Korean fashion is often heralded as some of the best in the world. With Seoul quickly becoming one of the world’s fashion capitals, Korean fashion is becoming more popular by the day. Where people rarely considered Korean fashion a few years ago, the country is now looked to for the latest fashion trends.
The growth of Korean fashion is only compounded by the skyrocketing popularity of Korean media, such as K-dramas and K-pop. Through the growth of these media formats, celebrities such as actors and idols bring the latest Korean fashion trends to millions of screens worldwide
While Korean fashion is taking the world by storm, it’s hard to stay on top of the current trends. Oftentimes, trends fashion trends from the peninsula will only hit other countries months or even years after they have passed domestically. This is especially troublesome because Korean fashion moves FAST! What’s in fashion one season, will almost certainly not be the next time that season rolls around.
The issue is that there are very few good resources to stay up to date with the latest Korean fashion trends. If you’re into Kpop, there are a lot of websites that analyse the hottest Kpop fashion. However, there’s no good source to discover the latest trends for more ‘standard’ fashion that you will see on the streets of Seoul.
With this in mind, I wanted to bring you this collaborative article today. I know little about fashion myself. While I’ve become much more interested in it recently, I’m still a novice in this space. Therefore, I wanted to find an expert on the subject. Luckily, my girlfriend just happens to be one!
Rebecca has been writing about Korean fashion for almost one year now. She studied fashion and design at university and has passionately followed the latest Korean fashion trends since. Needless to say, when it comes to fashion, she knows her stuff!
With that being said, today we wanted to bring you some styles that are currently popular in Korea and will be popular going into 2023. It is important to remember that Korean trends tend to move VERY fast. Not just in fashion, but even with cafes and cars.
Most of the trends in this article are women’s trends. If you’re interested in learning more about the hottest Korean fashion trends for men, please feel free to check out my article on the subject. That article goes into a lot of detail and covers not only overarching fashion trends for men in Korea but also outfits that you can replicate.
This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my affiliate disclaimer.
Korean Fashion in 2022
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It’s hard to identify overall trends that have defined Korean fashion over the past few years and will continue to define the industry into the future, but one thing stands out. That is that Korean fashion is becoming less and less conservative every year. Even in the past four or five years, we’ve seen shorter tops and more revealing clothes worn in South Korea.
This is reflected in many of the recent fashion trends in Korea, with clothing such as open-back shirts and athleisure becoming more popular. While Korean fashion still tends to be more conservative than many other countries, the walls are slowly falling.
One big Korean fashion trend that has taken off recently is streetwear. A few years ago, most women’s outfits would fit into either the ‘cute’ or ‘elegant’ category. However, streetwear has gained a lot of traction and it’s rapidly becoming a defining Korean fashion trend of the early 2020s. Not really fitting into either of the aforementioned categories, streetwear has created a third pillar of fashion.
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1. Fleece Coats
Let’s start with a Korean fashion trend from the colder months to get this list going. While winter in Korea is often too cold for fleece coats, these warm clothes are particularly popular during spring and fall. Typically, white and black are the colours that you will most commonly encounter. However, at times shades of brown such as beige can be seen on the streets of Seoul.
These coats work well with any cute outfit. While they can also work well with other styles, they complement cute clothing particularly well. They are a great match with slacks and jeans – both fitted and not. When it comes to shoes, this look matches great with chunky shoes (more on those later!).
If you’re seeking a cute look, a white fleece jacket with beige pants is a great choice. It’s an outfit that strikes a good balance between looking great and being comfortable – especially during the colder months! If you’re looking for more matching suggestions, I recommend checking out this post on cute Korean outfits!
Shop Korean fleece coats (above coats are from NCover and Graver)
Over the past few years, athleisure has taken the world by storm. This trend is definitely not limited to Korea, as these days you can see it almost everywhere. With that being said, I would be remiss not to mention this incredibly popular Korean fashion trend.
Athleisure is loved because it’s incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. A pair of leggings and a loose top make for an outfit with unparalleled comfort. On top of that, these items are very affordable and can easily and cheaply be added to your wardrobe.
In Korea, leggings are often matched with a slightly oversized crop top (such as the one seen in the images above from Kore Limited). This allows for a free-feeling outfit that is modest and works great in almost all casual circumstances.
For footwear, leggings are often matched with small sneakers (such as general-use sneakers) or street shoes such as Stan Smiths from Adidas. Stan Smiths almost deserve their own place on this list – although the trend took off a few years ago, these shoes are still incredibly popular in Korea. They also match perfectly with casual outfits such as athleisure.
If you’re looking for a hip Korean outfit, consider picking up some longer socks that can be worn over your leggings and match these with your favourite sneakers. For your top half, add a waist-length coat that matches the outfit.
3. Minimalist Clothing
One of the most defining Korean fashion trends of 2022 is minimalist clothing. While this can come in various forms, it’s most often seen in outfits using single-colour sweaters and slacks. This trend is fantastic because most people will already have some simple clothing in their wardrobe.
Muted colours dominate the trend in Korea. Mainly white and black along with shades of grey and brown. Not just in women’s fashion but also in men’s Korean fashion where minimalist clothing in these same colours is very trendy. The minimalistic trend has also caught on in Kpop fashion!
While each person can put a unique spin on this minimalist trend, you will often find single-colour sweaters with a small detail are popular. A detail (such as the blue cloud in the images above) can add an extra element to the outfit that makes it look more attractive while not drawing away from the simplicity that this outfit excels in.
This Korean fashion trend is fantastic for when you want to look good but don’t want to stand out. As Korean society often tends to be about blending in, minimalist clothing has really taken off. Of course, there are times when these outfits are too simple. If you feel like adding a little something to the outfit, why not match it with a fleece vest? These are super cute and don’t take away from the outfit’s simplicity.
Shop Korean minimalist clothing (save 10% with code ‘SEOULINSPIRED’)
4. Two-Piece Sets
When I mention two-piece sets, your mind might go to the two-piece sets we often see in American and European fashion. These outfits normally match a crop-top or tube top with slacks or long skirts. In Korea, two-piece sets are a lot more diverse, and you will find many different options.
One currently trendy set is the style you can see in the image above. This set matches a short cardigan with a tube top underneath. Since the set doesn’t include pants, this leaves you free to experiment with different looks and find what you like. That said, it also makes picking your outfit easier as you no longer need to worry about layering.
This particular two-piece set was purchased from Fashion Chingu. The tops are simple and not particularly high-quality, but they were affordable and made for a great-looking outfit. While Rebecca picked a wool-looking light blue set, you can find various styles at many Korean clothing stores.
If you’re looking for a more complete two-piece (or sometimes even three-piece), you can pick up something like the outfit shown below. Outfits like this are very hot this year, and they are one of the top Korean fashion trends of 2022.
In many ways, outfits like this feel freeing. There’s far less pressure to match clothes and create a gorgeous outfit. Rather, you can find a pair of matching footwear and forget your worries. If you’re looking for footwear to pair, check any pairs of long boots that you have. They often match two-piece outfits incredibly well.
5. Denim Jacket
Denim… Is denim ever out of fashion? I don’t think so. Anyway, right now, denim jackets in Korea are absolutely in. If you wander down the streets of Seoul in spring or fall, you will likely encounter more than a few outfits using denim jackets.
This is because they just match so well with so many outfits. During the warmer months, they make for a great match with summery outfits, including tennis skirts (which are also a hot Korean fashion trend right now) and crop tops. If you’re looking for something more on the ‘street’ side, denim jackets also match well with black slacks and longer skirts.
Lighter blue denim jackets match fantastically with spring and summer outfits. During these months, outfits tend to be more colourful as we welcome new life into the world around us. On the other hand, darker denim jackets fit better in the fall and winter atmosphere.
6. Denim Shorts
Keeping with the denim trend, there’s no way I couldn’t mention denim shorts! Fashion goes in cycles – usually, more prominent fashion trends repeat themselves every 20-25 years. One currently repeating trend is denim – jeans, shorts, and even jackets. While denim is an evergreen trend, it’s taken off even more recently, and you will see a lot of denim being worn, especially when it comes to shorts.
While this trend is hardly unique to Korea (where isn’t denim popular?), it is a particularly popular Korean fashion trend right now, so it is worth mentioning. Denim shorts, in particular, are trendy because their muted colour makes them easy to match with a wide range of clothing. This also makes them fit in perfectly with the minimal outfit trend.
Further, the wide range of denim styles can complement almost any top. If you want to add some detail to an outfit, you can opt for ripped jean shorts or shorts with extra stitching. On the other hand, if you are looking to make your top the centre of the outfit, you can lean towards simple jean shorts with no stand-out design features.
Denim shorts can be found at very affordable prices in Korea. As such, they are a piece of clothing that many women have in their wardrobe. They are especially useful in summer when temperatures skyrocket, and it’s essential to wear cooler clothing.
Shop Korean Denim Shorts (save 10% with code ‘SEOULINSPIRED’)
7. Modern Hanbok
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To be honest, this isn’t a trend as such. However, I feel that modernised Korean hanbok deserves a place on this list because traditional Korean clothing is making somewhat of a resurgence. It is also commonly worn at special events such as weddings.
While hanbok is always beautiful, it’s often impractical to wear. It requires a long time to put on, is very heavy, and is also very large (the skirt is very poofy!). Modern hanbok seeks to change this by making the traditional outfit more realistic to wear in day-to-day situations.
This means that it retains many of the traditional design elements but is also made to be lighter, smaller, and generally more subtle in colouring. These changes make it far more wearable in day-to-day situations. While it still isn’t exactly everyday clothing, the modern hanbok is an excellent choice for special occasions.
From time to time, you will see contemporary takes on modern hanbok in Korea. Recently, I’ve seen some office outfits that incorporate hanbok elements. Hanbok-inspired streetwear is also slowly picking up, and I adore both of these Korean fashion trends. Hanbok is stunning, so why not implement the best parts of hanbok in other clothing?
One thing that is also worth mentioning is that hanbok for children is also very popular! If you are looking for a traditional (and cute!) outfit for your child, check out Joteta – they have a range of hanbok for children.
Streetwear has really started to take off in Korea in the past few years. Inspired by many celebrities who have taken up the style, it’s becoming more and more common to see on the streets of Seoul. Some popular streetwear styles in Korea are oversized shirts, baggy pants, and bucket hats.
This kind of clothing is very different from the style that has been popular over the past years, and oversized clothing was only a very niche style up until recently. Now, there are many street-wear brands appearing, and the style is becoming more common to see on the streets.
We got to try Kore Limited, a brand that many celebrities have been wearing recently. They have a wide range of Korean-inspired streetwear, and the quality of their clothes is fantastic. If you are looking for internationally available Korean streetwear, they are the best choice.
Another online shopping mall that stocks a lot of different street brands is Styleupk. They also ship internationally and stock a wide range of brands – many of which are very common to see in Korea (especially brands like Nerdy, Guess and Fila).
9. Ankle Pants
Another trend that has taken off in Korea (for both men and women) is ankle-length pants. These pants end at the upper ankle and reveal your ankles, making them an excellent choice for the medium-warm seasons. They are prevalent in Korea during spring and fall.
They can complement tight, and loose tops provided the colours match. They also go with many kinds of open shoes (such as sandals). Ankle pants are very comfortable, making them a great choice for casual and semi-formal outfits.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of such pants is that they can be purchased relatively cheap and are also readily available almost everywhere. If you want to add some Korean-style outfits to your wardrobe, pick some up!
The most popular form of ankle pants to take off in Korea is slacks. Slacks are incredibly popular in Korea right now and they are by far one of the biggest Korean fashion trends of 2022. That said, if you prefer the look of jeans, these can also be picked up in an ankle-length design.
Shop ankle pants online (save 10% with code ‘SEOULINSPIRED’)
10. Tennis/Pleated Skirts
Tennis skirts aren’t a Korean style as they exist almost everywhere. However, tennis skirts are always popular in Korea, and you can often see them on the streets of Seoul in summer. Although these skirts reached their peak popularity a few years back, they are still a great asset for any closet.
Tennis skirts are especially popular among Koreans in their younger 20s. Of course, that isn’t to say that other ages can’t wear them too! In Rebecca’s exact words, ‘I wear this look whenever I want to feel cute and look bubbly’.
These skirts are generally best worn alone. While some smaller bags can work with some outfits, they are usually best worn without a bag. Depending on what kind of look you are going for, tennis skirts can work well with heels or with flat shoes. Flat shoes are a better choice if you are aiming for a cute look.
All-in-all, tennis skirts are fantastic to have in your collection. While they aren’t as popular in Korea as they were a few years ago, they are still a common sight. They are simple, comfortable and work well with various tops and shoes.
11. Floral Dresses
As you may have guessed by the title, this Korean fashion trend picks up in summer. While you will begin to see some floral dresses in spring – perfect for reflecting the season – summer is when floral dresses really come into their own. Starting in 2021, these cute dresses have become incredibly popular nationwide.
In summer, brighter floral dresses are more common. During the warmest months, you will see yellow, red, and pink floral dresses come out. However, as the months cool down, more muted floral dresses start to appear. The images above are a great example of popular floral dresses during the summer in Korea, whereas the bottom images show a more fall-focused dress.
Floral dresses are popular because they match cute and elegant outfits well. If you’re looking for a cuter look, mix your dress with flat shoes such as sneakers or canvas shoes. For a more elegant and sophisticated look, you can either match the dress with colour-coordinated boots or go for the always-safe black boots.
This simplicity makes floral dresses such a big Korean fashion trend. The outfit is easy to wear, and it’s effortless to match with shoes and (potentially) headwear and handbags. At the same time, the outfits look amazing.
12. Ribbed Shirts
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Out of everything on this list, ribbed shirts (and, to a lesser degree, ribbed dresses) were by far the most popular Korean women’s summer trend in the years leading up to 2022. In 2022 you could see hundreds of them daily, and this trend will likely continue into 2023.
Ribbed shirts are a new spin on relatively standard shirts. It’s a fantastic way to rejuvenate the standard shirt design and make it more contemporary while not being too bold. For this reason, these shirts are very comfortable while being stylish and elegant.
The style can be purchased in many different forms. Most popular are the short-sleeved designs like the picture above, but some longer-sleeved designs and dresses have the same ribbed design. Specifically, the red design above swept Korea and could be seen very often in Seoul.
It works best with short shorts, and the red design works particularly well with black-coloured shorts. However, long pants can also work as long as they are the right style. That makes this shirt a good choice for summer and the warmer parts of spring and fall.
Although shirts are by far the most popular form of ribbed design, dresses with the design are also common. The blue dress above is another design that was quite popular in Korea over the summer – especially at the beaches.
13. Chunky Shoes
Chunky shoes (which sometimes go by other names such as ‘turbo trainers’) are a trend that has been massive in Korea for the past few years. This will continue into spring and summer even as lighter clothing becomes more popular.
I’m not entirely sure where the trend of chunky shoes started. However, since about 2018, it’s been prevalent in South Korea. This trend involves shoes with extra high soles, usually a few inches above the ground. These shoes are trendy as they can make the wearer seem taller.
While these shoes are not to everyone’s taste (I really didn’t like them for years, only now am I okay with them), there is no denying that they are all over the peninsula. They are worth looking into if you’re looking to build a Korean fashion wardrobe!
Fila shoes, in particular, are popular in Korea, and you will notice that Fila chunky shoes are the most commonly worn in the capital. While some other brands are becoming popular recently, Fila remains the most popular brand.
14. Military Boots
Perhaps one of the most interesting Korean fashion trends to come out of the country this year is military boots. While military boots may sound like male fashion, they are, in fact, the opposite. Of course, military-style boots can be worn by anyone. However, this trend is prevalent among younger women.
Military boots are fully black boots that generally have higher soles and cover the bottom of the leg, well above the ankle. These boots are often worn with dresses or other outfits that leave the legs partly uncovered. It’s a fashion trend that I believe is currently unique to Korea.
These boots are generally too hot to be worn in summer, but they are trendy in spring and the later months of summer. Not only are they quite warm, but they are also comfortable and easy to wear!
15. Button-Up Dresses
This trend is another very common trend in Seoul, but it is a bit more formal than the other entries on this list. These are button-up dresses. They are popular because they are great in both semi-casual and semi-professional situations and elegant but not flashy.
These dresses can be found in various styles, and the one that we found was red with white stripes and a double button-row design. While this may seem a bit formal for everyday wear, it’s common to dress very well, even for the most basic outings in Korea.
Button-up dresses like this work best with nothing underneath. However, if worn in colder weather, they can be worn with a blouse or something else underneath. The dresses are usually quite warm by themselves, so they are definitely better worn in the spring and fall months.
They work well with high heels and will work best with shoes with some heels. Boots with heels are also a great choice, mainly because they can add some height. This outfit also works great with simple handbags, especially those with longer straps.
16. Knitted Clothing
Knitted clothing is really taking off in 2022. From full sweaters all the way to lighter cardigans and vests, knitted clothing is one of the defining Korean fashion trends of the year.
While every piece of knitted clothing differs, they usually bring a light and cute feeling to an outfit. On top of this, they fit in very well with minimal outfits due to their often muted colours. They don’t overly stand out but add to an outfit.
Knitted tops work well when paired with a variety of bottoms. A tennis skirt or other similarly light-coloured skirt works fantastically if you want to complete a cute outfit. Knitted tops can be combined with skinny jeans or ankle pants if you are just looking for a more casual and minimal outfit.
Another aspect that makes knitwear so dynamic is that it can easily be worn alone or layered. This also means that this trend is popular for the majority of the year, rather than being limited to just one season as many of the outfits on this list are.
Shop knitwear online (save 10% with code ‘SEOULINSPIRED’)
17. Crop Tops
As I mentioned earlier, Korean fashion is becoming less conservative, and it’s more common to see crop tops and other more revealing clothing. While Korea still tends to be more conservative than other countries fashion-wise, it is becoming less so over time.
Although street-style clothing also tends to be less popular than ‘cuter’ outfits, it is also becoming more common. This is reflected in one of the big trends of 2020 with a crop top, oversized jeans (or other long pants) and a bucket hat.
If you are looking for Korean street-style fashion, you can’t go wrong with an outfit like this. Recently the outfit has been popularised even further by some rappers and hip-hop artists that have pushed the style to be more mainstream.
18. Oversized Coats
Have you ever wanted to feel like Sherlock Holmes? If you have, you’re in luck – oversized coats, especially trench coats, are currently highly trendy in Korea! Whether you are male or female, trench coats can be found in a wide range of outfits.
Although seemingly hard to style, trench coats and other oversized coats are effortless to match with various outfits. Provided you have a neutral colour coat, you can layer these with anything from floral dresses to minimalistic outfits.
There’s no denying that oversized coats have been one of the defining Korean fashion trends of 2022. They add a touch of elegance to any outfit, and the layering naturally adds an extra level of complexity to any outfit.
If you’re going for a more formal look, trench coats match well with an outfit that uses muted colours and is otherwise minimal. It’s with the shoes and coat that you want to generate attention. For this reason, a nice pair of boots or heels match fantastically with oversized coats.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention masks as part of Korean fashion in 2020 and going forwards. While masks are worn out of necessity, it hasn’t stopped some brands from trying to make this new required piece of clothing fashionable.
While most people can be seen wearing standard surgical and KF94-rated masks, some local brands also produce fashionable masks. One of these is Idontcare, which makes one of the most comfortable masks that I have ever used.
There are also many other brands out there that are pursuing a spot in the wardrobe of Koreans. Idontcare, Etiqa, Looka, Apury and more are all domestic brands that have become popular recently. While masks are an unfortunately needed accessory, they have definitely become fashionable (in some cases), and these brands are widespread throughout Korea.
Conclusion – Korean Fashion Trends
With Korean fashion spreading worldwide, it’s becoming more and more common to look at Korea for future fashion trends. However, I noticed when looking online that many of the discussed trends aren’t actually ‘trends’ per se.
That is to say; many people look towards shows such as the Dongdaemun Fashion Show for future fashion trends. However, the vast majority of outfits at these shows are not actually what you see in day-to-day life in South Korea. These outfits are usually ahead of their time and won’t be common for a few more years, if ever.
We created this post to show off some of the Korean fashion trends you can expect to see in everyday life in the capital. Korea is a very trend-heavy country; once an outfit is picked up, you can usually find it all over.
Korean Fashion 2022 FAQ
What Fashion Trends are Popular in Korea?
There are a lot of fashion trends that are popular in Korea. Some of the biggest are ribbed shirts, pleated skirts, ankle-length pants, and crop tops.
What are the Biggest Fashion Trends of 2022?
The biggest fashion trend of 2022 is without a doubt ribbed clothing. This clothing can be found in many different forms, from dresses to short-sleeved shirts. Ankle-length pants have also been very popular.
How Has Korean Fashion Changed Recently?
Korean fashion is becoming less conservative over time. While it is still far more conservative than many other countries, this is slowly changing over time.
Where Can I Discover New Trends?
If you are looking to discover new fashion trends in Korea I recommend checking out fashion websites such as BerryLoveFashion.
Why Is Korean Fashion so Popular?
Korean fashion is popular because it is often simple yet elegant. On top of this, more recently, Korean media has taken the world by storm. This has lead to a massive increase of interest in Korean fashion.