Episode 1
Thu May 08 2014

Episode 1


First impressions

When we're being introduced to characters for the first time, the wardrobe that the costume designer has selected will have a huge impact on our first impressions. If we see a character wearing ratty jeans and a t-shirt, then we know right away that they either don't have the money to wear something better or, more astonishingly, that they simply don't care. We can make these assumptions because we know that Korea is a fashion-conscious nation where designer brands and double-eyelid surgery are the norm.
The wardrobe presented in this first episode of A Witch's Romance reveals two middle-class, fashion-focused leads, but also gives us hints about the characters' pasts and resulting self perceptions.


In Korea, it's also particularly important to fit in. If you're out in public wearing a style of clothing that is not suitable for your age or just plain wacky, you will be sure to turn heads and probably not in a good way. So it makes for great comic effect when in the first episode of the Korean drama, A Witch's Romance, the main characters are running around in crazy costumes. Maybe costumes are just a fun way to grab our attention so we'll stick around to be humored by future episodes. Yet, I have to wonder whether it is only for the laughs or whether there is a deeper meaning behind the costumes that were selected... Maybe these costumes are used to symbolize each character's effort to hide their true self.

What are they hiding?

Part-time Santa chases a naughty bike thief posing as a schoolgirl.
In the beginning of this episode Ban Ji-Yeon (Uhm Jung-Hwa) is disguised as a schoolgirl, encouraging us to think of her as youthful and strong. She certainly appears much younger than her 39 years of age (really 38 to us in the United States, since Koreans are already considered 1 year old at birth). And Ji-Yeon really is strong, despite a terribly traumatizing event in her past where she was abandoned right before her wedding day.
Because he is disguised as a Santa, we subconsciously jump to the conclusion that Yoon Dong-Ha (Park Seo-Joon) is a really good guy. Maybe we even see him as older and wiser than we might have otherwise. In fact, we'll come to find that he is an incessant do-gooder who, if given the chance, would litter the world with presents every day of the year instead of just one measly winter day. He is only 25 years old, almost 15 years younger than Ji-Yeon.
In reality, both of these characters are hiding something - a fear or a regret - that has influenced their lives. This regret forces them to put on a different face for the world, as a method of compensation or self preservation.

The antagonist wears his own disguise.

When you want to appear like a successful politician, the only costume you need is a suit and a smile. With it, Kim Jung-Do (Jeon No-Min) has been able to garner the support of a wife, a mistress, and almost an entire nation.
Happy family 1. Happy family 2.
Jung-Do is definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing and it's a costume that he isn't likely to shed for as long as he remains in the public eye. Hoping to run for the presidency soon, he wears a tailored suit whether appearing at his mistress's school or at a press conference with his wife.

Playing with color

Studies show that color has an important emotional effect on us. Though we may not realize it, when we see someone wearing red or white or black it will affect our opinion of them and our reaction to them in the moment.

His black jacket suggests a dark and mysterious past.

Normally a color reserved for the bad boy, this extraordinarily kind and generous lead wears a black designer jacket by T.I For Men. Let's hope he wears this one again so that he gets his full money's worth.
Except when casually reclining at home, Dong-Ha is constantly wearing black throughout the first episode. This color is typically reserved for the bad boy in a drama so it is strange to find our good-guy male lead wearing black suit here, black suit there. Though it has not yet been revealed, maybe Dong-Ha sees himself as a bad guy and is now trying to attone for some dark deed. Maybe he wears black because there's something dark in his past that he isn't quite able to cover up.

Her white work attire suggests inner purity or an innocent soul.

Though not identical to the one Ji-Yeon wears in this episode you can find a similar jacket here or here.
Every outfit that Ji-Yeon dons in this episode is white. Is it the season? Is it that she looks better in white? Is it to depict her inner purity that is otherwise hidden by her calloused, witch-like exterior?

Additional outfits and accessories

No actor will make it past the costume designer to show up on set with clothes from their own closet. Every outfit will have been carefully selected for a reason. Sometimes the clothes and accessories a character wears are chosen to tell us something about them, other times they are fashionable pieces selected to make us find the actors more attractive, and occasionally they are just blatant examples of product placement to supplement the drama's budget. Following are a few miscellaneous outfits you will have seen in the first episode of A Witch's Romance.

How can I keep warm and still be cool around the house?

Don't turn on the heater. Save more on your energy bills so you can put it toward nice outerwear for when you just feel like lounging around the house.

What should I wear to work if I'm not the star but really should be?

The right suit or necklace can really make you stand out as a supporting actor.

Where can I get that phone?

You know the one. Everyone seems to own it.
It looks like she has the same phone as her friend... Hey, maybe she does too. He's got one! Oh and here it is in another color, just to shake things up a bit.
What is this phone that has swept Korea by storm? Well it looks an awful lot like the Samsung Galaxy Note, maybe the Note II? I'm sure it will pop up again in future episodes. It is not uncommon for there to be a cool, yet subtle demonstration of the best features of the lead's phone so I will be able to report back with more then.

Do I really need more than one pair of shoes?

Ji-Yeon doesn't seem to think so. She wears this same pair of shoes to work and then on to the night club. Only when posing as a schoolgirl should you consider switching it up, but that's probably for height reasons.
These silver shoes by MASMUZ look elegant on Ji-Yeon, especially pair with a maroon coat like this one by O.SA or this one by Tokyo Fashion.
When at the lounge after work, Ji-Yeon carries a yellow bag by rouge & lounge. That watch can't be this one for $8.99, can it? Regardless, that is a very lovely watch. Here is the flowery backpack she wears as Ji-Yeon is working undercover as a schoolgirl.

What should I wear if I am a rich womanizing supporting actor?

It is surprisingly difficult to find orange jackets around. I will blame the season. Looking at the lapels, I suppose it isn't this Gucci jacket. But his scarf is very similar to this scarf by Purplow. The style of this watch is distinctive, but I haven't been able to find it yet. Let me know if you recognize it!
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