Monday, October 6, 2008

Fashion in Korea

Keegan and I spent a good amount of time yesterday afternoon wandering around in a department store, and I have a few oddities to share, mostly regarding clothing styles, which are pretty different from what we're used to. One style that we've noticed on the racks and on the streets for women is very baggy, long shirts and leggings. In fact, Glenda and I have a joke when we go shopping: is it a shirt or a dress? I think some native shoppers are confused too, though this is largely based on my observation of one woman I saw this afternoon in town. She guessed dress, but I think she should have gone with shirt. Otherwise, shirts with English sayings on them are pretty popular, even though they sometimes don't make a lot of sense or are just odd sounding. One of my personal favorites is a baggy, off-the-shoulder number proclaiming simply "FAB!".

Men's fashion can be quite debonair. Men's suits often include metallic fibers and shirts and ties sport little details like small sparkly, multicolored stones or shiny stitching. Colors like pastel pink, fuschia, and all kinds of other shades that men at home generally eschew are not out of bounds for Korean men. I think this is kind of refreshing, although it still takes some getting used to to see vests, ties, and dress shirts in shades I normally think of as feminine.

Another fashion trend that we foreigners inevitably find noteworthy is dressing like your brother/sister/daughter/son/girlfriend/boyfriend. It's not terribly unusual to see couples sporting matching outfits, and shops often sell T-shirts or bathing suits in complementary men's and women's styles. I think I mentioned soon after our arrival here that matching sets of underwear are also popular.

So, as you can see, there are a lot of differences in fashions between here and the U.S. I try very hard not to think about what my Korean neighbors think of my fashion choices. I hope that they are more mystified by my taste than horrified by unwitting indiscretions, but you never can tell. As our little village is populated mostly by elderly farmers, I'm sure that my summertime running outfits have caused at least some consternation.


chrissy said...

Have you been showing your ankles and elbows again? Shame on you! Do you and Keegan have matching outfits yet. I think that you'd look great in some matching one-piece bathing suits. =P

What about your naughty kitties? What wonderful things have they chewed up or chewed through? We found some speaker wires that Grendel must have just chewed through. *sigh*

Jamie said...

I think you and Keegan should definitely fall into the matching trend. By the way, Chrissy and Ellen, I strongly dislike kittens right now! Pip has proven himself to be TOO IMMATURE to coexist with a functional alarm clock. He is determined to stop all ticking, beeping, and even just sitting on my bedside table. Therefore I have been late to work every single day this week!