You've probably had the sense of how Koreans usually dress because of KPOP, Korean drama, and Korean variety shows. While most of the outfits these people we see on TV wear are interesting by themselves alone, it is important to note that part of the reason why they look good is how they're styled.
They can take a simple shirt and turn it into something interesting by doing nothing more than pairing it with something we won't normally think of.
There has been a few arguments about the "Korean style" and this is largely due to the fact that there is a huge disconnect between what Filipinos think of Korean style and what it actually looks like. But there is a healthy middle ground where we could adapt this certain style without looking ridiculously out of place.
Here are some ways to do that.
Pay attention to details
A lot of Korean-style clothes have interesting details. Simple things like cut-off collars, slits, uneven hems, mismatched button plackets, or longer-than-usual sleeves create a big difference on the outfits.
The baggier, the better
Koreans seem to gravitate towards baggy clothes, especially with casual outfits. While other well-known styles involve tight-fitting clothes, theirs don't show much figure and skin. Since showing cleavage is considered taboo, women wear loose tops paired with short shorts, tight skirts, or even baggy jeans.
Oversized on oversized
We have this common rule that in order for the figure to not be drowned by clothes completely, one would have to balance it out. A loose top should be paired with a tight bottom or vice versa. However, Koreans just have a thing for slouchy and comfortable fashion that it became a trend to wear baggy on baggy.
Layering is also a trend that is not about to die any time soon. This is more than just the basic jacket over a dress or a shirt and a pair of jeans. The rule of thumb is if they look good together, layer them. This goes beyond a shirt or blouse under a sleeveless dress. You can layer a turtleneck and low-cut blouse or a hoodie under a cardigan. Of course, you’d have to take the weather into consideration because our country’s weather isn’t particularly layer-friendly.
Oversized jacket over top and skirt
One of the most common form of layering is wearing a jacket or coat over a blouse and short skirt combination. While it looks fashionable, the jacket can also be used to cover the legs when the wearer needs to sit down.
That extra something
While most of the Korean-style clothes already have that extra something (i.e. unusual collar, long and detailed sleeves, etc), but they also have these quirky add-ons that give more oomph to an outfit. Fishnets can be tricky to wear if you get the wrong outfit. It can make the clothes more provocative than we intended. However, when used correctly, it can be a nice statement piece. Try wearing it with loose ripped jeans and sneakers! Statement socks are also a popular trend. Koreans not only wear them with sneakers but with high heels as well. Of course, you’d have to discern which socks look well with which shoes. Lastly, bucket hats. It’s a thing, even if you’re a woman and you’re not into fishing!
Dressing down office clothes/suits
We know we’re supposed to look sharp and presentable at work. Well, at most office works, at least. The leads in Korean dramas, especially the working ones, always look impeccable in their work clothes, but they don’t look too stiff and too formal. Some even wear sneakers with suits. Who’d have thought that they’d work well together?
Sweaters are a big thing with Koreans, but again, this is due to the fact that they can wear thick clothes or layer as many clothes as possible because they have cold seasons. The Philippine weather is a lot harsher, but maybe we can take their techniques in pairing clothes and then apply them to our own clothes with thinner fabrics. Koreans have so many styles of wearing sweaters. Loose knitted turtleneck sweaters look good with short skirts. Sweaters with low necklines would look great layered with the typical collared blouse or turtleneck. You can also layer a thick sweater with a jumper. And lastly, hoodie and zippered sweater look great together!
High neck blouses and pencil skirts
As seen on What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, Secretary Kim has a certain style that is easy to copy. You just need a tight pencil skirt, long-sleeved blouse with high neckline, and a pair of pumps! Keep in mind that Korean women don’t usually expose their upper bodies and would rather show off their legs.
Have fun experimenting
We only get new trends because some people dare to experiment with clothes. That’s the biggest takeaway in Korean fashion. They don’t do what’s conventional. They explore beyond their comfort zones. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But the only way to know which will work and which won’t is to try. So try mixing, matching, layering, and wearing stuff in ways you haven’t even thought of yet!