South Korea has currently lined itself with major fashion cities like Paris and Milan with its very own annual Seoul Fashion Week. Within 40 years in the fashion market, it has now grown into a strong 20 trillion won industry. And thanks to the “Hallyu” wave that is now conquering the globe with KPop artists and K-drama actors and actresses, the Korean fashion scene has seen a lot of growth and increased popularity.
This popularity has translated into mimicking of style and many have been addicted to the Korean fashion style (especially K-streetwear fashion) oftentimes drawing inspiration from KPop artists and Korean drama actors. That being said, mimicking this Korean fashion style especially for men might look simple but it actually requires tremendous effort to be as stylish as them. Picking the right outfit and finding the perfect sandals or shoes to complete the look isn’t always easy. That’s probably why most men nowadays follow the latest Korean fashion trends.
Korean men have always been fashion lovers and talented dressers and in contemporary streetwear fashion, no one really gets out without putting extra effort into what they wear. They are rightfully in the spotlight today for their amazing sense of style which always features the newest fashion trends.
While it may not be easy styling like a Korean man, it does not mean that you have to be extravagant in terms of clothing layers and quantity. You can always slay with a few clothes and just learn how to mix and match the items in your closet to make it look like you came out of a music video or a drama. Especially when you want to impress a girl who has been drowned in the Hallyu hype.
This 2020, level up your fashion gaming by trying out these latest Korean fashion trends and fully imbibe that “oppa” style!
The Trendiest Clothing Items
Bucket hats have been notorious pieces in the fashion industry and many have been confused whether they’re stylish or just a chunk of fashion disaster. But in recent years, bucket hats have earned their rightful place in fashion and now many artists and celebrities have been spotted wearing this fashion trend. This 2020, bucket hats are still cool.
In Korea, many male idols and actors have been sighted wearing different bucket hat styles. The thing with this hat is that it lowkey goes well with everything from casual to streetstyle and even more formal styles though this one is a bit challenging to achieve. Basically, bucket hats add that edge or flair to your outfit and these are definitely a must-try trend.
Sometimes, it’s not the over-the-top trends that really make a lasting impact. Most of the time, it’s just the simple ones. One classic clothing item that will never go out of style is your basic shirt. This is a clothing staple that will always save you in any fashion situation.
It’s easy to style up or down depending on what you need. For example, it works styled down on a casual date partnered with denim or slacks. You can also finish the look with a bucket hat and your favorite Converse shoes or just about any sneakers you love to wear. You can also wear it with a belt bag to make it look more in style.
If you’re working on a more formal look, you can simply tuck it and finish with a belt. You can add a coat and switch to loafers or boots.
Of course, if you have your basic shirt then you should definitely have your polo shirt as well. With just the addition of a collar, you won’t have to worry so much about your smart casual memos. In just one easy slip of a polo shirt, you already look so formal without even trying.
To style it, tuck it in and pair with slacks or denim and formal shoes. You can also style it down with more casual items like shorts and sneakers and a cap! This is one item that you should always have in your closet!
Long Sleeves Polo
Long sleeves polo can be tacky when not styled right but can also look simultaneously cool and hot when worn right. This style is flexible and can fit casual or formal occasions. One of the most popular casual polo styles is layering it over a thin sweater or shirt paired with slacks, jeans, or shorts and completed with sneakers. For a more formal look, you can button it up but leave the uppermost button undone to avoid looking too restricted and exude a bit of sexiness into the outfit. Layer it with a coat and pair with some slacks and leather shoes and you’re ready to crash the evening party with a half-filled champagne glass.
But whether you match it with your favorite jacket or wear it with the sleeves rolled up, this must-have style is a simple yet striking fashion statement. Also, it can emphasize your broad shoulders and muscled arms which are definitely major turn-ons to the ladies lurking around you.
Straight Cut Jeans
Riding in the Hallyu fashion, straight cut jeans are the rage. If you are looking for a simple Korean outfit for men, this comfortable get-up is a perfect choice. Straight cut jeans are best paired with graphic tees but any simple tee works out well too. There are also variations of straight cut jeans like the tattered version which is also hot in the market. While you can find these in many stores, you can also experiment with ones that you already own with the help of DIY videos. The tattered version amps up the straight cut jeans and gives it more edge and attitude, perfect for the rugged Korean look.
Aside from the usual tee, jeans, and sneakers combo, you can also pair it with polos and oversized jackets. The straight cut jeans give the volume to your simple yet stylish look. This modern style is a must-try for 2020.
Dark Wash Jeans
If you’re looking for jeans that will flawlessly fit you, dark wash jeans is the best choice. It hides skinny legs or thick thighs better than light wash jeans. You can cop this style in straight cut, skinny, distressed, or ripped. You also don’t have to worry because it can be styled both casually and formally.
You can easily pair it up with a graphic tee, bucket hat, sneakers or slippers. If you want to amp up the stylishness level, then pair it with your long-sleeve polo shirt and go for a tuck and a belt. There’s a hundred styles that you could do with just one pair of jeans.
From casual date nights to even office outfit, this jeans is surely flexible enough to fit anyone’s style! Make sure you get one of these.
Slacks and Trousers
Slacks and trousers are very essential pieces which work on all kinds of occasions. Depending on how you style it, you can achieve a range of looks from casual to smart casual or semi-professional and of course, the professional look.
For the casual look, pair it with a plain white shirt, graphic tee, or a knitted sweater and some sneakers. If you want to make it look a bit smart, swap your shirts to collared ones or long sleeve polos and tuck it fully with a belt and pair it with some loafers or black leather shoes.
These pants also effortlessly embody class and refinement. You can always play along with the classy and bad guy look with these items.
In fashion, leather jackets are what Taylor Swift described as “it will never go out of style”. These have been a staple classic and timeless item that every man should have in their closets. Thanks to the founding fathers of leather jackets like Marlon Brando and James Dean, leather jackets have earned the default cool description. Aside from that, it can make you look like you came from a top notch chaebol family. Take for example, Choi Young Do of The Heirs played by actor Kim Woo Bin.
Leather jackets are also your stylish fall/winter pieces which can be rocked by any man (or woman) and any age. Aside from the cool feature, it’s also a trademark for the bad boy image common among Kdrama leads which is undeniably one of the looks that ladies that are so crazed to see (because apparently girls love bad boys more than the good boys!).
Since leather jackets are already statement pieces, you can simply layer it over a white shirt and pair with some dark denim pants and boots. Or you can take notes from KPop idols like Jungkook and Suga of BTS, Yeonjun of TXT, or Bambam of GOT7 on how to coolly wear a leather jacket.
Puffer jackets have lately been seeing a huge boom not just in the Korean markets but also globally, thanks to KPop stars and Kdrama actors who have been sighted wearing these especially during the winter in their backstage shoots, rehearsals, and even in airports. While these are worn for practicality (good shield from the cold) and comfortability, puffer jackets are also very stylish pieces.
You can dress it down layered over a casual outfit with shirt, jeans, and sneakers but you can definitely amp up the style with formal wear in tuxedo and black shoes. Recently, this winter warmer has also been taking the streetwear fashion by storm. But this time, cropped puffers are out and oversized and outright color block styles are the “it” styles. According to Vogue, the winter 2020 jacket trend is ultra long and minimalist.
Puffer jackets are very practical and versatile clothing items so make sure that you have one in your closet!
Trench coats are very popular and staple pieces for four-season countries and are worn during the fall and winter seasons. While these are primarily must-haves for the cold season, trench coats have evolved into one of the most iconic South Korean fashion clothing that extends beyond its purpose to give warmth.
Many Korean male idols and actors wear this during premieres, shoots, and even on an ordinary day out. Probably one of the most notable trench coat scenes was from the recent kdrama Goblin starring the handsome Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook. V of BTS has also rocked the fashion scene with his impeccable trench coat style which made him go viral in the US as “the guy with long black coat” during New Year’s Rockin’ Eve celebration in Times Square when they performed their hits “Boy with Luv” and “Make It Right”.
The charm of a trench coat lies in the air of sophistication it brings to the overall attire. It’s fit also magnifies the male profile such as height and shoulders. A trench coat also gives a serious male lead (or second lead) vibe. You will be like the protagonist of your own life drama. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
Of course, nothing beats the comfort of a classic pair of sneakers or the ease of steps with canvas shoes but sometimes, these are not the best and most stylish options for an outfit. This is why loafers are also very essential wardrobe pieces.
Loafers may not be categorized as formal shoes but they absolutely look impressive with a coat and tie. They add a little bit of edge to an outfit without compromising comfortability (since loafers are primarily made for easy wearing and comfort) and are the best option when you want to look in the middle of a formal dressy look and a too casual style.
The Trendiest Patterns and Styles
Dressing in one hue from head to toe is decidedly cool-guy chic and looks completely effortless, that’s why it’s no wonder monochromatic outfits are the unofficial uniforms of Korean men. This trend is one of the easiest to curate and every closet can produce this outfit if you just take a closer look at your options and try to mix and match.
The main power players for monochrome outfits are usually neutrals and denims making it a perfect choice for men who are not very playful with colors or are not comfortable with extreme outfit styles. The fun thing about curating monochrome outfits is that you don’t necessarily go for block color for every piece (except for all black which looks extremely cool). Instead, you can play with shades and tints of the same color family. You can also try and mix in textures for variety.
For example, you can try a light gray wool sweater layered over a white or dirty white collared shirt matched with dark gray slacks and a pair of white sneakers or gray slingbacks. Accessorize with silver items like a watch or earrings. And you’re good to go!
The only thing that you should note when going for monochrome outfits is color choice. Make sure to pick something that naturally complements your skin tone or hair color to make the outfit look tied together.
Oversized Shirts and Jackets
Oversized has been stereotypical clothing for men and ladies are known to swoon over this style (classic girlfriend wearing oversized boyfriend hoodie). From shirts to sweaters to jackets, oversized definitely oozes campus crush or “oppa” vibes. The oversized shirts are a trend reminiscent of the ’90s grunge era and while it has not fully gone out of circulation in the local K-fashion scene, it has lost a bit of its popularity over the years.
Recently, the style resurfaced and like a BTS comeback track, it has quickly dominated the trends of 2020. The key to this style are the elements of balance and proportionality. Oversized tends to drown its wearer in fabric which is why it’s very important to know how to properly style it in the context of your figure and size.
Oversized shirts and jackets can be easily offseted by slimmer or skinnier shorts or jeans to balance the look. Nevertheless, it can also go effortlessly with baggy bottoms though this specific style depends whether you can carry and balance the look. The most popular technique in wearing anything oversized is tucking which you can experiment depending on your overall vibe for the outfit. For example, if you like a more formal look, a full tuck would be the best option accessorized with a belt. But if you’re going for a more casual vibe, you can try a half-tuck or just a front tuck paired with bulky shoes and trendy bucket hats.
When it comes to patterns, stripes is definitely a favorite in the local K-fashion scene and is worn both by young and old, men and women. It’s a very minimalistic design with a variety of variations like awning, barcode, bayadere, bengal, banker, breton, chevron, pinstripe, and many more. Each stripe has its own characteristic but all of these look super groovy and high-end making it a popular choice.
In terms of styling stripes or generally any pattern, it’s important to keep a healthy mix of these with solid colors and textures to balance and separate pieces as well as give off a relaxed vibe. Coordinating these elements in your outfit will help your outfit look harmonious.
One good example of a combination is Small Polka Dots, Stripes, and Florals. These could be heavy patterns so make sure to balance them out in your outfit but generally these patterns look good together. You can also try Toile (a translucent linen or cotton fabric), Texture, and Stripes or Damask (pattern woven into fabric), Floral, and Stripes.
For a classic stripe look, go for a polo shirt in black and white stripe half-tucked into a pair of black skinny jeans or shorts finished off with either black shoes or a pair of good old sneakers. You can add in a baseball cap or layer a denim jacket.
Multiple Layered Clothing
Layering is simply combining pieces from your wardrobe to curate a new look. It’s a very sustainable and chic style but be warned: this trend is fun but it takes confidence and skill. It’s not easy to pick out clothes that complement each other not to mention that it’s also risky so you really should have the guts to carry your outfit well.
Multiple layered clothing is a popular fashion trend in Korea and it’s a style for all season — yes, even during the summer. Despite its inherent constrained and bulky nature, many Korean men can still be seen rocking this outfit.
According to Melanie Wilkinson, styling editor at The Guardian, layering is a great way to get the most out of your wardrobe. She also mentioned the two cardinal rules of layering: “One, never layer your bottom half, and two, start with finer, thinner materials and work your way out.” She also added that the main thing to consider when layering is the thickness of the fabrics. “You need lots of light things to go under chunky things.”
For this style, you can try layering a jacket over a long sleeved polo or mid-thigh coat and white shirt paired with shorts, long socks, and black shoes. Then, finish the look off with a bucket hat and a bag.
Rich Business Man Look
You can typically see the rich business man look in Korean dramas like Park Seo Joon in What’s Wrong Secretary Kim or Kim Seon Ho in Start Up. This fashion style definitely oozes confidence, class and refinement. To perfect this ensemble, you’d need a plain wool shirt underneath, plaid pants and the iconic coat. And oh, let us not forget the designer bag and the stylish sunglasses.
Neutrals especially blacks and whites suit this type of look but of course, there is always room for playfulness by exploring other hues like pastel ones or bolder, brighter colors. Whether you’re going subtle or all out with colors, this look is definitely a head turner.
A half tuck may seem like a very simple style but you cannot underestimate the change and impact it can bring to your outfit. Sometimes, shirts tend to look too casual or even too tacky and the best way to add some edge to it is by simply tucking one part of the shirt tucked and leaving the other one hanging. This style is very prevalent among Korean men and they’re absolutely rocking the style.
You can also do this style with long sleeve polos and adding an unbuttoned sleeve rolled in a ¾ quarter style, black slacks, and loafers for a statement look. For a casual streetwear look, you can match it with trousers or jeans and accessorize with sunglasses and a simple pouch.
The athleisure trend has been gaining steady popularity for the past few years and is not showing signs of slowing down any time soon. If you’re familiar with KPop dance practices, you can definitely see this trend worn by many KPop idols. Athleisure expertly pairs high fashion pieces with casual basketball shorts, baseball caps, and joggers. The style is genius, really: Comfortable yet stylish enough to go literally anywhere. That being said, it is a comfortable fashion statement for anyone to try.
Balance a casual gym-ready piece with something slightly more refined and make the athleisure look as your own. Explore and experiment on your ideas. This fashion trend is gender-neutral which makes it an even better fashion style.
The Logo Craze
In Korean street fashion, logos have been gradually getting bigger and bolder. With the rise in demand, clothing manufacturers have been busy catering to this growing trend. Among the most popular, most fashionable, and most eye-catching brands are luxury ones like the interlocking bold Gs of Gucci and Cs for Chanel and the strong and robust Futura typespace of Louis Vuitton. You can also find popular streetwear fashion brands like Supreme notably worn by many KPop idols like BTS’ RM and JHope. You can shop these shirts in Gangnam, Itaewon, or Hongdae where many brands set up shop.
The only hard and fast rule when it comes to the logo craze is to stick to wearing one brand at a time. Additionally, to style it successfully, go minimal on the other parts of your outfit to give emphasis to the logo you are showcasing. If you aren’t ready to flaunt your favorite logo so proudly, try to consider a printed scarf and tuck it into your jacket. That is quite the problem-solver!
You can say that ripped pants are old news but it’s being kept fresh by its continuous appearance not just in Korea but also in most countries where the fashion industry is a huge thing. So, it is not necessarily new but its popularity is increasing quite dramatically. Ripped denim can be seen almost everywhere, on both men in the form of pants and in women in the form of pants and skirts and even jackets. Ripped denim can be paired with plaid shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, jackets and even coats. That’s how versatile it is.
One thing for ripped denim is that it is important to not overdo things. Some people say that the more destroyed the jeans are, the better; but that’s not it. The size of the rip does not mean better style and it’s best to keep the tears to a minimum and experiment when you have mastered styling it. You can find ripped denims in many fashion stores around Korea or you can also go ahead and DIY it. Since it has become a major trend, many video tutorials on how to rip your jeans and other denims have also become popular.
Balance is the key when styling ripped denims. If you opt for ripped denim jeans, match it with a more refined looking top and the same goes vice-versa. Ripped denim on ripped denim also works, that is if the tears are not so big and wide.
In the Korean fashion industry, neon colors are a popular choice. You can see various K-pop idols in their music videos and performances, and other stars sporting outfits featuring bursts of neon colors in it. This fashion statement attracts the eyes pretty quickly, so you can be sure your outfit will liven up and draw attention if you choose to go with such colors.
You can make a relatively simple and subtle outfit stand out by pairing it up with a splash of neon. Neon has been popping up in Korean fashion for some time now and it seems it will continue to enjoy its popularity especially among teens and young adults.
Take note though that neon is a style that will put you under the spotlight and in order to be able to successfully walk this style, you need to be confident! There is no such thing as holding back so strut those colors and own it!
Mix & Match
The mix and match trend, perhaps, is the most glorious of all the Korean fashion trends. Technically, a trend is something you follow to keep up with but the mix and match has no rules. It’s a trend but not a trend. A little confusing, but you get the idea. In this trend, ignore the fashion lessons and rules you’ve ever been told. This is where experimentation and creativity take place. Mix and match is risque fashion.
Literally anything goes with this trend. That’s the beauty of it. You can try anything you can think of and create something you never expect to create. Again, there are no rules. This fashion trend is for the brave and the bold. If you are scared enough to try something new and you might think crazy, then don’t. This trend is for the gutsy people. As what they say, confidence is key.
The Loud Colors
If there’s anything that describes Korean fashion, it’s that it has always been unapologetic when it comes to experimenting and have always been pioneers of stand out fashion reflected in many of the music videos produced in the KPop industry. It embraces vivid and bright hues like brilliant greens, light blues, and bright reds.
One thing to note when wearing loud colors is to balance the intensity and combination of colors to avoid looking like you’re a burst of rainbow colors. It’s best to study which colors work best together and carefully considering what colors also complement your skin tone.
And just like the neon trend, this one’s for the bold and the brave.
Keeping up with trends does not mean that you are not owning and loving your individuality. Also, it does not also mean that trying these trends make you a slave of fashion capitalism. What it simply means is that you want to be updated.
Fashion is still about expressing oneself. Trends come and go but you can infuse them with your style to improve and boost your confidence. Don’t be afraid to experiment and be creative!.