Here’s How to Rock Korean Fashion for All Body Types

By Oriana Cuenca
Graphics by Kimberly Reyes

There’s a key difference between being broke in K-dramas and being broke in real life, and this tweet sums that up very eloquently.

Besides the millionaire boyfriends and potentially immortal love interests,  “broke” K-drama leads still always look like they’re ready for a photoshoot. Nearly every single K-drama looks like a runway for Korean fashion. Case in point, IU’s outfits throughout her show that showed off Korean clothing through generations had the budget to match. The show’s production company GT:st reported spent over 10,000,000 KRW or Php433,999 on her whole wardrobe which featured Php 150,000 BVLGARI Bags and an Php83,000 Nina Ricci dress.

Korean fashion is distinct in its love for layers, loose fits, and unique pieces. Far from the more revealing western styles, Korean style says the more layers the better. Most Korean pieces are also distinct with their bell sleeves, fringe skirts, oversized tops, and creative fabrics. There is no hard and fast rule to Korean fashion, but everyone just knows it when they see it.

Filipino fans of K-drama long for the style of their idols, but a tropical climate and a very different body type discourages many. K-drama loves its giant fur coats, but wearing one here is a heatstroke risk. Korean actresses also tend to have small frames and gentle curves not all Filipinos have.

You don’t need a cinched waist to pull off Korean fashion. It doesn’t matter if you have the full hips of a pear or broad shoulders of an inverted triangle, this guide will help you achieve your Korean Fashion Goals.

1. Inverted Triangle

You’re an inverted triangle if: Your shoulders are the widest part of your body with hips and waist that are equal and narrow.

The inverted triangle is called the most athletic built because of its strong shoulders and slim hips. If the goal is to create a curvier and more feminine look, you’d want to draw attention away from the top and focus on the bottoms. Wearing tops that stop at the hips is a great way to achieve the balance that you’re going for. Gong-Hyo Jin from It’s Okay, It’s Love.

Halter tops, v-necks, and strapless tops would all work well your shoulders. You should also think about cinching the waist to give yourself more curves. Skirts with volume or bright shoes will also help you balance out your shoulders and give a more proportioned look. Jumpsuits are also a great go-to for inverted triangles.

If you want to soften your features, go for soft textures like Kim Mi-so’s chiffon dress in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? This dress was made for the inverted triangle. Combining flowing fabrics, an off-shoulder cut, and a tight waist will give you an outfit ready for an office romance.

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2. Apple

You’re an apple if: Your shoulders, waist, and hips are nearly equal. You have a less defined waist but have lean legs.

In Korean fashion, the oversized trend is your best bet.

The goal of an apple body type is usually to create the illusion of a narrower waist while showing off your legs. V neck tops, deep necklines, and off-shoulder tops are some good choices. For choosing a dress, lean towards monochrome colors and away from wide belts or body-hugging dresses that draw attention to the middle.

Take some inspiration from Gong-Hyo Jin’s oversized white shirt. An outfit like this flaunts the best features and conceals the middle all in one outfit.

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If you’re staying indoors, you might also want to consider Kim Bok Joo’s oversized sweaters from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. The oversized sweater has a very flattering and laid back vibe for those with an apple shape.

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3. Pear

You’re a pear if: You have a small waist and your hips are the widest part of your body. Your shoulders are roughly equal to your waist.

There are not many pears among Asian celebrities, but some of the biggest names in the West like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Beyonce are all pear-shaped. For the pear that wants to create balance, draw more attention to your top half with bright tops, statement earrings, dramatic sleeves, and details near the neck. Pair these with a dark bottom and you’re good to go.

Take a few pointers from Sunny in Goblin and Cheon Song Yi from Your Love in the Stars. Think bright and striking when looking for the best top for your pear body shapes, and maybe add a bright lipstick to match.

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You might want to avoid bright bottoms and tops that end at the hips. These draw attention to the lower half of the body and make it look less proportional. Do not forget to show off your waist by adding a belt to your outfits. Stiffer fabrics are also far more flattering for the pear.

4. Rectangle

You’re a rectangle if: You do not have much curves. Your bust is small to average and your waist, hips, and shoulders are proportional.

The rectangle is a common body shape in East Asia. Because rectangles have even proportions all throughout, the goal is usually to create the illusion of curves. Wearing fitted tops and wrap dresses is a good way to achieve this. Adding a belt is also a good way to emphasize a smaller waist.

Try outfit’s like Oh Yeon-joo’s from W. The outfit hugging enough to create curves, and the combination of a loose upper half and a tight fit bottom give more dimension to the body.

Oversized outfits are not the most flattering, but you can definitely pull off a structured dress like Kim Hye-Yoon’s in The Flower Season. Bonus for the wide collar detail that’s extra flattering for your chest.

5. Hourglass

You’re an hourglass if: Your shoulders and hips are equal while your waist is smaller.

The hourglass has the most balanced figure and its the most common shape for your favorite Kdrama celebrities. Dressing the hourglass is all about highlighting the curves. Fitted outfits that hug the waist is the way to go. Belts are also an hourglass staple to really emphasize the hourglass shape.

High waist pants are another great casual choice. Song Ma-rin in Tomorrow With You chose a high collared top with high waisted pants, but feel free to choose your favorite top.

Hourglasses should stay away from details at the hip because these throw off the proportions of the body. Stiff and boxy clothes also tend to drown out the curves which are not ideal if you’re going for a more feminine look.

Oh Jin-shim’s belted blazer from Touch Your Heart is the ideal hourglass corporate wear. The tapered blazer with the belt really flaunts an hourglass’ assets.

The final tip for all body types is to wear Korean fashion with confidence. Even with the rise of K-dramas, Korean fashion is still uncommon in the country. You’ll be getting stares from those who don’t understand what fashion looks like, and that’s okay. You look way better than them anyway.

K-drama heroines did not back down from the case, run away from the supernatural, or give up on their passions. Wearing outfits inspired by your favorite leads isn’t all about having a style icon. Part of it also channeling the best traits of these characters that made you admire them in the first place. This guide is all about the tips and tricks to make you look your best, but everything has to start with your own confidence.

Are you going to be rocking some K-fashion? Let us know!






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