between 35℃ and 40℃ during daytime. Light clothing, often made with “cooling” fabric, becomes essential for preventing overheating. Popular summer fashion items include light and/or short pants, short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts, hats and sunglasses. Applying sunscreen is also highly recommended.
Fall, referred to as the season of ‘cheongomabi’*, is the transition period between summer and winter. Humidity subsides and cold snaps return. As in late-May, the weather in early September is warm. Then, it turns colder and drier starting late-September, contributing to the changing of colors of leaves throughout October. An outerwear is essential in fall. Popular fall fashion items include trench coats in early to mid-fall, and jackets in mid- to late-fall.
* Cheongomabi (“The sky is high, and horses fatten.”) means that the sky is so clear that it appears much higher, and the harvests are so bountiful that there is plenty to eat.
Winter is the coldest season. The northern region, largely comprised of Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do Provinces as well as Seoul and Incheon Metropolitan Cities, is generally colder than the southern region including Busan Metropolitan City and Jeju Island. After a cold wave passes through the Korean Peninsula, the ‘sam-han-sa-on’, the unique climate pattern of three cold days and four warmer days, repeats. Warm clothing is essential in winter. Popular winter fashion items include winter coats, sweaters, scarves, shawls, beanies, gloves, and boots. Naebok or thermal underwear produced with lighter fabric and in trendy design is also worn a lot.