Myeongdong – Shopping, fur trends and skinship groping Ajuuma

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Before this trip started, whenever I chat about South Korea with the girls everyone would say Seoul has some of the best shopping experiences for fashion that was affordable and stylish. After my experience, I would even argue that the fashion you would find in Seoul would definitely suit the style tastes of Sydney. Especially the winter trends. Bulky coats paired with blouses and leggings even when it’s sub-zero degrees of cold painful winter wind, Seoul’s winter fashion combines that causal element with sleek and polish.

So to get our first taste of what South Korea A/W 2012 fashion had to offer on our first day we went to Myeongdong, definitely one of THE go-to-place to shop in Seoul for the young stylish crowd.

Day vs Night

Comparing my first day shopping bags with Talyssa’s haul, I was definitely spending more money on cosmetic and beauty products than clothing. Oops~

But the one thing I wanted the most during this shopping trip was a fur item like a vest or collar. Mainly after seeing this picture of Okarie for Ank Rouge.
Okarie modelling clothes for her brand Ank Rouge (images from tumblr).

Ain’t the outfit kyute?? The fur collar definitely gives the outfit an interesting texture and lucky for me, Myeondong had a lot of fur shops selling solely fur pieces. I knew fur was a big trend for Japan’s winter season but for some reason I didn’t find a lot (if not any) young Seoulites wearing it… but all the older ladies! Omai!

Speaking of older ladies and fur, while we were shopping in one of the many side streets, we came across this store that had a lot of fur clothes.  There were two sales people but the person I took notice of was the ajuuma who was very err “enthusiastic” to show me the fur collars that I was looking at, telling me to try it on and helping me… by shoving the ends into my top in very close contact with my chest. I don’t know if Talyssa was laughing her ass off at this point but all I could think of was “…did she just touch my boobs??” But rather than knuckling down to the hard sale, I was pretty solid in my mind that if it didn’t look good, I won’t buy it. So, after 5 minutes of close contact shoulder hugging while bumping into my conversations with Talyssa all buddy-buddy style, I decided to leave the store feeling a bit uncomfortable, at which the lady scoffed and went back to her counter. I felt quiet proud of myself, especially after Talyssa told me she was giving the other salesman a look of “I’m gonna make these girls buy something.” The store wasn’t cheap as well! Around $100 – $300 since she said it was either made from real fox or rabbit fur. Bonus: Pride went up 10 points.

But, but, butttt!! Just like to say, not every shopping experiences are like this in Seoul. These are just “skinship” tactics sales people use to make you come into their store which we don’t see in Western consumer culture. Actually, I had a friend who also went to Seoul during the same time and she took a photo of a salesman at the balcony of a store with a fishing rod with a present at the end of the line to get customers to come in during Christmas. Haha such a cute idea!

What gorgeous stores! Make up heaven: Etude House, Holika Holika, TheFaceShop and Tony Moly (right next door to Burger King hehe). Myeongdong was a great starting place since it mixes the big name stores like F21, Zara and Uniqlo with a good number of small boutiques and cart stores. But what I noticed was the cool concept stores. Especially the beauty and makeup brands who definitely had the best exteriors.

Sydney, why you no give free samples yo?! Best thing about shopping in Korea is the free samples for just entering the store! No guilt over not buying anything. Just enjoy your free sample of the latest beauty cream, facial mask or just some makeup pads for visiting their store. Of course, actually buying something in the store means better and more samples added to your bag but you’ll still get something good with the at-the-door kinds. Talyssa and I regretted not trying some of these new samples before we got back home since some of them were really good. Gah, noted for next time.

Example of outdoor cart stores selling everything from clothing to food.
Though it’s easy to be tempted by the street level stores don’t forget to look up!

 We found some really good restaurants and cafes on the upper levels of buildings while the bottom ground was reserved for more obvious stores like Starbucks. But not just in Myeongdong, a lot of the cute cafes we enjoyed and the yummy dinners we had on our trip have been from places on the upper levels in buildings. And, because we loved these places so much we’re gonna post up a entry just for eating shortly so keep an eye out!

Ohhh look at all those banchan!
My sweet tooth was also satisfied :)
Talyssa’s shopping Day 1. I think she did pretty well :)

Compared to other shopping districts, because of it’s popularity with tourists Myeongdong is certainly a bit more expensive than the others. For example…

My $10 strawberries!

Yes, $10 strawberries. So sweet, so good!! Little did I realize they are around $4 at local grocery stores… sigh the things I do for nomnoms.

Ok enough from me, so…

How can you get to Myeongdong?

Myeongdong Station is on Subway Line 4, Exit 7.

Map

Tips:

  • Favorite shopping places are Migliore, Etude House and SSFW. Many of the small shops without the big name labels attached to them are great for some discount buys.
  • Myeongdong can be quite confusing with it’s many side streets, so following the map will help a lot for first timers. At the end of the long street you can also find Lotte Young Plaza and Lotte Department Store which are more expensive with some international brands like the Make Up Forever counter as well as designs and prices that you would expect from a department store.
  • Make sure you look around before deciding on buying something. Myeongdong, besides being more expensive, like Dongdaemun also has more than one store selling the same product and sometimes cheaper.
Until the next post, have a rad one! :)

 

1 Comment

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