I’m trying a new thing: a style swap. In a world that is increasingly under stress from the waste we produce daily, my concern for continuing to consume fast fashion is growing. I love fashion, but I also love to live, and I really don’t want to keep obliviously contributing to the problem. Because I’m not oblivious. I am painfully aware that buying cute fast fashion pieces (like this botanical print spaghetti strap dress) is playing a small part in destroying the planet.
It is hard though. The Korean fashion scene thrives on fast fashion. It’s streets are lined with small – albeit mostly independently run – fast fashion boutiques, where the clothes are adorable, but change with the weather and the trends as quickly as they turn. The quality isn’t great as the price is relatively cheap. They’re the most obvious places to shop for tourists, often also the most accessible if you don’t understand much Korean, as well as being in the ‘very affordable’ price bracket.
Basically, it’s hard to break the fast-fashion grip that has it’s stranglehold on the Korean fashion scene. And with the likes of Forever21, H&M, and Zara being some (if not the only) options for those who are considered plus size in Korea, the situation is not an easy one.
I’m considering my options, and though each option has certain limitations, they’re infinitely better than always paying into the hand of the fast fashion machine. So for this new series, I’m trying my hand at a Style Swap.
The concept is pretty simple, sift through your wardrobe and choose a couple of items that you would like to swap with items from your swapee’s wardrobe. It can be individual pieces, full outfits right down to the accessories, things you love but want to breathe new life into, or things that you have no idea how to style. Obviously there are certain parameters to consider – like size and season – but it’s otherwise a really, really easy way to be slightly more sustainable with your wardrobe.
My first swap was with my friend Leigh, or @tackygirls____ over on instagram. We’re a similar size, and we both made up a small collection of 6 or so items to swap. For me, I gave her clothes that I’ve loved to style and transition into cooler weather with, alongside one or two things I don’t wear enough but hoped she could inspire me with her styling choices. For Leigh, she chose things that she wanted a little more inspiration with how to pair and wear. Things I can do! I like to think I’m OK at putting together outfits.
So we have the first item: the summer dress. It’s a peach colour, with a green and white botanical/flower print, a-line skirt and spaghetti straps up top. There’s a tie around the waist to add definition, and overall I think this summer dress is incredibly cute. I want it (or something very similar). It’s a little bit different from the spaghetti strap summer dresses that are trending right now, since those are bodycon, or at least more form fitting. I like it cause it gives more of a retro, slightly 70s aesthetic.
To keep with the 70s vibes I was getting from the dress, I paired it with my new white boots from a Korean brand called Common Unique. I loveeee the look of white ankle boots with mini dresses, they’re so chic.
The boots also tie the Forever 21 cropped lace blouse I layered under this cute little summer dress. Even though Korea is certainly taking some massive steps in widening the parameters of ‘suitable’ in street style (shoulders used to be very taboo), I don’t think I’m quite ready to be that foreigner with a see through top unless I’m hitting a club. Plus, layering these sorts of more ‘risque’ items under something sweet like this dress helps get more wear out of items that may be prone to sitting in your wardrobe.
The frill details on this blouse really add to the sweetness of this outfit. I’m a huge fan of ruffles, puff sleeves, and very feminine accents to add a little whimsy to outfits, especially in the summer. I’m just trying to cling onto my summer fairy dreams.
Let me know what you think of this outfit, your thoughts on style swaps, and trying to be more sustainable in a fast-fashion world. Also, how would you style this dress if you want to!