It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the change began, but South Korean fashion is becoming less and less conservative with each passing season. This spring, we will likely observe the trend, and see how Kpop and Kdrama fashion are updating with it.
Streetwear has decidedly taken off over the past few years. Just as big of a comeback have been 90s trends, both in the athleisure and grunge spheres. Granted that many Koreans prefer to keep it quiet subdued, with more conservative fits and classy pieces.
Myself, being someone who lives in South Korea and has observed my fair share of season changes, can give you some insight into what the current scene looks like. And for the most part, Koreans continue to choose to level up their personal style – and how fun it is to see!
Regardless of what you prefer or feel most comfortable in, we’re sure you’ll find something for you. Here are our 10 Korean fashion trends for Spring 2021:
1. Ankle-Length Pants
A unisex fashion trend that has been quite popular in the last years is the ankle-length pant, and we have a feeling it will be even bigger this spring.
Most people will already have a pair of ankle-length jeans in their closet. However, if denim is too stuffy to wear in your climate, go for loose pants made of more breathable fabric to give this Korean spring style a try.
The boxy fit is a favorite amongst Koreans. It pairs great with nearly any top, from spaghetti straps to t-shirts or relaxed tops. You can also have your pick of shoes, as (depending on the style of the pant) these usually pair well with heels, sneakers, or even sandals.
2. Puffed Sleeves
Another Korean spring style that is just as versatile and we’ll be seeing a lot of this spring is puffed sleeves. Shirts, dresses, jackets. Puffed sleeves add an extra flair to an otherwise plain look.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. And they’re quite easy to style as all you need to do is thrown in a pair of basic denim jeans or a mini skirt.
Puffed sleeves dresses are especially popular amongst Korean celebrities and fans alike. This is likely because it is an easy way to explore fashion without overdoing it and pushing the limits of their comfort zone.
3. Button-Up Dresses
It is quite common nowadays to see Korean girls hit the city center wearing a button-up dress. Some are more reminiscent of a long blazer, others more along the lines of a utility dress. And somehow, a lot of people seem to mistake it for a preppy trend. But what we’re envisioning for this spring is that Korean fashion will brighten up the piece with playful seasonal colors.
You can easily layer these if needed, although these tend to be warm enough on their own. Pair them with tall boots, cute heels, or comfy sneakers. Don’t be afraid to play around with it and make it your own.
I know what you must be thinking… In the words of the great Miranda Priestley ‘Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.’ But Koreans like to stick to their staples, and nothing says blooming season more than a nice floral dress.
An aspect of Korean fashion, in general, is that they like to seamlessly coordinate their wardrobe to the season. Most will go for brighter and neutral florals, but there’s always the occasional darker print.
Besides, it’s easy to shop for a decent floral dress and there’s a design for just about anyone. So, pay no mind to the nay-sayers and go full bloom if that’s what your heart wishes.
5. Tennis Skirts
As Korean as rice wine. Tennis skirts are always in fashion in Korea, and springtime isn’t the exception. Some would say that trend reached its peak a few years ago, but people still gravitate towards the piece. These a great asset to any wardrobe. Easy to style, and just perfect for the warmer months.
Besides, these don’t necessarily have to be as feminine and dainty as most people perceive them to be. Plain, checked, or in any other pattern, there’s a lot that can be done with it. Think yellow or red plaid, like the punk-rocker of the 90s. Or maybe pink and black combinations, in true e-girl fashion.
6. Cropped Tops
Crop tops have been around for a while, although not really in Korean mainstream fashion. But like we mentioned before, trends are becoming increasingly less conservative in South Korea and people are starting to show more skin.
Streetstyle is quickly reaching the same level of popularity and cutesy looks. It’s not entirely uncommon to see girls show off their midriffs in the spring. A statement crop top and baggy jeans are an example of a trendy look that’s also easy to recreate at home.
7. Open Back
Speaking of revealing, another trend that has come to defy Korea’s conservative fashion is open back tops. It’s definitely been blowing up amongst social media fashionistas and stylish celebrities.
The favorites seem to be those with a more modest front that contrasts with the surprising open back. There are plenty of different styles, fitting for every occasion and degree of comfort. So, be daring and leave your back bare this spring.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the term ‘transitional pieces’. There’s nothing better to ease the change from winter to spring than knitwear. Knit dresses, sweaters, vests… Layer up or don’t! Knit pieces are a staple in everyone’s wardrobe and quite easy to pair.
9. Modern Hanbok
We’ve been seeing a resurgence in traditional fashion, namely the Korean Hanbok. Many stars have been wearing modernized versions on music videos, live performances, and interviews. Although this piece dates back two whole millennia, it is still worn on special occasions all throughout Korea, such as weddings, lunar new year’s, or Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).
Hanboks can be quite pretty and not always the eyesore that they will rent out on touristic areas in Seoul. The original version is not very impractical, as it takes a bit of time to put on, and it can be quite heavy and big. But modern hanbok can easily be adapted to everyday situations, and it definitely adds an elegant feel to an outfit.
10. Bucket Hats
Our final entry is another 90s revival – this time, bucket hats. This one is both trendy and practical. Whether it’s a sunny spring day or April showers, you will be set to venture outside with your funky hat.
The trend was likely brought upon by rappers and hip-hop producers in the K-pop underground scene. Although it’s adopted from typical fisherman fashion, we can’t deny it adds an effortlessly cool vibe to the wearer.
2021 Korean Spring Fashion Outfit Ideas
Whether you’re more of a trend follower or trendsetter, we’ve put together a few extra spring looks that you can draw inspiration from. Don’t be scared to mix and match trends, in true Korean fashion, and to step out of your comfort zone.
Try pairing a knit or puffed sleeve neutral dress with patterned tights for a fun touch on an elegant ensemble.
Why not combine two of the trends and go with a knitted cropped cardigan? It pairs great with any type of bottom, too.
A fan of minimalism? So are we. And one can never go wrong with a nice plain white tee.
And because spring is cherry blossom season, we ought to throw a little pink into the mix.
Hopefully, you have found a couple of Korean fashion trends to try out this spring. And you already know where you will be shopping for these!
Now that you know what’s trending this season, you could also learn about Korean fashion staples that Kpop idols swear by. And, like us, you might find yourself daydreaming about the world opening back up so we can enjoy a Kpop concert. In case you have no idea what you should wear to those, we’ve put together some Kpop concert outfit inspo, so you can start planning your looks ahead of time.