Every once in a while, my friends abroad ask me to send them a box of goodies from Korea. These boxes are part care packages, part tiny boxed Korean trend reports. They’re a combination of things the receiver loves and things I think they should get to know. This month’s trend box is a package for a design and beauty-lover living in California.
Cute socks for every style and occasion
1) These polka dotted socks are cute enough from the front, but turn them over and watch your feet transform into a cartoonish duck. The entire backside of each sock is designed as the body of a duck, with its bill fitting snugly over your heel. Polka dot duck socks 2,500 won/pair at Artbox.
2) Spring forward with these pastel-colored ankle socks from Emart. They’re just as cute as designer sets, perhaps even more practical for the coming season, and a steal at just 6,900 won for a set of five.
3) Stripes or solids? Get the best of both worlds with these striped socks that fold down. When you get tired of stripes, you can fold these socks over to get a little solid peeking from above your shoes. Foldover socks 2,500 won/pair at Artbox.
4. Colorful and bold stationery
This season’s pretty papers are surprisingly similar to socks—bold, colorful with alternating polkadots and stripes. Stationery sets (4 sheets + 2 envelopes), 1,200 won; polka dot envelopes, 700 won at Artbox.
5) Dewy, barely-there makeup
Korea’s obsession with the “first love” (첫사랑) look isn’t going anywhere. Achieve your own bright-eyed, dewy-faced (read: young) look by mixing in a pearly primer like Beyond Angel Aqua Moisturizing primer with your regular cover. For a lighter finish, mix the primer in with BB cream before applying. For more coverage, you can also apply a layer of primer on your face before applying BB cream. Care Zone BB Cream from ISA KNOX is specially formulated to battle ongoing blemish and redness issues. Beyond Angel Aqua Moisturizing Primer, 15,000 won at Olive Young; Care Zone BB Cream, 30,000 won at Olive Young.
6) Impeccable Brows
One thing Korean women won’t leave the house without are perfectly shaped and filled eyebrows. Most brow kits are available in two darker and lighter tones, but VOV eyeshadow kit offers three, accommodating more shape and range. Use a stiff short-bristled brush to apply and smooth. VOV Jean Eyeshadow Kit, 8,000 won at Olive Young.
7) High-tech ear pick
This “magic” lit ear pick isn’t for everybody, but the recipient of the box has fond memories of having her ear cleaned out by her mother as a child. This is an upgraded version of the traditional metal or wooden ear pick, complete with a guiding light. Magic light ear pick, 1,900 won at E-Mart.
Expandable grocery bag
In a country where it’s standard to pay an additional 20 to 100 won for a plastic or paper bag for purchases, smart shoppers always have a bag handy. In lieu of bulky canvas bags, more Koreans are carrying these colorful, sturdy and reusable shopping bags made of nylon that can roll up and easily fit into a small purse. Some, like this one pictured above, are more functional than others, featuring an attached clasp and keychain.