The alternative title for this blog post should be, “My Quest to Find Undies with a Big A$$”, because though I’m a proud member of the itty-bitty-titty club, I definitely got my big birthing hips from my European ancestors. Once again, the typical one-size-fits-all Korean sizing does not fit all.
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My Personal Underwear Style
Everyone has their personal preferences on underwear. For everyday outfits, I tend to lean towards seamless, laser-cut thongs or “cheeky” panties to cover my bottom and to hide any visible panty lines. For tops, I usually go for semi-padded, seamless bras for the same reason. Since we’re inching closer and closer to Summer, I wear a lot of strapless bras with off-the-shoulder dresses.
I’m not at all busty — that I definitely got from Korean mama! — which makes it easier in some sense for me to go bra shopping, however, I am just overall a larger-than-the-average-Korean person, towering at 5’10 ft (176 cm), so my measurements are just bigger.
Back in the States, I did a lot of my lingerie shopping at Victoria’s Secret, Cosabella, Aerie, Wolford, La Perla, Bluebella, Journelle, and Intimissimi. Though some of these sites do ship to South Korea — like Aerie, Bluebella, and Intimissimi — and Wolford and La Perla are available at some department stores in South Korea, I recently wanted to try some local brands instead to save some cash. Calvin Klein Underwear also exists as a physical store in South Korea, however, they don’t carry exactly the same selection as its US counterpart.
Still, there’s something incredibly refreshing and lovely about wearing beautiful lingerie under your everyday outfits. No one will know, but you will know.
Pros and Cons of Buying Korean Underwear
It’s Usually Cheaper, But the Quality Reflects That
It’s expensive to buy from overseas retailers all the time. Sure, I could probably do what I usually do, and buy all my garments online, shipped from overseas, but boy, does that add up — especially with the recent Korean won and US Dollar exchange rate. Plus, you have to account for shipping costs, time, and additional import duties/taxes if your order is above $150 USD.
Although buying underwear locally in Korea is more convenient and less expensive, you may get what you pay for. Most of the clothing and lingerie that you do find here are made at low cost in China, being one of Korea’s (and the world’s) biggest trading partners and manufacturers. Luxury underwear — mostly found at department stores — are still sourced from Europe at a premium cost.
Lingerie Sizing in Korea Can Be Tricky
It’s not the easiest to find clothing in South Korea if you don’t fit the standard Korean mold. I’ve brought this up before in Where to Buy Plus-Sized Clothing in Seoul, Korea 2021. Long story short: Korean clothing fits a very particular body type and size due to being so ethnically homogenous. If you have big boobs or wide hips, even finding underwear provides some challenges.
Cup Sizes are Limited
It will be harder to find anything bigger than a C-cup in South Korea. If you are bigger than a C-cup, I’ve heard that Bra Shop Lora is your best bet. For cup sizes, keep in mind that the cups are a little smaller here for local, Asian brands, e.g. a ‘B’ cup here is closer to a US/European ‘A’ cup.
Many lingerie brands in South Korea at least carry some variation in sizing, but they do generally run smaller than Western brands. The size selection, however, still tends to be limited to a US size 8 equivalent at its biggest.
I’ve also noticed that the panty fit is just a little off due to my body shape. I recently stocked up on an assortment of panties and the waistbands were aggressively tight around my hips but loose in the, uh, crotch area since I’m relatively slim but wide-hipped. This hasn’t happened with underwear I’ve purchased in the U.S. or Europe.
For the wind, if you need to match your measurements to Korean or Japanese sizing, you’ll want to take a measuring tape or string to measure your body in centimeters.
If you compare the two sizing charts below from Aimerfeel, a popular Japanese lingerie brand, and Victoria’s Secret, you can get the idea of the jump in sizing. Korean and Japanese sizing seems to be very similar, if not the same. Typically, most Korean lingerie brands won’t carry anything higher than an LL or XL which would correspond to a Women’s US 8-10 (UK 12-14.)
Even with my measurements on hand, there has been a lot of discrepancies between the size chart and the actual goods received in Korea as some styles have been a full 1-2 sizes smaller than expected.
Lingerie Styles in Korea
Marie Antoinette Cosplay Meets Candy Shop Lolita
This could either be a pro or a con depending on personal preference. The lingerie styles in Asia tend to be more frilly. Think cheap lace and ribbons on your crotch. The lolita, ingénue look is also what is considered sexy in most of East Asia. I’m not going to talk about that today.
I will add, however, that I do love the way some of the padded bras look in Asia, especially for smaller breasts. For example, Aimerfeel’s Chomori Bra, has half padding that pushes up your boobies in a way that makes them look nice and plump!
Granny Panties with Tight Bands
Thongs haven’t quite caught on yet, but they’re slowly seeping into the mainstream stores and women’s closets. You’re more often to see full-coverage panties which leads me to …
The dreaded granny panties! I often hear other expat men joke about Korean women’s ugly granny panties from time to time. I still notice visible panty lines on most women as well which would be a bit more of a faux pas in the United States. There’s definitely more coverage on the derrière, tight waistbands that tend to dig into my not-so-perfect belly fat — creating the seductive muffin-top look — and a higher rise.
Local Stores to Buy Undies in Korea
H&M, Etam, COS, & Other Stories, Calvin Klein, and Oysho are popular Western fashion brands with physical shops that carry lingerie in South Korea but keep in mind that sometimes popular styles and sizes sell out quickly. You can also find underwear at major department stores like Shinsegae or Hyundai, e-commerce sites like Coupang, grocery stores like E-mart, and if you’re in an emergency situation, convenience stores.
Many female expats in South Korea still prefer to buy their underwear overseas from sites that ship here l like Aerie which offers free shipping over 143,000 KRW.
The following suggestions are popular online and offline stores where you can purchase lingerie in South Korea from both international and Korean brands. With the exception of Western brands, all Asian brands are Asian sizing and run much smaller, so check your measurements carefully with their sizing chart.
It’s Calvin Klein. There isn’t quite as big of a selection compared to the U.S. There are also two fits: Asian fit — marked with an AF — and global fit.
The Zam has been really popular lately, and they’ve been on top of their Instagram ads. I recently did a bit of a haul with The Zam, and I had mixed emotions. For the price, it was fine, but the quality felt inconsistent as did the sizing. I ordered around 6 pairs of seamless undies in different styles and 2 bras. The material felt very so-so. I also held two panties in the same “size” next to one another and one was literally half the size of the other. On the other hand, I do generally like their style and the price point is very affordable.
Aimerfeel is a very popular Japanese underwear brand with physical stores all over Korea, Japan, and China. I purchased several items last Winter and became obsessed with one of their seamless Chomori bras to make my itty-bitty titties a little more va-va-voom. Like most Korean clothing stores, I had to take a long hard look at the sizing chart to see where I would fit in.
The thongs were so-so and many of them come in “free size” only. I mistakenly purchased the dreaded granny panties by mistake which is now sitting in the back of my drawer, never to see the light of day, especially after creating this horrifying muffin top shape with my love handles while simultaneously giving me a bit of a diaper look in the back. The other panties were a bit tight on my wide hips, however, I got a little bit of a saggy crotch effect which I think is just generally my body not conforming to Asian sizing charts.
Comfort-focused brand, Vivevive, carries organic cotton underwear and loungewear, including pre and post-partum panties and nursing bras, feeding pads, comfort tights, and pastel-colored bralettes.
Comfort Lab carries an assortment of everyday underwear, including sports bras, trunks, athletic leggings, and even plus-sized undies with bra sizes up to a 110 cm waistband and panties up to a KR XXL.
Bra Shop Lora is another expat and plus-sized favorite as it carries larger cup sizes and many Western brands. They also carry swimsuits for bustier ladies. There are two stores to shop at locally — one in Nonhyeon and another in Hongdae.
Lountess is a great store if you’re looking for sexier options in Korea, however, the sizes are a bit limited.
Nightbella carries a limited selection of underwear with very limited sizing — typically, A/B cups only. The styles are cute and the price is inexpensive.
Comfort-focused, but guilty of the one-size-fits-all dilemma in South Korea as most of their underwear and clothing are free-size.
Inexpensive underwear with frequent 1+1 (buy one, get one free) sales. They do carry some extended sizing in their “Big Size” section with larger waistbands and cup sizes up to an E cup.
Brian Undies carries a lot of imported European products with cup sizes up to F/E-cup. The styles are sexier, and there is a big-size section for bustier ladies and some very scandalous panties up to 105 cm which I’m 100% here for.
This is another typical Korean lingerie shop — filled with inexpensive bralettes and frilly lace designs. Bra sizes are mostly A/B cups with bands up to 85 cm. The panties range from free size to a Korean XL.
The style is a little sexier with a small range of swimwear and loungewear in addition to the bra sets. The largest size seems to be an 85 cm waistband and a C-cup.
You can find branches of 6ixty8ight all over Asia, including Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Surprisingly, the founder is a Swedish entrepreneur based in Hong Kong, Erik Ryd, who also makes lingerie for Rihanna and H&M, according to this Financial Times article, “Lingerie maker for Rihanna and H&M up for sale.” Bra and panty sizing is typical Asian sizing with bands up to 85 cm (bras), cup sizes up to a C/D for some styles, and bottoms up to 100-104 cm.
Oysho comes from the same owners of Zara, Inditex. It’s fast fashion underwear, but the sizing is at least something that expats are familiar with! Some sizes and styles do sell out fairly quickly though in Korea, so if you have your eyes set on something that you like, I wouldn’t wait too long.
I have mixed feelings about the Japanese brand, Uniqlo, and their underwear. It does have a slightly bigger size range than other Asian companies despite being a Japanese company as it sells in the global market, however, it still runs a wee bit smaller and the underwear has never been anything to call home about if you know what I mean. With that said, they do offer a respectable range of basics at a fairly good price point, and their heat tech line gets me through a rough winter.
I have no idea how H&M sizing for underwear changed after the company announced that Korea would switch all their clothing to Asian sizing. It may not be obvious whether it is Western sizing or Asian sizing despite their saying that Western sizing will now be marked with a “T” for “Tall.” Don’t believe their lies. It’s a bit of Russian Roulette, but here’s what I’ve noticed: if the model they use is non-Asian, it’s probably Western sizing. If there’s no model or an Asian model, it’s probably Asian sizing. Godspeed.
Minimalist Japanese brand, Muji, is still my go-to place in Korea for many housewares. Underwear? Not so much. But if you’re looking for no-frill basics, Muji, can definitely tick that box! Just keep in mind that the sizing will run smaller as it is a Japanese brand.
My first thought when I saw this shop was, “Wonderbra is still around? I thought it died with the 90s.” Nope, it’s still here — along with other imported relics like Outback Steakhouse.
The size range is surprisingly fair, considering it’s South Korea. Panties range from 90 to 110 cm, however, the online selection tends to show mostly 90 cm. Bra sizes range from 70A to 85C. There don’t seem to be any thongs, but they do have a bit more of a “sporty” collection as well as wired/wireless bras.
Eblin carries panties from 85 cm to 95 cm and bras from 70A to 85D. They also carry an assortment of loungewear from slips to pajamas. Some of their nighties are giving me cottagecore/granny vibes, but they do have some sexier pieces.
A little pricier than some of the other fast fashion local picks on this list, but I’m assuming the quality is probably better. The bra sizes range from 65B to 95F. If you’re bustier, the cup sizes on this site are way more generous. They also carry shapewear up to a Korean LL. You can also make a reservation for a fitting at their Seoul Yeoksam Branch.
Lingerie Han carries premium and wedding lingerie, including corsets, bras, and panties. Lately, I’ve been eyeing their truly seamless panties (29,000 KRW) which are perfect to wear under tight dresses or gowns. They also have a separate truly plus-sized collection with bras that fit up to a 100E cup and bottoms that fit up to 110 cm.
If you’re looking for some very sexy underwear, this is probably the place. Bunny outfits, full-body mesh stockings, ballerina-inspired bodysuits, schoolgirl uniforms, naughty maids? They got you. Most of the clothing is free-size, however, so keep that in mind.
Mostly men’s boxers, but you also get a mix of women’s underwear under their sub-brand, Likely. Women’s bras look like they only go up to an 85C and panties up to a Korean size L.
Vivien carries both men’s and women’s underwear as well as some loungewear and functional accessories like bra extenders, washing bags, stockings, and even masks. The women’s bras go up to a size 85C and the panties up to 100.
Etam is a French lingerie company that used to have a few locations sprinkled across Seoul, South Korea, but seems like they’re down to just one now in the Coex Mall. Their sizing chart is European sizing, ranging from small to medium (FR 36 to FR 40) in loungewear and bottoms. Bra sizes can extend between 65A to 85F with most styles falling somewhere in between.
Yes Code Underwear has stores all over the country. They carry both men’s and women’s underwear and loungewear. They also have “couple set” promotions if you and a significant other ever want to wear matching underwear. The bra styles for women range from 75A to 85C and the bottoms from 90 to 100.
Once again, I’ve been poking around Instagram looking for new businesses around South Korea as Korean businesses heavily market on Instagram, and I came across Qmomo. I was pleasantly surprised at the size range, from 65B to 90C in bras and 85 (M) to 105 (XXL) and sometimes 110 (XXXL)+ in panties. Though the quality doesn’t look fantastic, there is a large collection of styles and sizes, including sexier pieces.
BARELOU popped up on my Instagram feed the other day, and I sent them a DM to find out where they are based. They responded, “BARELOU is based in Seoul. We offer both local (CJ) and international shipping (DHL). If you place an order [on] our KR website, it will be dispatched within 1-2 days from our warehouse.” They also offer free shipping of over 70,000 KRW. The styles are a lot of dainty lace bralettes and thongs while the sizes range from XS to L.
Freeboo has a lot of free-size homewear like pajama sets and nighties, lingerie sets, and quirky couple sets. The sizing is quite typical of Korean stores and mostly one size only. There are some cosplay or costume lingerie, including stockings and the classic school girl uniform.
Bodyco is a shapewear brand that carries sizes S (KR 44-55) to L (KR 66-88). I was sucked in by one of their ads which showed a woman pulling up their “shaping girdle” over her jiggly tummy and smoothing it out. Their shapewear emphasizes the famous Korean “S-Line” by adding hip pads to create less of a chopstick figure. They also sell silicone nipple covers, dupes of the Hollywood Fashion Secrets Nipple Covers that work REALLY well to cover the nipple in tricky bra/top situations.
Bbongbra carries bra sizes between KR 70-85 and up to a C/D cup. Panty sizes range from 90-100, with most styles somewhere in the middle or free-size. There is also an assortment of nightwear like lace slips or checkered pajamas.
Conella has a few bigger cup styles, with most of their bra sizing ranging from 70A to 85E/F. Their panty sizing range from 90 to 100 with most styles falling into free sizing (one-size-fits-all).
Period Panties in Korea
Period panties have been gaining popularity here locally, so there are a few Korean brands to try. I have heard some complaints, however, of not providing as much front coverage. Overseas brands like Modibodi and Shethinx also ships to South Korea.
Cyclean carries an assortment of sanitary or menstrual panties and accessories in different neutral styles. Sizes range from 85 to 105.
Dansaek carries menstrual underwear, enzyme detergent, bra tops, and junior underwear. Their panties range from a KR XS (85) to KR XL (105).
Pinkdia is an affordable lingerie store in Korea that carries menstrual underwear as well as tops, bras, men’s boxers, and loungewear. The bottoms can range between 85 to 115 and their stretchy bralettes can range from 65AA to 100D. They also carry seamless and functional underwear!