I occasionally carried a lace parasol in the States (I hate sunscreen), and brought it with me to Korea. Turns out I could have saved my time, because every little accessory store here stocks them in the dozens, in every shade of the rainbow. And I don't even have to feel ridiculously pretentious when I carry mine, because every sunny day I see at least three or four proudly upheld parasols on my way to work. Granted, the parasol-carrying seems mostly to be done by middle-aged women, so I'm still not exactly fitting in. Same issue with the skirts...
In general, Koreans dress much more nicely than Americans. Since my wardrobe is on the formal side, this means I rarely feel overdressed.
Skirts are de rigeur for Korean women (skinny jeans are the other option). As a result, in every department store, boutique, and roadside stand there are a plethora of gorgeously lacy, frilly, tulle-y skirts. I can't walk down a street without spotting another skirt that I would have pulled teeth to obtain when in the States. Though I'm short on money and space I already caved and bought one, a lovely knee-length, gray, tulle skirt. It only set me back 5,600 won, or about five dollars, so I don't feel too guilty.
The only difficulty is that while knee-length skirts are available on the rack, they are far from common on the street. The skirts of schoolgirl uniforms are shorter than mine, and my co-workers regularly wear skirts of a length considered only appropriate for clubbing in the U.S. I'm actually beginning to feel like a frumpy old lady in my prim knee-length skirts. And to think that I was worried that they were too short for teaching...
Makeup, in terms of eyeliner and lipstick, is applied pretty lightly here in Jeonju. Foundation, however, is another matter. There is no fake-bake in Korea - in fact, our friend Kate laughed pretty hard when we described it to her. Pale, perfect skin is everything, and to this end there are a myriad of excellent products available. I'm very fond of Skin Food, whose Black Sugar Scrub has smoothed and softened my skin quite a bit in the week that I've been using it.
If you don't have perfect skin, however, Korea is still your friend. The standards here for how much foundation is acceptable are quite different than in the States. In the U.S., I tried very hard to make it look as though I were wearing no makeup at all. Here, a certain level of visibility seems to be expected. I certainly see many more girls whose foundation is applied very heavily than I ever did back home. As a result, I'm applying my makeup with a freer hand, resulting in a paler complexion than before.
The one thing that's really lacking in Jeonju is gothy housewares. Fortunately, Linus and I brought some things to make our apartment feel more homey. One purple tapestry, two black metal suncatchers, and some creepy stuffed animals go a long way towards giving our compartment a cheerfully dark air. We did, however, spot some amazing black clocks downtown, so soon our apartment will have a touch of made-in-Korea gothy goodness.