I sometimes get asked a similar question in Korea, which is if I can tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese. Sometimes I feel there is a hidden agenda in this question and that they are basically asking, "how racist are you?" But I tell them that I usually can (not always) based on what they wear.
Despite the world becoming more globalized, there are still some things that are fashionable in one country that are not accepted in the other. In this post, I will identify some of the fashion trends that are popular in Korea that would get some second, and maybe third, glances in America.
- Turtle necks:
- I actually don't know if these are popular or not in the U.S. right now, but when I left America I wouldn't be caught dead wearing one, and many guys wear them here.
- Dyed hair/Perms:
- The most noticeable difference in men's fashion is the hairstyles. It is not uncommon for a guy to sport colorful hair colors, such as green, pink, white, red, even grey! The strangest style to me though, is the perm!
- Curlers in public:
- These days it is very fashionable for young girls to have bangs, and for these bangs to be curled. Girl's apparently think this look is so attractive that they are willing to sacrifice looking ridiculous part of the time in order to look good the other part. I say this because I see many young girls walking around in public with the curler still in their hair.
- Tennis shoes with a dress:
- I have to admit that Koreans, for the most part, out dress Americans by a long shot. They will dress up nicely just for running errands or grabbing a quick lunch. However, I have never understood why they would make the effort to make their whole outfit look really nice and then give up when they got to their shoes, but I see it at least once a day. Some girl wearing really nice clothes, obviously spent a lot of time on her hair and make-up, but then look down and say to myself, "WHAT ARE THOSE!?" What I see is a pair of off-brand and usually dirty sneakers.
- Matching Everything
- This is a very common and disgusting trend in Korea. The equivalent of a couple making out in public, these couples feel it necessary to show everyone that they are together by matching their outfits. Some couples are a subtle in their declaration of love and may only have "couple shoes", while others go all out with "couple tees", "couple hats", "couple pants", "couple shoes", and "couple jackets". Some stores even sell outfits you can buy as a couple! Dressed as twins, these couples walk around so proudly, and I will never understand that. You want people to know you are a couple? Hold each other's hands; trust me, we will get the picture.
- Couple Rings
- Although this sounds a little cheesy, I actually like the idea of this even though I don't think I would ever do it myself. But in Korea, it is common for dating couples, just as it is with married couples, to exchange rings and wear them. Now the reason I like this is because it makes it really convenient for single guys like me. It is easier to spot if a girl has a boyfriend or not.