Why Korean clothing and West Coast style are a match made in heaven

Comfortable yet stylish, "free-size" clothing is a perfect fit for Vancouver

July 14, 2016

By Christine Bortolin

You might have noticed loose-fitting, oversized pieces slowly replacing the skinny jeans regularly adorning Vancouver’s window mannequins lately. This is not a mistake. These are called “free-size” items, and they’re part of a trend in Korean fashion where one single size is worn by (almost) all. Instead of conforming to one pre-determined silhouette, they’re structured to fall differently on multiple body types, focusing on the angles and flow of the outfit. As a result, these Korean-influenced pieces are all about the quality of the linens, cottons, wools, and advanced synthetic blends they use. Not surprisingly, given this city’s affinity for the combination of comfort and luxury, they’re already a big hit.

Nervous about letting such a drastically different shape into your wardrobe? Try layering a few pieces and begin to understand Korean design’s appreciation for angles and structure—you’ll soon master a new silhouette. That silhouette, incidentally, is astoundingly forgiving after large dinners or afternoon beer sessions.

When you’re shopping for a piece, keep an eye out for simple and elegant lines with an emphasis on one key feature, be it a dropped shoulder, a surprising texture, or some structured asymmetry. Check out local boutiques like Oak + Fort (multiple locations, oakandfort.com), Noul (840 Granville St., noul.com, Woo to See You (1062 Mainland St., wootoseeyou.com), and Ego Closet (486 W. Cordova St., egocloset.com) to pick up a few Korean pieces of your own.

Hans Woo is the owner of Woo to See You, a boutique that specializes in Korean and Japanese fashion.

hans

Q: Why does Korean-influenced fashion work so well here?
It’s the fact that it’s both wearable and fashionable. Pieces can be dressed up or down easily, which pairs well with our vibe here.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about it?
Oversized and loose-fitting clothing can be sexy! Some people think “form-fitting” automatically means sexy, but you’ll get to know how different shapes can be very attractive without being skin tight.

Q: What sets your store apart from other boutiques that carry these sorts of items?
I have a lot of Korean pieces, but I also carry about 25 local designers and have products from around the globe. I’m curating an aesthetic more than sourcing from one specific place.

 

Looking for something to accessorize with? Check out Canadian-Korean jeweller Kara Yoo’s pieces like this wave necklace ($60), which you can find at boutiques like Zebraclub (3101 Granville St., zebraclub.com) and The Board of Trade (227 Union St., boardoftradeco) and online at karayoo.com.

necklace

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