During my short visit to Seoul (check out my shopping guide), I had the opportunity to observe a variety of outfits that Korean men and women were wearing. Over the course of a week, there were some clear fashion and beauty trends that emerged. Korean women are classic dressers, favouring simple lady-like pieces, clean and fresh makeup, and trendy shoes and bags.
Here are the top 6 trends I observed while in Korea:
The number one fashion trend I noticed on men and women in Seoul was monochromatic basics. All around me, worn by people and sold in stores were jackets, pants, skirts, and shirts in a multitude of basic solid colours – navy, white, black, grey, army green, burgundy, and nude. This style of normcore dressing seemed almost like a uniform, worn by many, and mostly finished with a pair of clean white sneakers. This very functional way of dressing almost adds to the homogeneity of the population in Seoul, as you see the same pieces in different colours over and over again.
Image via Urban Outfitters
Another trend I observed in Korea was their propensity for soft pastels and light, airy fabrics. If it wasn’t a basic solid shade, it was a soft pastel. Women in Seoul tend towards lady-like dressing; everyone has an airy white button up, a beige jacket, and something in soft pink.
Short Strappy Dress, $45.90 CAD, ZARA
Similar to the east and west coast, layering was super popular, specifically layering a v-neck dress over a white sweater. What I saw briefly in store windows in Toronto before I left, was a full blown mass-market trend in Korea. This outfit was usually accompanied with a leather backpack, a choker, and a pair of white sneakers.
Stripes & Sneakers
Image via Lulus
It seemed as though everyone in Korea had at least one striped t-shirt, sweater, or button-up shirt. I noticed that this wardrobe staple, along with every other outfit on the streets was worn with a pair of white sneakers. From what I could see, Korean men and women are big fans of American sneakers brands – Adidas Stan Smith, Nike, Vans, Keds, and Lacoste were most popular among young Korean dressers.
Of the beauty trends I saw in South Korea, flawless, glowing, porcelain skin was the most prevalent. This is not surprising for the birth place of BB cream, CC cream, and every foundation designed to give you a fresh, youthful glow. Every woman in Seoul, in the cafes, in the shops, and on the subway had on foundation at least three shades lighter than their hands. The most popular foundation in Korea that I could distinguish from their marketing was this BB Cushion SPF 50+ PA+++ by skin care brand, Laneige.
Image via Chick Advisor
Almost as prevalent as glowing skin in Korea were gradient stained lips. This popular beauty trend worn by women of all ages is designed to give off a look of youth and is a more subtle way to wear a bold lip. Although all the lipsticks and lip tints found in beauty stores are intensely bright and poppy, coming in red, magenta, coral, and hot pink, most formulas were extremely sheer and buildable. When rocking this trend, women stained only on the insides of their lip to create the look of youthful, plump lips.