Nikki’s Inbox: K-Pop Fashion, College Style

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Hi Nikki! I’ve been struggling on trying to change my style, especially with the new school year coming up. I want to make a different impression on my first year of college through the clothes that I wear. I usually wear sweaters and jeans as my daily routine, but recently I wanted to try something new. I’ve noticed that male K-Pop stars can pull off the preppy, classy, yet streetstyle/dancer look. I’m eager to give a better impression of myself based on my appearance. I’m a short guy at 5’5, and more on the slender side. Any advice on achieving both the preppy look as well as the dancer look? Thank you in advance!

Chris, 18/California, USA

Hello, Chris! So college eh? Congratulations! It’s a big step and I understand why you want to make a great first impression. Don’t throw out those sweaters and jeans just yet because they can still be part of your wardrobe makeover.

Trying a new style is like trying a new hobby or sport. You won’t get it right the first few times. You’ll probably get teased, and there are times when you will succumb to laziness and go back to your comfy jeans and sweaters. It takes attitude, self-confidence and persistence to pull off a new style, which is very distinctive to begin with. So if you say you’re ready, my good man, let’s begin!

Master Layering
Layering is a very important element in K-pop fashion. Their outfits look effortlessly put together (thanks to their stylists) and simple but it’s actually a complex and elaborate arrangement. Check this old post about the basics of layering, in case you need a refresher. Any of the four can be a statement piece, but since you’re in college and presumably you don’t have a personal stylist with you, it’s okay to downplay it a little. Just pick one item in your OOTD to be a little more vibrant or eye-catching than usual and take it from there. On YesStyle, we have jackets and coats that easily create a layered look so that’s already one dilemma solved!

Start Easy
As I mentioned earlier, your jeans and sweaters can be part of your new look. Try the preppy style first by pairing your knits with button-down shirts, and rolling the sleeves to keep it casual. Next time, instead of jeans, you can wear these with jogger pants (aka peg trousers) and nice, pristine sneakers (cleanliness is important here). You can also team a printed bomber jacket over the button-down for a change, along with the peg trousers, and finish with chukka boots. Just take it one piece at a time.

Learn Color Play
K-pop fashion is mostly about contrasts and colors. If you’re sticking to strictly black and white, team a quilted black leather jacket with white pants and white sneakers, and vice versa. If you want to use more colors, again start out small by pairing a bright color with a more neutral palette, like marsala – fall’s color of choice – with mustard yellow, tan or camel, royal blue with gray, etc. I also highly recommend using a color wheel as a simple way to find out which colors complement each other. With patterns and prints, you can match one element of your outfit with one of the colors in the print to make it more cohesive. You can look up the recommended colors for fall and winter and incorporate those into your pieces.

Accessories as a Statement
If you want to look more minimalist but still want to make an impact with your outfit, it’s all in the details, my dear man. K-pop fashion is heavy on accessories like hats and fashion jewelry such as bracelets, cuffs, necklaces or earrings, as well as belts, shoes, bags, ties, and more. These are way more accessible to a college guy like you than the designer brands the celebs wear. This is where you can totally borrow from the stars and inject them into your style.


P.S. Dear readers, if you have style questions, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body, your tastes or personality. Unless you include a photo (link only please) of your clothes or of yourself (with your approval to post), I can’t answer anything that only includes height, weight or skin tone. Thank you!

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