Historical K-dramas often have it all. Beautiful sets and costumes, amazing actors, story lines with intrigue, suspense, and romance — there is something for everyone! From the most opulent and intricate costumes to the more subtle but still equally beautiful, it’s amazing to see how the costumes and fashion help form and define the characters and give you insight into their place within society. Once you start looking into the world of historical fashion, you will be amazed at how much you learn about history overall. In this article, we explore 10 of the most stunning costumes from 10 of our favorite historical K-dramas:
1) Dong Yi
This historical epic is of a young commoner who rises to become the king’s concubine, giving him the heir to the throne. The photos taken from this historical K-drama series are so beautiful that they look as if they could have been a layout for a high end fashion magazine. The transformation of Dong Yi from a commoner to a royal consort was fun to watch, both for the extravagant and luscious fashion and for the impeccable acting.
Queen Seon Duk is the riveting story of the struggles of an extraordinary woman and how she came to be a famed and beloved queen. Aside from the beautiful scenery, the athletic and impressive martial arts display, and the superb acting, the costumes are so rich in detail and intricate that they will make you want to go out and buy a high definition TV just so you won’t miss a single detail!
3) Gye Baek
This series is a story about the life of General Gyebaek of Baekje in the mid 7th century. Suspenseful and thrilling are two words that perfectly describe this historical drama. You get power struggles between royals and nobles that have you sitting on the edge of your seat during each episode. All the actors played their parts exceptionally well, breathing life into the characters. Add to that the dazzling costumes and elaborate hairstyles, and you end up with a series that has you always wanting more.
Jumong is the tale of a hero who is born into a troubled and fragmented country rising to become a prince who will unite the land. It was the highest rated Korean drama the year it came out and continues to be a fan favorite today. More often than not, historical dramas have me drooling over the costumes and hairstyles of the leading female characters. Jumong, on the other hand, showed us some exceptionally beautiful mens’ costumes in the incredibly elaborate battle wear.
The Princess’s Man is an epic Romeo and Juliet style historical romance featuring amazing cinematography and more beautiful scenery than you can fathom. Absolutely everything about this show is gorgeous and romantic. The colors of the costumes always pop, highlighting Moon Chae Won’s beauty in a way that seems otherworldly. This is a historical drama that you’ll want to watch over and over again.
Set in the Joseon dynasty, two brothers find themselves falling in love with a female shaman who does not remember her noble past. This is a historical drama that you will love even if you’re really not into Korean historical dramas. It has such fabulous acting and such a great storyline that every one who watches it falls in love with it. The costumes are rich and intriguing, showcasing the wealth and power of royalty. You can’t help but imagine how heavy these costumes must have felt, not only literally but also figuratively in the burden of a kingdom’s fate being on your shoulders.
Hwajung is about a princess who, after being exiled from court, takes it upon herself to get revenge and restore order in the kingdom. The show has a cast that’s a costume drama dream team. I imagine the costume designers were ecstatic to be able to work with these amazing and talented actors whose beauty would shine through costumes rather than being upstaged by them.
The Scholar Who Walks The Night is a drama about a girl whose family falls from grace and into poverty. Being both resilient and resourceful, she disguises herself as a man who sells books and unexpectedly falls for a vampire. I love the moodiness of the set and costumes as well as the cinematography in this series. Even the brightest of colors seem to be muted, taking on a darker and more sinister tone that fits with the theme of this show. The costumes are somehow historically accurate and beautiful and yet modern at the same time.
9). The Iron Empress
If you’re looking for an epic drama that will sweep you off your feet, look no farther than The Iron Empress,about a warrior queen who is willing to give up love and family for the good of her empire. The costumes and sets in the K-drama are so opulent and dramatic they’re a treat to watch.
10). Shine or Go Crazy
This is another romantic historical drama that will have you laughing and crying along with it. Shine or Go Crazy is about a prince and princess with equally cursed fates who fall in love while escaping from their families. All the costumes in this drama were incredibly rich and vibrant. I found myself wishing that I could pull off all these looks in real life. Sometimes the over-the-top historical costumes (especially for royalty), although fun to look at, are definitely in the realm of “nice to look at but don’t want to wear.” All the clothes in this historical drama should be used as inspiration for a high end fashion line — they really are that gorgeous.