Ultra-long down parkas were the king of winter coats here in the past few years, but a warmer winter looks set to bring new styles. According to industry insiders and fashion experts, we will be seeing a lot of fleece jackets and short puffers instead.
Fleece is all the rage
Fleece, shearling, sherpa or pile, whatever they are called, those warm, snuggly jackets that were once ridiculed as “dad fashion” are the hottest item in the local fashion scene right now.
Discovery’s short down jacket for women
Patagonia’s classic Retro-X fleece jacket for women
Phillip Lim’s cropped fleece bomber jacket
At Discovery, a local brand well-known for down parkas, this year’s biggest push is fleece coats, according to Kim Ik-tae of F&F, which owns the brand.
“Fleece items, launched in September, are receiving a very good response and we expect sales to reach 50 billion won ($42.96 million) before the year’s end,” he told reporters at a press event earlier this month.
That is a drastic increase from last year’s 2 billion won in fleece item sales for the entire winter season.
Eider’s long fleece jacket
Eider, a sports apparel brand, has expanded its fleece offerings from nine last year to 25, anticipating a fleece craze this year.
Outside the outdoor gear world, it seems almost every brand -- from kidswear to high fashion -- is offering something fleece-like. The choices come in various styles and colors. Oversized, hooded, mixed print and color-blocks or classic zip-ups, you name it.
What makes this year’s winter coat war more interesting is the Uniqlo factor. The Japanese retail clothing giant is experiencing a sharp decline in sales here due to a boycott. Who will come out as winners in the race to position themselves as Uniqlo alternatives?
Uniqlo has built its reputation around winter outerwear -- fleece hoodies and lightweight padded coats in particular. The brand marks 25 years of its iconic fleece jacket this year.
“I was just looking for something to put on for running errands that is not Uniqlo, and I came across surprisingly abundant stylish options from other brands. Long fleece coats look warm, comfortable and fashionable,” said Hong Yun-hui, 39.
“They are not expensive, compared to down jackets, and are a good investment as a timeless staple,” she said.
Short, lightweight puffer with a retro feel
Although forecast to be fairly mild, winter will be winter and there will surely be some chilly days, which is why a heavy, insulated coat is considered a winter essential.
This year, short, fluffy puffers are back in vogue and they come in every color, size and fabric imaginable. Warmer temperatures in the forecast mean customers don’t need to stick to expensive goose down or high-performance materials.
Retro, the fashion world’s megatrend for years now, plays a big part in the return of short parkas.
North Face’s novelty Nuptse jackets
North Face has rereleased its iconic Nuptse jackets, first introduced in 1992 as high-performance gear for mountain climbers. With its boxy silhouette and bold color-blocking, the jackets were the default winter look for Korean middle and high school students before the era of longer and leaner coats began.
Eider and other outdoor brands are also bringing back their iconic short coat styles, jumping on the retro bandwagon.
“The retro trend is bringing back short padded jackets of the past to the forefront of winter coats this year, and they come with twists -- trendy designs and colors,” an Eider spokesperson said.
Knee-high boots and bite-size bags
If you’re considering buying a new pair of boots for the winter, go for knee-high boots with a slouchy leather or suede body, or solid combat boots, instead of ankle boots.
Zara’s slouchy leather boots
Knee-high boots, typically worn with slim jeans or miniskirts, have never gone out of style, but pairing them with the longer hemlines of a midi skirt or dress is going to be a top look this winter, as shown on runways of major fashion houses, experts say.
For a go-to option, chunky, military-inspired combat boots could be a good purchase, as they are trendy, stylish and super versatile.
When it comes to bags, the choice looks set to be between ultra-mini totes or oversized bags.
By Lee Sun-young (email@example.com)