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Korean Times / Life - Entertain

The wonder of the winter miniskirt

Photo by Michael Hurt

By Michael Hurt

If you know Seoul, you know the cold winter weather is little deterrent to the wearing of even the shortest of miniskirts. Not for all, but for some possessed of high degrees of fashion fortitude in even the lowest of temperatures, the miniskirt is a point of pride, not to mention a marker of truly formidable femininity even in the face of freezing.

For a long time, this behavior has perplexed me, since the wisdom of baring as much flesh as one might during the warm summer months in times of arctic cold can be hard to instinctively perceive. But as with all truly worthy social questions, the best way to find a decent answer is simply to ask. So, last winter, I did. I posed the question to a couple pretty clear (and short) examples on the streets of one of Seoul's trendiest new strips? -- ?the Quy Nhon City-themed street of Itaewon.

Photo by Michael Hurt

The young lady in the cream coat and extremely high hem explained it pretty simply: "Even if it's cold, you can't give up pretty things." And there, as they say, it is. Succinctly and sagely put.

Photo by Michael Hurt

The young woman in the couple gave a much more practical explanation. While assuming the same principled stance of the first interview subject, our second subject explained that she wears winter-use tights, which often provide as much warmth as many pants these days. So why not wear tights and a skirt, which can end up feeling just as warm or, sometimes, even warmer?

Works for me.
In the end, fashion is a high priority in either the sultry summer or sub-zero streets of Seoul for many Korean women who are not willing to compromise fashion options for any kind of weather.

Michael Hurt (@kuraeji on Instagram) is a photographer and professor living in Seoul. He received his doctorate from UC Berkeley's Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies and started Korea's first street fashion blog in 2006. He can be contacted at kuraeji@gmail.com