Nikki’s Inbox: “How Can I Wear Korean Fashion Without Looking Weird?”

Hi, Nikki! I’m 18 and in my first year of college. I’ve seen you reply to a lot of questions that could also concern me, and this helped me feel a bit less insecure about myself so I’d love to thank you for that ! However, I still wanted to ask you something that may be more specific with my case. To begin with, I’m an hourglass figure and I’m curvy-chubby (my measurements are 100-78-105 in centimeters, and my shoulders are 45cm wide). I’m 162cm tall and also have tanned skin (since I’m mixed), brown eyes and dark brown hair. I’ve tried to lose weight for a while and it’s more difficult than I thought, so I decided that I should deal with how I look for the moment instead of hating my body.

Then, I started to accept my style more than before. Now I’m able to wear crop tops, I always wear high-waist pants, and I don’t always hide in baggy clothing. The thing is that I love the Korean trends in terms of clothing (such as layering, oversized tops, tennis skirts, etc.) whether it’s in a cute and girly style (I love pastel colors, by the way) or an edgy style (kind of like what Stylenanda has to offer). And, most of the time, I don’t really buy clothes that I think look really cute because I always think it would look funny on me, that it suits slim people but not chubby people like me, especially tennis skirts or any mini skirts since I have fat upper thighs. So I wanted to ask, how I can I wear Korean fashion without looking weird?

Thank you very much for reading my message!

Lisa, 18/France


Dear Lisa, reading your email made me so happy. The first step is always scary, right? We all are a work in progress when it comes to accepting our imperfections but we’ll eventually get there!

Manage Expectations

Korean fashion is mainly seen as effortless elegance, using layering as a way to draw attention via textures, fabrics and silhouettes. And you know what? Anyone — regardless of body shape — can rock Korean fashion. Trust me, there are curvy Koreans, too — they come in shapes and sizes like the rest of us.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t base the final results exactly on how it looks on the model. Why? Because we all have different body dimensions. That’s what makes fashion such a personal thing. You and your friend can wear identical clothes and it won’t look the same because you’ll likely wear it differently.

The same top styled in different ways.

Your Dimensions vs. Garment Measurements

If pencil-cut mini skirts might make you more self-conscious about your thighs, why not go for a short A-line version instead? A knee-length, pleated A-line skirt can be shortened to your preferred length with a bit of DIY hemming. You can also opt for a version with a bias-cut or asymmetric hem which makes it look more playful and avant-garde.

Frankly, I’m more envious of your waist than anything so why not show that off? Tuck your sweaters and blouses into your skirt and jeans instead of wearing them untucked. You can play with colors to highlight your hourglass shape — light on top, dark on the bottom, with your waist accented by a belt at all times.

The Magic of Layering

The key to mastering layering is to start with thinner items, leaving the thickest (your coat or jacket) for last if you’re dressing up for winter. I’m sure you already know this, Lisa. However, with a Korean style of layering, you can play with fabrics and textures to give your outfit more depth. Winter is the perfect season to do that because you have a lot to choose from: knits, plaids, flannel, fleece, faux fur, suede, corduroy and more. Do layers with color as well to make your outfit look more vibrant and chic.

Length is also important in layering. Your layers on top can be strategically done so you can still show off that waistline. Wear a cropped jacket, cardigan or vest as one of your base layers so when you remove that coat, voila! Also, make sure you leave room for your legs. Ankle boots and equestrian-style boots with a short heel look better if the hemline is a little higher so you don’t end up looking like one solid block. Plus, you can wear pretty tights!

The Total Package

What makes Korean fashion look distinctive is that it’s about everything — the clothes, hair, makeup, and accessories. Feminine pieces like ballerina skirts and floral chiffon dresses can be worn with softly curled hair and light makeup. Street-style pieces like baggy pants and boxy tees are made to look playful with appliques, pastel baseball caps and lacy mesh socks.

Regardless of what style or trend you choose to follow, dear, nothing beats self-confidence. Even if you feel lazy and end up wearing an oversized sweater and leggings, adding a little something extra can make a big difference. A little effort and a spirit of adventure can go a long way!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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