Is Hong Kong Fashion Different from Korea Fashion?

To most people’s eyes, Asian fashion seems to be more “cute” than western fashion, meaning that Asian people use more colors in their outfit or that they like clothings with more patterns. Among the Asian fashion, Hong Kong fashion and Korean fashion can have some distinctive differences and also similarities too, from excessive love over skinny jeans, layering, use of colors, to the parts of body they like showing.

Skinny Jeans Fever
I have to say that both Hong Kong and Korean girls love skinny jeans. It’s very common to see girls wearing skinny jeans on the street, usually paired with a loose top so that their legs would look much longer. This might have to do with both Hong Kong and Korean girls’ desire to have a pair of longer legs because of the appearance of tall, long-legs western girls on most fashion and beauty magazines and televisions.

Before the rising of Asian models, western models’ dominance in most of the fashion and beauty media in Hong Kong and Korea played an important role in defining the standard of a nice outfit. Because the tall western girls can pull off more outfits due to their height, Asian girls like Hong Kong and Korean girls inevitably try to make their legs look longer which has led to the excessive emphasis of being skinny in both Hong Kong and Korea. Nowadays, it seems that those attractive girls in Hong Kong and Korea are those tho are skinny and have long legs.

Generally, Korean girls do more layering in an outfit than Hong Kong girls. It can be due to Korea’s being a temperate country while Hong Kong being a sub-tropical region. The average temperate in Korea is lower than that of Hong Kong, especially during winters, Korea’s temperate can be as low as -30 degree Celsius. Hong Kong’s lowest temperate nowadays is only around 2-5 degree Celsius in winter. So it makes more sense for Korean girls to do more layering on their outfits to keep them warm and be more creative on styling themselves.

Use of Colors
Korean girls in general use more colors in their outfits than Hong Kong girls, part of the reason might be that Korean girls do more layering to keep themselves warm in the winter, so they can make use of the mix and match of more colors to create a special color scheme for their outfits. It also create more vibrancy for the old winter. Another reason might be the fact that Korean girls are more white than Hong Kong girls so they can enjoy a wider selections of color that match their skin tone.

Korean girls like layering and put more colors into their outfit

Parts of Body Revealed
As told by my friend who lives in Korea, Korean girls are not afraid of revealing their legs not just by showing the bottom body shape through wearing skinny jeans but also actually showing the legs themselves. Even at work, Korean girls would wear short skirt or dress with sky-high heels without being considered inappropriate. They are also confident to show their body curve by wearing tight dresses, but if they show the upper part of their body like shoulders or breasts, that is considered as nasty.

As for Hong Kong girls, they like showing their legs through wearing skinny jeans, but it’s a less popular norm to actually show their legs and wear super high heels at the same time. At work, Hong Kong girls wear more conservatively They barely wear short skirt because that is considered inappropriate. Hong Kong people separate work from life. Work is work, life is life. When the weekend comes, Hong Kong girls can go crazy and wear very sexy dress that reveal a lot of parts of their body – legs, shoulders, breasts etc. In fact, it’s not that they are afraid of showing their shape, it’s that Hong Kong girls prefer to show their confidence and body shape to someone or in the occassion that is worth showing.

Korean girls are not afraid of showing their legs (Image: from my original post on

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33 Comments on Is Hong Kong Fashion Different from Korea Fashion?

  1. zenlifefrugal
    May 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm (3 years ago)

    This is a fairly accurate comparison from what I’ve seen. Here in the USA, Koreans tend to dress to impress while the Chinese (mainlanders, Taiwanese, etc) tend to be conservative. Even when the Chinese women are out shopping here, they are still conservative in terms of what they wear (or at least what I’ve seen they wear).

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 23, 2011 at 12:13 am (3 years ago)

      That’s true. But I think the Chinese in the US are a lot more open compared with the Chinese in Mainland China or Hong Kong. Here in Hong Kong girls barely wear tight t-shirt (though they like really tight jeans). I don’t see their confidence in showing their upper body shape.

      • zenlifefrugal
        May 23, 2011 at 6:28 am (3 years ago)

        Its an interesting comparison. I don’t think there is a right or wrong, just uniqueness.

        • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
          May 23, 2011 at 7:28 am (3 years ago)

          Thanks. There is no rights or wrongs here. Everyone is biased at some certain points.

    • Leya123
      October 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm (3 years ago)

      This article is really very wrong because I live in Hong Kong and it really disgusts me to see girls in very small shorts that just covers their ass. I mean they look really slutty but they dont realise it. Sometimes u cant even tell whether they r wearing shorts, i mean they are shorts are so small that is barely visible when they are wearing t-shirts

      • Jin
        October 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm (3 years ago)

        Thanks for your comment. Yes there are a lot of girls wearing short shorts, but what I referred to was the comparison between Hong Kong girls and Korean girls. I’m not sure when was the last time you visited Hong Kong, maybe short shorts was a hit at that time. But generally speaking, my friends who lived in both cities told me that Korean girls are more prone to expose their legs than Hong Kong girls, even at work. :)

  2. zenlifefrugal
    May 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm (3 years ago)

    That is exactly true. Everyone will have a bias, albeit a different one depending on their views of things. It takes a certain element of respect to be able to get along with the biases of others.

    In all actuality, I kinda like the fact that Hong Kong girls seem to be a little more conservative (or not as confident) with their bodies as it can be perceived as being more modest. I personally feel that many guys tend to overlook the modesty aspects when it comes to women. I tend to find myself giving praise to a girl when she dresses in a way that doesn’t reveal herself. Unfortunately it seems that a girl’s looks and appearance matter more than personality in today’s times (or in many social circles).

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm (3 years ago)

      I think that Hong Kong girls are not really that conservative, but I think that they’re either too conservative or too open. Hong Kong girls separate dressing codes by occasions, people treat work very seriously here (we work overtime all the time), but there are certain groups of Hong Kong people – like those who studied abroad and came back – being very open. So I would say Hong Kong people’s fashion is very extreme. But in general, those conservative ones follow the big trend and every one dresses like the same.

      Yes I like being biased, I think this is one of the most enjoyable things in my life because that makes life fun.

      • zenlifefrugal
        May 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm (3 years ago)

        That’s a shame. To each their own I guess. I think there has to be some sort of middle ground between being to conservative in terms of what one wears and the openness that others take in terms of their wardrobe. It might be interesting to discuss something about the fashion that Hong Kong girls take before settling down and after settling down (ie those that married v those that haven’t). That may be an enjoyable read.

        I guess I’ll have to come to Hong Kong and learn some more things about the culture there. I had heard that many Hong Kong people did work overtime in some form or manner but its good to hear that from a local as well. While a good work ethic is essential for just about anything, it is also just important to be able to have some form of breaks in order to continue being productive.

        • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
          May 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm (3 years ago)

          I think Hong Kong people work too hard they barely have time to taste their life. I hope that they could enjoy the moment a bit more than just thinking about the stock prices and interest rates.

          Yes, come to Hong Kong, it’s fun to see there. There are a lot of different groups of people because of the changes of economy, political status and population structure. It’s a complicated yet dynamic city. :)

  3. Going2HK
    May 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm (3 years ago)

    I really liked reading your blog ! I’m going to live in Hong Kong as an exchange student next year and it’s interesting reading about how it is inappropriate showing legs, etc. Here were I live in Scandinavia (north Europe) it is normal to wear short shorts or tank tops. It would be cool if you maybe could write about HK fashion in general or something similar so I would know what to bring when I go there. I definitely know to bring lot’s of skinny jeans! :)

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi there!

      It’s not inappropriate to show legs here. In fact, a lot of girls like showing legs. What I said is that the degree of showing legs is less than that of Korea. Hong Kong girls wear shorts all the time, really, all the time. Because it’s so hot (and humid) here, if you wear long jeans in the summer, it’s going to kill you…

      But skinny jeans is a big hit, it’s an all-time favorite of Hong Kong girls.

  4. zenlifefrugal
    May 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm (3 years ago)

    I will take you up on that. Hong Kong seems to be a very fast paced city to be a part of. Having been to Seoul, the thing I like was the constant amount of things to do there. Koreans are also very similar in a lot of their work ethic. Many of the older Koreans expect their kids to do well in just about anything they do. Anyway, look forward to continuing to discuss things like that in the future!

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm (3 years ago)

      I think most Asian culture involves parents expecting their children to follow what they did and do even better. There are just loads of interesting stuff to talk or just look around here in Asia. :)

      • zenlifefrugal
        May 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm (3 years ago)

        Exactly. It happens sometimes with American parents, but those seem to be the exception (at least in my area). That something good about their parenting (may not be right) but there is that expectation of having to do well. Some of the Asians I have interacted with are the most polite and smartest people out there.

        • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
          May 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm (3 years ago)

          Thanks for your info. I think parents having expectations is normal, but those expectations of parents in Asia are somewhat an inherited norm, they have expectations for the sake of having them.

  5. Craig
    May 26, 2011 at 7:41 am (3 years ago)

    One think I found in Korea: You can identify Korean styles often by the tops.

    Korean girls like to wear long, baggy tops; they’ll often add a belt to them, to show off their waist. But this is a trend that’s very obvious when these girls go abroad.

    The second picture you provide is typical.

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 26, 2011 at 7:48 am (3 years ago)

      The looser the top they wear, the slimmer their legs will look with their skinny jeans. That’s very Asian typical too.

  6. Craig
    May 26, 2011 at 7:52 am (3 years ago)

    One thing: They’re more comfortable showing their chest (breasts. They advertise them more.

    You mentioned this more obliquely (upper body shape).

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      May 26, 2011 at 9:30 am (3 years ago)

      My friend told me that showing breasts or shoulders is nasty… I think that now they are more aware of their beautiful body shape and want to show more.

      • Craig
        June 2, 2011 at 12:39 am (3 years ago)

        So if they want to show it off more, … which I noticed – are Chinese women unaware of it? I can’t imagine that.

        • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
          June 2, 2011 at 5:42 am (3 years ago)

          I think that girls generally show off their legs by showing confidence and attracting men. You don’t need to show off anything if you live in a one-man world.

  7. Margaret
    June 3, 2011 at 11:25 am (3 years ago)

    You hit the nail on the head with this article! I’m Korean but grew up in a 100% western society so there are many things that I can’t agree with. I don’t find it particularly appealing that Koreans like to wear miniskirts with stilettos to work. They also dress as if they’re going to go clubbing/partying from day to night. Girls wear tight mini dresses with sky-high heels to church where I live! Very inappropriate.

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      June 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for your comment Margaret.

      I think that girls love fashion too much in Korea. As one of the readers said, “fashion is the king in Korea”, wearing mini-skits has become a norm and when everyone does it, it’s no longer appealing, maybe that’s why you think it’s nothing special. But Korean fashion is very classy and chic ! :D

  8. UlickMcGee
    June 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm (3 years ago)

    “This might have to do with both Hong Kong and Korean girls’ desire to have a pair of longer legs because of the appearance of tall, long-legs western girls on most fashion and beauty magazines and televisions.”

    Our primitive ancestors did not have birthdays, calendars or accurate time keeping and so they involved instincts to select wives based on the maximum number of fertile years for breeding. Men who preferred young wives had more children and passed on their genes more than men who were attracted to 30-year old women.

    Around 12 years of age, young girls hit a growth spurt which causes the arms and legs to grow first before the torso catches up. This gives young teenagers relatively long legs compared to their full adult size. High heels, especially when combined with a short skirt, elongate the leg and mimic the proportions of young teenagers. That is why women like to show off their bare legs.

    However, girls will show off any feature that gets the attention of the most attractive men. The curve of a shoulder mimics the curve of the breast or buttocks. When flirting, women will often tilt their head to look at a man over their bare shoulder as this is sexually suggestive in an innocent way.

    Girls who have large breasts will often wear tight tops but cover their legs because the thicker skeleton that often goes with large breasts make the legs look too chunky and so short/old. Breasts droop and sag with age, especially large breasts. A 16-year old with large, gravity-defying breasts is advertising her high level of estrogen combined with many fertile breeding years.

    Long silky hair = good immune system = fertile. Big eyes = high estrogen = fertile. Pale skin = less built-up sun damage = youth = fertile. Full lips = high estrogen = fertile. In white women, blond hair = youth = fertile (blond hair darkens with age).

    Western fashion models undoubtedly influence looks in the rest of the world but on a superficial level. Sexual attraction triggers are similar across all races. Long legs are sexy because they make women look younger. This is true for white, black and asian women.

    Baring long legs is also an instinct and fashion only comes into it by deciding how long heels and hem lines should be or wether mini-skirts or short shorts are in fashion this season.

    In a country where men have high cultural power, Korea for example, women will compete aggressively for the attention of the most attractive men by dressing in a very sexy fashion and staying a slim as possible. Sloppy American women can afford to dress in track suits and flip flops because they have such high value in their culture relative to the men.

    Hong Kong women don’t have as much pressure as Korean women but cross the border to Shenzhen and you will see nothing but long, super skinny legs because men have more cultural power on the mainland than in Hong Kong.

    • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
      June 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for your insightful comments.

      When it comes to showing off girls’ body, it has to play with proportion, wearing mini shorts/skirts can easily create visual effects of having long legs and all girls need to do is to buy some mini skirts which costs nothing compared with plastic surgery. In the end, girls only show off their body to get people’s attention – there is no need to even dress up or show off any part of your body if there is no possibility of the body being noticed by others. People dress up to feel good because if they feel good, it’s easier to impress others no matter for women or men.

      I agree that men prefer pale skin / long legs / blonde hair / big breasts because it conveys the message that those women with these features are more fertile and can give birth to babies with good genes. I read a lot of articles having the same views as yours.

      Men’s cultural power is bigger in cities that women’s status is lower than theirs. Men embrace superiority in nature, it’s not hard to see men showing more confidence when they go to those cities in emerging countries. When a country is well developed like the US, women are gaining more cultural power and it eventually drive men away. You can see there are thousands and thousands of people migrating to Asia from Europe and America every day.

      • UlickMcGee
        June 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm (3 years ago)

        “When a country is well developed like the US, women are gaining more cultural power and it eventually drive men away”

        The same thing is happening in Hong Kong. Hong Kong men flood across the border to get themselves younger, hotter girlfriends who find these men very attractive too. Everyone’s a winner, except for the enormous number of 30-something single Hong Kong women who will never marry because they can’t find a HK guy they like. I remember seeing a statisic that 2 HK men marry for every 1 HK women nowadays.

        • Jin @ HKGirlTalk
          June 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm (3 years ago)

          Thanks for the stats.

          That’s true that lots of Hong Kong men are marrying younger and less-educated Mainland Chinese women because men have more superiority than marrying those highly-educated Hong Kong women.

          It’s also true that Hong Kong women are gaining concerns over looking for boyfriends because the number of (available) men is getting less and less.


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