By Yupina Ng
North Korean women in Pyongyang wear fitted suits and high heels daily, even at the amusement park and ice rink. Jeans and sneakers are rare.
“Who would love a woman dressed like a westerner?” a local tour guide, who is in his 40s, said.
Neatly pressed skirts, shirts and trousers are dark colored. A dress code gives a sense of belonging to the country, one North Korean said.
But when a women wears the often brightly coloured traditional dress called choson-ot in the North and hanbok in the South, she is “evocative of the fairies in the heavens,” says the Korea Friendship Association website.
The woman’s choson-ot is characterised by simple lines, a full skirt without pockets, and short jacket tied with a ribbon in front. North Korean women wear it on special occasions, such as a wedding and national day.
For men, the North Korean fashion is a Chinese-style tunic suit, like Kim Jong-un’s, with leather shoes. They even wear them on the farm as they want to “look alike their dear leader,” a local said.
The accessory they all share is the little red badge, always fastened on their upper left chest. The badge, some with Kim Il-sung’s portrait, others include Kim Jong-il’s, is distributed by work units and not for sale. Some say that a patrol is set up to check for badges, though this was not verified.
A story about all male students having to get the same haircut as Kim Jong-un went viral recently,and a 24-year-old North Korean woman said that universities do administer students’ hairstyle. Each university has its own salon and is free for students, she said.
She added that the working-class have the right to decide their own hairstyle.
When ask about his views on fashion, the middle-aged male tour guide said, “Chic is a thing that belongs to other people. It is stupid to look at the others and think that they are fashionable. ”