Dressing up in a “sleek” and polished manner is not always my forté as my taste in off-duty clothing veers towards the campy side. I sometimes loathe myself wearing things that I think too feminine, but keep cheating myself nonetheless thinking it is workable and man-able. Therefore there is a need to constantly remind myself that I NEED TO STOP buying women's stuff!
A trip to Seoul has been an eye-opener and has given me a lesson or two about smart dressing - not in that sartorial GQ way of smart dressing, but more of a street attitude with something clean and simple. As any good K-Pop enthusiast (which I am not) will notice the styling prowess of the singers /actors on media, it is only natural to see that stylistic sense trickle down the street.
I find that Seoul style is refreshing and fuss-free. Yes, you might argue with this and rebuke that a) Seoul fashion is homogenous and b) it lacks individuality or originality, but in this current world of instant fashion and legion-forming Instagram accounts, who could really blame them?
From my observations Koreans are really quick to adapt the latest trend (evidenced by the abundance of runway inspired designs at Doota mall), hence the argument (b). But it is definitely the cheaper and more 'wearable' option for those who are keen to look 'on trend' without spending a hefty amount of money. If you are one of those who cringe at designer copycats, at least rejoice with the fact that the community of Seoul has that hunger for new fashion that is not easily seen in other Asian cities like Kuala Lumpur. Therefore I'd pick their subtle designer rip-offs over senseless dressing which I see frequently in KL any time…
The hot ticket items on the streets (I walked and used the subway a lot, so much so that it was easy to identify what's popular) when I was in Seoul are loose cut clothings for both boys and girls, as beautifully demonstrated by Korean fashion export Juun.J SS15 collection (pricey stuff, but already on sale on sites like SSENSE or Wrong Weather. As a baggy clothing lover myself, this couldn't be a more appropriate time to indulge in local flavor and 'blend' in with Seoul's style-conscious pack.
Juun.J SS15 backstage images from Dazed and Confused
This style, just like the Craig Green pieces that I acquired some time ago, is definitely billowy (I just need a high-powered fan to demonstrate its billowiness), but has a crisp quality, minus the extortionate amount of custom duties and shipping fee. It was relatively easy to find these pieces as they can be bought in most of the small shops around Hongik University (or head on to Doota for slightly more cash, but without the headache of disorganised street shopping).
There is always a risk to look shorter than I already am in this silhouette, but it is a risk I'm willing to take. The spaciousness of the top and bottom parts of my body wins over tight uncomfortable clothing of my student and housemanship years.
Neoprene shirt with contrasting cuffs by Monocle - structured and surprisingly breathable
Another ongoing trend from previous seasons that identified from the streets of Seoul is the Birkenstocks, thanks to Phoebe Philo's nonchalant effort to putting these comfort footwear onto style pedestal at Céline a few seasons back. Almost every other kid wears these Birks or the imitation version of it. I always have that wariness to blindly follow trends, what more of a whimsical one that might die down like this Birkenstock-inspired looks. But that all became relative when I was in Seoul. These Achilles Birkenstocks are different design-wise, and they were on sale (which is virtually impossible to find once in KL). Needless to say this was the faulty reasoning that I used to convince myself to purchase another footwear...
Achilles Birkenstock sandals worn with Korean brand baggy mix wool pants