Women's Fashions, Spring 2021 Question


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Oct 21, 2016
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This is a question for the women "around here":

IU in South Korea has recently launched her latest album and has been posting videos and showing up on SK TV shows to promote it. I have been noticing a set of style influences and I am curious whether this is an existing fashion trend that anyone recognizes or whether it is something she is coming up with on her own or from her personal stylist:

She has been wearing a lot of loose slacks and tops heavily into brown tones, and 1940's stuff. Sort of Kate Hepburn-ish. Some Spanish influences? IU has been known to completely ignore fashion, so it would not be surprising if this is all just her being herself.

"[MV] IU(아이유)_Coin"
posted Mar 26, 2021 by "1theK (원더케이)" [length 3:17]
Last edited:
Well, not a lot of girls, but plenty of women around here to ask.
Well, not a lot of girls, but plenty of women around here to ask.

I changed it.

I have a partial answer so far: I researched the South Korean "Tazza" movies from which the music video was based and the styles did not come from the movies. Theses "gambling movies" were all modern era starting from around 10 years ago. There were fairly well dressed people, but the fashions were contemporary for the time. The women were wearing dresses and such. The guys were in suits sometimes. But overall nothing unusual, or more specifically no female characters in "men's" clothes.

Besides, the pants IU has been wearing are baggy cuts which were never "men's" styles. They've been around off and on in women's fashions. Now whether any of this this has already been a local SK fashion recently or not is the next question, and I am leaning towards "no" because I think I would have seen others by now on TV interview shows. This is not necessarily true because I don't watch "fashion" oriented talk shows. I mainly see news broadcasts and some music shows, but still, I think it would have shown up by now.

So it's down to either her personal style, or her "co-ordinator's" ideas, or a combination of the two of them. At that point it is not so interesting. It is not likely to become wide-spread. Vests and ties are maybe ok in the Spring, but I never liked wearing ties in the summer, and I did that often when I was young, so I know what it's like. I won't be going downtown much this summer, so I'd miss it all anyway.
Years ago I used attend the seasonal style planning meetings for a 'fast fashion' brand, and they'd set up booths highlighting the factors they believe will influence the next seasons colours and styles. This was at the time of the Gulf War in Iraq, so predictably desert camo hues and SAS neck scarves were in.

From looking at a few fashion trend prediction sites for 2021 it seems like long, heavy jackets with big shoulders and a pinched waist are the look, but colours are more blue and yellows than the autumnal hues in your video.

However, I'm just back from an extended business trip to Seoul, and Korean girls always wear beige/brown/cream colours, so I guess they changed the 'Paris/New,York/London' brighter colour palette to suit the conservative style of Korean women.

Despite the image of Korea as a style leader in Asia, I find the conservative colours result in a rather boring look. Just look at their cars - grey, white, black ...... or if you're feeling really rebellious.... silver :)

And the womens clothes have suffered from a pandemic of beige for 10 years now, while men's clothing comes in any colour so long as it's grey.
This is my second and probably last report on this topic:

The "Coin" music video:

The gambling theme is based on the 2006 South Korean movie "Tazza: The High Rollers (타짜œ, The War of Flowers)" which was a major hit that was continued in at least two other films and a TV show.

About the Spanish style influences, the linkage comes from a single line in the song (actually in the rap) where her gambling is compared to a bull fight. But I do not know if the connection with bull fighting comes from the movie. I think that it is probably a line in the movie, but I have not seen the movie, so I cannot verify it. The movie was released on DVD in North America, so maybe someone will report on it later.

In the music video most of the extras wear animal face masks, so I thought there might be some "bovine" masks. Mostly I saw other animals, like foxes or wolves. I only saw one mask that might have been a bull or a cow, but it might have been something else, so might have been a deliberate avoidance of bovine masks, or there was another theme in the video that I have not figured out yet. So either the bull fight style influence seems to be limited to IU's clothing, both as a story character and as a dancer, or it was simple not carried through.

Notably, her final opponent in the music video was Kim Yun Seok who played a key role in the "High Rollers" movie and reprised the role in the 2nd "Tazza" movie "Tazza: The Hidden Card", so he is strongly associated with the movies. She is probably proud of that cameo.

As for IU wearing "men's fashions", I think it was just her attempt to "toughen-up" the character. I do not think there was anything further linked to movie and I don't think she will be following up with a Kate Hepburn look beyond promoting this song, so not a "fashion statement" but just a part of her song promoting.

About the Brown Pants in "IU's Palette" episode 5:

I realized later that this is probably completely unrelated. I have seen "behind the scenes" videos enough to know that in South Korea, some of the large studio sets are nothing more than big buildings, with very little insulation or heating. This episode was probably recorded around mid-winter, and sometimes it is so cold that it is hard to hide breath condensation. SHINee members were all dressed in layers with jackets and sweaters under the jackets. The band also looks warmly dressed. So I suspect that IU was wearing baggy pants to hide the fact that she was wearing "long johns". It was probably that simple -- not a "fashion statement" but just "survival". As for the pants being mid-dark brown, it was probably just what was buyable in a hurry.

About her Brown Jacket for her "Sketchbook" appearance:

Nothing surprising here. The jacket is trimmed Spanish style coming from the "Coin" song she was promoting. I take the brown colour as a somewhat random matter. For video it records better than black, and that's about it.

About Beige:

After you mentioned it, I noticed that in "IU's Palette" episode 7 she was wearing "men's" shirt, tie and vest, in beige. This was part of her promoting the song, but I had to laugh at the beige.

Speaking of beige, I have been wearing khaki, beige, bone or white pants for over 30 years myself. I do this as a practical safety matter. When I am out walking at night it should be more visible than black or other dark colours, so drivers won't hit me. I used to get annoyed that the colours tended to change every time I had to buy new ones. Now? Meh.

As for SK as a fashion centre:

I have heard that, in SK news reports, but I do not know that it is that influential. I doubt if Japan pays that much attention to SK. Japan still tends to ignore the outside world. Then there is Hong Kong, the rest of the "water world" and China. I dunno. Yes, they see what's up in SK, but I think they are as influenced by other countries about as strongly.

Being a wearer of beige pants, you might take my fashion opinion as "suspect". :)
Baggy pants were never men's style? Google "zoot suits."

As for whether or not she's following broader current fashion trends, I couldn't tell you. I've been working and hunkering down at home for over a year so all I can tell you about fashion right now is the difference between sleep pyjamas, day pyjamas, and work pyjamas.
Baggy pants were never men's style? Google "zoot suits."
. . .

I'll give you a half point for that one. I did consider zoot suits, but I did not check them. Turns out, I was right. If you check Wikipedia you'll see that the pants were really not that wide. They were only wide for that time period, and not all the way down. Around the ankles they narrowed to a fairly "normal" size, and they were not down to the ground, but stopped at the shoe. There were a couple of reasons for that (which I knew). First, they were for evening "show-off" wear -- to "impress the ladies". Men bought them to go out and have a good time, and that involved dancing. Back around 1940 - 44 (the time period had a hard limit because the suits were actually banned) all social dancing had some kind of footwork. Fred Astaire fanciness was rare, but even a simple waltz or foxtrot had its own footwork. One would not want pants that might hide or interfere with the footwork, and you wanted to show off the fact that your feet were moving right. Moreover, if the pants were too long, you might trip on them, or not see if you were going to step on your partners toes. And you would not want to hide your expensive, well polished shoes.

From the calf up, they were more variable, and yes wider and baggier. And here is where I have to give you the "half-point". Those suits were all custom tailored, and there is no way that I can verify that nobody ever bought pants as wide as hers, and maybe even wide all the way down to the ankles. I'd have to have seen every one of those suits. So no matter what the "general rule" was, somebody might have done it. . . .

It all makes me think of money I have wasted in my life. I actually had a custom tailored suit -- once in my life. What a waste! In any decade of my adult life I can think back past 10 years and think about some money I wasted "back then". Meh. I would have just wasted it some other way.
A couple more recent vids:

"[IU's Palette] A SHINee-ing Palette (With SHINee) Ep.5" work time
posted Feb 27, 2021, [LONG 42:49 just watch the first minute or so]

"어디서도 볼 수 없는 Celebrity 라이브☆ 아이유가 생각하는 리즈 시절은? [유희열의 스케치북/You Heeyeol’s Sketchbook] | KBS 210402 방송"
posted Apr 2, 2021 by "KBS Kpop" [Length 2:48, @ ~0:15, no English]

in fact, buying oversized and loose-fitting clothing is now very fashionable; there are less tight-fitting trousers and tops and more loose skirts, dresses, and blouses.
I believe the music video incorporates both personal fashion looks and general fashion acceptance. Brown and ash tones, for example, are very common right now, as are various shades of yellow (mustard) and gray.
i'm afraid that as a dispatcher working in a secure building where i have to swipe a badge 4 times just to use the bathroom that's 100ft away, i can't comment on fashion despite falling into the category of female. i've almost exclusively worn jeans and hoodies or tshirts and flannel button downs for the past 12 years. i own a polo shirt for those occasions when i have to dress up for work. i'm not sure what this blouse thing is that you've referred to.
I forgot to mention that in the 3rd vid ("Sketchbook") where she wore the brown Spanish jacket top she was wearing a skirt, so that sort of shows that the "men's wear-look" was not that significant in her eyes.

It seems to have all been a set of coincidences -- not a big deal . . . .
Yes that is the current trend here. I noticed it in the stores last month.
Epilogue (of sorts):

Last weekend I was waiting in line at a supermarket and in front of me was, I think, a mother and daughter. The mother was wearing worn blue jeans, but the daughter had a pair of wide pants almost identical to the ones in the cover pic of the "Palette Episode 5" above, except in black. Aha! Then again, I probably have seen them around before and not noticed them, but yeah, now see.

Digression from this Digression:

As a photographical note about that same "Episode 5" the lens used seems to be very good for flare. The lights in the background are not "spilling over". Very impressive.

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