13 Korean Summer Fashion Trends 2023
Summer has returned in South Korea and as always, we also can’t wait to transform our wardrobe into something that beats the heat in style. We may have brought to 2023 a number of summer pieces from the previous year. However, this year’s South Korean summer fashion is heavily moving forward with interesting trends that give us a peek at their traditionally conservative taste.
Apart from swimwear fashion, let’s know more about how Koreans generally dress for the outdoors during the summer season! These Korean idols and celebrities will show us how exactly they serve as the trendsetters of some versatile pieces for the season. To copy the hottest pieces popular this year, below are the 13 Korean summer fashion trends for 2023.
(If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and transitioning to winter, you can get some outfit inspiration from our previous Korean Winter Fashion Trends 2022.)
- Cargo Pants
- Basic Tees
- Lightweight Skirts
- Y2K Tops
- Floral Dresses
- Oversized Button-Down Shirts
- Denim Bottoms & Overalls
- Cropped Knit Cardigan
- Colorful Crop Tops
- Canvas Bags
- Cloud Bags
- Sleeveless Dresses
- White Flats, Sandals, or Sneakers
1 – Cargo Pants
You’ve probably watched so many dance challenge videos and realized by now that cargo pants are making a comeback in a big way. These versatile bottoms are not only stylish but also practical for the warmer months. With their multiple pockets and loose fit, we can’t blame our faves for wearing them in almost every video because cargo pants definitely offer a functional fashion statement that can be dressed up or down.
One popular way to style cargo pants is by pairing them with a basic white tee and sneakers for a casual and effortless look. The key is to keep the focus on the pants by choosing a neutral color like khaki or olive green. You can also add a belt to cinch in the waist and create a more defined silhouette. Talk about a functional fashion statement!
2 – Basic Tees
Whether they are white or not, basic tees are an essential wardrobe staple. These versatile tops can be dressed up or down, making them perfect for any occasion. The key to rocking the Korean basic tee trend is to choose light-felt shirts and opt for simple designs.
Some say that you should never go basic, but sometimes being ‘basic’ really comes at an advantage, especially under the scorching heat. So go out and wear that statement shirt because when the summer heat is at its peak, staying cool becomes a top priority.
3 – Lightweight Skirts
Aside from Cargo Pants being hyped, Lightweight skirts such as cargo skirts are also making it to our 2023 Summer Fashion Trends List. When the temperature rises, it’s crucial to opt for lightweight fabrics that allow for breathability. Lightweight skirts, made from materials such as linen, cotton, or chiffon, offer the perfect solution.
Cargo skirts are making a strong comeback this summer, adding a touch of utility and edginess to Korean fashion. Inspired by military aesthetics, cargo skirts feature multiple pockets and distinctive details that make them stand out. From their breezy elegance to their contemporary utility, these skirts offer the perfect combination of style and comfort for the hot Korean summers. Embrace the versatility of lightweight skirts and the edginess of cargo skirts to create fashion-forward and effortless looks. So, whether you’re strolling through the streets or attending a summer gathering, make sure to add these stylish skirts to your summer wardrobe and enjoy the season in style.
4 – Y2K Tops
Fashion trends are cyclical, and what was once considered passé can make a striking comeback years later. This summer in South Korea, fashion enthusiasts are embracing a nostalgic blast from the past with the revival of Y2K tops. These early 2000s-inspired garments, characterized by vibrant colors, unique patterns, and playful details, are taking the South Korean fashion scene by storm.
As the summer heats up in South Korea, Y2K tops are making a remarkable comeback, captivating fashion enthusiasts with their vibrant colors, bold patterns, playful details, and unique silhouettes. By blending nostalgia with contemporary fashion sensibilities, South Korean trendsetters are reinventing this early 2000s trend, making it a must-have for summer wardrobes. Whether you’re looking for a touch of nostalgia or a way to express your individuality, Y2K tops offer endless possibilities for creating fashionable and memorable outfits.
Depending on your location, spring might be almost over already or hasn’t started yet, but who says you can’t display yourself in blooming florals? A loose A-line dress in a floral print would make a highly feminine and refreshing look that’s fit for the summer heat.
Unlike what some might think, florals are not old-fashioned and are definitely still trendy even in 2022. The common types of florals are the ditsy ones, just like what BLACKPINK’s Rosé and Girls’ Generation Sooyoung displayed. However, you can definitely go bold and opt for larger floral patterns. Either way, a floral print on a simple dress lifts the mood!
South Koreans will always have a penchant for long-sleeved button-down shirts, even if they’re walking under the summer heat. Despite the extensive covers, this garment is often oversized or loose and uses a thin material so Koreans can still feel fresh during the summer without exposing much of their skin.
An oversized button-down shirt is often worn plainly as shown by actress Shin Min Ah, but it has become a trend to use it as a cover for an ensemble to look more conservative. For example, Red Velvet’s Joy uses this piece over her ribbed crop top. While she might have used it for stylistic purposes alone, we can’t deny that it’s often practiced by girls in a modest country despite the hot weather.
Denim will never go out of style even at this time of the year. As a classic piece of clothing, ripped denim shorts are often a part of South Koreans’ fool-proof summer outfits. But do you know that you can also rock a pair of straight-leg denim pants on a hot summer day? Red Velvet’s Yeri makes a casual summer outfit easy but still stylish with faded denim jeans and a simple top.
If you want to show some skin, though, you can copy BLACKPINK’s Lisa’s youthful ensemble with denim overall shorts and a sleeveless top. Being versatile as it is, you can match denim pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, or jumpsuits with almost any top for your summer outfit.
Knit cardigans are in for the summer to channel a cozy and modest look. Although some may argue that these clothing pieces may be too hot for the season’s temperature and would not shield their skin from sun rays, they serve as an excellent complement to a dainty summer dress like TWICE’s Dahyun’s. Knit cardigans are also ideal for layering clothing pieces during the season as well as serving as a loose cover-up for semi-revealing outfits.
This type of cardigan becomes more fitting for the summer heat especially when cropped. To enliven her overall ensemble, Red Velvet’s Yeri paired this piece with a plain white top. The thin material also makes it more convenient and chic to wear during summertime.
Colorful crop tops are a fool-proof summer staple for every country, and South Korea is no exception. While exposed midriffs might not be the most common sight in a conservative country, it’s safe to say that many Korean idols like BLACKPINK’s Jennie and Red Velvet’s Yeri have already started to advance the crop top trend in South Korea.
Crop tops are ideal to show more skin and feel fresher during the summer season. You can incorporate vivid summer colors like green, blue, yellow or even statement hues like hot pink to add a twist to your ensemble. If your crop top already screams summer, you can simply pair them with plain bottoms like denim shorts or a drapey skirt for the right amount of chic.
Canvas tote bags are an all-season staple for those in the east, making them a recognizable Korean summer fashion trend. Apart from their simplicity and functionality, these bags are commonly seen among daily commuters for their timeless style. For casual summer looks, you can count on this type of bag to house all of your everyday travel essentials.
Canvas tote bags often come in a plain beige or off-white color that’s fit for any outfit, but they can also feature minimalistic designs or appear in a bolder color like black or brown. Despite being highly durable and roomy, this everyday tote is also lightweight, making it suitable for summer when you’re probably already displeased enough by the scorching heat. Comfort and style come in one through these canvas tote bags.
11 – Cloud Bags
Puffy bags, also known as cloud bags or pillow bags, have become a popular trend in Korean fashion. These bags feature a soft, plush exterior, resembling fluffy clouds or pillows. They come in various shapes and sizes, from mini crossbody bags to larger tote styles. The puffy texture adds a whimsical touch to any outfit, making them an instant eye-catcher. Puffy bags are incredibly versatile and can be effortlessly paired with a variety of summer outfits. For a relaxed beach day, combine a straw hat, a flowy sundress, and a mini puffy bag for a charming and carefree ensemble. If you’re going for a trendy urban look, opt for a puffy bag in a bold color and pair it with high-waisted shorts, a crop top, and chunky sneakers.
Your summer looks will never go wrong with a sleeveless dress, which you can wear as it is as TWICE’s Momo did or use for layering like BLACKPINK’s Rosé. For a hot season, you may opt for a drapey camisole dress with a thin material so you can match it with a plain white t-shirt to transform your look into a more conservative yet fresh one. If you don’t prefer to wear a top underneath, you can instead wear a linen or denim sleeveless dress with a square neck. You can also pair it with a light cardigan for a modest finish.
In traditionally conservative countries like South Korea, it is more fitting to wear short skirts and mini dresses than to wear clothes with plunging necklines. With that said, if you want to blend into the crowd, make sure that you have a shirt underneath or a cardigan with you whenever you’re wearing a sleeveless dress that exposes your chest. Of course, you can be bold like some Korean idols and style your sleeveless dress however you please.
13 – White Flats, Sandals, or Sneakers
To complete your summer look, you will definitely need a versatile pair of shoes that are comfortable for walking. Luckily, white flats, sandals, or sneakers will be suitable for any refreshing summer ensemble. While there are also other neutral hues like cream or black, white is an unbeatable color when it comes to styling casually, as shown by BLACKPINK’s Rosé. Since it is light, it perfectly matches any bright and lively summer color among outfits. Simple but stylish!
And speaking of white, you can also delve into off-white footwear for that faded look, similar to 2NE1’s Dara. Whether you’re wearing a feminine mini dress or a comfortable shirt and a pair of pants, you can rely on plain white shoes for an easy-peasy summer getup.
Whether for a casual summer day out or for a plush beach party, we hope you got all the wardrobe inspiration you need to spend a ‘hot’ summer! Which one of these Korean summer fashion trends is in your closet already? Let us know your summer staples by commenting below!
If you want to know more about Korean fashion all year round, you can check out our posts on spring, winter, and autumn fashion trends from South Korea. Curious about the differences between Korean and Japanese fashion? Hop on to our detailed review of Korean vs Japanese styles!
As always, thanks for reading and happy shopping!