Fashion is an ever-evolving trend. New styles emerge as existing ones go slowly out of favor. No matter how wildly popular a style  is, it doesn’t hold the public’s favor for long. Maybe it’s the desire for change that brings about this shift every few years. Maybe, it’s just the need of coming generations to express their individuality in a way that is distinct from the previous one.

Whatever the reason maybe, fashion characterizes growth. It is what defines a society. It is a representation of cultures and lifestyles, changing shape from geographic region to geographic region. Or, at least, it used to before the world turned into a big community. The distances between us have shrunken, thanks to technology and the internet.

A result of this contraction has been a convergence of trends. Cultures have merged and taken on a new shape. As we all become a part of the global community, we have to come to terms with the mixing of identities. This phenomenon sees us adopting trends from other regions and cultures, as ours are adopted by people millions of miles away. One such convergence is that of Korean fashion which has planted roots is various western subcultures.

Classical Feminine Korean Fashion
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Korea Meets the World

Korea Meets the World
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South Korea has had a thriving fashion scene for quite some time. It may not always have been as prominent in the fashion world as it is today, but it has been an essential part of Korean culture. Women’s fashion, in particular, has seen tremendous growth in the culture. As distinctions between cultures have blurred, Korean women’s fashion has gained prominence in the United States and many European countries.

As Korea observed the world’s interest in its fashion trends, it saw an opportunity to grow past its geographic boundaries. Korean fashion brands and malls laid down their logistics networks in countries across Asia and Europe. This allowed for worldwide shipping of cosmetics, clothing, and accessories, and this begun the craze. Korean trends today have dominated the global fashion scene due to their casual but contemporary vibe.

Emergence of Korean Fashion

Korean fashion trends have become the staple of western teenagers and young adults. The styles are unique, distinctive, and comfortable so they were an immediate hit with the youth. Young people today value versatility and individuality over elaborate and intricate designs. They are busy individuals who need their clothes to be comfortable enough to keep them mobile. Additionally, the clothes have to be exclusive enough to set them apart from the crowd.

Normally, these two elements don’t meet in fashion. Versatile isn’t exclusive and exclusivity is reserved for only the best in haute couture. This all changes with Korean clothing. Korean fashion is a step-up from high street fashion. It retains the elements of comfort and versatility and adds a hint of the chic that is exclusive to Korea. The resulting trend is something that is not just modern but also adaptable to the lifestyles of today’s youth.

A critical determinant in the growing popularity of Korean fashion is K-pop. This musical and pop-cultural phenomenon, like the fashion sense it promotes, is also a convergence of styles and genres. K-pop is marked with elaborate choreographies, vibrant colors, and unique clothing pieces. Many K-pop artists adopt a unique style that distinguishes them from others. This style, in turn, gets adopted by the artist’s leagues of fans, and Korean fashion flourishes.

Emergence of Korean Fashion
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The Seoul Fashion Week

Seoul Fashion Week


Korean fashion isn’t just the fashion of the masses, it has made a place for itself with celebrities and pop-culture icons. Music artists, television stars, and even the biggest names in Hollywood are spotted sporting the chic styles of Korean fashion. With such recognition, it isn’t surprising that the Seoul Fashion Week has become one of the hottest events in the fashion industry. This annual event is held in Seoul, a city which is considered by many to be the heart of South Korea.

The Seoul Fashion Week is a fashion fair of magnanimous proportions. Not only is it the biggest event in South Korea, but the most high-profile fashion event in East Asia. The event showcases the latest trends in fashion, many of which go on to become global fashion statements for the year. The event has proven to be the den of new ideas in fashion, which stakeholders look forward to as it sets the trends across Asia. Industry moguls attend the event to cultivate business engagements.

Types of Korean Fashion

Anyone who has roamed the streets of Seoul or has been exposed to Korean fashion will have observed two distinct trends. Contrasting these trends in Seoul itself is much easier than it is anywhere else. When ins Seoul, you hardly ever come across women who aren’t sporting the hottest trends in fashion. The Koreans are bold, and they do not shy away from taking risks in fashion, even if the occasion is as simple as going out for coffee with a friend.

Following are the two most prominent categories that exist in Korean fashion:

  • Classical Feminine – This type of fashion emanates a girly vibe. It comprises of elements such as patterned blouses, schoolgirl skirts, high heels, long coats, and other clothing items crafted with elegant fabrics and floral designs.
  • Modern Chic – This is the fashion of choice for teenagers and young women. This subset can be recognized by pieces of oversized clothing, neon patterns, prominent jackets and coats, grungy shoes, and a hell of a lot of Denim.
Classical Feminine
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expressions of individuality
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Both the fashion trends we observe are unique in their own rite. Together, they offer a nice blend of the classical and the contemporary. The two subsets of Korean fashion are the perfect expressions of individuality. They allow young women to experiment with various elements in their respective subsets to craft a style that is unique to them and complements their personality.

For this article, we will be exploring some prominent elements of the Classical Feminine style, to help you put together an outfit that complements you.

Putting Together a Classical Feminine Korean Outfit

Before we begin out dive into Korean fashion, we should mention that it isn’t for everyone. To adopt the fashion as a part of your lifestyle, you have to be comfortable with getting dressed. By getting dressed, we mean taking a few minutes out every day to think over your outfit and ensuring that everything goes smoothly together. Korean fashion is simply not for those who think that meeting friends for coffee in their pajamas is a good idea.

If you’re someone who loves to look presentable as much as we do, you’re in the right place. All of us can learn a thing or two from Korean women about looking effortlessly fashionable in our day to day. Journey along as we discuss some of the most fashionable elements that make up a K-fashion outfit.

Feminine Korean Outfit
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Trench Coat

Trench Coat
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Among all the attractive clothing items that make up K-fashion, the trench coat is the most prominent. One reason for its popularity is that it goes with everything. It also suits women of all ages. Trench coats are a recurring sight on the streets of Korea’s urban cities. You will see women of all ages adorning a long coat over their evening dress.

The fashion has also gained popularity is western metropolitan areas. The trench coat has become a central part of any outfit. Its beauty lies in its ability to compliment any dress it is worn with. Ven if the dress underneath is nothing special, the trench coat is an outfit in its own. It gives off both a classic and a trendy vibe that suits many occasions and many types of dress styles.

Most popular color choices for trench coats are neutral. Neutral colors are in fashion anyway, but trench coats are where we see the highest density of neutral colors. Brown, beige, and cream colors have become the colors of choice. As much as a black or a dark colored trench coat stands out, it lacks a sense of versatility. Neutral trench coats go with a variety of colors and are captivating to the eye.

Loose Knitted Sweater

An alternative to trench coats that we see very often is knitwear. Sweaters and knits are more neutral than trench coats. This means that you can pull one off in any number of settings. Knitwear may not be as bold, but that’s the point. However, it isn’t too unnoticeable either. The idea behind choosing knitwear rather than a trench coat is that it can be customized to go with several dress styles.

A popular choice when it comes to knitwear is a small sweater or knit with a skirt. The sweater is generally of an average length that ends at the waste. It is worn with either a dress with the top and the skirt attached, or with a full length top and a skirt worn separately. This style is suitable for professional settings as it looks clean and presentable. Because of its versatility, you can just as easily wear it on a night out.

Another popular style that young women go for is a full length knit that goes just below the knees. Such a knit will usually have a long side slit which reveals the dress underneath. A front-open cardigan is another trendy style choice. Both these styles reveal more of the dress. They generally give off a casual vibe, therefore, are suited for informal or semi-formal occasions.

Loose Knitted Sweater
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Collared Blouse

A blouse and a dress are also quite popular amongst fashionistas. A collared blouse holds particular favor with many young women. It is simple and versatile, so it is great for both work and casual wear. One reason why this type of blouse holds particular favor is that it can be paired with other items of clothing for both summer and winter dresses.

Collared Blouse
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During the summers, the blouse can be paired with jeans or mini-skirts, or even dress pants. It is common to spot a collared blouse being worn by women in the workplace. It is equally common to find one at a party. During the winters, it can be worn underneath a closed sweater. The large collar protruding above the neckline looks chic and trendy.

Some considerations need to be accounted for when choosing a blouse and dress combination. As with any outfit, it is important to ensure that the colors work well together. A good contrast will often outperform a matching blouse and dress. However, if the contrast is too overpowering, it can have the opposite effect. It is also unwise to choose both patterned items as the patterns will clash.

Midi Skirt

Midi skirts are a common element of the K-fashion outfit. They give off a classic vibe that is both trendy and feminine. Midi skirts are the most versatile choice when it comes to bottoms. They can be worn in any setting, weather, and any occasion imaginable. They go well with most tops and outfits and can be worn all year round with varying combinations.

Midi skirts can be purchased in an indulgent variety of styles and designs. Some of these are so flexible that they can be used both with business and formal attire. Wear it to work with a formal top in the morning and to the bar in the evening with a casual top and no one will be none the wiser. Luckily, most high street fashion outlets stock a wide variety of midi skirts.

The most popular varieties are satin, patterned, and pleated versions. These are more contemporary takes on the classic midi, perfect for the modern female. A buttoned version of the midi skirts is also often paired with a tucked in top for formal occasions. If the weather gets cold, pair the skirt with knitwear and a trench coat for a trendy winter look.

Midi Skirt
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Wide-Leg Jeans

Skirts are great but not all women prefer this ultra-feminine look. Formal pants also can’t be worn all the time or to all occasions. What many young women resort to is a more casual and laid-back look. For days that don’t require dressing up, dress down in style with a pair of jeans. However, skinny jeans are so going out of style. What’s replacing them are wide-leg jeans which give off a tom-boyish vibe.

The right top for wide-leg jeans depends on the occasion and the time of year. For the hotter months, pair them with a round-neck loose top and sneakers. During winters, you can get more creative with your look. Pair it with a casual top and a denim jacket, or loose knitwear for a casual yet updated look. Such combinations go great with healed booties if you wish to get extra creative.

Yes, tom-boyish, but that isn’t bad at all. Straight and wide-leg jeans are becoming increasingly popular among fashion-conscious young women. They may sound too masculine, but they are anything but. Pair them with the right top to achieve a very current, very chic aesthetic. The look emanates a sense of dormant power fit for the modern woman.

Wide-Leg Jeans
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Heeled Boots

Ask a fashionista and they will tell you that footwear makes or breaks an outfit. Choosing the right kind of footwear is essential to achieving your desired look. The choice of footwear depends on your outfit, but in K-fashion, any outfit can be pulled off with the right kind of heeled booties. Korean women, especially, have mastered the art of traversing through thick and thin in heels.

Heeled Boots
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Heeled boots, sock boots in particular become a common sight during the winter months. They are more versatile than other incarnations of heeled footwear. Their versatility lies in the wearer’s ability to pull them off whether they’re being worn to work or to a party. They are comfortable, elegant, and stylish. They also go with most winter dresses so you will not have to worry about getting many pairs.

But what do you do during the months when sock boots become overkill? A lot, apparently. When the boots go back in the closet it is time to shop for a selection of wedge or sling back heels, and stilettos. Be mindful of the occasion though, as these variations are less versatile than boots. Sling backs are often very casual, but you can also get a few good designs to go with your formal outfit.

Conclusion

As Korean fashion has gained popularity and acceptance as the style of choice in urban cities across the world, the term has become redundant. Korean fashion has grown from being a niche that early adopters experimented with, to a dominant style choice. The sights that were contained within the boundaries of Seoul a few years ago have travelled to London, Paris, Berlin, and even as far out as Sydney and Chicago.

If you want a piece of the K-fashion mania, you need to book a flight to South Korea, or wait for your dress to arrive in international post. All you need to do is walk down to your nearest Zara outlet or H&M and you will find a generous selection of K-fashion elements to put together your outfit from. Other high-street stores you can check out include NAKD, Topshop, ASOS, and River Island. The exclusivity of K-fashion lies not in the price tag of its elements, but in the blending of classic and modern fashions.

References