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Exploring Retro Fashion With SHINee Key's 'Bad Love’

Exploring Retro Fashion With SHINee Key's 'Bad Love’

SHINee’s Key recently released his first Korean mini-album, Bad Love. The title track starts off with powerful 80s synths, and along with the powerful belted chorus, it gives the song a distinctly retro vibe. This retro vibe is only elevated by the fashion in the music video, which is unsurprising, as Key’s passion for fashion is no secret. 

While Key has mentioned that Bad Love has been in the making for years, the retro concept of the song and the styling is definitely very current and trendy. In this article, we take a look at the different looks he pulls off in his music video, how you can put together your own ‘Bad Love’ inspired outfits, as well as some tips to pulling off retro fashion.

Look 1: Satin button-up

Key satin button-up outfit

The music video starts off with Key in this satin button-up top, with a tie wrapped loosely around his collar. Button-ups made of smooth material such as silk or satin are not just retro, but also give a luxurious vibe. And while ties are normally associated with formal wear, wearing it loosely gives it a more casual vibe, while still retaining the overall high class aesthetic.

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It takes confidence to pull off a loose tie look, and if you’re not sure if you’re up for the challenge, a good alternative is button-up shirts that are designed to look like you are wearing a tie.

 

Look 2: All-red ensemble

Key red monochrome outfit

Loungewear is coming back in trend, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sweatpants trend is not new. Athleisure outfits such as tracksuits started to gain popularity in the 80s, during an era where aerobics and home workouts were popular, and are now making a comeback in the fashion scene. Another key aspect of 80s fashion is bold colours, and Key embodies that with this all-red sweatshirt and sweatpants combination.

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Even if  bold colours are not your thing, you can still rock the loungewear aesthetic. However, adding a bit of bold colour to your outfit by using accessories (such as your bag, or your shoes) can make your outfit eye-catching without being too overwhelming.

 

 

 

Look 3: Corduroy cowboy

Key tie dye corduroy outfit

Key combines two retro fashion trends with this outfit, tie dye and corduroy. Both of these trends were associated with the hippy subculture in the 1970s, and were considered symbols of free living and anti-establishment. Key is decked out in tie dye patterned corduroy from head to toe, and completes the outfit with a pair of cowboy boots. Despite all of the components of the outfit being retro, Key creates a timeless look by combining 1980s trends with the Wild West, an even older aesthetic.

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Take a page out of Key’s book and dress head to toe in the tie dye pattern. The light blue of the tie dye shirt and the navy of the tie dye skirt makes for a great monochrome outfit as well.

 

 

Look 4: Sailor collar

Key sailor collar outfit

Despite looking fairly simple and minimalistic, this particular outfit makes use of layers to keep it from looking too flat or boring. Key wears a black turtleneck as a base layer, with a blazer on top. 

Key sailor collar outfit 2

The key point of the blazer is its sailor collar, which adds a retro vibe to the outfit. While sailor collars were originally part of a uniform worn by seamen in the navy, the collars had been adopted into mainstream fashion by the late 1800s.

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It’s hard to go wrong with a classic black turtleneck, and since it might be difficult to find a sailor collar being sold on its own, a simple alternative to putting together a similar look is by layering a top that already has a sailor collar over the black turtleneck.

 

 

Key also adds even more depth to the outfit by layering necklaces over his turtleneck. If you’re new to layering jewellery, you can look for necklaces that are designed to look like they have already been layered.

 

Look 5: Glitzy suit

Key shiny suit outfit

A suit on its own would not be considered retro fashion, but Key’s suit isn’t like any other suit. He wears Lementque’s Wine Bling suit, and the name is fitting. Made of shiny (or should we say… SHINee?) material, the suit definitely shines, not only making it stand out, but also giving it a distinctly retro vibe. It’s almost reminiscent of Britney Spears’ iconic red jumpsuit outfit, and Key pulls it off with confidence. 

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While shiny suits are not very practical for everyday wear, what we can learn from this particular Key outfit is that sometimes it is not the design itself that matters, but the material. Vinyl might not be the most comfortable material either, and since Korean fashion values the comfort of clothing items, try replacing it with velvet instead. Velvet also has an eye-catching and luxurious feel (even without the shine), and feels great to touch!

 

 

Look 6: Retro sci-fi

Key retro futuristic outfit

Retro sci-fi may seem like an oxymoron, but it makes sense if you consider how the sci-fi aesthetic has evolved over the years. Sleek minimalism is a key aspect of today’s sci-fi aesthetic, but back before the digital age, when computers were still a fairly new concept, sci-fi had a much different look. Computers was a core aesthetic of retro sci-fi, and the patterns on the Gentle Monster B.B.A 02 glasses he’s wearing are definitely reminiscent of a computer circuit board.

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Other than computers, time travel and cyberpunk were also core aspects of the retro sci-fi aesthetic. For a more subtle retro sci-fi inspired outfit, it’s all about the small details. Not only is the time travel logo on the CPGN Studio short pants very fitting, the shorts are also made of corduroy, making it the perfect piece for your retro sci-fi outfit.

 

The bright colours and variety of materials used in AKIII’s Classic Volt sneakers makes the design look futuristic, even though chunky shoes are regarded as retro fashion. This contrast makes the sneakers perfect for a retro sci-fi look as well.

 

Look 7: Boyfriend vibes

Key boyfriend vibes outfit

Knitwear has been around for centuries, but knit pullovers and sweaters started to gain popularity in mainstream fashion around the 1920s. At that time, knitwear was even incorporated into designs by high fashion brands such as Chanel. Not only is knitwear comfortable, because of the association with home knitting, knitwear also has a softer and more intimate vibe. Even though Key is wearing a dress shirt and a tie, by layering a knit sweater over it, he softens the look considerably, and gives off major boyfriend vibes.

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While most knitwear has a cosy vibe, cable knitting is arguably the cosiest style of knitting, and also one of the most well-known styles. Key’s cable knit sweater has a cutout at his chest, and this can definitely be achieved with a regular cable knit sweater and some DIY, but if you’re not confident enough to cut up your clothes, opt for a V-neck cable knit design instead.

 

What is retro fashion?

As shown by Key, retro fashion doesn’t refer to clothes and styles from any one particular era. While his outfits are inspired by past fashion trends (many of which are back in trend once more), he is not limited to a single time frame, mixing trends from the 80s, 70s, 20s, and even the 1800s.

While Key obviously seems to believe that more is more, retro fashion does not require you to dress in retro trends from head to toe. Incorporating one or two trends from the past can be considered retro fashion, or even newtro fashion, which is a retro-inspired aesthetic that has grown in popularity in recent years. 

Shop for the perfect blast to the past retro fashion outfit at StyleupK today, worldwide delivery available! Free shipping to Singapore and the US if you spend a minimum of SGD100 or USD190 respectively.

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