I’ve already mentioned my new passion for K-Drama, and one of the reasons I love it is the subtext. Particularly the way the K-Drama heroine outfit says so much about her and her mental state.
As she’s our heroine, she grows and changes as the drama progresses. She often starts as a shy innocent girl (who doesn’t understand who she is) in quirky colour and clothing combinations. Through hardship and confusion (dark cocoon-like clothing) she emerges as a confident, elegant adult in tailored clothing.
She’s not to be confused with her scheming nemesis, who almost always struts about in heels, short body-hugging dresses, and a lot of perfectly applied makeup.
Anyway, this post is not about recreating a particular K-Drama heroine outfit or period costume but adding some K-Drama quirk to your wardrobe.
The main thing to note is that a K-Drama heroine outfit reflects your mood, so it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing.
Now, I’m clearly not Korean, so the cultural meaning of the colours and shapes in the shows is a mystery to me.
But, we’re talking about mood, and your ideas of happy and sad colours, styles and movements will reflect your signature whatever culture it exists in.
Innocent K-Drama Heroine Outfit
Clothes: A classic, below knee length shirt dress with a small sweet floral pattern in subdued colours. It’s quite demure; long with a high neckline. The cardigan offers further coverage. The colours almost, but not quite match.
Shoes: You can’t see them here, but she’s wearing short socks with Mary Janes.
Accessories: No jewellery. The belt may symbolise suppressing or holding in emotions. The bag is big and practical.
Grooming: The hair is straight, long and relatively unstyled. The simple fixing reflects practicality over artifice.
Sophisticated K-Drama Heroine Outfit
Clothes: This outfit is eye-catching with distinctive colours, high contrast and a higher level of craftsmanship. The above knee cut-out skirt in combination with the cut-out blouse and boldly patterned cardigan suggest a willingness to be seen.
Shoes: She’s wearing pink sneakers – perhaps rose coloured feet on the ground?
Accessories: Still not much jewellery; a bracelet or maybe a watch.
Grooming: A little lip stain. Her hair has been styled in waves, showing a little more self-awareness.
Tragic K-Drama Heroine Outfit
I haven’t seen Winter Sonata, but it’s a tragic tale of love lost and accordingly, the clothing is subdued.
Clothes: Admittedly it’s winter, but the outfit is grey and subdued, with no ornamentation.
Shoes: Dark and subdued, generally flat.
Accessories: No jewellery, though now and again there might be small, plain earrings or a light, delicate necklace. The main sense of movement and drama comes from a contrasting scarf. Scarves are often used to hide faces, wipe tears or offer as comfort.
Grooming: Minimal makeup with flat, still hair.
Bringing a K-Drama heroine outfit into your wardrobe is more or less a matter of thinking about how to symbolise what you’re feeling in your clothing choices.
Is red your happy colour? Would a bold necklace be about protection or confidence? What does a rough texture mean to you? How would you go invisible?
I put this outfit together using the techniques I discuss in my book Build Your Signature Wardrobe. It describes how to set a reasonable budget, decide what clothes are appropriate for your current life, how to present your authentic self confidently and consistently, and which clothes and accessories (and how many) you need.
If it’s not quite what you are looking for, check out these outfits. If you’d like to challenge me to develop a particular outfit for an upcoming event, tell me in the comments below.