Don't mention travelers, even as a local living in Korea, sometimes we can't even figure out what to wear ourselves, especially in the winter. Dressing up during the cold season is absolutely stressing because we either check the high-low temperature everyday, or, we over-wear when it's warm and get so stuffy, or freeze when we wore too little. Or just checking if it rains.
Let us start off with Spring dresscode. Spring in Korea starts from the month of April to June. However, temperature fluctuates a lot and causing it to be too chilly in the wee morning and warm in the afternoon. So here's what I'm gonna do, I will list the clothings to consider according to the real temperature.
April - entering Spring / October - entering Autumn
April and October can get slightly chilly in the wee hours and night, but it could become rather warm during the afternoon. It's the best seasons to visit if you dislike harsh winters or hot summers.
Average temperature: High - 18°c, Low - 5°c
You want to get something not too stuffy yet not too thin. Long sleeves T-shirts along with a spring/autumn down jacket or a leather jacket will do best on these 2 months. A couple of layers and you are good to go. You can also bring an extra jacket or windbreaker as a back up.
Since it's not freezing cold, you can just bring your normal pair of jeans. If you prefer something light, fur leggings are good choices too. If it feels cold? Pair the 2 up, fur leggings on the inside and jeans on the outside.
Knitted gloves do wonders on this period. When the wind blows, especially during and after the rain that might causes your hands to be freezing cold, but not as horrible as in the winter.
You won't need a snow boots here, really. I personally don't wear those unless it's snowing or the temperature drop to minus 10 or so. Your normal pair of sneakers is the best to bring. Or, you can wear your leather boots if you'd like! As for socks, just don't wear those as thin as lace. If you are afraid it might be too cold, swap it with some woolen socks, though it might be too warm in the afternoon.
Long johns or heat tech wear is not needed. Save your money, wear another piece of t-shirt and it'd just be the same. Bring body lotion, especially if you are living in a tropical country. Your skin is not used to the dry cold weather, and will caused it to crack or have rashes. Including your lips.
Umbrella. Mid October tends to rain a lot since it's entering winter. Once after the rain, temperature will start to drop especially the end of October.
Shop for nice jackets in Seoul
Ewha University and Sinchon
Compared to Hongdae, the items selling at Ewha University and Sinchon area have better prices. The streets between Ewha Station and Ewha University is one of the hottest shopping areas in Korea, especially for young women. The streets here houses from hair salons to cafés to fashion shops, tailored towards young women.
Go Teo, short for Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Center is connected to one of the subway stations, which can be arrived on subway lines 3, 7 and 9. Over 600 stores are lined up on both sides of the long corridors featuring clothing, fashion accessories, interior products, flowers and some restaurants at the end of each side.
May ~ September - Mid spring to Summer
So, for those staying in Malaysia or Singapore, they might think their country is very stuffy all year round. Wait till you experience the summer in Korea, especially throughout July and August. Summer in Korea is disgustingly humid. Yes I said disgustingly, because when you take a step outside during that month, you instantly feels like a human glue.
May: Long sleeve T-shirts. Afternoon may get slightly warm but morning & evening will be slightly cooling. So a thin jacket will help with the chills. Girls can be seen wearing shorts and mini skirts, but advice to wear long pants / skirts if you are afraid of cold.
June ~ Sept: Thinner the better. You definitely don't wanna wear a single piece more in summer. But, don't walk around only in your swimwear. It's not the culture here. T-shirts will be your best friend in summer. Bring as many as you will wear but not your whole closet.
Shorts and skirts for women. As for guys, if you want to follow the trend, Korean guys usually wear knee-length pants. You can choose to wear your jeans either, if you prefer.
Sandals! Well, these are the best on summer but for those who walks a lot, a pair of sneakers will do good too. Bring more pairs of socks if you are wearing it everyday. Or you can just grab some nice and cute ones while you are in Korea!
Put A LOT of sunblock if you are spending much of your time outdoor. Also drink more water as it can be really hot under the sun after a long walk. Though, it's not too difficult to find convenient stores if you are in Seoul.
Bring a cap along, and umbrella too. Summer season is known as "jang ma" (rainy season) in Korea.
Popular Sunblocks in Korea
Innisfree Eco safety perfect sunblock
IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector
Myeongdong is one of the main shopping districts in Seoul located right at exit 7 from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Line 4). Hundreds of cosmetic shops lined the streets and alley, making it the perfect place to buy cosmetic and face care products. Here, you can easily go home with a bunch of samples too!
November ~ March: Mid autumn to Winter
If you have never experienced winter, you may think that it's not as bad as it looks. Winter in Korea can be really dry. Snow is usually less in early to mid December. January is the coldest month throughout the whole winter. Thus, it is important to pack enough to keep yourself warm during these months. You may also want to check the wind speed as the wind is the one that worsen the cold.
Recommend to buy some fleece-lined shirts instead of packing so many T-shirts in your luggage. However, if you prefer to not spend money on these, make sure you layer up enough on the inside. Or you can get some heat tech underwear too. A thick winter coat is a crucial piece of apparel you will not want to leave out.
Fleece or fur-lined leggings (or long johns) on the inside with jeans. Leather pants for ladies seems like a good choice as well.
If you are staying outdoor for long, it's recommended to bring gloves, better if leather gloves so it blocks the wind from entering. Exposing your hands to the cold for longer time could cause some frostbite. Put on hand cream to avoid cracks on fingers.
Leather boots, winter boots or well covered sneakers do best in winter. Feet is one of the most important part that you should keep warm in order to feel warm. Wool socks are a necessary item to pack into your luggage as well.
Neck is the most important part in keeping your body warm. Put a scarf around it to lock it the warmth as well as use your scarf to hide your face from the ice cold wind. Put lotion to avoid dryness of the skin and causing it to crack or rash. As for face, you may want to consider buying something "highly moisturized" or rich texture cream. Put A LOT of lipbalm!
A mask to cover your face if you are not using a scarf. Earmuffs are optional if you don't have a hoodie, the wind will cause the ears to hurt a lot, especially guys since they have short hair.
Place to get cheap & decent winter wear
Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea selling all sorts of goods at an affordable price. The Namdaemun Market sells a variety of clothes, glasses, mountain gear, fishing equipment, etc. You can find many cheap winter wear here if you wish to not spend too much on the expensive coats. Namdaemun Market opens from 11:00pm to 3:00am.
Topten are one of the brands that sells daily clothes at a very reasonable price with good quality. If you have sharp eyes, you may notice many locals wear their brand. You can get the fleece lined shirts at as low as 9,900 won each. They even have their own heat wears and winter coat that goes for as low as 99,000 won. They have branches all around Korea and are mostly located inside shopping malls. There is also an outlet in Myeongdong.
Check out the list of things at Elleyjin's page and the video below!