Two Gong Yoo Dramas, Two Jarringly Different Costume Designs: Part 1


I watch Korean dramas mostly for their costumes and interior designs. Most of the time, I like what actors are wearing.

But there are two shows, both starring Gong Yoo, where the costumes differ significantly: Coffee Prince and Dokkaebi (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God).

In all fairness, these dramas are ten years apart: Coffee Prince came out in 2007 and Dokkaebi was completed in 2017. So maybe those questionable outfits that we see in Coffee Prince were the trend in 2007?

1. Coffee Prince

Coffee Prince is a heart-warming love story. It’s funny, believable, and has some great characters. But I wish it was just as great in terms of actor outfits.

Let’s start with some good ones.

I like the Coffee Prince employee uniform.

Lovers wearing matching clothes – Check!

Nice muted colors. I like most vest-based outfits in this drama.

Another vest – Check! And I love the color of the shirt. It seems dark grey, but it’s actually a complex muted color with deep purple mixed into it.

I like almost everything that Yoo Joon wears on this show.

Did I say that I like almost everything Yoo Joon wears? Love her shoes here. (Never mind the guy’s outfit. I don’t know why it had to be so bland.)

Another pair of matching outfits – Check!

Sometimes, it’s better to keep it simple. Love the color!

Now let’s talk about polo neck shirts in this drama. There are so many of them in Coffee Prince, I lost count. Maybe it’s me, but when I see a polo shirt, I think, “Walmart employee” or “UPS delivery guy”. It reminds me of uniform clothes. 

Can’t decide if the abundance of polo shirts in Coffee Prince is a definitely a bad thing. Maybe it’s okay. But I can’t say they look great either – sorry! 

A green polo shirt.

I know they tried to make Eu Chan look unglamorous (since she’s a girl who is pretending to be a boy), but weren’t there any other options available besides a polo shirt?

Another Eu Chan polo shirt.

Dad wearing a blue polo shirt.

There was a polo shirt that didn’t work at all, IMO:

I guess slanted, asymmetrical lines were all the rage in 2007. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ While I like the color combination, I’m not a great fan of the cut or the fabric. To make it clear, it just looks bad on Gong Yoo.

At the same time, there were some polo-neck shirt that worked: 

Fake braces – Check! Light, contrast stripes – Check!

This one works, too, because it’s a polo-neck sweater worn on top of a shirt.

I’m not sure about the length, though. But, as far as I remember, that was what it was like back in 2007.

I like this one, too. The color is awesome and it doesn’t look like a typical polo shirt.

Now let’s look at Mom’s and Grandma’s outfits. Sometimes they are nice: 

In this outfit, Grandma looks like Head of the corporation that she is.

Until she no longer does. I think the combination of the cut and the print make the dress look “cheap”.

Here, Grandma’s and Mom’s outfits look passable.

Until they don’t. And these are supposed to be rich, affluent women. That’s why I say that this drama has a problem with costumes.

Now let’s look at what Eu Chan is wearing.

It is tricky to analyze Eu Chan’s outfits, because she is a tomboy who is made to look non-pretty on purpose. So her clothes could be a means to achieving that.
But I’ll show you later that, even when they try to make her look pretty, they don’t always succeed.

This is Eu Chan’s best look in the entire show, IMO.

This one is just – Check!

At the end of the series, Eu Chan is supposed to emerge as a better, made-over version of herself. Not sure that particular outfit conveys that. But then, again, perhaps asymmetry was a trend in 2007? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, the color is the “either hate it or love it” type. Not sure about this one.

Outright failures: 

I don’t know what this wrinkled green monstrosity is. I. just. don’t.

On one occasion they even managed to make Yoo Joon look odd and random. Is this really considered a nice hairstyle?

How about some gypsy-style Gong Yoo? If he were to dance flamenco in this shirt, it would have been okay. 💃

Look closely and you’ll see that this shirt has a lurex sheen to it. It’s totally inappropriate for wearing on a daily basis, especially for a rich guy – it looks “cheap” on him.

I’m sorry, but this one is an absolute anti-winner fo me. They are both guests at a wedding, but, while Gong Yoo’s character is dressed for the occasion, Eu Chan’s look is quite random and inappropriate.

Summary

All in all, many costumes in this drama seem to be in the grey zone. They’re okay, but not spectacular. In my next post, I’ll analyze costume design in Dokkaebi, and you’ll see how different these designs are, although both dramas have the same lead actor. 

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