Korean Style Guide


Ever wondered how to pick the perfect OOTD, or what to wear to a wedding? Blogger Jessica Tham answers all of your Fashion FAQs in this column about all things fashion!

Korean Style Guide

We’ve gone crazy for their beauty products, obsessed about their dramas and listened to their pop songs on repeat – so naturally, mastering the art of Korean style is next on our to-do lists.

From elaborate details to cute basics with a twist, Korean fashion has something for everyone, whether your style is sweet, street chic or sophisticated. In this style guide,  fashion blogger Jessica Tham (@tippytapp) shows us three different ways to get your Korean style on.

The Sweet Heroine

Want to channel your favourite Korean drama star? The Sweet Heroine look is a must for you then. There are a few variations to this style, but it generally revolves around pretty pastel shades, soft details and looser cuts that don’t hug the body as much. Bonus points if you have an airy fringe à la Song Hye Kyo in Descendants of the Sun.

Even if you’re not actually sweet and innocent (cough cough), recreating the style is still fairly easy. Besides billowy culottes, boyfriend blazers and dresses with embellished collars, you can also try an updated pinafore like the one Jessica is wearing.

To keep the look from veering into school girl uniform territory, go for a pinafore dress in a modern shift silhouette, rather than the traditional A-line cut. Avoid pairing the dress with a shirt – a simple blouse will complement the look better.

Complete the outfit with a pair of sneakers or flats, and you’re all set to win the heart of your dream chaebol.

The Off-Duty Korean Star

It’s no secret that Korean stars are pros at the art of airport fashion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t channel the same casual chic vibes on the streets of Singapore (because let’s face it – how many of us really care about how fashionable we look on a long-haul flight?).

While the Off-Duty Korean Star look is comparatively more basic than other styles, it still strikes a delicate balance between comfort and style. The key to looking put-together (and therefore #onfleek) in casual outfits is to pick silhouettes that complement your body type. Simple tricks like tucking your tee into your jeans, or rolling up the hem of your pants, go a long way in keeping you from looking sloppy or dishevelled.

If you want to take things to the next level, opt for comfortable basics with interesting details, such as a pair of jeans with frayed hems, or a graphic tee that is both comfortable and chic.

For this look, Jessica paired distressed jeans with a graphic tee (borrowed from her husband Silas, but shhh…) for an easy, breezy casual outfit that will work for both weekends and travelling. Since comfort and practicality are also key to this look, she rounded off the outfit with a pair of white sneakers and a roomy leather backpack.

(Editor’s note: Please remember to watch out for oncoming vehicles if you attempt this street style pose on the road. We nearly got run down by a van while taking these photos and it was…not fun. Stay safe ya’ll.)

The Sophisticated Style Maven

If you’re an avid fan of Korean dramas, you would probably know that the female heroine never dresses like this (unless she’s undergoing one of those magic makeover type things). You see, the Sophisticated Style Maven is usually reserved for the female antagonist in Korean dramas. You know the type – she’s got the body (clad in a designer outfit, of course), the sparkly jewels, and her paws all over the protagonist’s potential chaebol. Basically, she’s a villain in designer heels.

Villainous or not though, you have to admit that this style still makes a statement. The first step in recreating the look? A top or skirt with elaborate elements, such as puffy sleeves, ruffles or bows (they really love their bows FYI). While the complete look – as seen in Korean dramas – might seem a bit over-the-top for regular people (hey, not everyone can be an heiress right?), you can still select elements to work into your personal style.

For instance, the blouse Jessica is wearing is a style that has been quite popular in Korean fashion lately. The cut of the blouse is flattering on most body types, and it can easily be dressed up with a statement skirt, or toned down with a pair of jeans. If full-on OTT isn’t quite your style, pick an option in a neutral colour like black or white, which will look far less garish than brighter colours.

For this look, Jessica paired her statement blouse with a colourful skirt in a classic A-line cut. We love how the colourful prints give the outfit just the right pop of colour, while the simple cut of the skirt balances out the elaborate details of the blouse. A pair of neutral pumps also pulls the outfit together nicely.

Cool Stores To Check Out

Want to give your wardrobe a Korean style overhaul? Here are some cool online stores to check out:

STYLENANDA: Needs no introduction really, but it’s a good place to get casual and on-trend Korean fashion.

Storets: A popular online store that offers clothes in a variety of Korean styles (i.e. sweet, sophisticated, casual). Check this out if you don’t have a particular style in mind.

Pomelo Fashion: A Bangkok-based online store that offers a variety of affordable Korean-style clothes. Check out their Pomelo Soho line for a collection of on-trend pieces.

Zalora: The online retailer has a Korean Fashion section, with clothes and accessories from various brands across Asia.

If you still can’t find anything, check out marketplace sites or apps like Taobao, Qoo10, Gmarket or Shopee.

Got any fashion-related questions for Jessica? Email us or leave a comment below. For more of Jessica, follow her on Instagram or check out her blog. Check out other fashion articles from her Fashion FAQs column here.

Still want more? Here are some articles you might be interested in:

Summer Style Guide

How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

How To Make Your Taobao Outfits Look Expensive

Korean Makeup Trends