The Korean Wave has been influencing fashion and style all over the world. The Korean club scene is no exception. It’s fair to say that Korea’s nightlife is super vibrant and filled with people who dress to impress more often than not. But it’s also worth noting that because the nightlife culture is very different from that of the West, Korean club outfits aren’t exactly what you’d see in other parts of the world.
Although the people tend to be more formal and conservative, the younger generation is very much into fashion. And Korean nightclubs are well-known for their amazing music, electric atmosphere, and of course, beautiful uninhibited people.
Depending on the location, Korean party outfits can come in various styles, from glitzy glamour to streetwear chic. Whether you prefer to keep it classy, go with a sexy or edgier look, we’ll surely cover all the bases. Stay tuned until the very end so you can learn how to dress appropriately for every occasion.
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In order to make the best impression on your night out, it is important to know what you are getting into before you arrive at the party. From the venue type to the music, and general activities, knowing where you’ll be going is super useful when deciding what to wear.
Whether you’ll be sitting, standing, or dancing; if you’ll be drinking, eating, or just socializing. What kind of music will be playing, and what’s the general vibe of the place. These will all factor into your outfit choice, so if you’re unsure about the location, your best bet is to search it online or ask someone who’s been to the place.
Now, although clubbing is a big favorite in Korean nightlife, there are many other types of places in which people enjoy gathering at night. From indoor “pochas” and street stalls, dive bars and rooftop lounges, all the way to the notorious “hunting” spots, dance clubs and karaoke rooms. Let’s go over what’s appropriate and more fitting for each of these spaces:
If you’re so familiar with the term, a “pocha” is a type of street stall that sells a variety of traditional Korean street food and drinks (most commonly, beer and soju). Most of these establishments are tents with outdoor sitting, but you can find plenty of indoor pocha-style taverns. This is one of Korean university students’ favorite places to hang out at night, meet up with friends, or even go on impromptu dates.
Because many people meet at these places after work or school, the typical attire is very casual (excluding office workers who inevitably wear more formal clothes). It’s one of the few places where it’s perfectly fine to wear a t-shirt and jeans, but also elegant blouses and collared shirts, and even athletic/loungewear.
Usually, people spend most of their time seated at pochas, so comfortable footwear isn’t much of a requirement. One thing to note is that these are notorious drinking places, and in Korea food must always be ordered with drinks. So be mindful of possible spills and strong odors.
Korean dive bars are not unlike any others in the world. These spaces offer plenty of sitting, be it at the bar or in booths or high tables. But if you’re looking to drink some soju or other Korean traditional beverages, keep in mind that these dive bars are better known for beers (domestic or otherwise) and cocktails.
In some of these, aside from sitting to have a drink and socializing, you may be able to play pool, darts, or foosball. Some even have enough room for some dancing, as in some you can usually request songs to be played.
In terms of attire, these are a little less casual than drinking stalls. Again, it very much depends on the vibe of the place, but most people like to dress up a bit. Think your everyday style, but elevated.
So, for instance, if you’re a fan of the tee & denim jeans combo, try throwing in a leather jacket and a nice pair of boots. If you prefer a more elegant look, you can always go with a nice flowy blouse and a mini skirt, with a pair of sneakers for comfort and a cozy overcoat for warmth.
Rooftop lounges are generally more upscale venues, that serve a more sophisticated clientele. It’s not unusual to see executives conducting business in these places over a drink or two. And in the summer, these venues host plenty of cocktail and other themed parties.
Rooftop drinking is very popular especially in big cities like Seoul, because of the spectacular nighttime landscape. And surely you’ve seen your fair share of rooftop scenes in your favorite Kdramas, with friends gathering around a small foldable table on the floor, with plenty of store-bought drinks and snacks. Needless to say that in these instances, a dress code doesn’t apply.
However, the more upscale venues generally call for an elegant dress and high heels, or a fitted suit (tie optional). A more comfortable option would be a tasteful blouse or jumper, depending on the weather, with loose-fitted pants.
When it comes to the Korean club scene, it’s important to note that the venues usually adhere to a theme, be it according to the music they play or the events they have going on.
If you’re going dancing and drinking, you might want to dress up in a more relaxed look. But unlike its Western counterparts that tend to be more casual, Korean nightclub outfits are quite extravagant, with the ladies going all out with their makeup, hair, and accessories, and the gentlemen picking out their best collared shirt and suit jacket. High heels, short-fitted dresses, form-fitting tops, and skinny jeans are a few favorites.
There are a few clubs that are known for their “hunting” concept. Essentially, these are places where groups of girls and guys are separated into two sides of the room, and if they take an interest in someone, they’ll reach out and start a conversation. It’s hard to understand the phenomenon unless you see it for yourself, but let’s just say that relationships in Korea tend to start off very inorganically, and this type of location makes it easier to meet a possible partner.
Here, it’s customary for people to dress very much according to their aesthetic, so they can attract people based on their individual type. Perhaps the most individualistic version of Korean club outfits.
House parties in Korea are not quite like what you’d see in most places. Because young people tend to live with their parents until they marry, not many can afford to throw a party at their home. But those lucky few that move away for college or work, tend to invite friends over quite frequently, to eat and drink together. In fact, it’s customary to have friends come over once you move into a new place, and they seldom come empty-handed – similarly to housewarming parties, one could say.
These are by far the most casual nightly events one would hope to attend in Korea. The lack of dress code is so clear that some show up in pajama pants and oversized tees, or basketball shorts and relaxed slides. If you’d feel more comfortable dressing up a bit, you could put a little extra effort into a natural makeup look, or even put together a casual chic outfit. But it’s easier to overdo it than not, so make sure to employ some common sense in your decision-making.
Now you’ve got no excuse to not dress the part in your next nightly outing. Make sure to let us know what your nightlife favs are and which outfits you’d like to try out for yourself!
If you’re looking to get inspired for daily looks, we recommend you check out our previous posts on Korean grunge styles, street fashion, and retro-inspired outfits. And to learn a bit more about Korean fashion trends, you could always take look at our Korean fashion style guide.
As always, enjoy your reading and happy shopping!