It may seem ridiculous to talk about anything other than femininity being present in Korean women’s fashion, but this year has seen the rise of both an ultra feminine trend as well as a faux masculine trend on both high streets and catwalks. These two dominant sides of fashion in Korean fashion at the moment are defined by lace, polka dot, glitter, and ruffles one on hand, and boyfriend jeans, blazers, cargo pockets and baggy cardigans on the other. From shoes, to accessories, to Korean dresses or tops, these opposing visions have flooded the market.
When many people think of exaggerated femininity in Asian fashion the first images that come to mind abroad are the cutesy, kid-like, ultra girly styles of Japanese designers of the early 2000’s. The super feminine motifs that are present in the Korean market today are more sophisticated and romantic than they have been in the past. This trend is created by combining more than one traditionally feminine technique in a single piece in order to create a finished product that has an overtly girly look. The dress below is an example of this because of the way it combines a chiffon pink fabric, floral pattern motif, ruffles and a lace trim.
The particular aspect of this super feminine trend that has taken on a mind of its own is lace. Rather than just using lace as trim or a detail, many Korean dresses or shirts are being made entirely of lace with a slip or vest underneath.
Although calling any aspect of women’s fashion ‘masculine’ is a bit of a misnomer, it still accurately described the way that certain aspects of traditional menswear have
woman in blue jeans and pink blouse become so prominent in women’s trends in 2012. Whether or not women are ready to admit it, the blazer, the boyfriend jean, the baggy cardigan, the buttoned up shirt and the oxford shoe or brogue are all staples of men’s apparel for centuries. It must be said that these pieces are cut and designed for women; this is why we see the brogue heels or women’s button-up shirts.
Blazers, like lace, began as a part of this masculine inspired trend. Over the past year, having a blazer has become an absolute must for every modern, trendy women. They are no longer strictly men’s apparel, but instead have become just as integral to women’s fashion as they are to men’s.
It is difficult to conclude which of these trends developed first, however, it is pretty obvious that they provide momentum and inspiration to each other within the Korean market as well as the global fashion market.
The author is particularly interested in fashion and culture and seeks to have a global perspective in her work.