To the average person, a Kpop girl group is faced with two options with regards to their concepts for their next comeback: Cute or Sexy. The cute concept is usually signified by small voices, pouts, and aegyo (cute displays of affection) coupled with school uniforms and cheerleader outfits while singing for their one and only oppa to like them. TWICE, A Pink, and GFriend are some girl groups who are famous for this concept. Sexy concepts on the other hand are characterized by revealing outfits, provocative choreography, and “come hither” gazes that are meant to entice men of all ages. Likewise, lyrical content usually skews to seductive territory. AOA, SISTAR, and Girl’s Day are usually the carriers of these concepts.
However, Kpop girl groups aren’t just limited by these two concepts. Since the rise of 2NE1, a third distinct concept has made its way across various girl groups: the “Girl Crush” concept. Girl crush concepts are usually an in-between of cute and sexy concepts designed to appeal to female fans of a girl group. Usually, members are fierce and confident as opposed to shy and cute or sexy and sultry. The themes of the girl crush concepts may also revolve around independence and women empowerment. Girl groups that usually have this concept are 2NE1, f(x), 4Minute, and Blackpink.
Fashion-wise, the girl crush concept is a marriage of typical Korean girl fashion and Korean street fashion, mixing together to form a type of Kpop fashion that is distinct and stylish. Below are samples of girl crush looks, how they translate to the stage, and how you can mirror these styles to look like your favorite “girl crushes” among these Kpop stars.
Hiphop Girl Crush
From 2NE1 to 4Minute and even to Girls’ Generation’s “I Got A Boy” comeback, the hiphop girl crush concepts are very popular among women for their fierce styles and mix of the traditionally masculine Korean street fashion with the more soft and feminine style that women’s fashion is known for. Hiphop girl crush image gives female fans inspiration that they, too, can look fierce and powerful. In Girls’ Generation and 4Minute’s case, they wore stylish snapbacks and coupled them with denim jackets and leggings for that old-school hiphop aesthetic. They also made sure to include femininity by completing their looks with rainbow hair colors, fierce lipstick shades, and colorful make-up.
For everyday fashion, emulating hiphop girl crush concepts doesn’t need to be too extravagant and loud. Simply playing into ‘90s hiphop nostalgia and clothing items that make a unique statement can help in embodying the very girl crush vibe these “badass” girl groups are known for.
Chic Girl Crush
For fans who prefer a more low-key and classy but still “girl crushable” look, girl groups such as Red Velvet and CLC sport chic girl crush styles that depend less on the hiphop girl crush’s flair for the over the top and utilize the more subdued but still stylish aspect of Korean street fashion. Red Velvet does this in their “Bad Boy” comeback with crop tops, maxi dresses, and fur coats to highlight the chic aspect and give off a more aloof, fierce vibe. For CLC, it is literally sporting suits for their comeback performances, which is quite a witty decision for their song named “Black Dress".
If you want to pull off the chic girl crush concepts, combining common Korean street fashion items such as sneakers and caps with fancier items such as dresses or rompers is a recommended tip. One should remember that the chic girl crush concept should be an in-between of fancy and street for it to truly be called chic.
Cute and Quirky Girl Crush
Who says girl crushes have to be all hiphop or fancy? Using items commonly associated with cute concepts, such as shirts with cute patterns on them or school uniform fashion, in combination with fiercer items like ripped denim shorts or high heels is a great way to retain the cute and colorful aspect while still showing some edge. Take a look at Blackpink’s “As If It’s Your Last” music video. They manage to look both adorable and powerful with their clothes that complement the dual fierce yet poppy nature of the song.
The cute and quirky girl crush style is all about mixing bright colors and girly items with less feminine items. This helps differentiate the girl crush concept from the cute and also shows those guys that even fierce, independent girls can look cute, too.
The girl crush concept is a pillar of both Kpop music and Kpop fashion. It helps keep things more interesting and provides an avenue for fans to enjoy a concept that doesn’t necessarily fall into the cute or sexy category or one that doesn’t cater to the male fans only. It also signifies a sense of empowerment that women surely love. So if you want to find that balance between Korean girl fashion and Korean street fashion, look no further than some of the girl groups we’ve mentioned to achieve that perfect girl crush look. Because hey, being a girl crush and having that solidarity between girls is a great feeling indeed.