How to Style Abroad: Three Outfits Inspired by Korean and European Fashion

by Sarah Tran

Hey Reader,

Today we are going to be looking at Korean fashion and its adaptation to influences around the world. More specifically, we will be looking at the differences and similarities between Asian and European beauty standards. If you have been following along on my last blog post titled “Travel Essentials: 4 Different Styles for the Solo Adventurer”, you’d know that I’m currently in Korea — the fashion hub of Asia. Before coming here, I was worried about the latest trends and how I was going to blend in. After spending around two weeks gaging the vibe, I am now able to put my own twist on to what I think mixes both Western and Asian styles together.

First off, as you can see in the picture on the right, the photos that were posted as inspiration for the designs were taken with a European aesthetic. Keep in mind, this photo was taken in Taiwan, and that fashion in Asia mostly stems from Korea or China. You can also see how the designs are clean-cut and neutral in color. Both Korea and Europe design similar styles that are practical for everyday wear, yet stand out on the streets and runway.

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An everyday vendor booth on the streets of Seoul

However, don’t get me wrong — fashion in Korea tends to be more colorful and fun as well. Walk down the street and you will find heaps and heaps of tiny accessories of different shapes and colors. I lived in Germany for three years and can’t say that I found the styles showcasing these types of accessories. I give credit to K-Pop and Korea’s open-mindedness. Even men’s fashion is a lot more feminine, sporting more bold and bright colors. Women’s fashion also tends to appear more “cutesy” as you can see in the display above. With these trends in mind, I put together a few outfits of my own mixing and matching the same pieces.

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Ted Baker bag, LiNE blouse, Zara shorts, Adidas sneakers

I. Pretty in Pink

Inspired by our trip to a summer getaway, I opted for a fun girly look. In the states, I probably would not wear this much pink at one time, but for some reason in Korea, I’m definitely embracing the “millennial pink” a lot more. Here, you can see both European and Korean fashion in my Zara flared shorts and pink blouse LiNE. I also chose matching sneakers from Adidas to be both comfortable and chic for our walk along the mountains.

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Ted Baker bag, Black top, Zara skirt, Adidas sneakers

II. Lilac Flowers & Skirts

The next morning we hiked to The Garden of Morning Calm, a beautiful 30-acre garden of flowers and bonsai trees. I kept my same essentials but switched up my top and bottoms for a more contrasted look. I paired this basic black top from LiNE with this long lilac skirt from Zara. One of the trends this summer are mid-length skirts, which I love because it’s both classy and modest. Especially in Korea, I’d say that the styles are maybe a bit less revealing and more towards the conservative side.

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Black top, Zara shorts, FILA sneakers

III. Platform and Chunky Shoes

Using the same pieces as before, I took the black top from Look No. 2 and paired it with the Zara shorts. This neutral look felt complete with these chunky white FILA sneakers. When chunky sneakers hit the runway last fall in Europe, many people either loved or hated it. In Korea, platforms and shoes with height are being designed with this influence.

So there you have it! I would love to know your favorite outfit or which one you can see yourself wearing. Overall, the fashion and beauty standards in Europe and Korea are influencing each other, which is the best part. While both styles are practical and clean-cut, Korea’s trends are also heavily influenced by K-Pop and streetwear. Being inspired by the two fashion aesthetics, I was able to curate three outfits by mix-matching the same pieces. Bottom line is whether you plan on traveling to Europe or Asia anytime soon, don’t feel pressured to dress like the locals. Rather, take it as inspiration! Beauty standards and fashion trends are different all over the world, so give and take with that in mind. 

Sarah is a third year Education major with a passion for kids and fashion. She has been modeling for Spark for two years until taking up writing this summer. In her spare time, you can catch her at a cafe getting lost in her thoughts or taking up the next big adventure.

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