Not all of us are lucky enough to live in one of the bigger cities of Korea. Being westerners, its often hard to get clothes in our sizes since anatomically we’re bigger than the Koreans no matter your weight. The average Korean woman’s height is between 157.4 and 160.4 cm (5 ft 2 in -5 ft 3 in) while men are around 173 cm ( 5 ft 8.5 in) . As most Native English teachers in Korea are from the US, UK, Aus and New Zealand, the average female height is around 162cm and the average male around 173-178 cm.
Being taller means that your waist and hips are also bigger. Finding pants and underwear your size can be a nightmare, and when you’re staying in Korea for more than one contract and don’t have any family visiting soon, to bring along some jeans and bra’s, then your only option might be online shopping.
I do almost all my shopping online from clothes to food and even laptops. Occasionally I go to Seoul for dresses but even in Shinsegae they only hold dresses sized 0 – 2.
Where to get what?
Since coming to Korea, Gmarket has been my ‘go-to’ for almost everything. Every second month I buy frozen chicken breast from here, its much cheaper per Kg than any other shop in Korea. We’ve bought a gaming laptop, which works perfectly, bicycles, chairs, tables, a microwave, a small oven and even a fog machine for Halloween. I’ve bought clothes here once or twice but because of the size difference between Koreans and Westerners most dresses are too small or too big. I have some friends that bought clothes at Gmarket and they were very happy with their purchases. You can also get shoes but the international brands are the best options since their sizes are standard. Gmarket has sellers from inside as well as outside of Korea. You can pay with your credit card or with a bank transfer.
I have only recently discovered the advantages of iHerb. They sell anything from groceries to beauty products and weight training supplements. They deliver within a week, mostly 3-4 days, but sometimes a little more. They have cheap oats and honey ( honey is quite expensive in Korea). You also build up a credit, every time you buy something, that you can use on one of your orders later on. The only restrictions they have are on supplements. You can’t import more than 6 bottles of supplements in one order. Shipping costs are pretty cheap. You can pay with your credit card or check card. The don’t accept Korean issued check cards.
You can also get virtually anything from Amazon. The only problems are that the shipping costs are sometimes more than the actual product and not all the companies ship to Korea. Amazon is also great for getting things like board games to keep you entertained here in Korea. You can pay with pay-pal, credit card, or even your Korean check card.
For all your lingerie needs. But they also sell comfy lounge pants and UGG’s if you need any of these. The only problem here is that it can take up to 5 weeks for your items to arrive. If you’re willing to wait however you can get some pretty good deals if you buy the 5/something deals. Shipping is usually around $40-45. You can pay with your credit or check card. When using paypal, make sure that your address is set to Korea otherwise it WILL go to your home address in the US or UK
What the book
What the book is a local shop with a branch in Itaewon, Seoul. They have a wide variety of new and used English books. If you’re unable to go all the way to Itaewon you can always buy the books online. They can even order books for you that’s not in stock. You can pay with a transfer or credit card.
High Street Market
High Street Market is also located in Iteawon, Seoul. They sell a wide variety of western foods including meats and cereals from back home. They even have a selection of liqueur. You can buy from their website but when ordering foods that need to be kept cold you have to pay for the extra ice packs yourself. You can only pay by using a bank transfer.
I have read online that Asos delivers to Korea. I have ordered one dress, but still waiting for it to be delivered. If you know the quality then it is a great option but personally I don’t have any experience with this brand. I’ll let you know ASAP. Shipping was only $4 for the one garment. I’m really full of shit when it comes to quality. If something is $40 it should not look like a $10 garment. You can use your credit or check card to pay.
One of my current favourite shops. They have clothes in US sizes but the delivery takes around 4-5 weeks unless you pay for fast delivery. Pay with your credit or check card.
There are many other websites that you can use here in Korea but these are just the ones that I use and have experience with and they are therefore the ones that I recommend.
On a final note, Korea has an import restriction of 150,000 won meaning that if you order online from websites outside of Korea and your order is more than 150 000 won then you may pay import duties.