Dramas are fun to watch in general, but they’re even more fun to watch when the outfits of the characters define who they are and amplify their personalities. It adds to the appeal of every scene, and if the stylist is good, then the looks follow the mood of the situation, whether it’s gloomy, happy, or everything in between. While some outfits may seem intense, there’s always something we can glean from their style. So here are seven K-drama actresses whose on-screen style stood out the most in this year’s selection of K-dramas:
There’s no doubt that Jun Ji Hyun is the ultimate style icon. In “The Legend of the Blue Sea,” her outfits are as fantastical as her character Shim Cheong. Sure, she gets her outfits by rummaging through garbage, but in reality, her outfits are worth a fortune. Her infamous garbage “find” is actually a coat from Miu Miu; her pajamas and pink sequin dress are actually from Dolce & Gabbana; and her everyday jacket is from no less than Balmain. I mean, she lounges around the house in a Lanvin couture dress, for crying out loud!
As clueless as Shim Cheong may be (she’s literally a fish out of water), her way of dressing makes her an accidental fashionista: from mismatched prints, unlikely textures, to bright colors. Somehow, with her disheveled long hair and devil-may-care attitude, she makes it look put-together.
Check out more of Jun Ji Hyun’s style in the “The Legend of the Blue Sea”:
2. Shin Min Ah in “Tomorrow With You“
If there’s one way to describe Shin Min Ah’s character as Song Ma Rin in “Tomorrow With You,” it’s that she is incredibly quirky. Not in a weird oddball kind of way, but in that amusing, cute and funny, yet alluringly charismatic way that draws in the unsuspecting male lead. Her personality also translates into her style.
Just a little background: Song Ma Rin is a former child actress who became a household name for starring in a melodramatic series. She rose to fame because of one tear-jerking scene as an impoverished child who asked for a bowl of rice.
While she unfortunately becomes like most child stars who lose their spark as they grow up, Ma Rin’s failures still end up being the talk of town. Which is why her outfits are a bit understated: she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. The overall effect is very “now”; her clothes look like they came straight out of the closet of your everyday millennial: ’90s denims, oversized coats, dressy blouses, and modern interpretations of basics.
And Shin Min Ah pulls it off really well. It’s as if one morning she “woke up like this,” grabbed the nearest clothing pieces she could find, and voila! She still looks stylish without even trying. Plus her thick, wavy hair and bangs are always perfect with every look!
See Shin Min Ah’s effortless outfits in the first episode of “Tomorrow With You”:
“Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo” is your ultimate pastel wonderland. If you set all your shipper feels aside (swag couple!), you’ll notice that all of their outfits give off a soft, pastel aesthetic that is easy on the eyes. Lee Sung Kyung as Kim Bok Joo isn’t really what you would normally call a fashionista. She’s the type who would rather choose practicality and comfort over style (she needs to after all, she’s an athlete), with all her hoodies and athletic leisure wear.
But she still shows her feminine side by wearing a LOT of pinks and cute knits. Bok Joo also just might have the biggest collection of beanies. And if there is one thing she is definitely good at, it’s wearing couple outfits with real-life sweetheart Nam Joo Hyuk!
See Lee Sung Kyung’s sassy and sporty style in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
Park Bo Young as Do Bong Soon always dresses up in cute coats, layered dresses paired with knits, and flouncy blouses. The stylist must have chosen the outfits to make her look as cute as a button; no one would suspect her herculean strength, which adds to the humor of the drama. Park Bo Young proves that big things come in small packages, and that despite her gentle features, small height, and pretty smile, she can kick some butt and send bad guys flying into the air with one flick of her finger.
Catch Park Bo Young’s adorable style in “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
5. Lee Bo Young in “Whisper“
“Whisper” is a drama that’s all about power struggle, so it’s no wonder that everyone is dressed to kill — literally. The power suit is the main look of the day as it fits the drama’s sophisticated and serious office setting, and the two female leads are definitely battling it out. Lee Bo Young’s character Shin Young Joo is out to get vengeance and justice, and her outfits sort of reverberate that by being streamlined, classic, and clean cut. Meanwhile, her rival Choi Soo Yeon (played by Park Se Young) is your typical chaebol born with a golden spoon in her mouth, which explains why her everyday wear looks like she got it straight out from Bergdorf Goodman.
Catch Lee Bo Young’s power suit look in “Whisper”:
6. Red Velvet’s Joy in “The Liar and His Lover”
“The Liar and His Lover” focuses on the sweet story of young love, and the leading lady definitely looks the part. Red Velvet’s Joy has that youthful and relatable appeal. Her outfits of choice? Printed dresses, school girl inspired looks (aside from her high school uniform), and tops with interesting details.
See Joy’s innocent and cute outfits in the trailer for “The Liar and His Lover”:
Eun Bong Hee (played by Nam Ji Hyun) is not your typical office worker. She’s clumsy and everyone thinks she’s crazy. Before she became a lawyer, she wasn’t always the top student, but she made it through with her hard work and determination. She literally stands out because her colleagues were always wearing the stiff, boring, and plain suits, but Bong Hee wears a shorts and suit combo that still looks professional yet with a youthful, modern touch.
Even though wearing shorts in the law office environment is probably a questionable sartorial choice in real life, it still represents her offbeat, fun, and bubbly character in the drama. Also, while all her counterparts choose to wear the same black, gray, or navy colors that are guaranteed safe and presentable for the office and court rooms, she chooses pinks, pastels, and pairs them with tweed pieces. The result? Office chic!
Hey Soompiers, which actress’s K-drama look are you curious to try? Let us know in the comments below!
DP_Kim is an English magazine writer and fashion fan whose goal in life is to wear heels and find the best OOTD locations while living in the farm outside of Jeonju, South Korea.