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Refreshing the Closet Before Moving Abroad

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    Refreshing the Closet Before Moving Abroad

    So, I'm purging quite a bit from my closet because I'll be moving to South Korea in about a month, and I'm leaving Dallas next week. In the space between leaving Dallas and moving to Korea, I'll be visiting family and taking a much-needed Hawaiian vacation.

    There's a LOT of dead weight in my wardrobe that is going to be donated. But I want to refresh a lot of items now for a couple of reasons: 1. Dallas is great for shopping; the places where family's located are not, 2. I would love to grab some nice threads for Hawaii while I can afford them, 3. I have no idea what is going to be available to me in Korea. For instance, anything American-made will be either unavailable or incredibly expensive.

    So, assuming I'm starting from scratch, what essentials would you recommend I pick up before moving abroad?

    And now for the real challenge: I've got a budget of $600.

    I've got a tentative list of items, but I'm interested in seeing some suggestions that may give me some more bang for my buck... Thanks!


    Why don't you give us some more info on what you're looking for. What will you be doing in South Korea? Is it with the military where your work clothes will be a uniform? It's difficult to build a new wardrobe on $600 but I'd say at a minimum a man's wardrobe should consist of:

    5 dress shirts

    5 casual sports shirts

    1 well fitting suit in charcoal or navy

    1 pair dark jeans

    1 pair chinos

    1 pair neutral color dress trouser

    3-4 plain solid color t shirts

    2 pair shorts khaki and navy

    1-2 Sweaters

    I know I'm missing a ton but that's at least a start.

    Dress for style, live for results.



      Thanks, Tom! I'll be teaching English at a private school in SK. I know that I don't HAVE to go to work looking very dapper, since most of the teachers are in their early 20s and straight out of college.

      But, I'll be 32 on Monday, and I am well past that college schlub look. Even if I'm teaching 3rd graders, I'd like to look professional. Now, if I'm teaching kindergarten kids (I don't exactly have a job YET), I may dress down quite a bit. And I'm sure there'll be several nights on the town.

      I'll probably forego the suit until I get to Korea. I've heard people say they can get an inexpensive, nice custom-made suit there. And given my stature, I can't buy something off-the-rack.



        There are still some American goods in Korea, although larger sizes are non-existent. On the other hand, Korea has a large number of tailors and you do have cheap, decent Asian clothing options like Uniqlo available.

        Anything you buy in Hawaii has a 25% markup, just because everything is shipped into the islands. Shopping isn't a good idea there, except for Hawaiian goods.

        You need to specify how you are going to dress in Korea, which will reflect what you are doing there and at where. If you are going on orders or as a contractor, what to bring and wear is already determined for you and you should stick with it. If you are going as an ALT, you need to dress respectfully so that means collared dress shirts. Note that business casual doesn't really exist in Korea, so button-down collars aren't common (and sometimes frowned upon); on the other hand, short sleeve button-down shirts aren't as faux pas as in America, especially in the summer.

        You need to also keep in mind that monsoon/typhoon season is like Dallas in the summer, hot and humid, especially in the west and south coasts (including Seoul, as I have spent many summers there). The mountains and the east coast is more temperate, but the winters can be brutal.



          Thanks, Tony. See above for my comments on Korea. If not within Seoul, then I'll probably be in Uijongbu. Hot and humid from what I understand, which I'm used to. Suring the summer, I'll often wear the pique polos from Express (lots of colors, cheap and small logo). Is that sort of thing verboten in Korea?

          I'm not planning on doing any shopping in Hawaii, so I'd like to prepare for it while I'm still in Dallas. I'll be in Hawaii for 12 days, so I'm going to need adventure gear, beachwear, and something for the evening. I doubt we'll do anything fancy, but how exactly does one dress for a luau?

          Also, I'm pretty confident I'll be able to shop for my size in South Korea... I'm fairly small, so I may have to size up to a medium.



            I'd be hesitant buying much here. You'll be spending so much money in the next few months, even if you're getting reimbursed for much of it, that saving up right now is really important. Plus, I think there's something to be said about buying clothes from the area for the area. Good luck!



              I'd wait to do much of it til you get there. Shopping is abundant and cheap in Korea. And sizes are small. Things tend to be cut quite slim, even cheap brands.

              "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



                I hear Asia is good for made-to-measure clothing. My brother picked up 3 custom shirts on a trip to Thailand for about $100 all together.



                  For Hawaii, shorts are acceptable in 99% of occasions. However, I think linen or chino pants are a good step up from that. If I remember correctly, while Hawaii has great weather, it does cool off enough at nights that pants might be more comfortable.

                  Definitely bring some breathable hiking boots, flip-flops, and a pair of lightweight shoes for everything in between.

                  As for Korea, I get the impression that it's a little more Westernized (read: casual) than other parts of Asia. That said, I'd still recommend a good conservative suit if you need to meet with parents, etc. (Also, Koreans are beautiful, you'll want to make a good impression on the ladies)

                  Also, brush up on your Starcraft skills, hehe.