Thursday, October 16, 2008

Real Fashion (Fall '08)

I am not much of a fashionable person. When I lived in America I never really had a fat paycheck to buy designer clothes. Of course, though, if a person really wants to be fashionable that doesn't mean they have to buy designer clothes. It really means they need a sense of fashion. To go beyond the basic clothing necessities and into things like color matching, style and mood.

Seoul, it seems, is all about fashion. You see it on billboards, TV and in the major clothing stores. There is a huge ideal hear to leave your house looking sharp and fashionable.

I know Korea has its fashion weeks, where designers show off their concepts in attempts to get clients. That there is a high fashion elite here who can enjoy the fruits of the designers labels.

But what about us worker bees? The ones without billions of Won in their pockets?

So there I was at Dongdaemun market last weekend realizing this kind of flip-flopped fashion ideal here in Korea.

I had just finished walking around Doota searching for some warm sweaters. The way Doota is set up is that it is not like your typical American store. Whereas in America you have a section for T-shirts, jeans, sweaters, socks...etc. Here at Doota the sellers have their little cubes to sell their clothes. At these cubes you see a mix of shirts, pants and sweaters. Sometimes a cube will be thematic and just sell a certain style of pants or shirts. Sorry didn't take pics.

So to shop at Doota you have to look at all these little stalls and determine who has the better price, quality and style.

It is mind boggling and gives me a really shoppers headache. But the myth is that Doota is cheap, but the reality is you need a Korean person with you to get the deal.

I didn't have a Korean person with me and relied on hope that people would be honest.

In the end I got two sweaters for 60,000 Won ($63.00).

With my mind swirling at what I had just been through I went outside.

BK was going to meet me in an hour, so I had some time to kill. Outside Doota is a patio like place with seats. I sat down and looked about me. Sulked for a little bit at the cost of my two new sweaters and felt the pain of an empty wallet.

But then I looked around and started to admire how others dress here. It seems they are so creative with what they wear. In San Francisco, the youth and college students would dress in their way that was creative as well. I think it is something that comes with living in an urban city.

Anyways, I realized that it would be great to take some pics of the people walking around and show to everyone so you could see how Koreans dress.

Here is Joy's little Fashion Show:

I think this woman was going for simple. Oversize shirt with leggings. I personally can't stand wearing leggings because the spandex crushes my tummy, but I like this style.

Youth Fashion: colorful and mixed up

Men's Fashion: casual
Stylish: going for a look
Can I share a secret? I really love the way men dress here. It appears they take more time and effort than just throwing on a t-shirt. Also the way they style their hair is so darling! Sometimes I feel like I am in a fantasy land. ......anyways..

Couples & Family: are they matching colors on purpose or mistake?
"Today dear let's wear gray." "Okay, whatever" :
I think the Dad had fun dressing his kids:

Keep in mind that this was just an image of fashion from one section of Seoul. Had I gone to the Richy-rich part of Gangman...wooo-boy! You would have seen some high fashion. Also I was trying to take pictures without people noticing me. I had my camera propped on my knee, it was tricky.

As for me?

Teal blue stripped shirt: two years old.
Purple shirt: 1 year old.

BK met up with me and we spent a little while at the creek there, which was holding some kind of concert.

Fashion goes by many moods and shades that it can be difficult to catch up to. But I think I will enjoy seeing what people wear here as the seasons change. As for those two sweaters...they better not shrink!


  1. Actually, if you paid W 60,000 for your sweaters, that's closer to USD 50 right now, so you got a bargain!

    And I definitely think lots of couples buy and wear matching outfits on purpose. Very junior high!

  2. THanks Tuttle...
    I am not much of a math person.

    They do buy couple clothes... I find it cute, my boyfriend does not..haha

  3. Hey Joy....Thanx for the report & street scene pics. I think you'd look realy cute in one those short haircuts like the guys in your pics......why don't you try it.
    The length will grow back in a few months if you don't like it.

    As for fashion & designer labels.
    I'm not into the "Label" for the sake of the label......but rather does the item appeal to me, color, shape, print, etc... & MOST IMPORTANT how does the garment fit & look on me.
    I find tremendous designer bargains on sale at MACY'S. I look at the newly arrived stuff & then watch it as it travels to the bargain racks in a couple of weeks/months. Maybe there is a v. fashionable "ritzy" dept. store in the "Rich" section of town where you could try that approach.
    I also really enjoy looking at all the fashion pics in "Vogue" "Vanity Fair" & the other fashion see what the latest trends/colors are.
    Are there any Thrift Charity type Stores out there in the "Ritzy" section of town??
    -------- > FROM the: ONLY A MOM COULD SAY THE FOLLOWING: I will be brutally honest w/you Here goes.........
    I really mean it I think your hair could look much better than it does right now in this latest picture. Please consider the short cut, use some product to jazz it up a will look really darling & less "dowdy/frumpy"......
    In a country where "fashion" is so important.......first impressions must be REALLY BIG!
    So spruce it up a bit for your next round of interviews & meeting new co-workers, etc...
    BIG HUGS & LOVE from who else??!!

  4. thanks Mom.

    My response:
    Hair won't change

    Need money for food and housing now

    Thanks for the input.

  5. I do use hair product to make my hair not so frizzy, which is what it usually does.

    I don't want a short cut again...actually trying to grow it longer and then consider long stylish cuts when the money comes in again.

    There are bargains at department stores, but you have to be with everyone else and fight amongst lots of people.

    But nothing is impossible and it just takes more looking around.

    I know I wear jeans and a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt, but that is what I got. I can't go and buy a new wardrobe now.

    What I wear to work looks more "professional" than what I wear on the street.

  6. Not talking about frizz!

    You have beautiful curly it up.
    Maybe at this length style it differently......get layers cut into it or something, so it's more flattering, especially for interviewing, etc...
    Spend just a little $ on preparing for interviews, etc.. it's important!

    Once again First Impressions are v. important anywhere, especially in such a "fashion conscious" culture as you've described S. Korea to be!


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