Girls’ Generation’s 15-Year Long Fashion Legacy

By: Valentina Reni
08/05/2022
en
Thumbnail courtesy of Niamh.

Girls’ Generation, one of the most influential groups to ever grace the K-pop scene, returned to the stage as an eight-member unit on August 5. The group also celebrated their 15th anniversary on the same day, marking them as one of the longest-running K-pop groups to date. Ever since their debut in 2007, Girls’ Generation have been making an impact—both individually and as a group—in the music, film, television, and fashion scenes. Thanks to their undeniable charisma and talent, as well as their unbeatable visuals and concepts, Girls’ Generation continues to be one of South Korea’s representative girl groups. 

To celebrate the longstanding careers and ever-growing fashion legacy of members Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun, EnVi rounded up eight of Girls’ Generation’s most iconic fashion moments so far.

Into The New World

Before the Y2K fashion revival of the 2020s, there was Girls’ Generation leading the original 2000s fashion scene in South Korea. When they debuted, the girls were still fresh-faced and bright-eyed teenagers. Their young and hopeful image matched the message of their debut track, “Into The New World,” and was reflected through their fashion choices, too. The then-nine member group came into the K-pop scene in matching mini skirts and cropped hoodies, while simultaneously dipping their toes into the Sailor Moon aesthetic and the Juicy Couture sweatsuit look associated with the 2000s.

Gee

In 2009, just two years into their career, Girls’ Generation made major strides in the industry. “Gee” was not only their biggest song yet, it was also one of the most popular songs of the year, winning multiple year-end awards and breaking the record for longest song to chart at number one on Music Bank. And it is still one of their most popular songs to date, with new generations of K-pop idols regularly covering it on variety and music shows. In the music video, the girls wear various pairs of bright-colored skinny pants, tying everything together with hats, long necklaces, and bracelets of many colors while fawning over SHINee’s Minho. What stands out most, however, are the neon green and hot pink shorts— colors that are back in vogue today—paired with ankle booties.

Genie

Genie” followed the success of “Gee,” and it certainly did not disappoint. The main point for this era’s styling was legs for days, made obvious by the incredibly short shorts the group members wore. Paired with heels and a uniform top, the group’s entire look was very coordinated. Much of the detailing for this era’s styling was military-inspired, with motifs taken from the Army, Navy, and Air Force uniforms. To top it all off, during their promotions, the group performed on a helipad, which became South Korea’s most watched live performance.

Hoot

Girls’ Generation took a step back in time for “Hoot,” drawing inspiration from the 1960s. The theme for the entire comeback was retro secret agents, and it was maintained throughout their style choices, the music video, and stage looks. For the teaser images, each member was dressed in an individual monochrome outfit, which was tied together with a pair of leather knee- or thigh-high boots. With their matching, era-appropriate hairdos and colorful weapons, Girls’ Generation nailed the vintage femme fatale look.

Catch Me If You Can

In yet another creative venture, Girls’ Generation’s look for “Catch Me If You Can” took inspiration from construction sets. Similar to “Genie,” the group presented a cohesive, uniform look for this comeback. For the music video, the girls danced on a construction site while wearing camo-patterned cargo pants, cropped and distressed white tops, and, most memorably, neon green fingerless gloves. With tag necklace charms and black boots, this techwear-adjacent look was ahead of its time.

Lion Heart

Lion Heart” was another comeback to draw inspiration from eras past. The album cover and each member’s individual music video scenes included various references to the dresses and flare skirts of the 1960s, complete with the updos that were so prevalent in the time period. Even more jaw-dropping, however, were the 1920s-inspired flapper dresses. The stylists for this era took notice of subtle details by pairing each dress with shoes that look just like the Louis heels of the ‘20s and including essential accessories like bedazzled chokers, rhinestone-beaded headbands, and feather headpieces.

Party

Party,” also from the Lion Heart album, took Girls’ Generation back to their 2000s roots. The music video placed the eight group members on a tropical beach, dancing barefoot on the sand. Their outfits were 100% boho-chic, completing the light, summertime feel of the comeback and reviving a mid-2000s trend with floral, lace, and cropped white tops. These were worn with denim shorts and tan booties, staying on theme. However, what takes the spotlight is the accessorizing. Their stylists did not miss any opportunity to bring more thematic pieces to the looks, introducing flower headpieces, both chokers and layered, longer necklaces, and statement bracelets to the “Party” era.

Holiday

Holiday,” the group’s last release before their five-year hiatus, left a lasting impact as it celebrated Girls’ Generation’s 10th anniversary. The entire comeback was packed with bright colors and an upbeat mood, fitting for such a monumental milestone. The styling for this era was vibrant and girly to match the celebration vibe, from the clothing to the makeup to the members’ hairstyles. In terms of outfits, the group opted for a variety of textures, including tulle, glitter, feathers, and sequins, big and small. To complete the extravagant look, many pieces also featured bold patterns, including everything from red roses to grey plaid. The 10-year celebration concluded with a brief visit to the disco-era glam in the accompanying single “All Night,” as well as the album’s teaser images, once again proving that Girls’ Generation are trendsetters in the industry.

Honorable Mentions

It is impossible to perfectly narrow down the list of Girls’ Generation’s most iconic fashion moments when everything they have done in their individual and group careers deserves its own shout-out. Because of that, here is a list of honorable mentions that should also be recognized:

I Got A Boy” — This comeback was all about a bold, youthful, American hip hop-inspired aesthetic. The outfits matched the song in the sense that they were whimsical and innovative, complementing Girls’ Generation’s history of taking musical risks.

The Boys” — “The Boys” was a self-confident, empowering track accompanied by strong, feminine silhouettes and leather pieces — a new image for Girls’ Generation.

Mr. Mr.” — With both masculine and feminine looks making an appearance, this comeback was nothing short of memorable. Not to mention, the hot pink ensembles were giving full Barbie-core

Oh!” — In a totally athletic comeback, Girls’ Generation wore sporty pink outfits while dancing in a locker room and cheerleading uniforms on the court. 

Mr. Taxi” — For their first original Japanese single, Girls’ Generation dressed up in neon taxi-inspired outfits that, once again, created a cohesive, jaw-dropping look for the group.

As the group celebrated their 15th anniversary with a long-awaited comeback, we look forward to seeing what Girls’ Generation brings in this next chapter. 

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our breakdown of Nayeon’s solo debut outfits!