Korean fashion is often a combination of fast-rising trends and recycled styles. Korean designers and stylists are indeed very fashion-forward. The proof is in how everything we now see in mainstream stores has been worn by Koreans for a few years now. But there is one particular season in which their fashion shines the most. And that is why today we will be diving into the Korean autumn trends for this year!
From what we got to see in Seoul Fashion Week, there are some classic favorites and intriguing new tendencies. The most familiar features included casual takes on formalwear and chunky footwear. But unlike previous seasons and years, the color palettes have considerably darkened. As a matter of fact, many attendees chose to wear all-black ensembles or very muted tones with few pops of color.
Based on this data and what we’ve seen our favorite idols wearing as the summer starts to cool down, we were able to pretty much predict which will be the 10 hottest Korean autumn trends of 2021:
(If you live in the Southern hemisphere and will now be going into Spring, we recommend you read about this year’s Korean spring trends.)
1. Layered Tops
If you visit any of your favorite shops’ websites, you’ll find a plethora of layered-top looks right on their homepage. But in Korea, this isn’t necessarily a new trend. And you can attest to that by scrolling through any idol’s Instagram feed or marathoning your fav K-drama.
This is undoubtedly one of the best transitional solutions. It’s very easy to layer up as the temperatures begin to chill. And sometimes, all you’ll need is two pieces! A chunky pullover and a dress shirt, a plain tea under a woolen vest. The options are endless and you can always adjust the warmth of your outfit.
Besides, a layered-top look seldom looks unpolished. Not to mention that it fits with the Academia aesthetic that the season brings around. This is why we have chosen it as the first of our Korean autumn trends.
2. Knits, Knits, and Knits
Yes, we’re aware that there is nothing groundbreaking about knits for the coziest season of the year. But you’ll be surprised to find that there are a few new staples worth adding to your autumn wardrobe. Sweaters, tops, cardigans, vests – there’ll be knits galore all season long.
And how are Koreans playing with knitwear, you may ask? By combining it with other seasonal trends, of course. Whether it be layering up or pairing a knit piece with a couple of other items for a minimal look. Chunky knits are no longer a grandpa look. If anything, they can elevate an outfit’s cuteness level without trying too hard.
The best thing about the many variations is that you can pair your knits with any bottoms! Mini or midi skirts for a transitional look. Skinny jeans or leggings for a preppy look. Baggy pants or slacks for a smart-casual vibe. Just get creative and put something together that fits your personality!
3. All Black
Black is the new black. And the more of it, the better. Besides, one can never go wrong with an all-black ensemble, right? Not to mention that it’s an effortless trend that actually requires no effort!
What some may mistake for idleness, is actually one of the oldest tricks in the book. Black is slimming and timeless, it fits nearly every aesthetic and is on-trend all year long. And if you’re feeling particularly moody or on edge, nothing will have people keep their distance if your black clothes won’t.
Whether you favor streetwear pieces or minimalist vibes, you’ll surely own more than a few black items. And unlike what anyone might say, one can never have enough black pieces of clothing.
Minimal styles are equally popular among Korean women and men, but especially the latter. Although the description may be a bit vague, there are a few color palettes and staple pieces that could fit under this category.
Ankle-length jeans and linen slacks are trendy favorites. Breezy shirts and plain outerwear are another two examples of understated Korean autumn trends. But the beauty in this aesthetic is precisely the simplicity. And when it comes to colors, instead of mirroring the season, most will stick to the neutrals, perhaps adding some muted hues of brown or navy blue.
5. Smart Casual
Another great stylistic choice that many Koreans like to adhere to is smart casual fashion. Essentially, it is the marriage of formal and casual wear. And surprisingly enough, these styles complement each other quite well. This is why it earned its place in our compilation of Korean autumn trends for the year. After all, autumn fashion is all about merging concepts.
This is precisely the type of fashion you can expect to see in your average Kdrama. In real life, this is how most Koreans choose to dress for their office jobs. And the best thing about it is that one can look fashionable without compromising comfort.
For men, you could expect to see pieces like polo shirts, or a blazer over a t-shirt. Women tend to favor button-up dresses (in the style of blazer dresses), and perhaps a nice blouse or shirt paired with a long skirt and some comfy sneakers.
6. Trench Coat
If you don’t yet own a trench coat, take this as your cue to go get yourself one. Trench coats are mega-popular in Korea and have been for quite a while. Besides, this is a contemporary piece that never goes out of style. There is no better outerwear for the mellow temperatures of autumn, and they can elevate just about any look.
The most common styles for trench coats in Korea are beige tones with dark buttons or dark plaid patterns. And these can be easily thrown over any ordinary outfit – even over shorter, thinner jackets.
The thing about streetwear is that the concept evolves and transforms every year. A once marginalized style has now become the muse for high fashion designers. So naturally, Kpop idols and western celebrities alike have taken a liking to it.
It’s becoming more and more popular in Korea, especially among the youngsters. In Seoul, especially, you will find plenty of people donning oversized t-shirts, baggy bottoms, funky hats, and chain accessories.
8. Chunky Sneakers
This is another trend that has been around for a while – and not limited to South Korea, either. What once used to be a way for girls to grow a few inches without enduring the pain of high heels has now become a unisex global trend. And of course, sports brands have jumped to the opportunity of having Kpop idols endorse their products.
9. Combat Boots
We’ve seen them on stage, we’ve seen them as airport fashion, we’ve seen them pretty much any time, anywhere. Combat boots aren’t necessarily a new trend, but many fresh styles have been reimagined over the years. Heeled, with or without a platform, black, brown, green, ankle-length, or up to the knee. The choices are many, and both men and women wear these military-inspired shoes.
Surely, these can be worn with dresses, skirts, and shorts. They’re not limited to a season, but they sure do fit autumn the best. And as they may be too warm for the summer and not nearly warm enough for the winter, combat boots are the staple shoe for a transitional outfit.
10. Large Reading Glasses
Finally, we close this list of Korean autumn trends with the most quintessential academia accessory of all – reading glasses. If you actually need glasses to see, consider investing in some nice frames that will go well with your autumnal closet. And if your vision is perfect, you can always go with UV filter lenses. These will protect your eyes and keep you from dozing off when binge-watching Netflix, working all day in front of the computer, or losing hours of the day scrolling through social media.