She’s a cool, quirky 20-something living on the sub-tropical island of Jeju in South Korea. Originally from Pennsylvania, she studied painting and psychology in college. Now she spends her days teaching English, and her nights exploring her no-longer-new surroundings, spending time with her boyfriend, and using ArtFlow to express herself through art. Scroll with us as we chat about how Korea changed her style, her close-to-home style influences, and why she just can’t get enough of Birkenstocks.
I think I would classify myself as the “cool teacher” style. I’m much more conservative, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing my cactus sweatshirt.
Celeb style icons?
I must confess, I really don’t have any celeb icons. I like getting my inspiration from my trendy coworkers. That way I can ask them personally where they buy their clothes.
For summer, my sleeveless floral print dress, my birkenstocks and a cardigan in case it gets cold. It’s comfortable and allows me to move around freely. In the winter I wear dark grey pants, my grey suede shoes and a nice sweater with a collar shirt underneath. I’m much more feminine dressed in the summertime.
What has influenced your style the most?
Currently, the other Koreans I work with. Most of them are very stylish and they always look clean and well put together. My favorite dressed coworker wears tailored pants or shorts with flowy boho inspired tops with a pair of black or pink statement shoes.
How has living in Korea affected your style?
My goal for clothing is always to be comfortable. In Korea that means wearing shorts underneath my dresses. Some of the little kids don’t know personal space and are sometimes inappropriate by trying to lift up dresses. I also drop things a lot while I teach so I try to wear things that move easily. I also try to buy things that transition through the seasons easily instead of having a piece specifically for one season.
Has the way you dress for your profession filtered into your everyday wardrobe?
At first it didn’t. Before I got to Korea I splurged and bought a lot of professional teaching outfits that would be appropriate in the states. Some of the things fell apart while others turned out to be too formal for my school. Most people wear casual clothes and I integrated my wardrobe to go from weekday to weekend almost seamlessly. Although I exclusively wear shorts on the weekend.
Which of your features do you love to highlight?
I love my shoulders/neck/ upper back area. Most of my dresses have a swoop back that ends right above the bra line. It’s still work appropriate and I feel more confident. It’s something not a lot of of Koreans show off and I kind of like that.
Item you splurged on the most?
Shoes. Invest in good shoes. I can’t emphasize that enough. I bought a pair of solid suede shoes before I left, and they were incredibly comfortable for the winter time. Also my birkenstocks. They’re the latest hot trend here for footwear. Everyone on the island wear them and for good reason. They’re so comfortable.
Which season of clothes do you prefer?
Definitely fall and spring. I grew to love layering.
A style you really love?
I love the 70’s boho look, and it’s becoming huge again here in Korea. I love it. I love the details of clothing. I think that’s what draws me into buying the things I do. I love the hand embroidered look and the patterns.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years? Who knows! I’ll probably still be traveling around and teaching. The lifestyle suits me and I enjoy being somewhere foreign. I hope to have more timeless pieces when I’m older and shrink my wardrobe to classics and basics. I want a fierce, but not overly trendy or inappropriate look for work.
Anything to add?
To TSS: Thank you for asking me these questions. They were fun to answer and made me think! I didn’t realize how much different environment affects your clothing choices until now.
To the readers: Treat yo’ self!
When I first met Dani, my eyes were instantly drawn to her ear. Creepy I know, but she was wearing a beautiful golden mermaid cuff (before ear cuffs were cool) I couldn’t take my eyes off of.
I’ve always noticed the fine details in the items that Dani chose in college, and it has been so exciting to see how her style has evolved today. It’s different than I remember, but still essentially Dani.
Thanks for joining me! If you want to see more of Dani’s art and beautiful life in Korea check out her instagram: @nionlead