The Red Sleeve, Moon Lovers, and other historical K-dramas with the most gorgeous costumes

For historical K-dramas, beautiful costumes also play an important part in their successes. 

K-dramas pay extremely close attention to details, from content, acting, filming, to clothes and styling. However, this doesn’t apply to K-dramas with modern settings alone, as characters in historical dramas also rock eye-catching hanboks and other old costumes. Below is a list of historical dramas with the best traditional clothings in the Korean eye. 

The Red Sleeve (Lee Jun Ho, Lee Se Young)

The Red Sleeve

Starring Lee Jun Ho and Lee Se Young, “The Red Sleeve” tells a love story between a palace maid and her master, from when he was still a crown prince until he became king. With high ratings and a lot of discussions, “The Red Sleeve” can be said to be the most successful historical K-dramas of recent years. While it aired, the series was highly praised for its historical faithfulness, beautiful dialogues, heart-wrenching acting, as well as the beautiful costumes. The clothes in this drama were catered specifically to different characters, and managed to embody their personality, status, and even emotions. 

Moon Lovers (Lee Jun Ki, IU)


With a star-studded cast and plot revolving around a time-traveling female lead and princes from the Goguryeo era, “Moon Lovers” is still a memorable drama to many audiences. While the tragic and meaningful story managed to make a deep impression, the series’ success could also be credited to its fashion choice. Each piece of clothes, hairpin, hairstyle, and color matching truly highlighted the character at different stages in the story. 

IU-Lee Jun Ki-Moon Lovers

For example, since IU was originally a cheerful modern girl, she adorned bright and pastel colors with flower-inspired accessories. Meanwhile, the 4th prince Wang So played by Lee Jun Ki led an extremely difficult life, and so was seen mostly in dark tones.  

Love In The Moonlight (Park Bo Gum, Kim Yoo Jung) 

love in the moonlight

Aired around the same time as “Moon Lovers”, “Love In The Moonlight” delivered a much brighter plot and managed to earn the love of most Korean audiences. The romance between Kim Yoo Jung, who masqueraded as an eunuch, and the crown prince played by Park Bo Gum can flutter the toughest hearts. 

And true to its historical settings, every outfit in this K-drama was beautifully done. From colors, fabrics, to patterns, everything added to the charms of this outstanding series. 

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Park Yoo Chun, Park Min Young)

Yet another story where the female lead disguised as a man, “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” was once all the rage while it first aired. From a hectic story, handsome cast, to stunning costumes – the series truly had it all. 

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

The hanboks and costumes of this 12-year-old series were so perfectly designed, they can still rival more recent projects. 

Moon Embracing The Sun (Kim Soo Hyun, Han Ga In)

Moon Embracing The Sun” truly deserves its title of a legendary historical piece. The love story between a young king and a witch that were actually his lost wife got viewers of the time bawling their eyes out in tears, and left a lasting mark in the K-drama world. 

The Moon Embracing The Sun Kim Soo Hyun Han Ga In

Of course, alongside the plot, visuals of the series also contributed to its fame. Compared to other series, “Moon Embracing The Sun” mostly opted for red and dark tones that exuded regal vibes, and the series’ fashion was said to be the most faithful in terms of accuracy. 

100 Days My Prince (D.O, Nam Ji Hyun) 


Since most of this series was set outside the palace, “100 Days My Princes” boasted much simpler clothes with more rustic tones, while still maintaining a decent aesthetic. The series itself was quite hilarious with an amnesiac prince and an exiled noble lady, and managed to deliver laughter as well as visuals. 

While the second half of “100 Days My Princes” got more serious, it was still a pretty healing and humorous series with outstanding chemistry between the main couple. 

Princess’s Man (Park Shi Hoo, Moon Chae Won) 

Final in the list is “Princess’s Man”, which featured the star-crossed love story between Park Shi Hoo and Moon Chae Won’s characters. Since the series embraced quite the somber atmospheres, its fashion also took on gentle and light colors. 


The series’ clothes were rather simple in design, but stayed true to the root of traditional Korean costumes. Minimal yet not cheap, clothes in “Princess’s Man” managed to be regal without getting outrageous. Even now, the series is still among the most iconic works to lovers of the historical genre. 


While fashion is not the main element in K-dramas, it certainly does contribute to a series’ success. This is extremely true for the historical genre – where creative liberties are limited, but colors, designs, and accessories can add great character to a drama. 

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