Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
I’ve had three colleagues urging me to write about It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. The reason is obvious – like IU’s Hotel Del Luna, it’s no less an haute couture extravaganza than a romantic melodrama. Once again, I fell into a fashion coma.
Like Hotel Del Luna, the story of It’s Okay to Not Be Okay boasts a gothic undertone with occasional jump scares, led by a ruthless girl boss infatuated with luxurious clothes and food. Ko Moon-young (played by Seo Ye-ji) is a popular children’s book author haunted by memories of her controlling mother. She meets Moon Gang-tae (played by Kim Soo-hyun), a caretaker at OK Psychiatric Hospital who’s also burdened by his childhood trauma. In the hospital, they encounter equally troubled people and learn to open their hearts to each other. According to the actress herself, Moon-young dresses up not only due to her obsession with beautiful things, but also because she wants to keep people at a distance.
Drama stills from Netflix
The brands Moon-young wears are highly recognizable – namely Dior, Celine, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo and other luxury brands that make every girl’s heart flutter. Moon-young also favors bold dresses by Korean designer Minju Kim, winner of Netflix’s reality fashion design competition Next in Fashion in 2020. Sometimes the product placement does feel a little forced, like when the camera zooms in on her hands and feet to show off her jewelry and shoes, or when she has makeup on when she sleeps (that’s a no-no, girl!). Fortunately, these are made more palatable by fluid cinematography and Ye-ji’s perfect modeling.
Style-wise, Moon-young’s outfits begin with Tim Burton-ish blacks and whites coupled with a few dramatic, fiercely colored dresses. But they gradually become sweeter, softer and more playful to reflect her changing mentality.
*Click on the square images to get her looks!
Dark & Mysterious
Moon-young says she prefers witches to princesses, and this can be proven by her many all-black outfits. She wears a dramatically puffed-up LBD with an exaggerated bow and pink tulle hem for a reading session in the first episode, another LBD embellished with an oversized bow on her birthday, and a black cropped blazer and tulle skirt with pink underlay on her first date night with Gang-tae. The voluminous cuts and elaborate silhouettes give off witchy, enigmatic vibes.
Like a butterfly born with bright hues to scare away its predators, Moon-young sometimes appears in vivid stage costumes, such as the fuchsia floral mini with an enormous shoulder bow she wears when she meets Gang-tae at her office, the iridescent purple Victorian dress and red pumps she wears when she drives to the hospital to see him, the gigantic floppy hat she intends to wear for a vacation, and the dashing ruffled fuchsia dress she wears to meet her mom. These outfits may look theatrical but nonetheless suit her aggressive personality.
Her mysterious and flamboyant traits are offset by her vulnerable side at night when she’s home alone and dressed in dreamy white frocks. Half eerie and half ethereal, these frocks hint that she’s an innocent child at heart. Whether worn inside or outside of her home, these white ensembles are never boring. They include a peasant dress layered beneath a crochet camisole she wears when “kidnapping” Gang-tae’s brother, an eyelet shirtdress with tonal belt she wears to visit her dad, a semi-sheer tiered maxi with a frilly collar she wears when discovering the truth about her mom, and many, many more.
By now, you should have noticed that puff sleeves, ruffles, lace and semi-sheer fabrics are some of the tricks Moon-young frequently uses to achieve princessy looks. Coupled with a soft pastel palette of baby pinks and blues, the result is a childlike wardrobe that easily gains affection.
But Moon-young also has a strong career-oriented personality that’s hard to ignore. In the publishing firm, she’s the queen and her own boss. She dresses the part with structured pieces, such as the black double-breasted coat dresses she wears in her first appearance and during the book-signing event, the power-shoulder patterned blouse and paperbag-waist pants she wears for a vacation with Gang-tae, and the contrast-trim jacquard coat she wears in the last episode. My favorite in this category, however, is the baby-pink cropped blazer and maxi duo that shows off her ant waist.
As if to complete the eerie mood of her haunted mansion, some of Moon-young’s outfits feature gothic elements such as high necks, lace bibs, baroque patterns and hair clips. A mix of gold, black and turquoise oozes sophistication and elegance on par with her status as the mansion’s heiress.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay OST is available on YesAsia.com.
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