There is no such thing as “too cute” in K-pop. From concepts to mannerisms to fashion style, idols do all they can be appear as cute as possible. Aegyo, the practice of acting cute and childlike, pops up all the time in K-pop, acted out by male and female idols alike. In sel-cas with blowfish faces or onstage with winks and charming little waves, aegyo is one-part mannerisms. Not everyone can do these gestures — it takes a certain amount of believability to pull them off. But aegyo doesn’t just run on mannerisms and believability alone, the look of it matters as well. A person dressed head-to-toe in black would look silly pouting their lips or twiddling their fingers. No, in order to completely pull off aegyo, you must wear the fluffy dresses, pastel colors, and quaint designs that come with aegyo. Remember, you can never be cute enough.
First, dresses. Aegyo dresses have a few requirements: short, colorful or pale, full-skirted, covered in hearts or flowers, and typically with some applique or ruching. In order to be entirely cute, you must pull out all the stops: ruffles, tiers, sequins, flowers, polka-dots, hearts, lace — and that’s just for the bust. However, most of us do not have time or money to custom-make true aegyo dresses, the kind you’d see KARA or A-Pink wear onstage, and so I’ve found some pretty alternatives just for you. Not a fan of flowers or ruffles? Want to keep it simple? Luckily for you, solid white dresses in simple designs are also commonly found in aegyo-ridden music videos and concepts. The pure white color screams innocence, a factor that goes into aegyo’s childlike appeal.
From left to right: ModCloth Sea Shanty Singing Dress, Forever 21 Tiered Ruffle Tube Dress, TopShop Pansy Print Collar Dress, Asos River Island Sequin Panel Prom Dress, Heart Cut Out Dress.
Next up, shoes. In K-pop, shoes aren’t often the focus of an outfit — usually that’s reserved for the dress or the top — but that doesn’t mean your shoes can’t be girlishly adorable as well. Exchange your sneaks for a pair of brightly colored high heels or bow-tipped flats and wear them with everything you own.
From left to right: Miss L Fire Amalfi Heels, Bass Lewisa Pump, TopShop Glow Patent Bow Court Shoes, Seychelles “Kiss the Bride” Flats, Chelsea Crew Floral Booties.
Although dresses would be more commonly associated with aegyo, you don’t have to wear dresses constantly to look cute-as-a-button. Tops follow the same basic requirements as dresses: femininity. Bows around the collar, sweetheart necklines, candy colors, ruffles, and lace will keep you looking precious all day long.
From left to right: Ruche Lace Top, Pins and Needles Sarah Jane Peplum Top, Forever21 Floral Pintucked Top, Free People The Victorian Flounce Top, Miss Selfridge Mint Crochet Detail Bandeau.
To wear with your top, look for A-line skirts, micro shorts, and colorful skinny jeans. Bottomswith a tiny amount of sweet details, like a scalloped hemline or inset of lace, won’t distract from your top. It’s very common for K-pop idols to wear tiny shorts, a fashion style known as “bottomless fashion,” but that’s entirely up to you. Not everyone feels comfortable in skirts or dresses and it’s still possible to exemplify the aegyo look through jeans as well.
From left to right: Miss Selfridge Scallop Waist Detail Shorts, BB Dakota Lace Skirt, Dream Skinny Jeans, BDG Sailor Shorts, Forever21 Pleated Mesh Skirt.
One last thing — accessories. Aside from a few bracelets here and there, an occasional bulky necklace, or perhaps a headband, I don’t see very many idols layering on accessories (not including G-Dragon). However, to achieve that ultimate girlish look, it would be good to slip a flower into your hair or wrap a belt around your waist.
From left to right: Cult Gaia Mulberry Crown, Betsey Johnson Bag, Forever21 Large Bow Headband, Miss Selfridge Pearl Tie Necklace, UO Lovely Lace Collar.
That’s it for this shopping guide. Are you more into the cutesy fashion in K-pop, or something a little tougher?