sok-ba-ji (Underwear)

About this object

History of use

Such pants were worn as summer underwear. During wartime, under the Japanese, people had to work hard so their clothing was simplified. The gusset was added for comfort, and the Japanese recommended the use of elastic, as it made the pants convenient for working, in contrast to the traditional ribbon ties. The style was influenced by the Japanese “mom-pe”. Even now older women, and those who work in grocery stores, wear them because they are comfortable.


Most of the clothing in the J. McRee Elrod Collection was made for he and his family by friends while they were living in Korea, much of it by Kim, Sung Sook. She and her family lived cooperatively in the same house as the Elrod family. While they were there, the Elrods preferred to wear Korean clothing on very cold days and for social occasions. They found it to be more comfortable than western clothing in cold weather, as public buildings were unheated in the period immediately following the Korean War. It also was more comfortable for floor seating in Korean homes, and easier to store (with limited furniture) than western clothing. The children’s clothing was worn by their children Mark and Lona.

Specific techniques

All stitching is done by machine.

Physical description

Long bloomer-like underwear of plain white shiny fabric. There is elastic machine-stitched at the waist. There are gussets machine stitched with the raw edges of fabric on inside. The pant legs taper inwards to the ankles and a narrow, machine-stitched hem.