It shouldn’t come as a surprise that K-pop idols are giant trendsetters that help dictate what’s in not just in Korea, but around the world. The Hallyu phenomenon has undeniably taken the globe by storm over the last decade.
K-pop idols have time and time again proved their influence by scoring sponsoring deals with some of the biggest names in fashion. Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Celine, Burberry… All of these houses have picked a Korean face to represent them. The chosen stars are then invited to sit frontline in runways all over the world, to act as ambassadors, and even participate in advertisement campaigns.
But of course, not everyone can afford to cop a $2,000 jacket or handbag. And although the Korean people are no strangers to the art of dressing well, they will still grab a page or two from idols’ style books. There a few Korean fashion essentials that have become true samples in their wardrobes, and that’s exactly what we will be covering today.
Here are 8 items that every K-pop idol seems to have in their closet:
1. Checkered Shirts & Flannels
By far, one of the easiest items to layer for the colder seasons. Although somehow reminiscent of the lumberjack aesthetic, checkered shirts and flannels have become a somewhat classier piece. Boys will often layer it over a t-shirt and jeans for a simple yet put-together look, whilst girls will usually wear it for a more tomboyish, masculine feel.
2. Mini Skirts
Responsible for the comeback of the mini skirt, k-pop idols sure do rock the look on and off the stage. Denim, plaid, tennis, ruffled, puffy… There are plenty of options to choose from, more than enough to fit any person’s style. This is one of the Korean fashion essentials that’s used all-year-round, too.
3. Boxy Tees, Sweaters & Tops
Cozy, functional, and easy to style – it’s no wonder that boxy, oversized tops have become such a staple. It’s true that these pieces have around for a while now but Koreans have truly perfected the styling, balancing the proportions well with the other elements in the outfit. While some go for the relaxed, boyfriend look (like Dahyun in the picture above), others play around with its versatility, adapting it to a more chic ensemble (minimalist femme like Joy, or dark and modest like Jennie).
4. Baggy Jeans
Much like tops, baggy bottoms are also in! First rising to popularity in the 90s, the baggy jeans trend has come back around. Paired up with tight or loose-fitted shirts, with sneakers or fashionable heeled boots. Baggy jeans are one of the Korean fashion essentials that most of us already own. And if you don’t yet, we’ve got you covered!
5. Trench Coats
What magic does the trench coat have that everyone seems to look a thousand times more put-together with it on? First, they give the illusion of height. Second, they hike up the chicness of an outfit. Third, no one looks bad with one! This is a big winter staple piece that every K-pop idol seems to own and rock.
If you follow a fair share of K-pop idols on social media, it’s very likely that you’ve come across this trend. Ruffled dresses, blouses, and shirts add a dramatic flair to an otherwise boring outfit, and this is exactly why they’re so sought-after. They’re also quite feminine and cute, so you could use them in an everyday situation or even on a romantic date.
Sunglasses are a must for any fashionable Korean idol. And the motto seems to be: the bigger, the better! Whether they’ll be trying to stay on the down-low and avoid Dispatch lenses, or just snapping a few Insta-worthy shots, Kpop stars definitely like to complete their ensemble with a stylish pair of sunnies.
8. Crossbody Bags
Crossbody bags are the absolute best. They fit all the essentials, go with any outfit, and can even help secure a jacket in the cold winter months. These are definitely favored by Kpop idols as seen when going in to shoot music shows, on social media, and just generally on a day-today-basis. So it’s only fair that crossbody bags have landed this well-deserved spot in this Korean fashion essentials list.
9. Padded Jackets
A true winter essential. The cold seasons in South Korea have everyone donning the staple padded jacket. Short, long, black, white, hooded… The options may vary, but the fashion certainly does not. Surely you have noticed your favorite stars arrive at music shows bundled up in padded coats as they are photographed before heading in. And although some people might think of it as a trend, it truly is a must-have for those who do not wish to turn blue.
10. Fitted Suits
Formal wear has become pretty casual in South Korea over the last few years. A great standout is fitted suits and variations of these, on men and women alike. Kdramas will have you think that only those who work high-end jobs sport the trend, but it is as mundane now as jeans and a white tee. Plus, they give the wearer an aura of elegance and sophistication that we very much appreciate.
11. Block Heels
Chunky block heels have been around for ages now. And it seems like every Korean girl owns at least one pair. Whether they be a pump or open-toe option, they sure are comfortable and perfect to give the illusion of a few extra inches. Besides, they are super feminine and easy to dance in without suffering any major injuries. That might just be the reason why Kpop stylists have made it an essential in their book.
12. Chunky Sneakers
One of the biggest revivals from the ’90s was the chunky sneaker. Designer, colorful, with or without shoelaces… Many interpretations of this footwear have been worn by our favorite idols during their downtime. They make you look taller, are comfortable to walk in, and can go with pretty much any outfit. Besides, they combine the two major trends of retro and sporty, both of which are very in right now.
Tracksuits are the epitome of sportswear. And if you have ever watched a Kpop dance practice video, you will agree that it has become one of the go-to Korean fashion essentials for idols. When walking through the streets of South Korea, you will find the average citizen sporting track pants or a full ensemble. They are comfortable and never really go out of style.
14. Dangly Earrings
Over the years, a particular accessory trend has caught the attention of many fans. And interestingly enough, it seems to be favored by male idols. Dangly earrings are a very common stage accessory that has prompted thousands (perhaps millions) of fans to look for their own pair. Some might say that BTS are the ones responsible for earring-craze, but truthfully, pretty much any idol with a pierced ear will rock these on any given day.
15. Hair Accessories
Hats, headbands, bandanas, hair clips, scrunchies – you name it! Virtually any hair accessory is a common feature in a Korean ensemble. And yes, there are some points for functionality, but we all know a trend when we see it. The perfect final touch for a stage outfit. And it doesn’t hurt if it keeps your hair away from your eyes.
Now that you’ve reached the end, we hope you’re better enlightened on which staples you should consider adding to your own wardrobe. You might also want to read what the stars are wearing this winter… Just click here!