Thanks to a booming men’s fashion scene – menswear consistently rules the runways at Seoul Fashion Week – Korea’s capital city is home to countless men’s boutiques selling everything from trendy street apparel and bags to imported Italian shoes and tailor-made suits.
Knockers, a small, family-run boutique tucked away on an obscure street in the market district of Euljiro, is leagues ahead of every other menswear destination in Seoul. The tiny but charming shop prides itself on having mastered the art of “man-styling” and offers both incredible service and high-quality materials (at equally high prices).
In addition to offering made-to-order tailored clothing such as premium suits, jackets, and trousers, Knockers also sells shoes and accessories and boasts a “gentlemen’s quarters” on the third floor where patrons can enjoy an adult beverage or a cigar. The father-son owners speak English, so patrons need not worry about a language barrier when ordering clothing.
Knockers, 101-35 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 542 3208
Although Korea’s local barbershop culture fizzled out in the 1980s, it is now being brought back to life with the establishment of contemporary institutions that incorporate classic barbershop techniques and service to take modern male grooming to the next level.
HERR is one of these shops. With an aim to “create an environment for men wanting to release their dapper potential,” HERR employs highly skilled stylists that focus not only on creating the latest hairstyles to highlight patrons’ best attributes, but also cultivating a relationship with them while doing so.
A bespoke haircut will set you back about 77,000 won (US$72) while a hot lather, straight razor shave runs about 66,000 won (US$61). Clearly, prices are unusually high, but a visit here is an experience in itself and well worth the won. After all, where else can you enjoy a glass of premium whiskey and a shoeshine while simultaneously being pampered?
If you’re on a tighter budget, Billycat Barbershop in western Seoul offers a similar experience, but with a vibe that is more hipster than high-end, and equally professional services that are priced a bit more affordably.
HERR, 32-51 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 511 9464
Billycat Barbershop, 209-3, Seongsu-dong 2-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 467 9998
It’s estimated that Korean men account for about 20% of the world’s male skincare market, making Korea the biggest market globally for male cosmetics. This staggering fact is only further substantiated by K-dramas and K-pop videos that spotlight male leads flaunting clear, glowing skin, and looking much younger than their actual age.
Many Korean men attribute their great skin to a multi-step skincare regimen that includes the use of cleanser, toner, essence, and moisturizing cream. Head to Myeongdong’s Cosme Road to pick up these essential items at a reasonable price. Each cosmetic store in the shopping district will offer male skincare products, but we recommend Innisfree, whose Forest for Men line is one of the best out there.
Innisfree, 64-2 Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 776 0117
Of course, no one can truly look their best without a bit of rest and relaxation to ease the tensions of everyday life and the debilitating effects of jetlag, and a visit to a jjimjilbang (Korean sauna) provides just the right amount of revitalizing comfort.
Spa For Men at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul boasts the ultimate Korean spa, complete with a men’s dry and wet sauna room; relaxation areas with a TV lounge; cold, warm, and hot baths; and a number of comfortable beds perfect for a mid-day nap. You can even get a “Mankind Facial” that promises to give you a healthier and more youthful appearance.
Alternatively, the cheaper Dragon Hill Spa near Yongsan Station offers eight floors of entertainment including various spa zones, aromatherapy rooms, a swimming pool, saunas, and rooftop gardens.
Spa For Men, 97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 6388 5000
Dragon Hill Spa, 40, Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 10 4223 0001