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Woman’s jacket of white cotton fabric. The jacket is shorter than waist-length and opens at the front, with the left side lapping over the right when closed. Panels are added to the front edge at each side to extend the overlap. The deep V neckline is edged on the outside and inside with facings of cotton fabric, with a rounded corner at the bottom on the left, and a square corner on the right. Along the V neck is sewn a narrow collar or outer facing made of the same fabric as the lining. Two long thick ties are attached to the lower left facing and to the right of the facing. Thin white inner ties are sewn to the inner right inner facing and the left underarm seam. There is a centre back seam. The long sleeves are set in with a straight seam and a convex curve on the lower edge, narrowing to the wrist. The inner lining is white and shiny with a zigzag pattern. Jacket made to be worn over a skirt (2535/4).

History Of Use

Clothing of good quality white cotton was worn by rural intellectuals, such as teachers, in the 1950s. Good quality cotton and rayon were very precious in the early 1950s in the countryside. In the immediate postwar period ordinary rural people wore clothing made of blanket fabric, or clothing left from the army or obtained from UNICEF. Later those who remained poor wore odd jackets and pants obtained through relief programmes, while those who were more prosperous wore white clothing except for festivals, when coloured clothing was worn. Older men wore long coats “Doo-ru-ma-gui” and horsehair hats. In the winter people wore padded clothing. When rural women worked in the rice paddies, they pulled their skirts up between their legs so they became like pants. They wore the “Jo-go-ri” tight across their breasts. Rural people wore very clean clothes on social occasions. Women washed the clothing in cold mountain streams, and ironed it by beating it against a stone platform with wooden beaters, two women sitting facing each other. During the 1950s the underarm seams of the “Jo-go-ri” were longer than those worn both previously and later, and the garment as a whole was wider, making it more comfortable. Formal wear, however, retained the shorter underarm seams and shorter length. The curve at the lower edge of the sleeve was deeply rounded at this time. Graceful curves, like those at the lower edge of this garment, are important in Korean aesthetics and reflected in various forms, including architecture. After 1955, buttons and other fasteners were often used to fasten “Jo-go-ri”, rather than the wide ribbon ties that had been used until then. In this period of industrialization, it was considered important to have clothing that made it easy to move. If western clothing was not worn, then at least the Korean style clothing should be made more practical. Eliminating the stiff inner collar was another move towards practicality. In the cities, men began wearing western suits during this period, and women wore Korean “Jo-go-ri” and “Chi’ma” in finer materials and bright colours, although by 1958 they, too, began to wear western clothing.

Specific Techniques

Facings were hand-sewn with invisible stitching. Narrow collar was stiffened with paper. Garment was sewn inside-out and then reversed through a small opening, which was then sewn.


Joan Waddell rarely wore this clothing, as she felt that it represented the Korean people’s identity. She also had padded socks and rubber Korean-style shoes to complete the outfit.

Item History

  • Made in Korea between 1953 and 1958
  • Collected between 1953 and 1958
  • Owned by Joan Waddell before August 18, 2001
  • Received from Joan Waddell (Donor) on August 18, 2001

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