Clothes and impeccable hairstyles aren’t just mere accessories in Korean dramas and films; they have a character of their own. From the beginning to the conclusion, the slightest nuances of characters’ personalities reflect in their outfits and hairstyling. You might remember Lee Min-ho’s famous fur coat and curly hair from Boys of Flowers in 2009, a show that spurred the Hallyu wave and kicked off several fashion trends. Lee Min Ho’s bratty Gu Jun-yo was part of the rich and popular F4, where the characters opted for similar hairstyles as the bangs were let down, compared to the rest of their hair.
In 2020, Seo Yea ji’s Ko Moon-young in It’s Okay Not To Be Okay made fans sit up with her sleeved dresses - bows, ruffles, and sometimes edgy, which enhanced the personality of the sociopathic children’s author that she played. Yet, when she showed her softer and gentler side, she was dressed in delicate white and pastel dresses. On the other hand, Ahn Hyo-seop’s Kang Tae-moo was dressed in sombre coloured coats in Business Proposal, which matched his seemingly cold and distant personality.
These style statements; hair, make-up, cosmetics and clothing trends promoted by K-drama stars and K-Pop idols are not just by-the-way, it all forms a crucial part of the Hallyu wave. As the country’s soft power comprises their entertainment, lifestyle and beauty products, the wave has been hitting international shores with more fervour in the past decade. K-drama stars, K-Pop idols’ fashion inspiration and make-up trends reach an astounding fan-base through several mediums, including TikTok.
With innumerable K-drama shows hitting platforms like Netflix and Viki, and K-Pop idols sharing numerous photos on social media, there’s a lot of fashion inspiration you can get - from Kim Go-eun’s trademark red scarf from Guardian to Park Min-young’s cardigans from What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim and Jeo Yeon-been’s pantsuit from Vincenzo to the retro athleisure suits from Squid Game.
There’s no dearth of options to try out in the fall and winter for 2022 - ranging from floral dresses, to stylish hats, or experimenting with tweed and plaid.
The trench coat
It’s not just BTS who rock the trench coat. Oversized, more than the tight-fitting trench coats are a pre-requisite in every second K-drama, and it’s the classic trademark of a wealthy CEO or heiress in the show. The best thing about a trench coat is that it can be paired with anything, and you can still look unbelievably suave and cool. It doesn’t quite matter what you wear beneath, you can always top it off with the trench coat. Yet, if you have doubts, you can get some inspiration from Hospital Playlist and wear turtlenecks like they did and it will keep you warm. Or, you could borrow some ideas from Kim Go-eun in King: Eternal Monarch, where she was mostly clad in a brown coat, paired with a white V-neck sweater.
Large tops, like pullovers and hoodies
Oversized is a plus when it comes to K-fashion. Just like Park Bo-young from Strong Girl Bong Soon, you might want to try a large hoodie or the big puffer jackets like you see Park Shin-hye and Lee Jong-suk wearing in Pinocchio. They’re quite comfortable, as well as practical.
Brightly coloured coats and blazers
While sober and neutral tones are still a norm in K-drama fashion, many K-drama leads now opt for trendy coats that are available in bright colours, for instance, check out the show Love in Contract, or like Seol-In Nah with her bright red coat in Business Proposal. You can add your own twist to your appearance, even the most traditional of cuts. Give colours like green, lilac, purple and fuchsia a try!
If you’re keen on blazers, go for it, as they’re quite a statement piece now. Go with bold colours. You can take some inspiration from popular K-Pop idols who rock this look like Jay B from GOT7 and Monsta X’s Im Hosen. However, if you’re not up for bright colours, you can do what Park Min-young did in Forecasting Love and Weather, opt for simpler colours like a salmon-pink single-breasted blazer, paired with a semi-sheer pleated skirt or an oat-meal shaded blazer.
In the past year, there has been a stream of K-Pop idols who aced this look. Ateez’s Seonghwa’s cropped jacket for the Rocky music video became a subject of discussion on social media, while AESPA’s Giselle looked unbelievably chic with her knitted jacket during Coachella. And there’s BTS’ Jungkook, who almost broke Twitter after he wore a black-cropped jacket during his Las Vegas concert.
Stray Kids’ Felix made a strong statement when he opted for a unique clash of the patterns by pairing a cheetah print with a knitted vest. Sweater vests can make any outfit look good, and it doesn’t matter if it is patterned, plain, cropped, or a V-neck. Don’t worry about looking like a uniform, pair it well with a white-top and you can ace the look. You can even pair with some cool shades like BTS’ Jimin once did. Otherwise, if you want to look cute and small, you can pair the cropped sweater vest with a mini skirt.
Sometimes, you just want to look casual, but good. One of the biggest trends in South Korea is the loose-fitting and relaxed bottoms and you can wear it with a tucked-in sweater. You can pull off the look with boots, high heels and sneakers.
Blouses with collars are in! While it can be worn in summer, it can also be used well for the winters. A collared blouse is just as effective as a knitted vest. They also pass off as really cute shirts.