Contrary to popular belief, leading ladies don’t always have to be sweet, bubbly, and soft-spoken. We’re all for unorthodoxed female leads who don’t feel the need to conform to the society’s outdated standards when it comes to how women should be. All sharp-witted, empowered, and not to mention super fashionable, these K-drama leading ladies—armed with snappy comebacks and impeccable outfits—are naturally born to stand out.
Below, we list down our favorite K-drama heroines with a statement-making sense of style that complements their unapologetically fierce personalities.
1. Ko Mun-yeong in “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”
Seo Ye Ji’s character in It's Okay to Not Be Okay, a popular children's book author who specializes in dark fairytales, is described to be “extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude” with antisocial personality disorder. Having suffered from a traumatic childhood, she looks cold from the outside but actually yearns for love and healing. She expresses herself through bold sartorial choices that are anything but boring! Think statement sleeves, power shoulders, and fancy LBDs.
2. Jang Man-wol in “Hotel del Luna”
Cold, ill-tempered, and materialistic, IU’s character in Hotel del Luna might seem like the perfect CEO for a cursed hotel that caters to the dead. But there’s more to Jang Man-wol than her designer outfits—each episode is a sartorial treat, btw!—as she comes to terms with her past and finally lets go of the centuries-old grudges that have been holding her back.
3. Yoon Se-ri in “Crash Landing on You”
Son Ye Jin’s now-iconic role as Yoon Se-ri in CLOY had a tough upbringing as she constantly felt like an outsider within her own family. It was inevitable for the heiress to develop a hard-shelled persona in order to protect herself, so it was heartwarming to watch her slowly take down her walls and let Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) in to her life. But whether she’s in North or South Korea, one thing remained the same: She has never failed to bring her A-game when it comes to dressing up.
4. Seo Dan in “Crash Landing on You”
Seo Dan (Seo Ji Hye) is another CLOY heiress we can't help but fall in love with—especially with her signature barettes and fashion-forward ensembles. She puts on a tough act with her mean comments and very guarded persona, but she's soft-hearted and is not prejudiced when it comes to love. Until the very end, she embodied a cool and confident woman!
5. Weol-ju in “Mystic Pop-up Bar”
In order to atone for her past crimes, Weol-ju (Hwang Jung Eum) is tasked to help 10,000 humans with their grudges—and she’s doing so in the most fashionable way possible! She puts her own signature flair to the traditional Korean hanbok, and it’s always fun to see the looks she comes up with in every episode (in spite of her biting comments while she reluctantly works on fulfilling her quota).
6. Jo Yi-seo in “Itaewon Class”
Kim Da Mi's role in Itaewon Class is described as a sociopath. She's a genius who doesn't shy away from calling people out, but her blunt words often keep her from making friends. Despite that, she's extremey hardworking and devoted. Befitting her badass personality, Jo Yi-seo's style is also distinctly edgy and cool.
7. Kang Sa-ra in “Beauty Inside”
Lee Da Hee’s stylish outfits in Beauty Inside are a visual treat! While she may come off as bratty and entitled, it stems from her awkward relationship with her family as she strives to take over his step brother’s position in their company. It’s heartwarming to see her eventually shed her tough exterior and show off her adorable side.
8. Cheon Song-yi in “My Love from the Star”
Lest we forget, Jun Ji Hyun’s iconic role as Cheon Song-yi in My Love from the Star sparked major fashion and beauty trends during the peak of the drama’s popularity, even making products fly off the shelves. Her perpetually fashion-forward looks and designer wardrobe befit her character as a famous Hallyu actress, who—albeit her personality tends to come off as entitled and obnoxious—is refreshingly candid and is not afraid to lose everything for the one she loves.
All the above-mentioned K-drama titles are streaming on Netflix.