Of Korean Dramas and Chemistry

I have a weakness for Korean Dramas. They are my numero uno comfort food, especially when I’ve had a long day and need some serious unwinding. I can offer many rational excuses for my drama-watching obsession and my favourite tale is that Korean Fashion is soooo “on trend” these days and as a fashion entrepreneur, it’s perfectly logical that I stay “in-the-know” - watching K-Dramas is part of my due-diligence for fashion market research. Many of our customers also enjoy K-Dramas, in fact, Hallyu fever is rather difficult to ignore, given the super cute idol groups, catchy tunes and of course addictive drama story-lines.

I am partial to mysteries, thrillers and romantic comedies. Life as a business owner is hectic enough, I am not inclined to horror stories or melodramas where someone has to die tragically and someone else is groomed for revenge, too stressful for my liking. Give me happy ever afters any day!

Perhaps what makes a drama watchable, weighs heavily on an interesting storyline and the chemistry between the actors, particularly the lead actors. Proof in point, I recently watched a few episodes of a K-Drama, which featured 2 very capable actors, in a cool enough gangster-doctor-saves-rich-heiress plot, but somehow because of the lack of chemistry between the leads, the story failed to captivate, and fell short of its potential.

Enough of me being the armchair critic, the point in my rather lengthy introduction is that what is true for dramas, is true for style too. Chemistry is a vital ingredient to one’s personal style. Simply throwing 2 top stars together and giving the pair lots of airtime, doesn’t guarantee believable chemistry or good ratings.

The truth is that chemistry (both the screen and the style versions) cannot be manufactured, and sometimes the harder we try, the more contrived the whole outfit becomes and the whole effortlessly chic vibe just got thrown out the window!  How many times have we tried something on and decided almost immediately that “its not me”? The colour may be ok, the size may fit ok, the style is current, but somehow, we don’t feel comfortable or we don’t like the way the outfit makes us look. When it comes to personal style, it’s way wiser to listen to your gut than your fashion magazines.

On the other hand, have you ever gone shopping, picked something random to try, but the moment you wore it and looked at your reflection, you feel like a million dollars, and you know you “own” the look? It’s not impulse buying, its chemistry! Whether it’s the colour, or the print or the cut, it didn’t really matter because somehow, you felt a connection, something “clicked” within you and usually you know you look fabulously awesome in it!

Actually a very simple guideline applies to style chemistry - wear what you love, love what you wear, because chemistry (or the lack of it) shows. As different as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana were, they were all style icons in their respective eras because they only wore their kind of outfits. Some may say that Mademmoiselle Gabrielle Chanel who was always wearing her uniform tweed jackets and cardigans was boringly predictable, but she carried the look well, and it became known as her signature style and decades later, the House of Chanel stands as a testament to her authentic style.

Perhaps, the first step towards honing our personal style chemistry starts with self-awareness. I would venture further to say that beyond self-awareness, self-acceptance brings a new level of personal liberation. Knowing who we are, warts and all, and fully accepting all that we are, frees us to dress for ourselves, and that’s when our style mojo really shines through.

One of the things I remember in high school doing experiments in the chemistry laboratory was watching out for chemical reactions when we were mixing substances together. Sometimes, a precipice would materialise, sometimes there will be a “pop” sound (test for hydrogen – so proud I still remember ;)), sometimes a brand new solution in a completely different colour emerges. I may not remember the “whys” and the “hows” today, but I remember the sense of wonder, the joy of discovery, the quickening of my own heartbeat and perhaps that’s the most lasting reaction of all.

The same is true as we explore with our own personal style chemistry. We may not always get it right, but oh the joy when we do. Those chemical reactions of sight, sound, change and heart still happen today! Go ahead, make some noise with your outfits this week, and I hope you enjoy creating some chemical reactions of your own!

Have an awesome week, everybody – with grace, gladness and style!