You don’t want to wear a leggings on the streets in Korea unless you wanna be on the spot. If you happen to wear a leggings at work or school, everyone will probably stare at you bluntly and might think your outfit is inappropriate. In many Koreans’ point of view, leggings is a clothes you wear at the gym, not in any other places. (Perspectives toward leggings are slowly changing among younger generations.)
1. People consider a leggings a bit erotic because its tightness emphasizes some of the body parts. (hips, legs, etc.).
And some women are reluctant and worried to wear leggings because of their “Y-zone” and hips being too explicit. “Y-zone” is a Korean slang indicating women’s pelvic area (because its shape looks like “Y”).
Korean sportswear brands use it as a marketing point: “This leggings doesn’t emphasize your Y-zone.”
A product page of Andar explaining how their leggings can cover your “Y-zone.”
2. In older generation’s point of view, a leggings is just an underwear (long johns).
You know that Korea gets really cold in winter. So many Koreans wear these to survive Korea’s freezing cold winter. If you look at it closely, doesn’t it look like a legging..?????
Underwear ad of BYC
Yet many Koreans do wear leggings. At the gym, you’ll see many people wearing a tight tank top with a leggings so that they can examine how the muscles move. You can often see people wearing leggings even on a normal basis, but with a long top that covers your hips and “Y-zone.”
A common way to wear leggings in Korea: with a long top that covers your hips and “Y-zone.”
Many activewear brands in Korea make effort in changing people’s perspectives of leggings as daily clothes that you can easily wear not just when you are working out, but even when you are going out to somewhere else!
andar and XEXYMIX are Korean brands that sell daily activewear.
Here’s more tips on “How To Wear” in Korea.
If you are a woman planning to visit Korea,
you don’t want to wear a tank top (spaghetti strap) with exposed chest, run only wearing a sports bra, or not wear a bra. You’ll probably get so much attention. (But interestingly, many Koreans are fine with wearing mini skirts and short shorts.)
If you are a man planning to visit Korea,
you don’t want to run shirtless.
It seems like Koreans are more strict with upper body part!????But culture is continuously changing and younger generations are more open to revealing clothes.