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An idiot’s guide to Korean fashion – p.1

Korean fashion.

Part One of Two.

You know, you really shouldn’t be listening to me on this issue. I was already pretty faux metro in the States… but for what it’s worth here’s a simple observation and commentary of what can be commonly seen in Korea. By no means is this as detailed as it should be but for a non-fashion industry guy’s observation, I feel it’s worth mentioning. Nothing found on the runway, but certainly on the streets by young people. I present to you what’s happening in the world of male fashion according to a man with no appreciable fashion sense.

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– Pink –

Look. I’m not here to make the whole “Korean guys wear pink” argument. Pink is found in all countries and is worn by men and women alike. Of course also in Korea the color pink is used to differentiate between baby boys and baby girls. It is clearly a girl color; however it isn’t exclusive to girls in Korea like it is in America. The remarkable thing is that Korean guys wear all shades of pink. Light pink, dark pink, medium pink, purpley pink, pink with white, frilly pink, etc. It’s insane how many shades of pink a Korean man can wear. You know the whole “tough guys wear pink” slogan? Korea is jam-packed with tough guys.

– Shiny –

No, not everyone’s least favorite Korean boy band SHINee, we’re talking about glittery suits, light-reflecting ties and sugar-coated dress shirts. Basically like a cupcake. Everything a man wants to look like, right? A dressed up call girl. Shiny is the new black apparently. 반짝반짝 indeed, kind sir. There’s nothing like a six hundred dollar suit that sparkles.

– Pointy Shoes –

Remember when cockroach killers were fashionable? Korea never forgot. Pointy shoes aren’t worn by everyone, but the guys that do wear them really have a point – those are some seriously sharp shoes. Not sharp in the nice looking way; sharp in the way that they could harm a man in an argument over who makes the more metro-looking pointy shoe.

– Scarves –

Is it cold outside? No. But we’re wearing scarves, aren’t we? Fashion scarves are a great accessory that would get a man pummeled in Texas. Although I’m guilty of owning more scarves than God, I would hesitate to wear them back in the states. Don’t want to give the wrong idea. But regardless, Korean scarves are more than just the neck-warming utilitarian objects of fabric that they should be. Instead, they are freakishly mutated shoulder covering whose design is right out of a Japanese comic book. Why do I need my shoulder covered by a yellow and black plaid piece of paper-thin cotton? I don’t. But I love how it brings out my eyes.

– Man Bag –

I, too, am guilty of man-purse ownership. Yes, the always fashionable guy-satchel is with me at all times. I try to hide the fact that it’s a man-purse by telling my friends that it’s a laptop bag that I use for work. Granted, it is a laptop bag but I never put my laptop in it. I use it daily to carry my digital camera, cell phone, reading material, pencils and the ever-important travel toothbrush. What? I like to brush my teeth…

– Couple Shirts –

Fair enough. It takes two to tango. Yes, a couple shirt is wore by both a man and a woman of said couple but it’s the guy that looks like a complete moron, not the woman. Think about it. The couple shirt is never a handsomely fitted polo shirt or a well-tailored Armani suit. Instead, it’s a pastel yellow shirt with Snoopy’s face plastered on it. When you see two young people walking hand in hand with matching shirts, you can’t help but wonder if that guy is also the same guy who drinks 소주 like a whale and who is trained to accurately shoot any North Korean soldiers that might invade South Korea. Is that him? The defender of the country? Wearing a shiny pink couple shirt?

– Zipper Ties –

How cool are these? I love these awesome alternative to the real thing. Zipper ties are cheap and oh-so-fun to wear. Instead of the traditional single piece of cloth, these ties come with a prefit knot and a crotch-like zipper that goes up and down according to your neck size. You’ll look like a big boy in no time. Thank you Korea for allowing an idiot like myself who can’t tie a tie properly to comfortably wear one for work. They are cheap and are sold by just about anyone in the subway. Buy often and buy many I always say.

– – – – – – – – –
Well that’s all about I have to make fun of say about young male fashion in Korea. Clearly there are other great things to gawk and shake your head at in disgust such as bare chest-revealing shirts, acid-wash skinny jeans and tough-guy Engrish shirts that say things like “Power love for money beast we are” and the like.

Despite the 배용준 reference, Korean men aren’t all flowery petals of femininity. Personality-wise, Korean men are truly known as a man’s man in the John Wayne sense both with advantages and disadvantages. But that’s another post for another time.

Stay tuned for next week’s look at female fashion. A sneak peak you say? Let’s just say the forecast is dark with a 90% chance of heels.