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Why do women wear their hair up?

Traditional chignon worn by female staff associated with virtue, discipline

Nov 09,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Ms. Baily, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Ms. Baily:
On the street, I can see Korean women wear their hair long and down. But, in hotels, restaurants, airplane and some shopping centers, all Korean women working as staff have the same hairdo; the hair is neatly swept back and adorned with a rather curious-looking hair pin.

Is that a rule or custom?

A. IHT-JAD:
The image of the virtuous, beautiful woman in Korea’s traditional society has always been associated with long black hair being neatly combed backward, twisted and tied into a Korean-style chignon known as jjok.

Unlike the European chignon, the hair was usually adorned with feminine accessories, such as a silk tie or pins made of semi-precious stones or jewels, which matched her hanbok, or Korean costume. Modern Koreans still regard this clean-cut Korean hairstyle as a sign of virtue and discipline, and so many companies in the service industries require their female staff to look their best.


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