Standing in the VIP line at my favorite K-pop group’s concert, I amused myself by studying the outfits everyone around me was wearing. The girls standing in line in front of me wore open-backed dresses, with their black hair falling into elegant ripples. Someone beside me had leather pants and a bandanna, mimicking an outfit from the band’s latest music video. The new album was fantasy themed, with a fairy-like Neverland aesthetic. Many people around me wore faux leaves and flowers to match the concept. Others wore emo-style outfits inspired by past albums, while others wore cowboy hats or different fandom references. For many reasons, the fashion at a K-pop concert is truly on another level.
Because of the expressive nature of music, a concert is a wonderful opportunity to express yourself in many new ways, including fashion. As someone who's shy and nervous around strangers, I like to wear bright colors and outfits that make me feel like myself. Even if I'm too shy to speak to someone, they can still see that I'm bright and cheerful. Fashion allows me to feel understood. Music also makes people feel understood in a different way: the satisfaction when you hear lyrics that describe your exact feelings better than you ever could, when the soft strum of guitar comforts you like, nothing else can. Feeling understood in this way brings someone out of their shell. Combining these two things together makes an incredible impact! Dressing up for a concert to hear your favorite music is a freeing experience. All bets are off; you can express yourself without worry and connect with others in this way.
At K-pop concerts, the general consensus is the more extravagant, the better. There are no limits. Because of the amount of self-expression with music and fashion and the comfort and understanding one can receive from these things, the right concert outfit makes someone feel amazing. Wearing platform shoes, cute skirts, corsets, dangly earrings, and chains in places where they aren't necessary is powerful. It may sound crazy to someone who's never been there or doesn't like getting dressed up, but the feeling is undeniable. A concert also gives you a free pass to be unique. I can stand in line wearing something only I would that makes me feel special.
There are no rules about what style to wear to a concert, but there are three main categories. Some people imitate outfits with a new twist or wear accessories inspired by a certain album or song if not a specific outfit. This fun way to dress up allows you to take something you already love and make it your own. Others put together outfits based on fandom jokes. The number of people dressed up as fruit for one concert I went to was hilarious. This is a fun way to go because you can wear something silly, and you're going to be around people who actually understand the joke. The third group wears the nicest outfit they can find– maybe a kawaii dress that would be too much to wear daily or earrings they can't take anywhere else. It doesn't always need a theme as long as it's pretty and makes you feel good. The diversity of fashion at a concert is amazing. Where else would you find someone in a dog suit standing beside the prom queen, behind a cowboy?
Fashion and music both have a unique ability to make someone feel heard. Many people will step out of their comfort zone and be whoever they've always wanted to be at a concert. The self-expression at a concert is limitless, resulting in a fantastic feeling of confidence. Whether dressing up like your bias, wearing a creative joke costume, or just putting on your best outfit, there's nothing quite like the fashion at a K-pop concert.