Winter Style in Seoul

Here in Korea, everyone takes their personal appearance very seriously. Whenever I’m in an elevator, I always see men and women taking a look at their reflection, fixing their hair and making sure they don’t have any leftover kimchi stuck in their teeth from lunch. Furthermore, young Korean men seem to make very deliberate choices when it comes to their wardrobe. It may be a bit intimidating at first, especially if you’re coming from a place with very lax attitude about dressing up, but you may find yourself bitten by the fashion bug and trying to up your style game with the Korean aesthetic as your inspiration. I’d like to share a few of the things that I’ve seen so far in men’s fashion!

The first thing you need to know is that clothing in Korea driven by fashion trends. What does this mean for you? Well, it may be possible that some of the trends I’m telling you about may decline by the time you get here. However that shouldn’t concern you too much. I’d recommend just taking a few trends and incorporating them into the wardrobe you already have. It looks more natural, and when you get back to your home country from your time abroad, your new unique style can be a conversation starter about your time studying in Korea! Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the possibilities!

The hoodie, while not uncommon, is not the predominant piece of outerwear used by the Korean man. Instead, a wide variety of jackets and coats are used depending on the weather.

Hanyang Varsity Jacket Fur lined parka Trench Coat

The jackets in the pictures above are among the most commonly used in very cold weather. They’re functional and stylish. If you plan on coming to Korea during the winter months, something like the parka or the trench coat will definitely be useful. They’re designed to protect you from the elements like snow. Also, nothing says dark, mysterious, and handsome like a good trench coat! When I first came to Korea, I didn’t have the right winter coat to protect me, so heed my warning and come prepared!

There is something special to note about the varsity jacket (left). Universities across Korea sell their own unique jackets to their students. It’s a way for students to show pride for their school. As you can see, these jackets are customizable and display your school, major, and even your name! I think it would be a wonderful souvenir that you can treasure for years to come!

With warmer weather on the way right now, a lighter jacket will be necessary. Here are a few of the options I saw while roaming around Myeongdong (명동) and Gangnam (강남).

Denim and Flight Jackets Leather Jacket

What I found so interesting about these jackets is that they remind me of a very classic American style, especially the leather biker jacket. I’ve seen the leather jacket around Seoul a couple of times, and the person you see wearing it doesn’t look like the kind of guy you’d want to mess with. It definitely still sends the “rebel without a cause” look that everyone is very familiar with. The flight jacket (left) is especially useful on cold rainy days since its synthetic material repels water fairly well. Denim jackets seem vastly popular among the Korean student population. It’s a versatile piece that a lot of people here like to dress up with a tie or down with a simple t-shirt.

Beyond jackets, shoes are also something to consider. You’ll have to choose wisely though, because these shoes have to go beyond being fashionable and serve as good walking shoes that will keep you comfortable for as you walk all around Seoul!

Wingtip Derby Loafers New Balance Work outs

Sneakers (bottom left) are an obvious and a popular choice of footwear for both Koreans and foreigners alike. They’re comfortable, durable, and can move between fashion and function easily. Beware: sneakers are easily soaked by snow and can lead to cold feet and a ruined day! For the snow, the most popular option is the leather work boot (bottom right). Note the thickness of the sole, it’s thick with a durable rubber that will ensure you won’t be slipping on ice any time soon. The thickness of its leather will also ensure no water will be seeping through.

Now if you’re looking to really show some style, you have two options: the derby (top left) and the loafer (top right). Both are very mature shoes that really only work if you’re willing to put on the outfit that goes with it. This means either a suit, or slacks and a shirt and perhaps a sweater. I know, it seems way too formal for a college student, but you’d be surprised how many Korean guys are working these shoes. Who knows, maybe you’ll impress some Korean ladies with that mature look!

I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to men’s fashion trends in Korea. The seasons are changing, so a lot of new trends are going to be surfacing soon for the summer and spring. I’m excited to see these trends, and I’ll be sure to share my findings!


Article by Eli from the U.S.A.

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