Julianne and I went to Seoul this past weekend for a friend’s wedding. We also did a short trip to Itaewon, Seoul to get Julianne some new pants and a few tops.
In general, it’s difficult for foreign people living and working in South Korea to find clothing that fits them if they are not thin–and even if you ‘think’ you’re thin, you may want to revisit that definition after seeing the body norms here, lol. In previous years when I was living in Korea, I was much thinner than I am now; it was still extremely hard to go clothing shopping as I have very broad shoulders, and I’m taller than your average Korean.
Foreign women with plus-sized (I hate this term; I prefer ‘voluptuous’) bodies also find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to shop for clothing. Finding tops that can accommodate a bust larger than a b-cup chest is a challenge. Finding pants and skirts that allow for women with curvy hips and bottoms, and thighs that are not very slender, is also hard.
There are a few shops in Itaewon that exclusively cater to plus sized body types. One of them is Okay Big and Tall, or OKBT.
The owner speaks very good English and understands western culture retail clothing service etiquette.
I took a couple panoramic pictures with my phone camera.
There is only one improvement I wish OKBT would implement: better change rooms. Customers have to use the back stockroom that also doubles as a changing area. It is private enough, but has room for upgrading.
There is a small seating area with a couch for customers who visit with friends or significant others. I also like that there is a water cooler too.
The last thing I’ll mention is that they accept cash or debit cards. I’m not sure about credit cards–I’ll have to ask next time we visit.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the shop also has a small selection of underwear and bras. The bra selection, however, is very small and the owner also said that it’s very difficult to bring in stock because bra shopping varies so much individual to individual. If you’re reading this from outside Korea it’s a good idea to bring what you need with you from home.
UPDATE 2: There’s a good discussion here on waygook.org about where to find big size clothing shops in Korea.
UPDATE 3: A few more things I found after my initial write-up.
Store Hours -The Facebook page says in a comment “10am to 9pm”–I am waiting to find out more specifics on weekends, especially Sundays.
Monday to Friday: , Saturday: , Sunday:
Phone: See Facebook page NOTE: You must add OKBT as a friend to see more information.
Address: New World plaza, 2F Itaewon – Dong 119-26, Yongsan – Gu, Seoul, Korea (SEE DIRECTIONS at the end of this post)
I’m going to message OKBT on Facebook page and suggest they add a few critical pieces of information . . . for example, there are no directions on how to find them in Itaewon. You can see my directions below.
Directions to OKBT
Go out exit 1 of the Itaewon subway station. With the Hamilton Hotel in front of you, turn left, and walk for about 1-2 minutes. On the other side of the street, watch for Outback Steakhouse. OKBT is almost directly across the street from Outback but a little farther up from the restaurant. It is located on the second floor. Look for a large glass door main entrance to the building and enter through them. Inside the entrance on the right are a set of stairs leading to the second floor.
OKBT does have a Facebook page . . . but it needs a little, uhm, developing.
UPDATE: From the Facebook page “About”: “Hello Ladies! We’re OK BT (Okay Big and tall) in Itaewon, dealing with woman’s plus sizes (L~3XL, 12~26): T-shirts, blouses, Dress (former ones, party ones, casual ones), jackets, tank tops, shorts, jeans, underwear etc. We have new arrivals every week. Come and get some good stuff, you’ll be surprised by so reasonable price!”
I’ll sum up my review of the shop by saying this,
Okay Big and Tall in Itaewon, South Korea is a clothing shop for plus sized women that is foreigner friendly, has English speaking staff, and a good range of fashion styles at reasonable prices.