Well, is he? He should be!! In Korea, this is the person that makes you feel less like a ‘fat-foreigner’ and more like your usual self aka NOT wearing ill-fitting, tearing-at-the-seams, ‘bought-it-because-it-was-cheap-and-has-sleeves’ clothes.
Let’s face it, shopping here is hard. The size charts are completely different; most shops accommodate a different set of body shapes, and a lot of the clothes we can’t even try on! As a self-confessed shop-o-holic, I found a way around the system. Yep, as a foreign girl, it’s actually possible to buy cute, comfortable, WEARABLE clothes in Korea.
How does the dry-cleaner come into the mix? Well, your local dry-cleaner is also an expert tailor! That’s right, they can alter clothes to fit YOUR body. Not only that, they will do it very quickly (usually in 2 or 3 days) and very cheaply (seriously, between 2,000w-5000w to hem your pants. Prices may vary from store to store).
Let me show you what I mean. The ever prepared Ashley came to Korea equipped appropriately for the chilly Chuncheon winter. As a Canadian, she new to bring layers, heat trapping fabrics like polyester, and lots of long sleeves and pants to protect her appendages. Unfortunately, Dynamic Korea’s sweltering summer was just around the corner. Ashley needed a lot (a whole wardrobe actually) of new, appropriate clothes and she needed them pronto! So, we trundled off to the underground mall to ‘get our bargain on’.
Parameters: Sleeves, skirt or dress (preferable longer so it can be worn at work easily ie – no 18+ shows when you pick up the chalk), breathable materials.
Fit: Accentuate the waist, conceal the bottom half (if you’ve ever muttered ‘does my bum look big in this?’, I’m sure you can relate).
This is what we came up with:
Is this not one of the cutest work appropriate outfits ever?!
Ashley is wearing a tank from the new shop in Myeongdong’s pedestrian street (closest to the crosswalk by Dunkin Donuts with the racks out front). The belt, white button shirt, and skirt are from the underground mall. Total: under 35,000w
Dry cleaner magic: The skirt and white shirt were ‘F size’ (free size NOT fat size though sometimes I beg to differ) and weren’t at all flattering BUT the materials breath so well and there was enough of it to tailor: obvious choice. Skirt: According to fashion super-hero Tim Gunn, the skirt should end just above or below the knee. This skirt was really long and inconsistent with the length of the lining so our magic-maker bought it up to Gunn standard for us. Shirt: Ashley has quite a cute waist and it would have been a shame to lose it under this loose but super-cool, summer-button-up (note-to-self: acquire immediately. Awesome beach cover up!). To make the most of this shirt, we had dry cleaner Dan bring up the hem about 3 inches (he even followed the curve of the original hem). In the name of summer and all things cute, we threw a bright belt around her waist, accentuated her figure, and kept her shoulders covered (a MUST in this conservative county).
Here is a list of handy things your dry cleaner can do to your clothes to improve their integrity and keep them up to date:
-Re-sew dodgy hems/seams. This is where most of the quality is lost with cheaper clothes.
-Resize your pant legs so they are at an appropriate length.
-Bring the waist in! My biggest trouble is finding pants with an ok length, snug fit around my bum but the waist of a pregnant, fat-man’s beer gut.
-Completely re-do your jeans. If you bring in an old pair of jeans that fits well, he will be able to pull them apart and use them as a template for a pair you need altered.
-General maintenance ie sewing on buttons, fixing zips, mending holes (in most cases).
-Funnily enough, they even dry clean!! And iron, and they’ll let you use their dryer if you really need it …
p.s.- I ❤ u Korean dry cleaner man