After our weekend trip to Soraksan in part 1, my family and I spent the rest of our time in Seoul. This post is partially to show how the rest of our trip went, and partially to show my brother’s shopping haul.
Finally, something for the guys!
Our goal was to buy him a new summer outfit and some other ‘stuff from Korea’. All his pants were long and too hot for the summer. He said “I don’t want to look like a preppy Korean, but I don’t want to look like a sloppy white guy either” (I’m just quoting him okay!). The dilemma of a Chinese-Canadian — not fully fresh off the boat, not fully on the white people’s ride either!
Basically, what he meant was he didn’t want to wear the pastel blue above the knee tight short trousers as most Korean guys we saw were sporting nowadays, but he also didn’t want to wear basketball shorts all the Canadians wore back home.
So, something in between preppy and sporty casual.
What a mission!
I became his personal stylist and shopping assistant for the next few days. Here’s what we bought.
Shopping for Men
Our main goal was men’s clothes. Obviously, there are always more women’s stores, but most shopping areas have clothes for men.
In Korea, you can bargain prices down by about 5-10%, but rarely more than that, especially if you are speaking in English (just be happy they don’t quote a higher price!). Obviously, there is no bargaining at big department stores or brand names.
Also, remember that in small Korean stores, you can only try on pants and outerwear, but not T-shirts! At the big brand names, you can try on anything.
Myungdong (명동, subway blue line #4)
For the guys, you will get the best of big brands here — Zara, H&M, Giordano, Uniqlo, etc. For shoes, there are major names like Adidas, Converse, ABC Mart, or small street shoe stalls where you can find cheap imitation styles. Higher end, especially suits and dress shirts can be found in the Lotte Department store. For unique and quirky styles, I took my brother to Aland, where you can find almost everything from accessories, clothes, socks, shoes in a variety of styles — punk, preppy, vintage, etc. However, our main purpose there was the huge variety of bags and backpacks ranging from sporty hiking backpacks, preppy canvas shoulder bags, vintage leather bags, and colorful studded hip hop backpacks. He needed a new schoolbag.
Street foods and pappingsoo (팥빙수),
or shaved ice with red beans at Beans Bin (super yummy!)
White and Blue Strip T-shirt: Giordano, 20,000~ won ($18 USD); Denim Blue Straw Rimmed Low Ankle Shoes: street shoe store, 20,000-25,000~ won ($18-23); Short Jeans: Zara, 49,000~ won ($45); Purple Studded Backpack: Aland, 125,000~ won ($115)
At Giordana, I dressed Gary in this whole outfit (except for the shoes he was already wearing). He didn’t like the pants though!
So hard understanding what this client wants!
Eedae (이대, subway green line #2)
Eedae is good for the little self merchant Korean stores to avoid the imported stuff. Although Ehwa is a women’s university, there are plenty of men’s store. You will find everything from regular T-shirts, hiphop style graphic print sweatshirts, sophisticated blazers, romantic style dress shirts, and the preppy blue and pink short trousers all the Korean guys wear.
Gary sporting his new shirt, jeans, and bag on our second shopping day
There is one thing you must eat at Eedae — the Herb Cup Chicken (허브 컵 치킨). There are imitations elsewhere, but the real thing is at Eedae. It’s just the combination of freshly fried chicken, the breading on the chicken, the herbs, the sticky gooey spicy and sweet sauce, the sticky chewy ddeok (rice cake) and the hashbrowns that makes my mouth water even as I type.
I ended up going back for a second cup before we left.
Some of you guys are into cafes, and there is a really nice, European style cafe called Migo (picture above and below). We tried the black oyster ink bread.
Do you see Gary outside of Ehwa and all the girls walking out of the university? XD
I’ve gone shopping for Gary a lot before, either alone in Korea or with him in Vancouver, and with a lot of hits and misses, I’ve come to learn what his style is — casually dressed up. He likes simple and unique cutting, fitting not baggy, single neutral block colors with little color mixing or mismatching, and nothing too bright or flashy.
I wish he would be more adventurous with the way he dresses, but he’s very set on what he will or will not wear. If I buy something for him that’s “not his style”, he will absolutely refuse to wear it -_-
This time, I was real pro though. I would walk into a store and literally pinpoint within 0.25 seconds I look in one direction what would look good on him, is acceptable within his style, or on his wish list.
Staring at Kpop boys all day pays off!
Sharon: *walks straight up to the rack and pulls out targeted item*
………….“Try this on.”
Gary: “Hmm… I dunno. It’s pretty blah blah *analysis here*”
Sharon: “Just try it on.”
………“It looks pretty good… blah blah *analysis here*”
Sharon: “Yeah, it does… blah blah *analysis here* You want it?”
Girls are a lot harder to dress though T_T
Denim Rimmed Half Sleeve Checkered Dress Shirt: Eedae street store (name?), 35,000~ won ($32 USD); Half Sleeve Black Blazer (thin summer fabric): same Eedae street store, 65,000~ won ($59); Long Sleeve Navy Blue Blazer (thick autumn fabric): Morphine, 69,000~ won ($62); Bow Tie: Morphine, 8,000 won ($7); Orange Brown Asymmetrical Cardigan: Morphine, 30,000~ won ($27)
We bought all of these at just two different stores so that we could get a bargain. He chose the black blazer and necktie. I chose the dress shirt, navy blue blazer, and cardigan.
We got about 6-10% discount on those prices after my shameless bargaining.
Gary styling the clothes for you guys back in Vancouver
Hongdae, Express Bus Terminal, and Others
We also did some shopping at Hongdae (홍대, subway green line #2) but only because we stayed at a hostel in the area. I wouldn’t take him shopping there otherwise. It’s a great place for female cosmetics and very quirky and unique accessories, bags, shoes, and clothing. However, the stores for men are few and overpriced. It’s more of a night life drinking and clubbing area (my favorite!).
I also took Gary to the Express Bus Terminal (고속버스 터미널, subway orange line #3 and dark green line #7), but it was still closed for renovations. It’s been renovating for a year or two now! It used to be a great area for low priced, but also mostly lower quality stuff, so it’s more of a treasure hunt. It’s my second favorite shopping area to Myungdong. Most of the stores are for women, but there are the occasional ones for men (well, that’s pretty much how it’ll work wherever you shop in Korea). I’m not sure when and how it will be like when renovations are complete though.
For very high end Korean designs, you can visit Apugujung (앞구정, orange line #3) where many of the celebs dwell. I’m not a high end girl so I’ve only been there a few times. A simple T-shirt can cost $200! You may also want to visit just to get a feel of what the rich and trendy neighborhood of Korea is like, and eat there for a much more reasonable price than the shopping.
What other places would you suggest for shopping in Korea, especially men’s clothes?
PS. This is my last post before leaving for Thailand for 5 weeks!!! Sooooo excited! But don’t worry, I will have a few posts pre-written during my break so the blog will still be active while I’m gone. I’ll also post some photos while I’m there, either on Facebook or a blog post, but I can’t post much because I’ll be super busy studying! However, I’ve been feeling really inspired lately with the blog and video ideas because of all your suggestions, so I’ll work extra hard on it all when I’m back from the trip! ^^
PPS: I’m in a bit of a dilemma! What do you guys prefer?
1) Hair Routine & Care Products Video
2) What’s in My Travel Bag Video
Please vote here or just comment! Thanks a bunch!