Korean fashion is known around the world for its gorgeous styles and eye-catching designs. However, it's also known for catering to smaller sizes. When it comes to clothing size, Korean fashion can pose a challenge to many women. While in the United States the category of plus size clothing generally starts around a US women's size 18, plus size Korean fashion starts in sizes that, in the US, would normally be considered petite. It’s quite a difference, which is why it's important to understand how Korean fashion is fitted and what is considered a Korean plus size garment.

To help you snag the cutest outfits on your next Seoul shopping trip, we've put together this guide to help you better understand plus size Korean clothing so that no matter what your body shape or size, you can enjoy stylish Korean plus size clothes without any confusion.

Korean Plus Size Clothing

Typically, much of what is considered plus size Korean fashion would not be considered plus size in many Western countries, especially in the US. This is due to the general body shape and size of the average Korean woman, which is generally more petite than women in the Western world. The women's fashion industry in Korea caters to the broadest possible group of its customers, so in order to understand Korean plus size clothing, you first need to consider the measurements of the average Korean woman. Remember, we’re talking averages here, and while every body shape and size is beautiful, the Korean plus size fashion industry designs for an average in order to target the widest group of consumers.

plus size korean

Free Size Clothing

This brings us to the concept of "free size" clothing, which is typical in Korea. Free size is another way of saying "one size fits all" and is often the only actual size you'll find in many fashion boutiques in Korea. Plus size Korean fashion targets anyone who doesn't fit into this one-size model. Free size clothing is based on the measurements of the average Korean woman, generally weighing approximately 125 pounds and about 5 ft 3.5 inches. Plus size Asian fashion caters to everyone outside of this range.

The US CDC reports that the average American woman weighs around 170 pounds and is an average of 5 ft 7 inches. With these measurements alone, you can see the disparities in sizing are due largely to simple differences in the two populations' average women's size charts. Asian plus size clothing would therefore target anyone who isn't considered petite by US sizing standards.

Korean Plus Size Chart

In terms of size charts, plus size Korean fashion starts around a US size 8, because the average free size garment in Korea is equivalent to a US size 4 or 6. This means a large majority of Western women will need to opt for plus size Korean style clothing just to find garments that correspond to their own regular sizes back home. 

Does Korean Clothing Run Small?

Given the average measurements of Korean women, for the average Western woman, Korean clothing sizes absolutely tend to run small. A woman who wears petite-sized clothing in the US would likely be able to fit into the Korean free size clothing model, while a large majority of women would have difficulty. 

Remember, sizes don't only consider weight and height. When fitting into clothing, it's important to think about differences in body shape and type. Therefore, broad shoulders, long legs and arms, or a large bust can all pose a challenge to fitting into Korean fashion. Luckily, there are a lot of options for Korean plus size clothing online.

plus size korean

Where to Buy Plus Size Korean Clothing

If you're shopping in Korea, you can find boutiques designed specifically for anyone who doesn't fit into the free size clothing model. However, this can be challenging because as a rule, Korean boutiques cater to the local market, which is generally targeted towards the free size range. 

In Korea, you'll likely have the best luck if you try international department stores, which usually carry larger sizes but cater to local styles. If you want a Korean brand, try shopping at Romi Story, which also has an extensive online selection. This store caters specifically to what is considered plus size in Korean women's fashion. 

You can find a lot of plus size Korean fashion just by doing a simple internet search. As the body positivity movement becomes more active in Korea as well, the selection and choices for sizes that extend beyond free size clothing are growing and catering to a wider market, especially online. 

Scout Korean Fashion Trends at Lychee the Label

The first thing to do before you embark on your shopping trip for Korean plus size clothing is to hunt for the latest trends in Korean women's fashion. Browse all the collections at Lychee the Label, including Asian streetwear and K-Pop fashion, to get ideas on how to style your wardrobe. Then shop the accessories to add all the finishing touches for an unforgettable look today. 

September 03, 2021
Tags: kpop fashion