Summer & Spring Korean Fashion Trends 2021

Korean woman wearing short red dress and high heels

With warmer weather approaching quickly many people are looking to get their spring and summer wardrobes prepared in advance. With that in mind, I wanted to put together a list of some of the hottest Korean fashion trends for summer and spring in 2021. 

I’ve already discussed the biggest fashion trends of this year in another article. Something that you might notice is that a lot of these trends are similar between both lists. While I have done my best to separate the lists as much as possible it’s only natural that there is some crossover. After all, some of the biggest summer and spring trends are bound to be in the biggest fashion trends of the year!

While I do appreciate fashion, I am no expert. Therefore, in order to write this article, I discussed the topic a lot with my girlfriend and she co-authored it with me. She studied fashion here in Korea and being a local, knows all about the latest trends.

The majority of the items on this list are women’s fashion, however, I have done my best to include unisex trends and a few male trends as well. Further, I’ve only included trends that I actually notice on the streets of Seoul. While there are many ‘fashion trends’ apparently going on in Korea, I realised that some of them I barely ever see.

That’s because often these are trends set by celebrities. While it’s true that celebrities often lead fashion changes, it can often take a year or two for these trends to catch on in society. Therefore, I don’t really consider them trends yet. Rather, this list focuses only on trends that you can actually see regularly in Korea.

With that being said, let’s get started by looking into some of the biggest fashion trends of summer and spring in Korea in 2021. If you’re interested in purchasing anything on this list I also have an article covering the best websites to purchase Korean fashion that also offer international shipping.

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Summer & Spring Korean Fashion Trends 2021 1

Before going further it’s important to quickly touch on the weather in Korea in the first two seasons of the year. This is important as it sets a precedent as to under what conditions these clothes are worn! If you’re looking to replicate Korean fashion in a colder climate you might be wanting to wear spring fashion in summer!

Early spring in Korea tends to lean more towards winter fashion as there will often be days in the negative range of temperatures. This means that in the earlier spring months (March especially) you will often see people still wearing large jackets and coats. 

April and May begin to become much warmer, however, and there is a seemingly very quick switch from heavy winter clothing to lighter clothing that fits the climate better. During these months the temperature is 10-25 degrees celsius and cardigans and other light but warm clothing are very popular.

The peak of summer normally occurs in July/August and during these months it’s possible for the temperature to reach over 40 degrees. However, it’s more common for days to sit in the mid-’30s. During these months you will see the lightest clothing being worn. 

Summer & Spring Korean Fashion Trends 2021 2

Kooding is a great site to check out for Korean fashion.

If you are looking to pick up some Korean spring or summer fashion for yourself then there are luckily a few great sites out there. Even better is that Korean fashion is often quite affordable. While some sites will be quite pricey, there are sites that also offer much more affordable clothing. 

Kooding tends to be my recommendation for Korean clothing because the prices are reasonable and the quality is decent. They also have an incredibly large catalogue and offer an English website with international shipping. Many of the brands that you will find here are the same that you will see being worn in Korea.

If you are looking for specific Korean brands then I recommend checking out StyleupK. This website is primarily aimed at the Singaporean market but they ship all over the world. While their selection is more pricey they offer authentic and ‘premium’ brands that you can see in Korea.

Finally, if you are looking for higher-quality clothing that is also more pricey I recommend checking out websites like Stylenanda. They offer a unique selection of clothing (some of which is unique to their site) and their clothes are high quality. 

Of course, there are many more websites out there also. I recently wrote an article covering the best online Korean clothing websites (with international shipping) and I recommend reading through that article for more details. 

Summer & Spring Korean Fashion Trends 2021 3

Ruched tops have been incredibly popular in Korea for a couple of years now. It seems by now that the trend is far from slowing down, and it’s easy to see why. Ruched tops add an element of complexity to an otherwise very simple design. Even better, they do so in an elegant and eye-catching way!

This design features a kind of ‘ribbing’ down the centre of the chest. It appears kind of like a scrunched up piece of paper… However, it looks much better than that description might lead you to believe! This design is normally seen in lower-necked designs.

Ruched clothing can come in a wide variety of different forms. In Korea I often see it in crop tops, long-sleeved jerseys, and even in dresses. This trend started decades ago, and could be seen in the 90s and 2000s. However, it has since been revived and it’s become immensely popular in South Korea.

This trend started to creep back in 2017/2018 and by 2019 it was very common. Since then, it’s remained very popular – especially in crop tops. Recently ruched designs have also started to become very popular again in the west and it seems like this trend will be staying around for at least a few more years to come!

Shop Korean ruched clothing

The addition of crop tops to this list might seem a bit confusing initially due to the fact that crop tops are pretty much always in fashion. Crop tops seem to be one of the few pieces of clothing that remain amongst the latest trends regardless of the year.

I chose to add them to this list, though, as they are recently becoming more and more common in Korea. Korean fashion has typically been modest due to the conservative nature of the country. Until the 2000s it was uncommon to even see bikinis at the beach.

Summer & Spring Korean Fashion Trends 2021 6

However, this has been gradually changing and Korean society has gradually accepted these changes. These days it’s common to see more revealing clothing and crop tops are among the clothing that is becoming much more popular.

This has led to crop tops becoming very trendy and common in the warmer months of the year. While they are perhaps still not as common as in some countries they are quickly gaining traction and every summer they become more popular. This is especially true when it comes to ruched crop tops!

While crop tops can be found at nearly any store, there are a few brands that are especially popular in Korea. While unbranded crop tops are very popular, you can also expect to see many Fila and Nike tops.

Shop Korean crop tops! Save 10% with the code ‘seoulinspired’.

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This is an interesting trend and one that I didn’t expect to see in Korea. However, in 2021 knitted tops have become very popular in spring and fall. While knitted clothing is still somewhat popular in summer it’s often too warm for such tops.

Similar to ruched clothing, knitted clothing is another trend that was quite big during the 90s. Recently it has been making a big comeback and it’s now common to see knitted t-shirts, jerseys, and especially vests on the streets of Seoul.

This trend is popular amongst both men and women – especially when it comes to vests and cardigans. It is particularly popular in darker colours such as green, brown, blue but also in a few ‘standard’ lighter colours such as white and grey. 

Button up vests and cardigans in the knitted style are currently very popular in Korea and it is perhaps one of the biggest fashion trends of 2021.

Shop Korean knit tops!

Puff sleeves are another fashion trend that has been popular for a few years. However, similar to ruched sleeves this trend shows no signs of abating soon. In fact, puff sleeves may even be more popular than they were a few years ago!

Puff sleeves can be found on shirts, dressed, and long-sleeves. Most commonly, in summer and spring, they will be found on shirts. Puff-sleeved designs make otherwise simple clothing look more intricate and they add a bit of elegance.

In the above picture, the puff-sleeved design can be seen on a black cocktail dress. The dress has a simple design with no stand-out elements. However, the puffed sleeves, while subtle, add something unique to the design. Of course, the puffs on some shirts and dresses may be more obvious.

Shop Korean puff-sleeves. Save 10% with the code ‘seoulinspired’.

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 incredibly popular in South Korea. This trend involves shoes with extra high soles, usually a few inches above the ground. These shoes are particularly popular 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. If you’re looking to build a wardrobe of Korean fashion they are definitely worth looking into!

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 still sits as the most popular brand.

Shop chunky shoes

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Another trend that has recently had a resurgence is baggy clothing. While this may have been popular for years outside of Korea, there is no denying that it is recently becoming very popular within Korea.

Korean fashion is often based on simplicity and elegance. However, recently casual/baggy clothing has begun to become very popular. A few years ago I would never see track pants worn in public. However, more recently they have become not only visible but even popular. 

This trend is quite common regardless of gender. Baggy pants with socks drawn over the pants are particularly common and you can expect to see this style a lot when you visit Seoul. Of course, this style isn’t so much for occasions but it’s good for a balance between casual and stylish.

While baggy pants aren’t always related to street fashion, it’s also worth noting that street style has become a lot more popular in Korea recently. Where Korean fashion used to be solely focused on elegance it’s now become a lot more diverse and you will see a lot of street-style around.

Shop baggy clothing

Ankle pants (cropped pants) have become extremely popular in both men’s and women’s fashion in the past few years. These pants don’t cover the whole leg but rather leave the ankle uncovered. This means that they generally sit about 10cm higher than normal pants. 

Ankle pants are very comfortable and while they are most popular in men’s fashion, they do also appear often in women’s fashion. These pants are especially comfortable during the hottest months of summer as they allow for some airflow while keeping the general look of full-length pants. 

Ankle pants also allow the wearer to put a focus on their shoes. If you have a pair of shoes that you particularly like then they will work well with ankle pants as the focus can be placed on the shoes. Longer pants don’t allow this as they often cover, or partly cover, shoes.

Shop Korean cropped pants

Men’s cardigans have become increasingly popular in Korea during spring and even in summer during the evenings. While these cardigans can go by many different styles, they often come in the knitted style which is also very popular currently.

Cardigans tend to not be as popular among men in other countries. However, in Korea they are very common to see – and for good reason! They are very warm and provide a great way to stay warm during the evenings. On top of this, they are also very light and they are easy to wear.

The most popular men’s cardigans in Korea tend to be in more subtle colours such as black, grey, brown, or muted reds, blues, and greens. Often these cardigans will have either no design or a simple design that doesn’t stand out too much – placing attention on other parts of your outfit.

Shop men’s cardigans

Perhaps one of the most interesting spring fashion trends to come out of Korea 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 particularly popular 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 particularly popular in spring and the later months of summer. Not only are the quite warm, but they are also comfortable and easy to wear!

Shop military boots

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This is another interesting trend that has recently been extremely popular. While jeans and denim are always easy to see on the streets of Seoul, baggy jeans in particular have been everywhere recently. A few years ago tapered jeans and skinny jeans were much more popular, however, non-tapered jeans that are more loosely fitting are now much more common to see.

These jeans come in a variety of different designs with some being similar to cropped pants (ending at the ankles) and some going right down to the shoes. Further, some are folded back above the ankles (like the picture above) while some just end.

While this trend can be seen in spring and fall, it’s particularly popular in the warmer months just before/after the peak of summer. Baggy jeans aren’t as uncomfortable as tapered jeans and they are much easier to wear in warmer weather as opposed to skinnier designs.

Shop Korean denim fashion

Korean fashion is becoming more popular every year, and spring and summer are perhaps the most interesting seasons when it comes to fashion. Where winter is often too cold to allow for the best expression of fashion, the warmer months allow for far more variety.

Although the fashion trends in Korea change every year (I will be sure to keep updating this article annually!), there are also many trends that stick around for a few years or even longer. I hope that this post has given you some insight as to what is popular in Korean fashion this year!

I’ve done my best to make this list as authentic as possible. While you may see idols wearing different clothing, I wanted to make this list only include the clothes that you can commonly see on the streets of Seoul. With that being said, if you’ve noticed any trends that aren’t included on this list please feel free to comment and let me know. I’m always happy to update it!

What Clothes Are Popular in Korean in Spring?

While lighter clothing begins to become popular in spring it’s still a bit cold. As such, clothing such as cardigans, light jerseys and knitted shirts are popular. Also, warmer shoes such as chunky shoes and military boots are very popular!

What Clothes Are Popular in Korean in Summer?

Summer in Korea can peak at over 40 degrees. As such, very light clothing is popular. However, while more revealing clothing is becoming more accepted this kind of clothing is much less common than in some countries.

What Fashion Is Popular in Korea in 2021?

In 2021 ruched tops, knitted tops, chunky shoes and more casual fashion/street-wear are becoming a lot more popular!

What Makes Korean Fashion So Popular?

Korean fashion is well known for being simple yet elegant. It’s also quite affordable but can look very nice. It is for these reasons that Korean fashion has become extremely popular.

What Is the Biggest Summer Fashion Trend of 2021?

Perhaps the biggest fashion trend in Korea in the summer of 2021 is ruched tops and dresses. On top of this, street fashion is becoming very popular!

What Is the Biggest Spring Fashion Trend of 2021?

Since spring in Korea can be a bit nippy, clothes such as cardigans, cropped pants and chunky shoes are popular. These are especially popular in 2021.

Are Spring/Summer Fashion Trends in Korea Similar to Other Countries?

While some of the trends in Korea are similar to other countries, there are also many trends that are unique to Korea. These days, many fashion trends even start in Seoul!

What Are Some Always in Korean Summer/Spring Trends?

In the past few years street fashion has been becoming more popular along with a more casual style. This style is in fashion every year, and baggy pants and crop tops can be seen everywhere. Ruched tops are always a good choice too as they are always fashionable!

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